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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 ?
A primary purpose of the unity government is to check these factionalists.
When a Politburo or a Standing Committee member was removed between the party congresses, factionalists claimed victory.
It's a big test for Labor activists to become more socially inclusive and for Labor factionalists to see beyond their own high-paid hoped-for careers (a persistent characteristic of many rightist labour leaders, the latest being Paul Howes) and build a new ideological framework.
Today, a report I saw has all the hallmarks of rogue elements in the employ of the factionalists within our leadership.
These rules are not the norms and values stressed by structural factionalists, but they are the deeply embedded and embodied generative dispositions that organise social practices.
Pastors have been verbally attacked by liturgy factionalists in their parish for not immediately putting into practice the new rules.
By blaming the murder on former intraparty factionalists, he could justify the total mobilization that he deemed essential for totalitarian socialism to survive.
In subsequent years, ex-leftist factionalists, political commentators, and cold war-era historians dismissed "Mother" Bloor as an empty symbol, an unimportant "woman organizer," and an easily manipulated, politically unsophisticated woman.