Ludi Circenses Quarters ~ Ludi Conditorum 2761 (Nova Roma)
4:15 PM ~ Live at the Races
Salvete Race Fans! This is M. Verus Paenula REPORTING LIVE from the Circus Maximus this afternoon for the Ludi Circenses Quarter-Finals of the Conditorum!
These races are the first Circenses of the 10th Anniversary Year of the refounding of the Respublica, and the Factiones have promised a very exciting schedule for the coming year! All of the factiones are represented here today, and we will be covering a series of four races in the Circus.
All around the Circus Maximus, the fans are crowding into the track to find the best seats. Outside, vendor carts are selling all kinds of team tunicae, statuary, foods and beverages, banners…just about anything one could imagine. A group from the Aventine is offering special discounts on merchandise if spectators will officially enroll as supporters of the Factio Albata…for a private donation of denarii, of course. They say it is to be used to purchase a marble plaque for the Factio Albata to be placed in the Circus in honor of the 10th Year.
Factiones Veneta and Praesina are offering chariot rides along the southwestern side of the Circus, along the edge of the Aventine Hill, for prospective drivers and children fantasizing of the day they can actually run the lanes!
Factio Russata has a special charioteer display set up and fans can purchase a special wax tablet, autographed by the Russata drivers and dedicated to Mars. These tablets are personally addressed to the purchaser and offer a personalized message as well.
We are going to take a short break, then join you inside.
4:30 PM ~ Pre-Race Preparations
We are here in the Circus Maximus, as we observe the hoards of fans who are filing into their seats and waiting for the opening processional to begin. We see several of our citizens, who have entries in the races today.
In the Factio Albata section, we see Consularis et Rogator Gn. Equitius Marinus. In the Russata section, we see the Arminii here today, Decimus Arminius Brutus conversing with Titus Arminius Genialis. Both have entries today and are sitting with the familia of Consul Iulius, father of another Russata entry, T. Iulius Sabinus Crassus, son of the Consul. The Veneta section is full, with Q. Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus, nephew of the Quaestor, conversing with Diribitor M. Martianius Lupus about the recent elections and the resignation of the Plebeian Aedile. Censor Ti. Galerius Paulinus and Max. Valeria Messallina are talking about the new chariot design that Praesina has hinted about in the last few weeks. In the dedicated Praesina section, we see Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana talking with Q. Servilius Priscus about the races and her entries.
We ask Gaia Aurelia about the new chariot design, and she talks about the design and her drivers here today:
“Spandex and his adopted son Vindex traded teams for one year, so that the veteran racers could teach the novices. This created some disadvantages for Domus Aurelia Falco, but has paid off in the confidence of all. Last year, the taller, heavier Spandex raced the lighter team. Now he is back with the team that can really handle his weight in the chariot. Spandex, a master smith, has apprenticed Baro (our surviving first gladiator), and together they have checked every part of the chariot design that proved so durable and well-suited to the Spandex / Velociraptor combination.
“The streamlined arrowhead shape has nothing at all to do with ramming and everything to do with improving speed. It also centres more of the mass over the middle of the axle, and dropping the chassis slightly lower over the axle drops the centre of gravity by almost a hand. The drop is slight, because the chariot must be able to clear debris tossed onto or left on the track. To prevent the shell of the chariot bursting apart, the bar that rims the shell around the driver is of shaped iron. A couple of welded metal struts anchored in the chassis support this bar. With the bar in place, the mass of protective wood in the shell has been reduced, so there is no net added weight. This chariot, which retains the stronger axle, has survived complete roll-over tests. (Spandex wants to call his invention a "roll bar".) In theory, a driver who is quick enough to tuck into the shell and strong enough to brace himself there, could also survive a rollover. However, the chariot's shape and weight distribution mean that rollover is highly unlikely. The strengthened wheel-mounts and hubs are inbuilt defense against collisions with other chariots and the spina or outer wall of the circus.
“Our horses have trained all through the winter, and regularly in deep snow to strengthen lungs and legs. Their winter diet is tailored to build muscle and stamina. We at the Factio Praesina Stables are ready for the Circenses!”
Looks like we are in for an exciting season here in the Circus! Let’s go now to the opening ceremony.
4:45 PM ~ Opening Ceremony
The gates open and the musicians play the Triumphant Entrance of the Chariots on their Cornicens and Tubacins.
