Chariot racing (Greek: ἁρματοδρομία harmatodromia,
Latin: ludi circenses) was one of the most popular ancient Greek,
Chariot racing was dangerous to both
drivers and horses as they often suffered serious injury and even
death, but these dangers added to the excitement and interest for
Chariot races could be watched by women, who were banned
from watching many other sports. In the Roman form of chariot racing,
teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes
competed for the services of particularly skilled drivers. As in
modern sports like soccer, spectators generally chose to support a
single team, identifying themselves strongly with its fortunes, and
violence sometimes broke out between rival factions. The rivalries
were sometimes politicized, when teams became associated with
competing social or religious ideas. This helps explain why Roman and
Byzantine emperors took control of the teams and appointed many
officials to oversee them.
The sport faded in importance in the West after the fall of Rome. It
survived for a time in the
Byzantine Empire, where the traditional
Roman factions continued to play a prominent role for several
centuries, gaining influence in political matters. Their rivalry
culminated in the Nika riots, which marked the gradual decline of the
1 Ancient Greek Era
1.1 Early chariot racing
1.2 Olympic Games
1.3 Other festivals
2 Roman era
4 See also
7.1 Primary sources
7.2 Secondary sources
8 External links
Ancient Greek Era
Early chariot racing
It is unknown exactly when chariot racing began, but It may have been
as old as chariots themselves. It is known from artistic evidence on
pottery that the sport existed in the Mycenaean world,[a] but the
first literary reference to a chariot race is one described by Homer,
at the funeral games of Patroclus. The participants in this race
were Diomedes, Eumelus, Antilochus, Menelaus, and Meriones. The race,
which was one lap around the stump of a tree, was won by Diomedes, who
received a slave woman and a cauldron as his prize. A chariot race
also was said to be the event that founded the Olympic Games;
according to one legend, mentioned by Pindar, King
suitors for his daughter
Hippodamia to a race, but was defeated by
Pelops, who founded the Games in honour of his victory.
Chariot racing on a black-figure hydria from Attica, ca. 510 BC
In the ancient Olympic Games, as well as the other Panhellenic Games,
there were both four-horse (tethrippon, Greek: τέθριππον) and
two-horse (synoris, Greek: συνωρὶς) chariot races, which were
essentially the same aside from the number of horses. [b] The chariot
racing event was first added to the Olympics in 680 BC with the games
expanding from a one-day to a two-day event to accommodate the new
event (but was not, in reality, the founding event). The chariot
race was not so prestigious as the foot race of 195 meters (stadion,
Greek: στάδιον), but it was more important than other
equestrian events such as racing on horseback, which were dropped from
Olympic Games very early on.
The races themselves were held in the hippodrome, which held both
chariot races and riding races. The single horse race was known as the
"keles" (keles, Greek: κέλης).[c] The hippodrome was situated at
the south-east corner of the sanctuary of Olympia, on the large flat
area south of the stadium and ran almost parallel to the latter. Until
recently, its exact location was unknown, since it is buried by
several meters of sedimentary material from the Alfeios River. In
2008, however, Annie Muller and staff of the German Archeological
Institute used radar to locate a large, rectangular structure similar
to Pausanias's description. Pausanias, who visited Olympia in the
second century AD, describes the monument as a large, elongated, flat
space, approximately 780 meters long and 320 meters wide (four stadia
long and one stadefour plethra wide). The elongated racecourse was
divided longitudinally into two tracks by a stone or wooden barrier,
the embolon. All the horses or chariots ran on one track toward the
east, then turned around the embolon and headed back west. Distances
varied according to the event. The racecourse was surrounded by
natural (to the north) and artificial (to the south and east) banks
for the spectators; a special place was reserved for the judges on the
west side of the north bank.
