Chariot Racing: Ancient Rome’s Most Popular, Most Dangerous Sport

In ancient Rome, a city known for its spectacular and violent entertainment, there was a sport that was even more popular than gladiatorial combat. The chariot races, held in the huge Circus Maximus arena located between the Aventine and Palatine hills, gave spectators the opportunity to see daring charioteers and their horse teams racing seven laps around a 2,000-foot-long sand track, where they hit top speeds of nearly 50 miles per hour on the straights and jostle wheel-to-wheel as they rush through hairpin bends.

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