As the opening processional enters the arena, the track fills with the multitude of attendants here to support the races today. Next, the Curule Aediles, P. Memmius Albucius and Sex. Lucilius Tutor, followed by Quaestors L. Vitellius Triarius and M. Hortensia Maior and the Aedilian cohors enter the Circus on chariots provided by the various factiones. Behind them come the Consules, M. Moravius Piscinus Horatianus and T. Iulius Sabinus, followed by the paters patriae, Pontifex Maximus M. Cassius Iulianus and Fl. Vedius Germanicus, who will be officially starting the races today.
Finally, come the contestants in today’s races, driving their chariots into the Circus and making a ceremonious passage down the track along the spina, then turning the post to return up the other side. The roar of the crowd is tremendous as the charioteers finish their processional and move to take their places at the gates. Reading the papyrus handout from the greeters, given to us upon entrance into the Circus we give you the run-down on today’s quarters races as issued by the officials at the Trigarium:
Race I ~ The veteran Petronius Gnipho of Factio Albata, driving Vita Brevis and sponsored by Gn. Equitius Marinus; Amara Aegeus the Greek of Factio Russata, driving Celeritas and sponsored by Ti. Arminius Genalius; Impulsor the Syrian of Factio Veneta, sponsored by Censor Ti. Galerus Paulinus; and, Lucius of Factio Veneta, driving the famous Windchaser II, sponsored by Max. Valeria Messallina, Domina Factionis of the Blues.
Race II ~ Aoife of the Silures of Factio Albata, driving Ars Longa and sponsored by Gn. Equitius Marinus; Vindex of Factio Praesina, driving Syntarsus, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana; Barinthus of Factio Veneta, driving Faolchú Dubh, sponsored by M. Martianius Lupus; and, Ambicatos the Celt of Factio Praesina, driving The Sunburst, sponsored by Q. Servilius Priscus.
Race III ~ Bellator Marius of Factio Veneta, driving Venetus Daemon, sponsored by Q. Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus; Anthropophagus of Factio Russata, driving Germanica, sponsored by Decimus Arminius Brutus; Incitator the Syrian of Factio Veneta, driving Delectus Consulis, sponsored by Censor Ti. Galerius Paulinus; and, Merddyn the Celt of Factio Praesina, driving Volcanus, sponsored by Q. Servilius Priscus.
Race IV ~ Bibulus Marius of Factio Veneta, driving Trux Puteolanus Everto, sponsored by Q. Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus; Spandex the Vandal of Factio Praesina, driving the champion Velociraptor, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana; Ursinus of Factio Veneta, driving Blue Max, sponsored by M. Martianius Lupus; and, T. Iulius Sabinus Crassus of Factio Russata, driving Aprilis and sponsoring himself.
Looks like the Blues are dominating the entries here today with 7 of the 16 entries! Praesina comes in with 4, Russata with 3, and Albata with 2 entries. Nevertheless, the fans of all the factiones have turned out here in the light, almost misting, rain that is falling. This is proof that the weather will not prevent the die-hard fans from come out to the races!
The Aedilician staff has made their inspections and advised the Drivers of the rules. With everything in place, let’s watch as the races are about to begin.
Quaestor Vitellius stands up, faces the Consules, who signal their approval for the races to begin. He then reaches in his toga, pulling out the mappa, and hands it to Pontifex Maximus, M. Cassius Iulianus, who then turns to face the drivers. He slowly raises his right arm, the crowd waits impatiently, and then the mappa falls…
5:00 PM ~ Quarter-Finals Race I
As the participants are taking their places along the starting-line the crowd goes silent and awaits the start with great anticipation. When the chariots finally take off, the circus completely explodes in a roaring symphony of voices as the spectators cheers on their favorites.
Celeritas gets a nice start and receives a small advantage over Windchaser II, Vita Brevis and Celer as the chariots enters the first curve. The gravel spatters under the hoofs of the strained horses as the drivers are pushing their chariots to their limits. The spectators are totally ecstatic and their loud cheers are almost deafening. Celeritas is still engaged in a close struggle with Windchaser II and it seems as is Celer has lost a few yards to the duo. Vita Brevis now makes a daring attempt to force his way in between Celer and Celeritas. The three chariots are bumping into each other and SNAP!
The right wheel of Vita Brevis splinters into pieces and Petronius Gnipho goes flying into the air, landing on top of the spina! Medici rush to check on his status, but he is a veteran and Stands up on his own! The crowd goes crazy!! Vita Brevis is in pieces, but it can be repaired. The main thing is that Gnipho is safe. Conularis Marinus is pacing in relief on the terrace and takes a large gulp of that imported drink from the northern bounds of Britannia..they call it “Scotch.” As the last dolphin is turned down, Celeritas is still in a tiny lead before Windchaser II and Celer has gained some to them both.
