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A Hippodrome (Greek: ἱππόδρομος) was a Greek stadium for horse racing and chariot racing. The name is derived from the Greek words "hippos (ἵππος; "horse") and "dromos" (δρόμος; "race" or "course"). Some present-day horse racing tracks are also called hippodromes, for example the Central Moscow Hippodrome.

The Greek hippodrome corresponded to the Roman Circus, except that in the latter only four chariots ran at a time,[citation needed] whereas ten or more contended in the Greek games, so that the width was far greater, being about 400 ft (120 m)., the course being 600 to 700 ft (210 m). long. The hippodrome was not a "Roman amphitheatre" which was used for spectator sports, games and displays, or a Greek or Roman semi-circular theater used for theatrical performances.

Biga chariot rounding a terma: Attic black-figure amphora, ca. 500 BC, found at Vulci

The Greek hippodrome was usually set out on the slope of a hill, and the ground taken from one side served to form the embankment on the other side. One end of the hippodrome was semicircular, and the other end square with an extensive portico, in front of which, at a lower level, were the stalls for the horses and chariots. At both ends of the hippodrome there were posts (termai) that the chariots turned around. This was the most dangerous part of the track, and the Greeks put an altar to Taraxippus (disturber of horses) there to show the spot where many chariots wrecked.

A large ancient hippodrome was the Hippodrome of Constantinople, built between AD 203 and 330. However, since it was built to a Roman design, it was actually a circus.

List of Greek Hippodromes

See also


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HIPPODROME (Gr. irr& Spopos, from i;7r7ros, horse, and Sp6 os, racecourse), the course provided by the Greeks for horse and chariot racing; it corresponded to the Roman circus, except that in the latter only four chariots ran at a time, whereas ten or more contended in the Greek games, so that the width was far greater, being about 400 ft., the cource being 600 to 700 ft. long. The Greek hippodrome was usually set out on the slope of a hill, and the ground taken from one side served to form the embankment on the other side. One end of the hippodrome was semicircular, and the other end square with an extensive portico, in front of which, at a lower level, were the stalls for the horses and chariots. The modern hippodrome is more for equestrian and other displays than for horse racing. The Hippodrome in Paris somewhat resembles the Roman amphitheatre, being open in the centre to the sky, with seats round on rising levels.


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