Chariot racing (Greek: ἁρματοδρομία/harmatodromia, Latin: ludi circenses) was one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine sports. Chariot racing was often dangerous to both driver and horse as they frequently suffered serious injury and even death, but generated strong spectator enthusiasm. In the ancient Olympic Games, as well as the other Panhellenic Games, the sport was one of the most important equestrian events.Each chariot was pulled by 4 horses.
In the Roman form of chariot racing, teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes competed for the services of particularly skilled drivers. These teams became the focus of intense support among spectators, and occasional disturbances broke out between followers of different factions. The conflicts sometimes became politicized, as the sport began to transcend the races themselves and started to affect society overall. This helps explain why Roman and later Byzantine emperors took control of the teams and appointed many officials to oversee them.
The sport faded in importance after the fall of Rome in the West, surviving only for a time in the Byzantine Empire, where the traditional Roman factions continued to play a prominent role for some time, gaining influence in political matters. Their rivalry culminated in the Nika riots, which marked the gradual decline of the sport.
Other articles related to "chariot racing, racing, chariots":
... Like many other aspects of the Roman world, chariot racing continued in the Byzantine Empire, although the Byzantines did not keep as many records and statistics as the ... In place of the detailed inscriptions of Roman racing statistics, several short epigrams in verse were composed celebrating some of the more famous Byzantine. 306–337) preferred chariot racing to gladiatorial combat, which he considered a vestige of paganism ...
... The Romans probably borrowed chariot racing from the Etruscans, who would themselves have borrowed it either from the Celts or from the Greeks, but the Romans were also influenced directly by the ... In the Roman Empire, chariots were not used for warfare, but for chariot racing, especially in circi, or for triumphal processions, when they could be drawn by as many as ten ... The main centre of chariot racing was the Circus Maximus, situated in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine Hills in Rome ...
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