Windchaser II attacks Celeritas on the straight line and the supporters of factio Albata goes crazy on the terraces. Will he make it passed the strong Celeritas? The supporters of Factio Veneta surely hope not, and they are cheering loud for Celeritas as the chariots comes up towards the finishing line. Windchaser II and Celeritas are struggling side by side as the goal comes up closer and closer. Celer doesn't seem to be able to challenge them, but the fight for the first place is between Windchaser II and Celeritas. Who of them will make it? Celeritas is going really strong... but I think.... yes, it's Windchaser II that takes the first place, tightly followed by Celeritas and Celer ends up on a third place. On the terraces we can see Maxima Valeria Messallina and the Veneta supporters jumping up and down in a delirium of joy as their chariot Windchaser II makes it to the finals!
- 1st Place: Windchaser II of Factio Veneta (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 2nd Place: Celeritas of Factio Russata (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 3rd Place: Celer of Factio Veneta
- 4th Place: Vita Brevis of Factio Albata ***ACCIDENT***
5:15 PM ~ Quarter-Finals Race II
As the teams are taking their places along the starting-line the crowd goes silent and await the start with great anticipation. Consularis Fl. Vedius Germanicus starts the race with the dropping of the mappa and they are off…
When the chariots finally take off the circus completely erupts in a thunder of voices as the spectators cheers on their favorites. Ars Longa gets a great start and receives a small advantage over Faolchú Dubh, Syntarsus and Sunburst as the chariots enters the first curve. Ars Longa makes a really tight curve, but is strongly challenged by Faolchú Dubh. The drivers are pushing their chariots to the limit. Syntarsus pushes on to overtakeSunburst and ends up a few yards behind the other two chariots as they struggle on the straight line of the circus. Faolchú Dubh and Ars Longa has a really breathtaking duel for the lead of the race as the final lap closes up. The spectators are totally ecstatic and their loud cheers are almost deafening. Syntarsus keeps a good, constant pace, but he doesn’t seem to be able to challenge Faolchú Dubh and Ars Longa at this point. BANG!!!
Syntarsus has smashed into the spina and chariot part go flying everywhere! As Sunburst races by, a piece of wheel stikes him in the left arm and side of the head. The blood is running down his neck, but this does not stop the fearless driver as he presses on into the third position. Vindex, a veteran who knows what to do, hangs on to the reins as the his horses drag him out of harms way and over onto the sidelines of the track. Medical personnel rush to aid him. It appears he is alright, save a large amount of scratches and abrasions! His sponsor, Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana breathes a sigh of relief. The crowd yells in support! The fight for the first place is we're the action is! Faolchú Dubh and Ars Longa are struggling tremendously as they come up towards the finishing line as the last dolphine is turned down.
Faolchú Dubh gets a small advantage with a few feet as the finish line comes closer and closer. Will he be able to beat the two chariots from factio Russata? I think he just might... yes, it is Faolchú Dubh that first crosses the finish, tightly followed by Ars Longa who takes the second place and Sunburst who ends up on a third. On the terraces we can see M. Martianius Lupus and the supporters of Factio Veneta cheering wildly as Faolchú Dubh crosses the finish line! Consularis Marinus is pleased that he will have at least one of his chariots advance to the Semi-Finals!
- 1st Place: Faolchú Dubh of Factio Veneta (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 2nd Place: Ars Longa of Factio Albata (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 3rd Place: Sunburst of Factio Praesina
- 4th Place: Syntarsus of Factio Praesina ***ACCIDENT***
5:30 PM ~ Quarter-Finals Race III
As the chariots line up for the third race of the day, Consularis Fl. Vedius Germanicus readies the mappa, the crowd pauses along with the drivers, the mappa falls and off they go!
Germanica speeds off the line and races ahead of the others! Delectus Consulis also gets a great start and receives a small advantage over Volcanus and Venetus Daemon as the chariots enter the first curve. Volcanus makes a really tight curve and strongly challenges Delectus Consulis on the inside of the curve. Venetus Daemon takes up the fight on the straight line and struggles to get passed Volcanus on the inside. Wow!!! Now all three chariots are up side by side and struggling enormously to take the lead of the race. The gravel spatters under the hoofs of the strained horses as the drivers are pushing their chariots to the limit. The spectators are totally ecstatic and their loud cheers are almost deafening. Germanica make the turn and…OH NO!
Germanica starts to slide in the gravel! He has taken the turn too fast and the chariot begins to tip over. The driver, Anthropophagus, rolls out to safety without a scratch, but his horses are dragging the chariot, which is still on its side, down the lane! The chariot is breaking up into pieces, leaving debris all over the track! Attendants move to clear the wreckage before the remaining three chariots, running side-by-side, make it back around the spina. Volcanus is tightly pressed between the two rival chariots, Venetus Daemon and Delectus Consulis. This is probably the most even race we've seen so far in the Ludi Circenses! As the chariots comes up towards the finishing line all three of them are struggling tremendously side by side towards the closing goal.