The Charioteer of Delphi, one of the most famous statues surviving
from Ancient Greece
The race was begun by a procession into the hippodrome, while a herald
announced the names of the drivers and owners. The tethrippon
consisted of twelve laps around the hippodrome, with sharp turns
around the posts at either end. Various mechanical devices were used,
including the starting gates (hyspleges, Greek: ὕσπληγγες;
singular: hysplex, Greek: ὕσπληγξ) which were lowered to start
the race. According to Pausanias, these were invented by the
architect Cleoitas, and staggered so that the chariots on the outside
began the race earlier than those on the inside. The race did not
begin properly until the final gate was opened, at which point each
chariot would be more or less lined up alongside each other, although
the ones that had started on the outside would have been traveling
faster than the ones in the middle. Other mechanical devices known as
the "eagle" and the "dolphin" were raised to signify that the race had
begun, and were lowered as the race went on to signify the number of
laps remaining. These were probably bronze carvings of those animals,
set up on posts at the starting line.
In most cases, the owner and the driver of the chariot were different
persons. In 416 BC, the Athenian general
Alcibiades had seven chariots
in the race, and came in first, second, and fourth; obviously, he
could not have been racing all seven chariots himself. Philip II
of Macedon also won an Olympic chariot race in an attempt to prove he
was not a barbarian, although if he had driven the chariot himself he
would likely have been considered even lower than a barbarian. The
Pindar did praise the courage of Herodotes of Thebes, however,
for driving his own chariot. This rule also meant that women could
win the race through ownership, despite the fact that women were not
allowed to participate in or even watch the Games. This happened
rarely, but a notable example is the Spartan Cynisca, daughter of
Archidamus II, who won the chariot race twice.
Chariot racing was
a way for Greeks to demonstrate their prosperity at the games. The
Alcibiades indicates also that chariot racing was an
alternative route to public exposure and fame for the wealthy.
The charioteer was usually either a family member of the owner of the
chariot or, in most cases, a slave or a hired professional. Driving
a racing chariot required unusual strength, skill, and courage. Yet,
we know the names of very few charioteers, and victory songs and
statues regularly contrive to leave them out of account. Unlike
the other Olympic events, charioteers did not perform in the nude,
probably for safety reasons because of the dust kicked up by the
horses and chariots, and the likelihood of bloody crashes. Racers wore
a sleeved garment called a xystis. It fell to the ankles and was
fastened high at the waist with a plain belt. Two straps that crossed
high at the upper back prevented the xystis from "ballooning" during
The chariots themselves were modified war chariots, essentially wooden
carts with two wheels and an open back, although chariots were by
this time no longer used in battle. The charioteer's feet were held in
place, but the cart rested on the axle, so the ride was bumpy. The
most exciting part of the chariot race, at least for the spectators,
was the turns at the ends of the hippodrome. These turns were very
dangerous and often deadly. If a chariot had not already been knocked
over by an opponent before the turn, it might be overturned or crushed
(along with the horses and driver) by the other chariots as they went
around the post. Deliberately running into an opponent to cause him to
crash was technically illegal, but nothing could be done about it (at
Patroclus' funeral games,
Antilochus in fact causes
Menelaus to crash
in this way,) and crashes were likely to happen by accident
As a result of the rise of the Greek cities of the classic period,
other great festivals emerged in Asia Minor, Magna Graecia, and the
mainland providing the opportunity for athletes to gain fame and
riches. Apart from the Olympics, the best respected were the Isthmian
Games in Corinth, the Nemean Games, the
Pythian Games in Delphi, and
Panathenaic Games in Athens, where the winner of the four-horse
chariot race was given 140 amphorae of olive oil (much sought after
and precious in ancient times). Prizes at other competitions included
corn in Eleusis, bronze shields in Argos, and silver vessels in
Marathon.[d] Another form of chariot racing at the Panathenaic Games
was known as the apobatai, in which the contestant wore armor and
periodically leapt off a moving chariot and ran alongside it before
leaping back on again. In these races, there was a second
charioteer (a "rein-holder") while the apobates jumped out; in the
catalogues with the winners both the names of the apobates and of the
rein-holder are mentioned. Images of this contest show warriors,
armed with helmets and shields, perched on the back of their racing
chariots. Some scholars believe that the event preserved
traditions of Homeric warfare.
