Classical Studies 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 21: Nonnus, Apollonius Of Rhodes, Ausonius

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MARCH 29 2016 LECTURE
ROMAN CHARIOT RACING
Was far more popular than gladiatorial events
The Circus Maximus
An enclosed building that had a race
track. The biggest one is found in
Rome. 600 metres long and 150 metres
wide with an arena area of 550 m by 80
m and was 80 m high. Seated four
times more people than the Colosseum,
roughly 150 000. People would also
stand nearby to watch and people could
watch from the emperor’s place. Spine
down the middle to separate the sides.
Could also stage events. Whenever
dolphins or eggs (to mark the laps) are
shown in a picture than it was the circus.
Parade: Pompa
The chariots would parade around
oWould be four horses side by side pulling the chariot
No one on horse back
Factions
Businesses started to rent out horses and charioteers
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MARCH 29 2016 LECTURE
oWould only rent out a portion of the things needed for the races
Started to create teams
oFour teams to a faction
One would be taken from each
Blue, Red, White, Green
Could only have chariot races that were multiples of four
oThe four factions began to dominate the chariot racing the Rome
As long as the people had bread to eat and circuses to go to then the people would be happy
oWhen the emperor Augustus took over, the bought all the businesses
Raised the rumour that the races were fixed
24 chariot races per day held on Ludi; took about 12 hours and people who were able to get tokens would
arrive at sunrise and not leave until sunset; upper class Romans could not believe that people would
waste their day like this; 4, 8, or 12 teams; usually slaves or freedmen, they were probably handpicked
from a very young age
Miliarii: the 1 000 men; men who had won 1 000 races would be out into a hall of fame
Quadriga: 4 horses pulling a chariot; 25-50 kg
Clothing
Helmet
Leather strips round chest and legs
Small knife
oUsed to cut the reigns around the waist
Some would tie some of the reigns around their waist with the others in their hand
Starting gates had barriers that were spring loaded. Known as the prison. Would go around seven times,
last 8-9 minutes, 5200 m in total and counter-clockwise. Charioteers could switch but the people would
cheer for the team not the person.
Collisions
Naufragium
oShip wreck
There are matches where no chariots would survive or only one would survive
oCharioteers would survive more often than the horses
Didn’t have to have the rider to win the race
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