Our currently Thursday night game is ‘Rome’, a D&D campaign set in Rome circa 79AD. I’m writing and GMing it and the complete campaign will be appearing on 6d6 Fireball Adventures once the game is completed. A major aspect of roman life and a notable part of the campaign are Roman games. Gladiatorial games took place in various arena but chariot racing had its own dedicated area, the Circus Maximus.
At a quarter of a mile long, the length of the Circus Maximus gave the chariots time to get to top speed before they had to negotiate the 180 degree turn. With up to 12 chariots on the track there were frequent collisions, accidents and death. All of which drove the watching Romans into a frenzy.
Amazingly, the Circus Maximus still exists in the middle Rome and is a public park. But in 2009, there will once again be chariot racing in the Circus Maximus, possibly for the first time in 1500 years. “The races will last for three days, starting from October 17, 2009… Chariot racers from around the world are expected to compete,” Franco Calo, one of the promoters, said.
The most famous chariot race is the one in Ben-Hur which, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, you can watch below. Its not particularly accurate from a historical point-of-view but gets the basics right though see if you can spot any of the bloopers.
Thanks to Eternally Cool for the tip.