The Circus Maximus
The Circus Maximus was a large chariot track located in the valley between two of Rome's seven hills. The size of the track was 656 feet wide and 1,969 feet long (Lewis 1980, pg 48). It was developed in the sixth century A.D. with stands of wood, and it could hold about 100,000 people. Emperors Titus and Trajan rebuilt it with concrete at the end of the first century. By the forth century A.D., the stands were expanded to hold up to 350,000 people.
Chariot races were the most commonly held event at the Circus
Maximus. It was also the site for large attacks on Christians by wild animals
and gladiators. Four teams, designated by colors, competed in the races. A race
consisted of seven laps around the track at very high speeds. Sometimes, as
many as twenty races were run in a day. Often a chariot would collide with another
or hit the inside wall adding to the excitement. Injury or death to a horse
or rider was not uncommon.