Chariot racing

Modern depiction (1876) by Jean Léon Gérôme of a chariot race in Rome's Circus Maximus, as if seen from the starting gate. The Palatine Hill and Imperial palace are to the left
Chariot racing on a black-figure hydria from Attica, ca. 510 BC
The Charioteer of Delphi, an anonymous charioteer who probably drove in the Pythian Games for Polyzalus, tyrant of Gela, in Sicily (480-470BC)
A plan of the Circus Maximus. The starting gates are to the left, and a conjectured start-line cuts across the track, to the right of the nearest meta.
Bas-relief of a quadriga race in the Circus Maximus (2nd–3rd century)
Chariot race of Cupids; ancient Roman sarcophagus in the Museo Archeologico (Naples). Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection
A charioteer of the White team; part of a mosaic of the third century AD, showing four leading charioteers from the different colors, all in their distinctive gear
A modern recreation of chariot racing, in the amphitheatre of Puy du Fou theme park
Charioteers in the red tunics of their faction from the Charioteer Papyrus (c. 500)
A winner of a Roman chariot race, from the Red team
Mosaic from Lyon illustrating a chariot race with the four factions: Blue, Green, Red and White
The Istanbul Hippodrome is more or less levelled, apart from some structures on the spina. The Walled Obelisk in the foreground and Thutmose's Obelisk is on the right
The Triumphal 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 them to Venice as part of the loot sacked from Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade.

One of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine sports.

- Chariot racing
Modern depiction (1876) by Jean Léon Gérôme of a chariot race in Rome's Circus Maximus, as if seen from the starting gate. The Palatine Hill and Imperial palace are to the left

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The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens, is one of the most representative symbols of the culture and sophistication of the ancient Greeks.

Panhellenic Games

Collective term for four separate sports festivals held in ancient Greece.

Collective term for four separate sports festivals held in ancient Greece.

The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens, is one of the most representative symbols of the culture and sophistication of the ancient Greeks.

The main events at each of the games were chariot racing, wrestling, boxing, pankration, stadion and various other foot races, and the pentathlon (made up of wrestling, stadion, long jump, javelin throw, and discus throw).

Site of the Hippodrome of Constantinople in Istanbul

Nika riots

The Nika riots (Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα), Nika revolt or Nika sedition took place against Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople over the course of a week in 532 AD. They are often regarded as the most violent riots in the city's history, with nearly half of Constantinople being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.

The Nika riots (Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα), Nika revolt or Nika sedition took place against Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople over the course of a week in 532 AD. They are often regarded as the most violent riots in the city's history, with nearly half of Constantinople being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.

Site of the Hippodrome of Constantinople in Istanbul
A map of the palace quarter, with the Hippodrome and the Hagia Sophia

The ancient Roman and Byzantine empires had well-developed associations, known as demes, which supported the different factions (or teams) to which competitors in certain sporting events belonged, especially in chariot racing.

View of the Circus site from the south-east. The tower in the foreground is part of a medieval fortification.

Circus Maximus

View of the Circus site from the south-east. The tower in the foreground is part of a medieval fortification.
Model of Rome in the 4th century AD, by Paul Bigot. The Circus lies between the Aventine (left) and Palatine (right); the oval structure to the far right is the Colosseum.
View of the Circus site from the north-east in 2019
The Obelisco Flaminio, now in the Piazza del Popolo, was once part of the dividing barrier (spina) at the Circus Maximus
Sestertius depicting Caracalla, and the Circus Maximus, with Augustus' obelisk midway along the central dividing barrier (euripus or spina)
Sestertius of Trajan celebrating the restoration of the Circus Maximus (minted 103 AD).
Groundplan of the Circus Maximus, according to Samuel Ball Platner, 1911. The staggered starting gates are to the left.
Jasper intaglio (2nd century AD) depicting chariot races, with the three-pointed metae at each end of the dividing barrier shown at top (Walters Art Museum)
Ruins overlooking the Circus Maximus, seen from the Aventine (1983)
Italian World Cup 2006 victory celebration at the site of the Circus

The Circus Maximus (Latin for "largest circus"; Italian: Circo Massimo) is an ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium and mass entertainment venue in Rome, Italy.

Reconstructed Roman chariot drawn by horses.

Chariot

Type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power.

Type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power.

