It seems that Romans were the grandfathers of the biggest entertainment in history. The amplitude of recrationational passtime was diverse and spectacular to its maximum. Emperors used entertainment to approximate the citizens and to immortalize themselves in the centuries. Some of them have succeeded in doing so and today we still have complexes like the famous Colosseum and the Circus Maximus in Rome - the two biggest venues of Ancient Roman World.
Well, it turns out that people have always wanted circuses and bread, but the difference between the modern times and that of Ancient Rome is that ancient Romans pushed the limits of their pastime and had less scruples about the moral side of it. The more impressive and brutal the event was the better. Emperors used this knowledge to their benefit, they knew how to shock and how to show their power. One of the ways to stand out was to hold big chariot racing events and here is when the Circus Maximus comes in the spotlight.
As we know the Colosseum is the biggest ancient amphitheater and one of the best preserved constructions that survived till today. But did you know that the main venue in terms of entertainment for Ancient Romans was actually the Circus Maximus in Rome? Let’s find out why.
The Circus Maximus in Rome was built in VI BC much prior to the Colosseum (72 AD) by Tarquinius Priscus. The stadium was the largest hippodrome stadium for chariot races and was also used for celebrating religious festivals and holding public games.
To understand how large it actually was we need to compare it with other famous arenas. What comes first to mind is the world famous Colosseum that could invite 50 000 people at a time. Now, imagine that the Circus Maximus in Rome was so huge it could sit about 250 000 people. The size of the Circus Maximus was also impressive - 600 meters in length and 150m width (2000*500ft). For comparison here are the dimensions of the Colosseum: 187,75m long and 155,60 wide.
It is situated between Aventine and Palatine Hills. Address: Via del Circo Massimo, 00186 Roma RM, Italy.