Circus Maximus in Rome

The Circus Maximus was constructed in a small hollow between the Palatine and Aventine hills. It was a stadium for chariot racing. Twelve chariots could simultaneously take part in races.

It is believed that the Sabine women were abducted just in that place. The legend refers to the very first years of Rome. After the foundation of Rome on the Palatine Hill it quickly turned into a strong fortress inhabited mostly by males. Realizing that such city would have no future Romulus sent an embassy to the Sabines who lived nearby to propose to their women who were known for their beauty. But the chiefs of the tribe refused to the Romans. Then Romulus resorted to a trick. He announced a festival in honor of Consus and the Sabines accepted the invitation. At the festival, which was held on the site of the future Circus Maximus, the Romans, at a signal from Romulus, grabbed the Sabine women and brought them to their dwellings. Later, the women became the wives of the Romans and begot children.

The Circus Maximus is 600 meters long and 150 meters wide. The first chariot races were conducted there under the king Tarquinius, in 500 B.C. In the time of Caesar there were built stone stands, which could accommodate up to 250 thousand spectators, at the Circus Maximus. About that time the Flaminio Obelisk was installed there. Later, it was moved to the Piazza del Popolo.