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Ancient Athletics Game- Chariot-Races
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ANCIENT ATHLETICS GAME- CHARIOT-RACES 2
Ancient Athletics Game- Chariot-Races
The study of chariot racing is essential to a thorough understanding of sports history.
It is critical to emphasize that it was a powerful and popular sport in ancient history. Chariot
racing is said to have originated under the Byzantine, Roman, and Greek empires and
flourished throughout those periods (Swaddling, 2000). The sport began as a simple and
useful activity, but as time passed, it grew into something more significant at each level of
development. It's worth emphasizing that chariot racing was a risky activity because drivers
were prone to serious injuries, which occasionally led to their deaths in the long term. The
fans of chariot racing groups or teams were overwhelmingly supportive (Swaddling, 2000).
These teams gathered a large number of dedicated and enthusiastic fans. As a result,
spectators from opposing teams will clash in an attempt to gain relevance and superiority
over the other. Politics would influence these conflicts, resulting in unfavorable outcomes for
the Empire and society. Byzantine and Roman emperors made this sport a priority by seizing
control of the teams and appointing trustworthy officials to supervise them.
The sport's first known source was by a gentleman named Homer at Patroclus'
funeral, where he asserted that they had a one-lap race around a tree. In line with a legend,
chariot racing led to the Olympic Games' creation. It is alleged that Pelops founded the games
after defeating King Oenomaus in a race for Hippodamia (Swaddling, 2000). In this regard,
chariot racing emanated in the 6th century; however, there is evidence of chariot racing in the
5th century in line with Sicily's Lucanians. The races were hypothetically linked with funeral
games. It is feasible that chariot racing occurred in Greece before its integration into the
Olympic Games. Four-horse chariot racing was incorporated later on. The implication of this
is that the duration of the games increased from one day to two days. The two-horse racing
was also later added to the games.
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ANCIENT ATHLETICS GAME- CHARIOT-RACES 3
The following were in use when it came to chariot racing regulations, methods,
equipment, and terms: a single race, usually consisting of seven laps around the circus,
included four to six chariots (Swaddling, 2000). The racing chariots were light, delicate
vehicles that could easily be broken in a collision. The driver became entangled in the long
reins and was dragged to death or terrible injury. Chariot teams were divided into four
factions under the Roman Empire, each supervised by a distinct group of contractors and
identified by a different color: red, white, blue, and green. Juvenal, the Roman satirist of the
first and second century AD, said that if the greens lost, the entire city would be downcast, as
though a major national defeat had occurred (Swaddling, 2000). Later in the Empire, these
groups were involved in political and (after Christianization) theological disputes. The blues
were associated with Orthodoxy under Justinian, whereas the greens were associated with
Monophysitism, a heretical ideology.
The implication of this is that the imperial control ensured that there were minimal
issues and the factions were in line with the rules of the land. What the Greens and Blues
purportedly stood for came under much scrutiny and criticism amongst historians. They
gained influence in not only sports but also theological, military, and political matters. It is
beyond any reasonable doubt that the sort was hijacked by other interests that were
propagated by influential individuals. It is worth noting that these two factions were
perceived as early political parties where the blues represented the ruling elite's interests and
vouched for religious orthodoxy (Swaddling, 2000). In contrast, the Greens represented the
interests of the proponents of Monophysitism and the citizenry at large. That shows that the
two factions did not share many ideas, thus having a different school of thought regarding
contentious issues in society. It is believed that the games were of great importance to the
political arena during that period and could potentially instigate fierce passion in the long run
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ANCIENT ATHLETICS GAME- CHARIOT-RACES 4
Even though chariot racing did not advance to the current world, it was impactful and
significantly influenced ancient history. It allows us to learn and appreciate the cultures
involved and understand the interplay between the various empires. That is evident in the role
that it has played in ancient Greece, transitioning and advancing into the Byzantine and
Roman empires. That shows that chariot racing is a core pillar in understanding ancient
history. The sport was not only a social factor in the said aspects but also had a direct
correlation to order and hierarchy. It is crucial to point out that chariot racing reached its peak
during the Byzantine Empire. As the social order became more agitated, chariot racing
influenced and signaled the end of the politically and socially sponsored sport. The last
reference of chariot racing was not in any racing. The racing factions influenced the political
interference of the sport before the Byzantine empire's demise. Chariot racing had an impact
on ancient history. It is also feasible to assert that chariot racing was influential in sports
history.
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ANCIENT ATHLETICS GAME- CHARIOT-RACES 5
References
Swaddling, J. (2000). The Ancient Olympic Games. British Museum.

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