See also: Equirria
The plan of the Circus Maximus
The Romans probably borrowed chariot racing from the
Etruscans as well
as the racing tracks, who themselves borrowed it from the Greeks, but
the Romans were also influenced directly by the Greeks.[e]
According to Roman legend, chariot racing was used by Romulus just
after he founded Rome in 753 BC as a way of distracting the Sabine
men. Romulus sent out invitations to the neighbouring towns to
celebrate the festival of the Consualia, which included both horse
races and chariot races. Whilst the Sabines were enjoying the
spectacle, Romulus and his men seized and carried off the Sabine
women, who became wives of the Romans.
Chariot races were a
part of several Roman religious festivals, and on these occasions were
preceded by a parade (pompa circensis) that featured the charioteers,
music, costumed dancers, and images of the gods. While the
entertainment value of chariot races tended to overshadow any sacred
purpose, in late antiquity the
Church Fathers still saw them as a
traditional "pagan" practice, and advised Christians not to
Bas-relief of a quadriga race in the
Circus Maximus (2nd-3rd century)
A chariot race in the Roman era
In ancient Rome, chariot races commonly took place in a circus.
The main centre of chariot racing was the
Circus Maximus in the valley
Palatine Hill and Aventine Hill,[f] which could seat 250,000
people. It was the earliest circus in the city of Rome. The
Circus was supposed to date to the city's earliest times,[g] but it
was rebuilt by
Julius Caesar around 50 BC so that it had a length of
about 650 metres (2,130 ft) and a width of about 125 metres
(410 ft). One end of the track was more open than the other,
as this was where the chariots lined up to begin the race. The Romans
used a series of gates known as carceres, an equivalent to the Greek
hysplex. These were staggered in the same way as the hysplex, but they
were slightly different because Roman racing tracks also had a median
(the spina) in the centre of the track. The carceres took up the
angled end of the track, and the chariots were loaded into
spring-loaded gates. When the chariots were ready, the emperor (or
whoever was hosting the races, if they were not in Rome) dropped a
cloth known as a mappa, signalling the beginning of the race. The
gates would spring open, creating a perfectly fair beginning for all
Chariot race of Cupids; ancient Roman sarcophagus in the Museo
Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival
Once the race had begun, the chariots could move in front of each
other in an attempt to cause their opponents to crash into the spinae
(singular spina). On the top of the spinae stood small tables or
frames supported on pillars, and also small pieces of marble in the
shape of eggs or dolphins. The spina eventually became very
elaborate, with statues and obelisks and other forms of art, but the
multiplication of the adornments of the spina had one unfortunate
result: They became so numerous that they obstructed the view of
spectators on lower seats. At either end of the spina was a meta,
or turning point, in the form of large gilded columns. 
Spectacular crashes in which the chariot was destroyed and the
charioteer and horses incapacitated were known as naufragia, also the
Latin word for shipwrecks.
A white charioteer; part of a mosaic of the third century AD, showing
four leading charioteers from the different colors, all in their
The race itself was much like its Greek counterpart, although there
were usually 24 races every day that, during the fourth century, took
place on 66 days each year. However, a race consisted of only 7
laps (and later 5 laps, so that there could be even more races per
day), instead of the 12 laps of the Greek race. The Roman style
was also more money-oriented; racers were professionals and there was
widespread betting among spectators. There were four-horse
chariots (quadrigae) and two-horse chariots (bigae), but the
four-horse races were more important. In rare cases, if a driver
wanted to show off his skill, he could use up to 10 horses, although
this was extremely impractical.
