/ / Circus Maximus: photos, description (Circo Massimo)

Circus Maximus: photos, description (Circo Massimo)

The circus Maximus is an ancient Hippodrome in Rome for holding chariot racing and other public events. Located in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome. The length of the stadium reaches 621 m and width 118 m. Once he was able to accommodate up to 150 thousand spectators. Today, the area of the circus Maximus is a public Park.

In the era of ancient Rome in the stadium were "Ludi" - public games dedicated to various religious dates. Often the initiators of their carrying out has become wealthy Romans, or the state itself. Shows could be as one day or last for a longer period of time, accompanied by religious ceremonies, horse racing, racing chariots, Gladiator fights, etc. One of the so-called "venatio" (a form of entertainment that combines hunting and killing of animals), held at the stadium in 169 BC, included the participation of 63 leopards and 40 bears and elephants. In the days of free spectacles, the stadium was used by jockeys and charioteers for training, but could also serve as a convenient shelter for cattle sold at the nearby market. As soon as Christianity spread through the Empire, the "Ludi" were becoming less popular — the last of the famous took place in the circus Maximus in 523 BC, and the last chariot races took place in the year 549.

Gradually, in the 6th and 7th centuries, the stadium was abandoned and fell into disrepair (and even partially dismantled for building materials). The lower levels are prone to flooding during floods, were buried under a layer of silt and today located 6 m below the ground surface. Only in the 12th century to drain the soil here was built the drain, and by the 16th century the territory of the circus Maximus was turned into a garden for growing vegetables for sale. It is interesting that, despite all these troubles, many of the architectural elements of the stadium survived. So, in 1587 on the orders of Pope Sixtus V two ancient obelisk was moved, and one of them was installed on the Piazza del Popolo. In the mid 19th century during the construction works were brought to light the lower rows of seats and the outer portico, and since then the excavations in the circus Maximus periodically take separate parts of the ancient structure. Today the circus Maximus is maintained as a public Park in the heart of the city and is often used for concerts and entertainment events.