13 Facts About Circus Maximus


Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium and mass entertainment venue in Rome, Italy.

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Circus Maximus was Rome's largest venue for ludi, public games connected to Roman religious festivals.

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In Roman tradition, the earliest triumphal ludi at the Circus Maximus were vowed by Tarquin the Proud to Jupiter in the late Regal era for his victory over Pometia.

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The greater ludi at the Circus Maximus began with a flamboyant parade, much like the triumphal procession, which marked the purpose of the games and introduced the participants.

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Some Circus Maximus events seem to have been relatively small and intimate affairs.

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The last known beast-hunt at the Circus Maximus took place in 523, and the last known races there were held by Totila in 549.

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Circus Maximus was sited on the level ground of the Valley of Murcia, between Rome's Aventine and Palatine Hills.

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Circus Maximus modestly claimed credit only for an obelisk and pulvinar at the site but both were major projects.

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Games and festivals continued at the Circus Maximus, which was rebuilt over several years to the same footprint and design.

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Under Trajan, the Circus Maximus found its definitive form, which was unchanged thereafter save for some monumental additions by later emperors, an extensive, planned rebuilding of the starting gate area under Caracalla, and repairs and renewals to existing fabric.

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Circus Maximus invented the Consualia festival, as a way of gathering his Sabine neighbours at a celebration that included horse-races and drinking.

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The temples to Ceres and Flora stood close together on the Aventine, more or less opposite the Circus Maximus' starting gate, which remained under Hercules' protection.

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Many of the Circus Maximus's standing structures survived these changes; in 1587, two obelisks were removed from the central barrier by Pope Sixtus V, and one of these was re-sited at the Piazza del Popolo.

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