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date: 20 March 2023



  • Janet DeLaine


Circus, the Roman arena for chariot-racing. The most important at Rome was the Circus Maximus (c.650×125 m.: c.711×137 yds.), in the Murcia valley between the Palatine and Aventine, traditionally founded in the regal period and progressively adorned during the republic. The distinctive form with parallel sides and one semi-circular end fitted with tiered seating, and with twelve starting gates (carceres) at the open end, was created under *Caesar and preserved in the monumental rebuilding by *Trajan. The area was divided into two tracks by a long central barrier (euripus or spina), marked at the ends with conical turning-posts (metae) and decorated with Augustus’ obelisk and other monuments, including the movable eggs and dolphins which marked the ends of the seven laps in each race. Four, six, eight or twelve teams of horses competed under different colours, red and white at first (Tert.


  • Roman Material Culture

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