Roman Games

Roman Games (Ludi Romani)

September 4-19
Like the Plebeian Games, the Roman Games were held in honor of Jupiter. They date back to the dedication of the temple to Jupiter on the Capitoline hill on September 13, 509 b.c.e., making them the most ancient of the ancient Roman games. Originally a one-day event, by the time of Caesar the Games lasted a full 15 days.
A grand procession to the Circus Maximus, a huge arena just outside Rome, signalled the beginning of the festival. Along with the athletes, the procession included charioteers, dancers, musicians playing flutes and lyres, men dressed in goatskins to look like satyrs, images of the gods, and the animals who were to be sacrificed came last.
Events included boxing, running, and wrestling contests, occasional mock battles, and two- and four-horse chariot races. Sometimes the drivers were accompanied by partners on foot, who, after a chariot crossed the finish line, had to race each other back to the other end of the arena to decide the entire contest.
See also Apollonian Games; Ludi
SOURCES:
DictRomRel-1996, p. 134
FestRom-1981, p. 183
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