The technique and clothing of Roman charioteers differed significantly
from those used by the Greeks. Roman drivers wrapped the reins round
their waist, while the Greeks held the reins in their hands.[h]
Because of this, the Romans could not let go of the reins in a crash,
so they would be dragged around the circus until they were killed or
they freed themselves. In order to cut the reins and keep from being
dragged in case of accident, they carried a falx, a curved knife. They
also wore helmets and other protective gear. In any given
race, there might be a number of teams put up by each faction, who
would cooperate to maximize their chances of victory by ganging up on
opponents, forcing them out of the preferred inside track or making
them lose concentration and expose themselves to accident and
injury. Spectators could also play a part as there is evidence
they threw lead "curse" amulets studded with nails at teams opposing
A winner of a Roman chariot race, from the Red team
Another important difference was that the charioteers themselves, the
aurigae, were considered to be the winners, although they were usually
also slaves (as in the Greek world). They received a wreath of laurel
leaves, and probably some money; if they won enough races they could
buy their freedom. Drivers could become celebrities throughout the
Empire simply by surviving, as the life expectancy of a charioteer was
not very high. One such celebrity driver was Scorpus, who won over
2000 races before being killed in a collision at the meta when he
was about 27 years old. The most famous of all was Gaius Appuleius
Diocles who won 1,462 out of 4,257 races. When Diocles retired at the
age of 42 after a 24-year career his winnings reportedly totalled
35,863,120 sesterces ($US 15 billion), making him the highest paid
sports star in history. The horses, too, could become celebrities,
but their life expectancy was also low. The Romans kept detailed
statistics of the names, breeds, and pedigrees of famous horses.
Seats in the Circus were free for the poor, who by the time of the
Empire had little else to do, as they were no longer involved in
political or military affairs as they had been in the Republic. The
wealthy could pay for shaded seats where they had a better view, and
they probably also spent much of their times betting on the races. The
circus was the only place where the emperor showed himself before a
populace assembled in vast numbers, and where the latter could
manifest their affection or anger. The imperial box, called the
pulvinar in the Circus Maximus, was directly connected to the imperial
Lyon illustrating a chariot race with the four factions:
Blue, Green, Red and White
Chariot races in the Roman era
The driver's clothing was color-coded in accordance with his faction,
which would help distant spectators to keep track of the race's
progress. According to Tertullian, there were originally just two
factions, White and Red, sacred to winter and summer respectively.
As fully developed, there were four factions, the Red, White, Green,
and Blue. Each team could have up to three chariots each in a
race. Members of the same team often collaborated with each other
against the other teams, for example to force them to crash into the
spina (a legal and encouraged tactic). Drivers could switch teams,
much like athletes can be traded to different teams today.
By 77 BC, the rivalry between the Red and the Whites was already
developed, when a funeral for a Red driver involved a Red supporter
throwing himself on the funeral pyre. No writer of the time, however,
refers to these as factions such as came into existence later, with
the factions being official organizations. Writing near the
beginning of the third century, he wrote that the Reds were dedicated
to Mars, the Whites to the Zephyrs, the Greens to Mother Earth or
spring, and the Blues to the sky and sea or autumn. Domitian
created two new factions, the Purples and Golds, which disappeared
soon after he died. The Blues and the Greens gradually became the
most prestigious factions, supported by emperor and populace alike.
Numerous occasions occurred when a Blue vs. Green clash would break
out during a race. Indeed, Reds and Whites are only rarely mentioned
in the surviving literature, although their continued activity is
documented in inscriptions and in curse-tablets.
Hippodrome today, with the
Walled Obelisk in the foreground and
Obelisk on the right
Like many other aspects of the Roman world, chariot racing continued
Byzantine Empire, although the Byzantines did not keep as many
records and statistics as the Romans did. In place of the detailed
inscriptions of Roman racing statistics, several short epigrams in
verse were composed celebrating some of the more famous Byzantine
Charioteers. The six charioteers about whom these laudatory verses
were written were Anastasius, Julianus of Tyre, Faustinus, his son,
Constantinus, Uranius, and Porphyrius. Although Anastasius's
single epigram reveals almost nothing about him, Porphyrius is much
better known, having thirty-four known poems dedicated to him.
