C HARIOT -RACING
Readings: covered in ‘Gladiators’lecture.
• Largest in Rome
• Very old: 45,000 sq. meters
• 12x larger than the arena of the Coliseum
• 150,000 spectators in the cavea
• Before the construction of amphitheaters, circuses were the sites of some ‘arena events’
• Straight narrow side: 12 starting boxes
• Long length of the arena was divided by the spina (barrier)
• Spina richly ornamented with statues and fountain
• Sometimes spina itself filled with water
• Teams raced around this
• ‘Turning posts’
• Stood at either end of the spina
• Semi-circular platforms with three pillars topped with an egg
• On spina
• Platforms with 7 eggs and 7 dolphin shapes
• Signals number of laps driven
• 4 horses harnessed side-by-side
• 25-50 kg
• Lighter the chariot the faster the horses pull it
• Charioteers: small light men
• Total weight: 100-150 kg
• Protective clothing: tunic, leather helmet
• Leather straps around torso
• Leather leg-wrappings
• Short knife on torso too: why ? – to cut himself loose cut the reigns that are tied around his waist.
• Charioteers wrapped reins around their waists and tied them.
• Steered chariot by shifting their weight
• Factio (pl. Factiones)
• Blues, greens, reds, whites.
• 4, 8, or 12 teams
• Charioteers: usually slaves or freedmen
• Could win wealth of fame
• But loyalty of public was to factions not individuals
• Most charioteers committed themselves to one faction.