CLA233H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Chariot Racing, Quadriga, Toga

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28 Feb 2013
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CLA233 Lecture 11 Notes
Circus
- horse/chariot race very important
- could be attended by non-Romans
- place where Romans met as a community
- toga – worn by male Roman citizens
- must wear toga at the circus
- best seats reserved for Roman citizens
- women could sit with the men, often with children as well – family event
- association with families, fun, entertainment
- thousands of Roman citizens
- many circuses in Roman empire and quite a few in Rome
- circus races could last as much as 40 to 50 days per year
- chariot race – often with four horses, quadriga, but also biga, the two horse
chariots
- as many as two dozen races – most important races were scheduled to be
first or last
- each team could enter two or three races
- races were quite quick
- spina – white backbone around which chariots had to race
- average speed of 35 km/h
- factio – team – marked by their colours – blue, green, red, white
- might have one chariot per team in the race, but often had two or three
others – the lead chariot was their racer – the other chariots were trained to
obstruct other teams
- prize money to only the first place – large sums of money
- carceres – starting boxes – where horse and driver are “imprisoned
- man in charge of giving the games – often a magistrate or even the emperor
- magistrate stood in pulvinar – took his dinner napkin and dropped it to signal
the start of the race
- mappa – dinner napkin
- drop of mappa – signal to slave to open the carceres and for trumpets to
sound
- space at meta – “turning post” – concrete based with brick
- highly dangerous profession – chariots could be smashed easily
- communities in which different neighbourhoods picked teams
- chariot drivers – real heroes
- chariot race is very dangerous – very light and vulnerable and very easy to
overturn
- charioteer – slim and muscled – often very young – paid in retainer fees
- very skilled charioteers could make very large amounts of money
A Real Star
- epitaph to chariot driver
- most famous charioteer whose epitaph survives
- Diocles – “glory of Zeus”
- charioteer is clearly an ex-slave
- lived a long time for a charioteer – about 42 years
- only sixteen when he first started – won his first race at eighteen years of age
- switch of factions – perhaps through contracts
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Document Summary

Circus best seats reserved for roman citizens association with families, fun, entertainment thousands of roman citizens horse/chariot race very important could be attended by non-romans place where romans met as a community toga worn by male roman citizens. Women could sit with the men, often with children as well family event. Man in charge of giving the games often a magistrate or even the emperor. Magistrate stood in pulvinar took his dinner napkin and dropped it to signal the start of the race. Between races hourse-jumpers acrobats naked dancers clowns gifts bread, lottery tickets, etc. live music. Martial writes a clever epigram you saw me and you applauded but short lived do not have scorpius" epitaph therefore cannot know how many races he won. A famous fan emperor nero as a passionate fan. The iliad core of the roman education.

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