Constantine I (r. 306–337) preferred chariot racing to gladiatorial
combat, which he considered a vestige of paganism. However, the
end of gladiatorial games in the Empire may have been more the result
of the difficulty and expense that came with procuring gladiators to
fight in the games, than the influence of Christianity in
Olympic Games were eventually ended by Emperor
Theodosius I (r. 379–395) in 393, perhaps in a move to suppress
paganism and promote Christianity, but chariot racing remained
popular. The fact that chariot racing became linked to the imperial
majesty meant that the Church did not prevent it, although gradually
prominent Christian writers, such as Tertullian, began attacking the
sport. Despite the influence of Christianity in the Byzantine
Empire, venationes, bloody wild-beast hunts, continued as a form of
popular entertainment during the early days of the Empire as part of
the extra entertainment that went along with chariot racing.
Eventually, Emperor Leo (r. 457–474) banned public entertainments on
Sundays in 469, showing that the hunts did not have imperial support,
and the venationes were banned completely by Emperor Anastasius (r.
491–518) in 498. Anastasius was praised for this action by some
sources, but their concern seems to be more for the danger the hunts
could put humans in rather than for objections to the brutality or
moral objections. There continued to be burnings and mutilations
of humans who committed crimes or were enemies of the state in the
hippodrome throughout the
Byzantine Empire, as well as victory
celebrations and imperial coronations.
The chariot races were important in the
Byzantine Empire, as in the
Roman Empire, as a way to reinforce social class and political power,
including the might of the
Byzantine emperor, and were often put on
for political or religious reasons. In addition, chariot races
were sometimes held in celebration of an emperor's birthday. An
explicit parallel was drawn between the victorious charioteers and the
victorious emperor. The factions addressed their victors by chanting
"Rejoice ... your Lords have conquered" while the charioteer took
a victory lap, further indicating the parallel between the
charioteer's victory and the emperor's victory. Indeed, reliefs of
Porphyrius, the famous
Byzantine charioteer, show him in a victor's
pose being acclaimed by partisans, which is clearly modeled on the
images on the base of Emperor Theodosius's obelisk. The races
could also be used to symbolically make religious statements, such as
when a charioteer, whose mother was named Mary, fell off his chariot
and got back on and the crowd described it as "The son of Mary has
fallen and risen again and is victorious."
Hippodrome of Constantinople (really a Roman circus, not the open
space that the original Greek hippodromes were) was connected to the
emperor's palace and the Church of Hagia Sophia, allowing spectators
to view the emperor as they had in Rome.[i] Citizens used their
proximity to the emperor in the circuses and theatres to express
public opinion, like their dissatisfaction with the Emperor's errant
policy. It has been argued that the people became so powerful that
the emperors had no choice but to grant them more legal rights.
However, contrary to this traditional view, it appears, based on more
recent historical research, that the
Byzantine emperors treated the
protests and petitions of their citizens in the circuses with greater
contempt and were more dismissive of them than their Roman
Justinian I (r. 527–565), for instance, seems to have
been dismissive of the Greens' petitions and to have never negotiated
with them at all.
There is not much evidence that the chariot races were subject to
bribes or other forms of cheating in the Roman Empire. In the
Byzantine Empire, there seems to have been more cheating; Justinian
I's reformed legal code prohibits drivers from placing curses on their
opponents, but otherwise there does not seem to have been any
mechanical tampering or bribery. Wearing the colours of one's team
became an important aspect of
Quadriga is a set of Roman or Greek bronze statues of
four horses, originally part of a monument depicting a quadriga. They
date from late
Classical Antiquity and were long displayed at the
Hippodrome of Constantinople. In 1204 AD, Doge
Enrico Dandolo sent
Venice as part of the loot sacked from Constantinople in the
Chariot racing in the
Byzantine Empire also included the Roman racing
clubs, which continued to play a prominent role in these public
exhibitions. By this time, the Blues (Vénetoi) and the Greens
(Prásinoi) had come to overshadow the other two factions of the
Whites (Leukoí) and Reds (Roúsioi), while still maintaining the
paired alliances, although these were now fixed as Blue and White vs.
