charioteers were hired by the factions. Each faction was identified by the color tunic the
charioteer wore: Greens, Blues, Reds, and Whites. One to three chariots ran for each
faction. Each chariot was pulled by two to four horses.
At the Circus Maximus twelve
starting boxes were available. The gates were opened simultaneously after the magistrate
gave the signal. The drivers wrapped their reins around their bodies and took off. The
reins were wrapped around the driver's waist so that he could lean back and whip the
horses without falling. If the chariot crashed the driver had to use a hooked knife to cut
the reins. During the race many wrecks occurred. Many were caused by tricks from
The chariots ran counter-clockwise
around the track for seven laps. Each lap was marked with dolphins that were lowered as
the laps were finished. The winner received palms and crowns as a prize. They usually
received a good amount of money from the betting as well.
Try building a diorama of a chariot
race. We used plastic figures covered with felt tunics, wooden chariots made from toy
trucks, and dolphins we formed from clay.