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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.
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.
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.