Green and Red.[j] These circus factions were no longer the private
businesses they were during the Roman Empire. Instead, the races began
to be given regular, public funding, putting them under imperial
control. Running the chariot races at public expense was probably
a cost-cutting and labor-reducing measure, making it easier to channel
the proper funds into the racing organizations. The Emperor
himself belonged to one of the four factions, and supported the
interests of either the Blues or the Greens.
Adopting the color of their favorite charioteers was a way fans showed
their loyalty to that particular racer or faction. Many of the
young men in the fan clubs, or factions, adopted extravagant clothing
and hairstyles, such as billowing sleeves, "Hunnic" hair-styles, and
"Persian" facial hair. There is evidence that these young men
were the faction members most prone to violence and extreme factional
rivalry. Some scholars have tried to argue that the factional
rivalry and violence was a result of opposing religious or political
views, but more likely the young men simply identified strongly with
their faction for group solidarity. The factional violence was
probably engaged in similarly to the violence of modern football or
soccer fans. The games themselves were the usual focus of the
factional violence, even when it was taken to the streets.
Although fans who went to the hippodrome cheered on their favorite
charioteers, their loyalty appears to be to the color for which the
charioteer drove more than for the individual driver. Charioteers
could change faction allegiance and race for different colors during
their careers, but the fans did not change their allegiance to their
The Blues and the Greens were now more than simply sports teams. They
gained influence in military, political,[k] and theological matters,
although the hypothesis that the Greens tended towards Monophysitism
and the Blues represented Orthodoxy is disputed. It is now widely
believed that neither of the factions had any consistent religious
bias or allegiance, in spite of the fact that they operated in an
environment fraught with religious controversy. According to
some scholars, the Blue-Green rivalry contributed to the conditions
that underlay the rise of Islam, while factional enmities were
exploited by the
Sassanid Empire in its conflicts with the Byzantines
during the century preceding Islam's advent.[l]
The Blue-Green rivalry often erupted into gang warfare, and street
violence had been on the rise in the reign of
Justin I (r. 518–527),
who took measures to restore order, when the gangs murdered a citizen
in the Hagia Sophia. Riots culminated in the
Nika riots of 532 AD
during the reign of Justinian, which began when the two main factions
united and attempted unsuccessfully to overthrow the emperor.
Chariot racing seems to have declined in the course of the seventh
century, with the losses the Empire suffered at the hands of the Arabs
and the decline of the population and economy. The Blues and
Greens, deprived of any political power, were relegated to a purely
ceremonial role. After the Nika riots, the factions grew less violent
as their importance in imperial ceremony increased. In particular,
the iconoclast emperor
Constantine V (r. 741–775) courted the
factions for their support in his campaigns against the monks. They
aided the emperor in executing his prisoners and by putting on shows
in which monks and nuns held hands while the crowd hissed at them.
Constantine V seems to have given the factions a political role in
addition to their traditionally ceremonial role. The two factions
continued their activity until the imperial court was moved to
Blachernae during the 12th century.
Hippodrome in Constantinople remained in use for races, games, and
public ceremonies up to the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth
Crusade in 1204. In the 12th century, Emperor
Manuel I Komnenos
Manuel I Komnenos (r.
1143–1180) even staged Western-style jousting matches in the
Hippodrome. During the sack of 1204, the Crusaders looted the city
and, among other things, removed the copper quadriga that stood above
the carceres; it is now displayed at St. Mark's Cathedral in
Venice. Thereafter, the
Hippodrome was neglected, although still
occasionally used for spectacles. A print of the
Hippodrome from the
fifteenth century shows a derelict site, a few walls still standing,
and the spina, the central reservation, robbed of its splendor. Today,
only the obelisks and the
Serpent Column stand where for centuries the
spectators gathered. In the West, the games had ended much sooner;
by the end of the fourth century public entertainments in Italy had
come to an end in all but a few towns. The last recorded chariot
race in Rome itself took place in the
Circus Maximus in 549 AD.