Reconstructed Roman chariot drawn by horses.
Approximate historical map of the spread of the spoke-wheeled chariot, 2000–500 BCE
Han dynasty bronze models of cavalry and chariots
The area of the spoke-wheeled chariot finds within the Sintashta-Petrovka Proto-Indo-Iranian culture is indicated in purple.
Hittite chariot (drawing of an Egyptian relief)
Krishna Arjun Rath Monument at Brahma Sarovar. Bronze statue, by Ram V. and Anal R. Sutar, 2008.
Chariot detail at Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II of the Chola Empire in the 12th century CE.
Stone chariot at Hampi, built under the Vijayanagara Empire, early 16th century CE.
A golden chariot made during Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE).
Relief of early war wagons on the Standard of Ur, c. 2500 BCE
Ramses II fighting from a chariot at the Battle of Kadesh with two archers, one with the reins tied around the waist to free both hands (relief from Abu Simbel)
The Charioteer of Delphi was dedicated to the god Apollo in 474 BCE by the tyrant of Gela in commemoration of a Pythian racing victory at Delphi.
Chariot, armed warrior and his driver Greece 4th century BCE
Two female charioteers from Tiryns 1200 BCE
A petroglyph in a double burial, c. 1000 BCE (the Nordic Bronze Age)
Detail of the Monteleone Chariot at the Met (c. 530 BCE)
A winner of a Roman chariot race
Fresco depicting an Italic chariot from the Lucanian tomb, 4th century BCE.
A mosaic of the Kasta Tomb in Amphipolis depicting the abduction of Persephone by Pluto, 4th century BCE.
The goddess Nike riding on a two-horse chariot, from an Apulian patera (tray), Magna Graecia, 4th century BCE.
Procession of chariots on a Late Geometric amphora from Athens (c. 720–700 BCE).
Sculpture by Thomas Thornycroft of Boudica and her daughters in her chariot, addressing her troops before the battle.
Procession of chariots and warriors on the Vix krater (c. 510), a vessel of Archaic Greek workmanship found in a Gallic burial.
Modern reconstruction of a Hussite war wagon.
Chariot burial of Zheng
Bronze Chinese charioteer from the Warring States period (403–221 BCE).
Powerful landlord in chariot (Eastern Han, 25–220 CE, Anping County, Hebei).

It was initially used for ancient warfare during the Bronze and Iron Ages, but after its military capabilities had been superseded by light and heavy cavalries, chariots continued to be used for travel and transport, in processions, for games, and in races.

Horses of Saint Mark in Venice

Quadriga

Horses of Saint Mark in Venice
Marcus Aurelius celebrating his Roman triumph in 176 AD over the enemies of the Marcomannic Wars, from his now destroyed triumphal arch in Rome, Capitoline Museums, 176–180 AD
: "And Pharaoh … made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt." (miniature from the Paris Gregory, a 9th-century Greek manuscript, Bibliothèque nationale de France)
Helios in his chariot, early 4th century BC, Athena's temple, Ilion
Lucanian fresco from Paestum depicting a quadriga, 340-330 BC (Paestum Archaeological Museum)
A Lucanian fresco from Paestum depicting a quadriga, 4th century BC
Frieze on the 2nd-century BC Libyco-Punic Mausoleum of Dougga
Jupiter and Minerva riding a quadriga drawn by pegasi on a 4th-century BC gold Etruscan bulla (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco)
Relief of a quadriga of sun-god Surya at Bodh Gaya, India
Apollo as the sun god; cast of the "sarcofago matti" (c. 220 AD) (Museum of Roman Civilization)
Detail from a plaster cast of the late 4th-century so-called Sarcophagus of Stilicho (Museum of Roman Civilization)
11th-century rook from Northern Italy in the form of Charlemagne in a quadriga (Cabinet des Médailles)
The triumph of Neptune and Venus in a quadriga drawn by hippocampi in a mosaic from Utica in Africa (Bardo National Museum)
Venus riding in a quadriga drawn by elephants,1st-century AD fresco from Pompeii
Medallion of the co-augusti Diocletian and Maximian ({{Reign|285|305}}) riding in a quadriga drawn by elephants and crowned by Victory
Cybele and Adonis riding on a quadriga drawn by lions on the 4th-century Parabiago plate. (Archaeological Museum of Milan)
Buddy Bear Quadriga in Berlin, Kurfürstendamm 21
Brandenburg Gate Quadriga at night.
The Quadriga dell'Unità at Vittoriano, Rome
Quadriga, Wellington Arch, London
Brabant Raising the National Flag or Quadriga of Brabant, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels
Quadriga, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Paris
Quadriga, Grand Theatre, Warsaw
A quadriga sculpted by Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg at Bolshoi Theater
by Daniel Chester French, World's Columbian Exposition, 1893
Daniel Chester French and Edward Clark Potter, Minnesota State Capitol 1905
The Seiugae of the Arch of Peace in Milan
Quadriga in the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
Wayne County Building, Detroit, Michigan, by J. Massey Rhind
Cuadriga Romana Monument, Cali

A quadriga is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast and favoured for chariot racing in Classical Antiquity and the Roman Empire until the Late Middle Ages.

Statues of Castor and Pollux (3rd century AD)

Castor and Pollux

Castor and Pollux (or Polydeukes) are twin half-brothers in Greek and Roman mythology, known together as the Dioscuri.

Castor and Pollux (or Polydeukes) are twin half-brothers in Greek and Roman mythology, known together as the Dioscuri.

Statues of Castor and Pollux (3rd century AD)
Castor depicted on a calyx krater of c. 460–450 BC, holding a horse's reins and spears and wearing a pilos-style helmet
Pair of Roman statuettes (3rd century AD) depicting the Dioscuri as horsemen, with their characteristic skullcaps (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus by Rubens, c. 1618
Coin of Antiochus VI with Dioskouroi
Robert Fagan Castor and Pollux (between 1793 and 1795)
Fragmentary remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux in Rome.
Relief (2nd century BC) depicting the Dioskouroi galloping above a winged Victory, with a banquet (theoxenia) laid out for them below
Funerary stele from Alba Iulia; it reads Invicto/ Mythrae / Diosco/rus Marci/ v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito)
Dioscorus pays the vows of Marcus to the invincible Mythras and willingly deserves it.
Etruscan inscription to the Dioskouroi as "sons of Zeus" at the bottom of an Attic red-figure kylix (c. 515–510 BC)
Zeus, Hera, and Amor observe the birth of Helen and Dioscuri (Dutch majolica, 1550).

Cicero tells the story of how Simonides of Ceos was rebuked by Scopas, his patron, for devoting too much space to praising Castor and Pollux in an ode celebrating Scopas' victory in a chariot race.

Sultanahmet Square

Square in Istanbul, Turkey.

Square in Istanbul, Turkey.

General view of Hippodrome of Constantinople (Sultanahmet square), Istanbul, Turkey, 2015
Location of the Hippodrome in Constantinople
Ruins of the Hippodrome, from an engraving by Onofrio Panvinio in his work De Ludis Circensibus (Venice, 1600). The engraving, dated 1580, may be based on a drawing from the late 15th century. The spina that stood at the center of the chariot racing circuit was still visible then; in modern Istanbul, three of the ancient monuments remain.
The Serpent Column
Obelisk of Theodosius in Hippodrome
The Walled Obelisk
German Fountain
The surviving lower walls of the Sphendone, the curved grandstand<ref>{{cite web|url=https://vividmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/konstantin.jpg|title=An illustration of Byzantine era Constantinople, with the Hippodrome of Constantinople appearing prominently at the center of the image|website=vividmaps.com|accessdate=31 January 2021}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=https://i.ibb.co/rtX3fBr/Hippodrome-of-Constantinople-with-the-Sphendone-in-the-foreground.jpg|title=Aerial view of the Hippodrome of Constantinople, with the surviving lower walls of the Sphendone (curved grandstand) in the foreground|accessdate=31 January 2021}}</ref> of the Hippodrome
The four bronze horses that stood atop the Hippodrome boxes, today at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
Base of the statues of Porphyrios, kept in the Istanbul Museum
Capital with protomes of pegasi, probably 6th-century, possibly from the kathisma
The Hippodrome in 2005, with the Walled Obelisk in the foreground and the Obelisk of Thutmose III on the right
The base of the Obelisk of Thutmose III showing Emperor Theodosius as he offers a laurel wreath to the victor from the Kathisma at the Hippodrome
Procession of the guilds in front of the Sultan in the Hippodrome, Ottoman miniature from the Surname-i Vehbi (1582)
The Grand Vizier Crossing the Atmeydanı by Jean Baptiste Vanmour shows the Hippodrome and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in the early 17th century
Watercolour of the Hippodrome's spina and Hagia Sophia from a manuscript in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge
Engraving by William Watts after Luigi Mayer of the Atmeydanı and Sultan Ahmet Mosque
German Fountain

Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras.

Pelops

King of Pisa in the Peloponnesus region .

King of Pisa in the Peloponnesus region .

Pelops and Hippodamia racing in a bas-relief (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Remains of the Pelopion in Olympia
"Throne of Pelops" at Yarıkkaya locality in Mount Sipylus
Pelops and Hippodamia; bas-relief, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Her father, King Oenomaus, fearful of a prophecy that claimed he would be killed by his son-in-law, had killed eighteen suitors of Hippodamia after defeating them in a chariot race and affixed their heads to the wooden columns of his palace.

The site of the former Circus Maximus in modern-day Rome

Roman circus

Large open-air venue used for public events in the ancient Roman Empire.

Large open-air venue used for public events in the ancient Roman Empire.

The site of the former Circus Maximus in modern-day Rome
Floorplan of Circus Maximus. This design is typical of Roman circuses.

Circuses were venues for chariot races, horse races, gladiatorial combat, and performances that commemorated important events of the empire were performed there.

The stadium of Delphi, Greece

Pythian Games

The Pythian Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece.

The Pythian Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece.

The stadium of Delphi, Greece
This starting line at the Delphi stadium used for the Pythian Games at Delphi, Greece, has a design representative of that of many ancient Greek stadiums: stones with two lines in which the athletes nudged their toes, and round holes in which posts could be erected to support the start signalling mechanism.
The Pythian Games included a chariot race.

The final day of the games was dedicated to equestrian races which gradually came to include harness racing, synoris (a chariot drawn by two horses), a chariot drawn by four horses, and racing with a horse (without a chariot), held in a hippodrome in the plain of Krisa, not far from the sea, in the place where the original stadium was sited.