Since the ancient time human race has a need for entertainment. Circuses of different forms existed since then. In 18th century appeared what we today can recognize as a circus and it stayed until today with necessary evolvement that time brings.
Contemporary circus is relatively new subtype of circus (some 50 years relative to 250 of a traditional circus) which mixes elements of its predecessor with higher art and other type of media.
The Circus Maximus (or in Italian Circo Massimo) was one of the greatest entertainment venues of the ancient world. It was used for entertainment and in religious purposes. Some consider it as a predecessor of modern circuses. Today is a city park.
Although almost nothing has left of Circus Flaminius today, we know that it existed and that it was important public place for hundreds of years where games and other public businesses were held.
Circus of Nero began as a place for public trainings of Caligula and Nero and became a place of martyrdom of many early Christians. When it was abandoned it became a place of not one but two basilicas.
Circus of Maxentius is the best preserved circus from time of ancient Rome. It was designed and built with great care but it didn't see much use. Because of that we can today see, in great detail, how ancient circuses looked like.
Philip Astley combined two types of show: horse riding tricks and acrobatic acts into a type of show we today know as circus. He owned many small circuses and three large: in London, Paris and Dublin. Read more about the father of the modern circus.
Andrew Ducrow was known as a “king of mimics” and as “the Colossus of equestrians”.S ince the early days he was trained in various circus skill to, in the end, earn these titles.
Joseph Grimaldi invented the clown as we know today (a joy for some and deathly fear for other). He lived on the stage since his second year and left it everything that was his.
John Bill Ricketts brought circus from Europe to United States. He worked successfully for seven years until a misplaced candle brought down his business and he lost his money and life at sea.