Media related to
Chariot racing at Wikimedia Commons
^ A number of fragments of pottery from show two or more chariots,
obviously in the middle of a race. Bennett asserts that this is a
clear indication that chariot racing existed as a sport from as early
as the thirteenth century BC.
Chariot races are also depicted on late
Geometric vases (Bennett 1997, pp. 41–48).
Synoris succeeded tethrippon in 384 BC.
Tethrippon was reintroduced
in 268 BC (Valettas & Ioannis 1955, p. 613).
^ Little is known of the construction of hippodromes before the Roman
period (Adkins & Adkins 1998a, pp. 218–219)
^ Τhe returning athletes also gained various benefits in their native
towns, like tax exemptions, free clothing and meals, and even prize
money (Bennett 1997, pp. 41–48).
^ In Rome, chariot racing constituted one of the two types of public
games, the ludi circenses. The other type, ludi scaenici, consisted
chiefly of theatrical performances (Balsdon 1974, p. 248; Mus
^ There were many other circuses throughout the Roman Empire. Circus
of Maxentius, another major circus, was built at the beginning of the
fourth century BC outside Rome, near the Via Appia. There were major
Alexandria and Antioch, and
Herod the Great
Herod the Great built four
circuses in Judaea. Archaeologists working on a housing development in
Essex have unearthed what they believe to be the first Roman
chariot-racing arena to be found in Britain (Prudames 2005).
^ According to the tradition, the Circus probably dated back to the
time of the
Etruscans (Adkins & Adkins 1998b, pp. 141–142;
Boatwright, Gargola & Talbert 2004, p. 383).
^ Roman drivers steered using their body weight; with the reins tied
around their torsos, charioteers could lean from one side to the other
to direct the horse's movement, keeping the hands free for the whip
and such (Futrell 2006, pp. 191–192; Köhne, Ewigleben &
Jackson 2000, p. 92).
Hippodrome was situated immediately to the west of the imperial
palace, and there was a private passage from the palace to the
emperor's box, the kathisma, where the emperor showed himself to his
subjects. One of Justinian's first acts on becoming emperor was to
rebuild the kathisma, making it loftier and more impressive (Evans
2005, p. 16).
^ One of the most famous charioteers, Porphyrius, was a member of both
the Blues and the Greens at various times in the 5th century (Futrell
2006, p. 200).
^ At the root of the political power eventually gained by the factions
was the fact that from the mid-fifth century the making of an emperor
required that he should be acclaimed by the people (Liebeschuetz 2003,
Khosrau I (r. 531–579) erected an hippodrome near Ctesiphon, and
supported the Greens in deliberate contrast to his enemy, Justinian,
who favored the Blues (Hathaway 2003, p. 31).
^ Homer. The Iliad, 23.257–23.652.
^ Pindar. "1.75". Olympian Odes.
^ a b c Bennett 1997, pp. 41–48.
^ a b Polidoro & Simri 1996, pp. 41–46.
^ a b Valettas & Ioannis 1955, p. 613.
^ Adkins & Adkins 1998a, pp. 350, 420.
^ Pausanias. "6.20.10–6.20.19". Description of Greece.
^ Vikatou 2007.
^ Adkins & Adkins 1998a, p. 420.
^ Golden 2004, p. 86.
^ Pausanias. "6.20.13". Description of Greece.
^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War, 6.16.2.
^ Pindar. Isthmian Odes, 1.1.
^ Golden 2004, p. 46.
^ Kyle 2007, p. 172.
^ One of them is Carrhotus who is praised by
Pindar for keeping his
chariot unscathed (Pindar. Pythian, 5.25-5.53). Unlike the majority of
charioteers, Carrhotus was friend and brother-in-law of the man he
drove for, Arcesilaus of Cyrene; so his success affirmed the success
of the traditional aristocratic mode of organizing society (Dougherty
& Kurke 2003, Nigel Nicholson, "Aristocratic Victory Memorials",
^ a b Golden 2004, p. 34.
