Caesarea Maritima: the amphitheatre/hippodrome (5)



Hippodrome is a compound of two Greek words: “hippos” for horse and dromos for “course” or “circuit.” Both two-horse (bigae) and four-horse (quadrigae) chariot races were conducted in the amphitheatre/hippodrome in Caesarea Maritima. A historical marker there reads:

The chariot races thrilled the crowds. The counterclockwise seven-lap [roughly 2 1/2 mile] race commenced at the starting gates (carceres) and ended at a finishing line situated in front of the dignitaries’ tribune. At each end of the axial rib (spina) were the two turning points (meta prima and meta secunda). Their sharp curves posed a major challenge to the skilled charioteers and the galloping horses.

In the photograph above I’m standing in some iron artwork resembling a chariot team immediately in front of the starting gates located at the northern end of the amphitheatre/hippodrome.