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Circus Maximus

  • Date Submitted: 10/15/2011 08:51 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.1 
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In Rome there was a huge stadium called the Circus Maximus (Latin for largest/greatest ring/stadium).It was used to hold chariot (cart with two wheels pulled by horses) races and it was a mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy.
Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest Chariot Racing Stadium in ancient Rome. It measured 621 m (2,037 ft) in length and 118 m (387 ft) in width, and could accommodate about 250,000 people, over a quarter of the city's population.  
The Roman Circus Maximus overlooked a variety of sporting events and religions processions - but the most famous of these were the wildly popular chariot races.
At the height of the Roman Empire, these races were a manifestation of the riches of the time - anywhere between 20 and 60 days a year were devoted to them. These were not simply sporting events, however. This was Rome, after all, and no one was going to accuse them of keeping things understated.

From sunrise to sunset, Romans from every corner of the empire would travel to witness a combination of religious ceremonies, public gatherings and an average of 25 races per day. During breaks from the races, the arena also held a variety of religious ceremonies, boxing and wrestling matches - even the occasional gladiator exhibition found its way into the circus. It is presumed that the majority of Christian martyrdom in city also took place at the Roman Circus Maximus.
The circus was founded by King Tarquinius Priscus in the 6th Century BC, the marshy valley separating Palatine hill from Aventine Hill was drained just for its construction.

Design

The Circus Maximus design included a stretched oval arena with a flat end, which was where the starting blocks where. Chariots would enter the track when metal barriers were lifted. A lavish luxury box was built high upon Palatine hill specifically for the Emperor to oversee the games.

The Circus Maximus design was lacking in one way,...

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