Circus Flaminius - Large Circus in ancient Rome
Circus was one of famous circuses of ancient Rome. It was placed at the southern end of the Campus Martius near the Tiber River (Flaminian Fields). Gaius
Flaminius Nepos, Roman censor, built it in 221 B.C. Circus doesn’t exist now and place where it was today almost completely covered with modern (and
relatively modern) buildings.
This circus was some 300 meters long and had some 120 meters in width but it had no permanent seating nor it was used for chariot races like its larger
predecessor Circus Maximus. It had a series of travertine arcades, between which were Doric half-columns. Circus Flaminus was used for Taurian Games,
horseback racing around turning posts. These games were held as a way of appeasing gods of the underworld. Because of that they were also symbolically
grounded – they were always performed at this circus, never changing the place. In 2nd century BC, the circus was filled with water for the slaughter of 36
crocodiles as a way to commemorate the building of the Forum of Augustus. Entire neighborhood took the name from the circus and later the whole region.
Circus was close to the center of the city and because of that it was a favorite place for holding assemblies of the people and for markets. The whole area
was popular even before the circus was built. It had six temples (including one to Apollo) and statues of Augustus.
Flaminius Neposwas on the side of the plebs in the Roman Senate and because of that not too popular. He died in 217 B.C. when he and 15,000 soldiers, were
ambushed by Hannibal's forces at Lake Trasimene. Circus was in use until the 4th century when it was abandoned. Today, on its southern side is Rome's
primary synagogue. On its northeastern corner are ruins of Porticus of Octavia which show where the circus once stood.