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in the Roman Empire, a group of people involved in organizing equestrian contests.

The term was later transferred by scholars studying Byzantium to the sports organizations, known in Byzantine cities from the fourth century A.D., that arranged and conducted circus and sports events.

Large groups of fans, called demes, adhered to the various factions. There were usually four factions in each city, and they, like the demes, were named according to the color of the costumes worn by their charioteers: the Blues (Veneti), Greens (Prasinoi), Whites (Leukoi), and Reds (Russi). The most important were the Veneti and Prasinoi of Constantinople, who played an important political role in the fifth through seventh centuries. They lost their political importance around the middle of the seventh century and subsequently concerned themselves solely with the organization of sports competitions and festive ceremonies in Constantinople.

References in periodicals archive ?
To a question, he said that Afghans had learnt a lot from the past and they are now convincing factionalism and conflicts among Afghan groups are no solution.
The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Med-vedev Succession.
Instead of seeking to limit the existence of faction, what must be done in a democracy is that the effects of factionalism must be limited by channeling the energy of the factions into the machinery of state.
But Japanese politicians have also embraced various reforms in an attempt to outgrow factionalism and stop ramming legislation through the Diet on the strength of the party's majority.
This is the time to move beyond this factionalism, not entrench it within our party.
And after all the factionalism and in-fighting that has bedevilled the Reds in recent seasons, perhaps there's just a hint of comfort for supporters emerging here that, finally, those days might just be coming towards an end.
Iwanisziw, "Tortured Bodies, Factionalism, and Unsettled Loyalties in Settles Morocco Plays" (111-136).
The report he has commissioned refers to the "in-fighting, factionalism and allegations of unprofessionalism and mismanagement" that bedevil Liverpool City Council, and we would suggest that a directly-elected mayor would simply encounter more of the same.
He notes in Chapter 2 that the founding fathers were averse to factions and that James Madison, who believed that factionalism and special interests were a product of human nature and could not be removed without destroying political liberty, sought to rein them in through representative government and the American system of checks and balances.
Rand says Iran is so riven by factionalism that it finds it hard to make major policy decisions--something that may be surfacing now as the regime struggles with how to respond to the Obama approaches.
Summary: The Lebanese broadcast media are unapologetic for their flagrant political factionalism.
What is damaging racing at the moment is the factionalism and division within its constituent parts.