^ Adkins & Adkins 1998a, p. 416.
^ Valettas & Ioannis 1955, p. 614.
^ Gagarin 1983, pp. 35–39.
^ Camp 1998, p. 40.
^ Apobates 1955.
^ Neils & Tracy 2003, p. 25.
^ Kyle 1993, p. 189.
^ Golden 2004, p. 35.
^ Harris 1972, p. 185.
^ a b Boatwright, Gargola & Talbert 2004, p. 383.
^ Scullard 1981, pp. 177–178.
^ Beard, North & Price 1998, p. 262.
^ a b Adkins & Adkins 1998b, pp. 141–142.
^ Kyle 2007, p. 305.
^ Kyle 2007, p. 306.
^ a b c d e f g Balsdon 1974, pp. 314–319.
^ Harris 1972, p. 215.
^ a b c d Ramsay 1876, p. 348.
^ Harris 1972, p. 190.
^ Potter & Mattingly 1999, Hazel Dodge, "Amusing the Masses:
Buildings for Entertainment and Leisure in the Roman World", p. 237.
^ Futrell 2006, p. 191.
^ Kyle 2007, p. 304.
^ Harris 1972, pp. 224–225.
^ Laurence 1996, p. 71.
^ Potter 2006, p. 375.
^ a b Futrell 2006, pp. 191–192.
^ Struck 2010.
^ Waldrop 2010.
^ Lançon 2000, p. 144.
^ Futrell 2006, p. 192.
^ a b Tertullian. De Spectaculis, 9.
^ Adkins & Adkins 1998b, p. 347.
^ Futrell 2006, p. 209.
^ Harris 1972, p. 240.
^ Harris 1972, pp. 240–241.
^ Harris 1972, p. 241.
^ Treadgold 1997, p. 41.
^ a b Cameron 1973, p. 228.
Tertullian (De Spectaculis, 16) and
Cassiodorus called chariot
racing an instrument of the Devil.
Salvian criticized those who rushed
into the circus in order to "feast their impure, adulterous gaze on
shameful obscenities" (Olivová 1989, p. 86). Public spectacles
were also attacked by
John Chrysostom (Liebeschuetz 2003,
^ Cameron 1976, p. 172.
^ Kyle 2007, p. 253.
^ Theophanes & Turtledove 1982, p. 79.
^ Cameron 1973, p. 249.
^ Cameron 1973, pp. 250–251.
^ Harris 1972, pp. 242–243.
^ Cameron 1976, p. 161.
^ Cameron 1976, p. 169.
^ Humphrey 1986, p. 539.
^ Humphrey 1986, p. 441.
^ Evans 2005, p. 16.
^ Hathaway 2003, p. 31.
^ Gregory 2010, p. 131.
^ Cameron 1976, p. 76.
^ Prokopios & Kaldellis 2010, pp. 32–33.
^ Cameron 1976, pp. 76–77.
^ Gregory 2010, p. 133.
^ Cameron 1976, p. 273.
^ Cameron 1976, pp. 202–203.
^ a b Evans 2005, p. 17.
^ Liebeschuetz 2003, p. 215.
^ McComb 2004, p. 25.
^ Liebeschuetz 2003, p. 219.
^ Cameron 1976, p. 299.
^ Cameron 1976, pp. 302–304.
^ Cameron 1976, p. 308.
^ Freeman 2004, p. 39.
^ Liebeschuetz 2003, pp. 219–220.
^ Balsdon 1974, p. 252.
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Chariot Races (United Nations of Roma Victrix (UNRV) History – Roman
The Circus: Roman
Racing (VRoma: A Virtual Community for
Teaching and Learning Classics)
Historic Overview: Roman Army and
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Peter Donnelly – Some Observations on Roman Chariot-Racing
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