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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.
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.
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.
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.