Circus Maximus (Rome)
The ancient Roman arena became well-known for the chariot races held here.
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- - It was signaled by three columns called ‘metae’.
The Circus Maximus was the first arena in the ancient city of Rome. The first Etruscan king, Tarquinius Priscus, was already organizing games here, which they called ‘Ludi Romani’ (Roman games).
To satisfy growing demand, the arena was expanded during the reign of Julius Caesar. At that time, it measured 600 meters (1,970 feet) in length and 225 meters (738 feet) in width. According to various sources, there were more than 150 thousand seats, but the arena could accommodate up to 300 thousand spectators.
The Circus Maximus mainly featured horse and chariot races, but athletic competitions were not uncommon. There is evidence that the spectacles there also included re-enactments of naval battles. Later rulers further expanded and decorated this magnificent structure.
During the Middle Ages and the Modern Age, most of its decorations and ornaments were moved to other locations in the Eternal City, and the Circus Maximus fell into decay.
Archeological excavations were begun in the 19th century. Today, the site of the games is a large park area near the Forum Romanum and the Colosseum, but recent news has emerged about plans for the large-scale renovation of this, the greatest arena in Ancient Rome.
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