This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Romans loved chariot racing

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Chariot racing
Chariot racing

Alongside the gladiatorial fights, the Romans also loved chariot racing. The fans were divided into specific factions (factiones), depending on the colours. In Rome, four such fan clubs were classically distinguished: red (russata), green (prasina), white (albata) and blue (veneta).

The best coachmen were great stars in Rome. More than once they gained a great fortune and adoration of Roman women. Most of the coachmen were recruited from slaves. It happened, however, that some impoverished citizens decided to take this path of acquiring fortune and fame. During the race, in order not to release the reins, they tied them around (and therefore always carried knives so that they could cut the reins in the event of an accident – which did not always work).

The carriage was in a standing position. The coachmen wore a tunic in a colour matching the colours of the party they represented. The arenas of the Great Circus had their great heroes. A certain Gaius Apuleius Diocles won in 1462, and in 1437 races he finished second.

It is worth mentioning that the green fanatic was Emperor Caligula, who spent hours in their stables. Since the times of Domitian, the colours yellow (golden) and light purple (dark purple was reserved for the emperor) were also used.

More about chariot racing

  • John Humphrey, Roman circuses: arenas for chariot racing, 1986

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

Your financial help is needed, in order to maintain and develop the website. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server. I believe that I can count on a wide support that will allow me to devote myself more to my work and passion, to maximize the improvement of the website and to present history of ancient Romans in an interesting form.


News from world of ancient Rome

If you want to be up to date with news and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Roman bookstore

I encourage you to buy interesting books about the history of ancient Rome and antiquity.

Check out bookstore

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: