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> Roman Life

Circuses and Races

Circus = ring
Ludi circenses = shows given in a ring

Circuses within City:
Circus Maximus between Aventine and Palatine Hills
Circus Flaminius southern part of Campus Martius, 221 BC, Gaius Flaminius. Near Capitoline Hill
Gaius (Caligula) and Nero built 3rd circus at foot of Vatican Hill (St. Peter¡¯s) (was the smallest)

Circus of the Arval Brothers, Via Portuensis
Circus of Maxentius, Appian Way, 309 AD. On same road, another one in town of Bovillae.

Plan of Circus:
Long narrow stretch of ground, surrounded by 2 lines of seats forming semicircle at one end.
Triumphal Gate here.
Opposite of Semicircle = Carceres (barriers) stations for chariots. One tower at each corner.
The barriers divided into 2 sections by entry gate.
Oppidum = since the towers and barriers looked like walled town.

Carceres = front had double doors of iron bars, thus called carceres
. Stalls hold chariot + team.
Probably square. (as many as 10 horses/team + chariot)
Up till Emperor Domitian, 8 chariots raced, later 12 might enter, thus 12 stalls.
Stalls arranged curved line, equidistant from beginning, assigned by lot.
End of stalls was tower, musicians stand. Over processional gate was box of dator ludorum.
Chief state official¡¯s friends between his box and tower. Start games by wave white cloth.
Then awarded prize to winner.

Spina = backbone, wall (2/3 of length). Metae = (lower millstone) goal posts past ends of wall.
Spina not parallel to seats b/c start of race chariots in row, later scattered.
End near stalls closer to seats at left.
Metae built of stone/concrete + group of 3 pillars w/ heavy foundation.
Spina + Metae made of wood in Republican Times
Spina: statues and ornamental structure. Temples, altars, fountains, etc.
Goddess of Fortune one end, Victory the other. Big Obelisk, small obelisk at end.
Each end of Spina = Pedestal with 7 eggs (ova) and 7 dolphins. Count laps.
Lyorus – water spina.

Spatium, Curriculum = Lap. Missus = Established # of laps/race, usually 7.
Last lap: only one turn, at triumphal gate. Finish was straightaway dash to calx.
Calx = chalk line. (far from goal post, far from barriers)

Arena = level space surround by seats/barriers. Harena = sand (protection for horses feet)
Speed not important: sand, short stretch, sharp turn. Enjoy danger of race.

Circus Maximus = Circus Maxtentius + 300 feet.
Circus of Maxentius = 2000 feet/lap. 6 laps = 12000. 7th lap = 2300 feet. Total = 14300 feet.

Seats - used to be wood, reconstructed w/ marble. Podium = Marble platform at foot of tiers.
Boxes on Podium for important officials, including senators.
Between podium and track was metal openwork, Caesar dug canal also.
Praecinctiones = horizontal aisles. (3 in Circus Maximus)
Cunei = (wedges) stairways divided sections. Gradus = rows of seats in cunei.
Reserved seats referenced by # of feet in row of wedge of section.

Bovillae: 8000 seats. Circus of Maxentius: 23000. Circus Maximus: 60000 then 200,000.
Every third vaulted chamber was stair case, the other rooms were shops/booths/employee rooms.
Galleries above seats, balcony for emperor.

Reputable persons did not take part in races. Factiones = racing companies.
Contract with them for games, 10-12 a day, later 2x as much or more.
Factiones named by colors. Red, white | blue | green | purple, gold.
Import horses from Greece, Spain, Mauretania.
Attendants, jockeys, stableboys, grooms, saddlers, doctors, trainers, coaches, messengers.
Rivalry great. Horses drugged, drivers bribed, poisoned, magicians used.

Racing Chariot – Low and light, closed in front, open behind, long axes + low wheels
Driver stood forward in car. # of Horses: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7. | 4 most common.
2 horses yoked together, 2 on traces.
Horse on left most important. Need to go around goal post. So must respond to signals.
List of horses and drivers provided for betting.
Strength, courage and endurance more essential than speed.
Horses mostly stallions, never raced under 5 years old.
Centenarius = Horse w/ 100 victories. Ducentenarius = Horse w/ 200 victories. (Diocles)

Agilatores, Aurigae = drivers. Slaves / freedman. May have won freedom by victories.
Close fitting cap, short tunic (color) laced w/ leather thongs, straps of leather around thighs, shoulder pads and heavy leather leg protectors.
Reins knotted together and passed around body. Carried knife in belt, cut reins/free horse.
Fouling encouraged.
Rewards for winning high. High pay, companies bid for drivers. Got presents.

Publius Aelius Gutta Calpurnianus – 1127 victories.
Caius Apuleius Diocles – 4257 races, 1462 victories, 32,863,120 sestersecs ($1.8 M)
Flavius Scorpus – 2048 victories. Marcus Aurelius Liber – 3000 victories.
Pompeius Muscosus – 3559 victories.
Crescens – 47 victories, 19 victories, won $78,0000 (1,558,346 sestersecs), etc.

Desultores – Men rode 2 horses, jumped from 1 to other.
Trained horses perform tricks while standing on wheeled platorm.
Citizens showed horsemanship, perform maneuvers (ludus Trojae, Game of Troy, Ascanius, Aeneid book V) Hunts, gladiator fights.
Pompa Circensis = Procession, holiday spectacles, opened certain games.
Start from Capitol to Circus Maximus. Presiding magistrate (triumphant general garb, with slave hold gold wreath), important persons, priests in colleges, bearers of incense and sacrifice instruments, statues of deities on cars drawn by animals, musicians led each division of procession.

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