Circus Flaminius

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The Circus Flaminius was a large, circular area of land in Rome that contained a small race-track reserved for mysterious games, and various other buildings and monuments. It was located in the southern end of the Campus Martius, near the Tiber River. It was ‘built,’ or sectioned off, by Flaminius Nepos in 221 BC. In its early existence, the Circus was a loop, approximately 500 m in length stretching across the Flaminian Fields. During the 2nd century BC, this broad space was encroached upon by buildings and monuments. By the early 3rd century AD, the only open space that remained was a small piazza in the center, no more than 300 m long, where the Ludi (public games) were held. The Circus was abandoned toward the end of 1st century AD.

The Circus Flaminius was never meant to rival the much larger Circus Maximus, and, unlike the Circus Maximus, it was not just an entertainment venue. Assemblies, for instance, were often held inside. It was also used as a market. In 2 BC, the circus was flooded for the slaughter of 36 crocodiles to commemorate the building of the Forum of Augustus. In AD 9, Augustus delivered the Laudatio of Drusus here. The circus had no permanent seating, nor were there any permanent structures around the perimeter of the race track.

There is debate as to whether or not the Circus Flaminius was used for chariot racing. Strabo makes no mention of equestrian activities taking place. Valerius Maximus claims that the Ludi Plebeii (Plebeian Games) were held...
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