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  CIRCUS MAXIMUS
CIRCUS MAXIMUS
Image 1: Circus Maximus viewed from the Via del Circo Massimo under the Aventine Hill
The Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) was an enormous elliptical arena, extended for 600x200 meters, situated in the Murcia natural valley between the Palatine (Palatino) and Aventine (Aventino) hills and could accomodate up to 300.000 spectators. It was originally built by Tarquinius Priscus (Tarquinio Prisco); somewhat later, in the 2nd century BC, the original wooden structure was replaced by a new one made of marble and brick that was modified several times, in particular by Julius Caesar (Giulio Cesare), that organized a mock battle in the 46 BC; In the year 31 BC Augustus (Augusto) expanded the circus, building the imperial podium and, in the 10 BC, erecting the Egyptian obelisk of Ramsetes II, now located at Piazza del Popolo.
The structure was destroyed by fire during the Emperor Nero (Nerone) and Domitian (Domiziano); in 80-81 the Senate built a triple arch, reconstructed by Trajan (Traiano) in 100-104. Afterwards a new obelisk was erected. This second obelisk is now located at St John Lateran Square (Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano).
Image 2: Circus Maximus and the Medieval Tower viewed from the Porta Capena square
Image 2: Circus Maximus and the Medieval Tower viewed from the Porta Capena square
The Circus Maximus, in use until 549, was the largest building that was ever constructed for shows; it was mainly used for horse and chariot racing but also for other kind of games and entertainments.
Probably more than Colosseum, this big arena has been the scene of numerous martyrdoms of early Christians as a show for spectators.
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