Rome Reborn

Institute for Advanced Techology in the Humanities

Rome Reborn

Circus Flaminius

Circus Flaminius

The southern part of the Campus Martius, bounded on the east by the Capitoline Hill, on the south by the Forum Holitorium, and on the west by the Tiber River. In the Republic, games were held here, including horse (but not chariot) races. In the mid- to late-Republic, much of the area was occupied by triumphal temples. It takes its name from the C. Flaminius Nepos, who laid it out while censor in 221 B.C.

Additional source material

  • Ancient Library Sources (from Peter Aicher, Rome Alive: A Source Guide to the Ancient City, vol. 1, Bolchazy-Carducci: 2004) [Works cited]

    99. Circus Flaminius. Commentary.

    The Circus Flaminius was not a built-up stadium with permanent seating in the manner of the Circus Maximus but part of an open area (the Campus Flaminius) that could be used for the Taurian horse races every five years, assemblies, markets, and as a staging ground for the triumphal processions that set out from here. The zone of the Circus Flaminius extended lengthwise along the river, over much of the area that later became the Jewish ghetto; today, Rome's primary synagogue stands roughly in the middle of the former circus area, on its southern side. The area was eventually reduced, and became bordered with architectural distinction on the north side by the Temple of Hercules of the Muses [100.] and the Porticus of Metellus/Octavia [100.] and terminated on the east by the Theater of Marcellus [102.] when that monument was built under Caesar and Augustus. Nothing of this Circus remains to be seen, although the ruins of the Porticus of Octavia help to locate the circus's northeastern corner.

    Confusing the sources' picture of the circus's history, it seems that the area, for one reason or another, was early on connected with the name Flaminius, long before Gaius Flaminius carried out his significant development of the area. Gaius Flaminius, it should be noted, was a supporter of plebeian interests who was opposed by most members of the Roman Senate. His reputation suffered further damage when he and 15,000 soldiers, ambushed in the morning fog, were killed by Hannibal's forces at Lake Trasimene in 217 BC.

    99. Circus Flaminius. Sources.


    [In 449 BC the tribunes of the plebs called the people to vote.] These matters were transacted by the Assembly of the Plebs in the Flaminian Fields, which are now called the Circus Flaminius.

    Livy, History 3.54.15


    Gaius Flaminius, when he was censor, paved the Via Flaminia and built the Circus Flaminius [in 221 BC].

    Livy, Summary, Bk. 20


    The Circus Flaminius got its name because it is built around [circum] the Campus Flaminius, and because during the Taurian Games, which are held here, the horses run around [circum] the turning posts.

    Varro, The Latin Language 5.154


    The fickle tribune Fufius called upon Pompey to address the Assembly. This was being held in the Circus Flaminius, where, on the same day, a festive market-day crowd had gathered.

    Cicero, Letters to Atticus 1.14.1

  • Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Romae Project
  • German Archaeological Institute
  • Flickr images
  • Wikipedia

©2008 by the Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.