The Circus
Here you find music, you find your lovers, you will find your spouse. You find politics and go about business. The leaders of the world 
    are within ear-shot. ~You see things no one has seen before~
You'll see the pitiful and the insane. You will find your life's friendships and know the great and real world from 
    beyond your closed and tiny door.
"See you not - when in headlong contest, 
    the chariots have seized upon the plain 
       and stream in a torrent along the barrier; 
            when the young driver's hopes are high and throbbing fear 
      drains each bounding heart? 

On they press with circling lash, thrown forth at slacken rein; 
      while fiercely flies the glowing wheel. 
   Now sinking low, now raised aloft, they seem borne through empty air 
         and soar skyward. 
    No rest, no stay is there; but a cloud of yellow sand chases from above, 
       and they are wet with the foam and breath of the mad pursuit..." 

                                                                       - Virgil, Georgics

"Greatest Show on Earth"

Consentius, my friend,
Behind the barriers, chafe those beasts, - pressing at harness. 

A vapory blast spews from the bars filling the 
       field with steamy breath.

Never their feet are still but 
                  restlessly lash the gate. 

They’re off! by voice and whip; the sweat of drivers and steed rain through the air...

Find a Circus near you:
Vatican Circus
Carthage Circus
El Djem
"There was Scorpus at 27. And Fuscus of the Greens, the first to win in his very first race, died at age twenty-four; Crescens, who died at twenty-two, having raced since he was thirteen; and

 Polyneices, who died at twenty-nine, having raced
       for each of the four factions... "
The Roman Circus was the world’s biggest Gambling Casino and every town from Britain to Egypt had a track.

Imagine all of today’s football, baseball, basket-ball and soccer players belonging to only four teams, world-wide. The teams were funded by the state with the best stables, grooms and trainers.

Originally there were the Whites for winter-Snows opposing the Reds, for the Dog-star of Summer. 

Then fans squared off into highly-charged “factiones”. The Greens were Earth people - farmers, road construction, building trades, teamsters and the Army.
Their opposite, the “Blues” of Autumn held for Navigation - boats and harbors, fisheries, sea-faring commerce and the Navy. 

Everyone had their “team,” and the diameterically opposed Greens and Blues became the common person’s only real political system. They combined politics, unions, gambling, and the sports and entertainment industries - all into one. 

The old expression, “When in Rome...” -If you were Roman, you went to the races.

People worked hard and gambled; and there was only one show: the “Circus.” 

Tracks ran all over the City. The Vatican used to be a race-track. 
St Peter’s Cathedral was built over Nero’s Circus. Vatican Circus

Famous was the Arval Circus, Circus Flaminus, Circus Maxentius and the largest sports arena in the world, the Circus Maximus.

Fully 12 Coliseum arenas could fit on the floor of the Circus Maximus. It accommodated 385,000 people, -a throng the size of Woodstock.

There was boxing, wrestling and running. Equestrian arts of relay and single horse-racing, precision-riding; Gladiatorial events, wild-beast hunting and raging wars between battling troops. 

The whole of Rome attended. - The Roman Garrison was there to police a vacant city.

The specticle was fantastic. Parades and processions of dignitaries, vanguished Kings, Gods and Goddesses. Exotic and trained animals, acrobats; - the massive throng with it’s energy building for the races; vendors of every imagineable food and drink - hockers running up and down taking bets. Flags and streamers flurrying over pounding bleachers while their clowning cheer-leaders dodged death on the track. 
There were deified super-stars, - like Scorpus who won 2000 races before dying in glory at 27.

The Imperial Palace loomed on the wall so the Emperor could watch from his veranda. Many Emperors were staunch Greens or Blues members.

Under the Patronage of the Municipality of Rome
Vadis al Maximo English version
Rome Studies
Roman Screen-savers
United States Coordinator
Aspects of scholarship and circus foundations were researched, among other sources, through "Roman Circuses, Arenas for Chariot Racing", Humphrey, John H. 1986; permissions from University of California Press. Some images were obtained with Google-Earth.