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Form: Hippodromos.
The Greek name for the racecourse for horses and chariots. It was about 400 yards long and 125 broad. The two long sides were meant for spectators. At one of the narrow ends was the starting-point; the other end was of semi-circular form. In front of the middle of the latter was the goal; at Olympia a round altar of Taraxippos (possibly a demon who terrified horses). The drivers had to pass round this after they had driven down one of the long sides; then they turned back and went up the other long side to a second goal, situated near the starting-point. At Olympia this goal bore a statue of Hippodameia. Here they turned round and drove back again. Racing chariots with full-grown horses had to cover this circuit twelve times; and with young horses (according to a later custom) eight times. The name of Hippodrome was also given to the race-courses laid out in Grecian countries in the time of the Romans, after the pattern of the Roman circus (q.v.). The most famous of these was that at Byzantium, which was begun by Septimius Severus, and finished by Constantine.
Type: Standard
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