Circus Maximus is one the most fascinating and remarkable landmarks of Ancient Rome’s history. This archaeological site is considered to be the world’s largest sports stadium. It was home to legendary entertainment activities for almost a thousand years.
The Circus Maximus, located in the Murcia valley, Italy, between the Palatine Hill in Rome and the Aventine Hill, measures 600 meters in length and 140 meters in width. It can hold approximately 300,000 people and is six times larger than the Colosseum. This could accommodate a quarter of the Roman population.
A brief history
Roman circuses were also the major centres of entertainment, along with theaters. The Circus Maximus, however, was the largest public space in Rome at that time and was an architectural landmark.
The area where Circus Maximus was constructed was originally a large flat area that was formerly called Vallis Murcia. The Valley was once used to channel rainwater toward the Tiber River. It was also the ideal place for people to gather, do market activities and socialize with others since the city’s foundation.
Tarquinius Priscus ordered the construction of a horse racing track in the sixth century BC. This was the first section of Circus Maximus. At that time, there were no careers or grandstands. The stream that ran through the Valley was channelled and then bridged.
Many architectural masterpieces and structures date back to different periods of Roman history. The historical section of this article has some of the most important and will be discussed in greater detail later.
Many symbolic and religious monuments have been created to link the circus’s origins and ancient events in Murcia. Consider the celebrations and ceremonies associated with the major phases of the agricultural cycle.
The 217-meter high elevation that divides the racecourse, known as the spinal (Latin word for spine), separated it into two sections. Originally, a stream flowed through this Valley, but it was channelized and partially covered by the spine.
The metal was the turning posts around which the wagons raced. It was located at the spine’s ends. The spine had seven bronze eggs and seven dolphins that counted down the races. These were added between the II century BC and the I hundred BC. Additionally, the Ara Consi was an altar to the god of Agriculture, the ancient altar to Murcia (the goddess from the Valley), and two red granite Egyptian Obelisks (placed in 10 BC by Augustus and 357 AD by Constantius I).