The fight for the first place and the ticket for the finals are really tight, but Venetus Daemon seems to get a small advantage over the other two chariots. Will Volcanus and Delectus Consulis be able to answer to Venetus Daemon? Volcanus is going really strong towards the end and leaves Delectus Consulis a few feet behind. Will he pass the leading Venetus Daemon? I don't think he will.... no, it's Venetus Daemon that takes the first place, tightly followed by Volcanus, who takes the second place and Delectus Consulis, who ends up third.
- 1st Place: Venetus Daemon of Factio Veneta (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 2nd Place: Volcanus of Factio Praesina (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 3rd Place: Delectus Consulis of Factio Veneta
- 4th Place: Germanica of Factio Russata ***ACCIDENT***
6:00 PM ~ Quarter-Finals Race IV
As we prepare for the last race of the day, the officials have called a short intermission to allow the Circus workers to clean up the debris from the accidents of the first three races. While they restore the track, Quaestor Vitellius makes a short announcement about the Memorial Service tonight, dedicated to those Citizens of Nova Roma, who have passed away in the last 10 years. He invites all to attend the ceremony tonight.
The track has been cleaned, the chariots are now on line, the weather is clearing with the sun peaking through the clouds, and Quaestor Vitellius passes the mappa to Pontifex Maximus M. Cassius Iulianus. He raises his right arm, pauses, then starts the final race with the dropping of the mappa…
Trux Puteolanus Everto gets a nice start and receives a small advantage over Aprilis, Blue Max and Velociraptor as the chariots enter the first curve. Aprilis makes a really tight curve and actually passes Trux Puteolanus Everto on the inside of the curve. Velociraptor takes up the fight on the straight line and struggles to get past Blue Max and Trux Puteolanus Everto to challenge Aprilis. The spectators are standing on their seats and their loud cheers are almost deafening to anyone in the Circus.
Aprilis are still in the lead, but close behind him Velociraptor and Trux Puteolanus Everto are engaged in a close struggle side by side. Velociraptor races on the outside of Trux Puteolanus Everto, which is tightly pressed against the inner wall of the circus. Will he be able to handle this strenuous situation? Velociraptor is really pressing Trux Puteolanus Everto hard. Trux Puteolanus Everto horses suddenly slows, forcing Blue Max to break his team and circle around, losing much valuable time. Blue Max spatters gravel all over Trux Puteolanus Everto and Trux Puteolanus Everto’s driver, Bibulus Marius, begins to scream obscenities towards the Praesina Driver, who ignores him and races on!
As the two leading chariots come up towards the finish line, Velociraptor catches up with Aprilis and they are struggling side-by-side towards the finish line that is just up ahead in front of them. The fight for the first place and the ticket for the finals are really pointing towards Velociraptor and Aprilis, without much challenge now. But Velociraptor is going really strong... very strong...and.... yes, it's Velociraptor that takes the first place, narrowly ahead of Aprilis in second place, followed by Blue Max and then Trux Puteolanus Everto.
- 1st Place: Velociraptor of Factio Praesina (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 2nd Place: Aprilis of Factio Russata (advances to the Semi-Finals)
- 3rd Place: Blue Max of Factio Veneta
- 4th Place: Trux Puteolanus Everto of Factio Veneta
6:15 PM ~ Closing Ceremony
As the officials clear the track, the winning drivers and their teams from today’s races circle the spina are saluted by the spectators, fans of the factiones, the Aedilician Cohors, and the many Magistrates here today. Quaestor Vitellius announces the winners who are to advance to the Finals matches in three days:
- Windchaser II of Factio Veneta, sponsored by Maxima Valeria Messallina
- Celeritas of Factio Russata, sponsored by T. Arminius Genialis
- Faolchú Dubh of Factio Veneta, sponsored by M. Martianius Lupus
- Ars Longa of Factio Albata, sponsored by Gn. Equitius Marinus
- Venetus Daemon of Factio Veneta, sponsored by Q. Vitellius Triarus Avitus
- Volcanus of Factio Praesina, sponsored by Q. Servilius Priscus
- Velociraptor of Factio Praesina, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana
- Aprilis of Factio Russata, sponsored by T. Iulius Sabinus Crassus
As the sun sets, many of the spectators are leaving the Colosseum now to attend the Memorial Service and the various factiones festivities at various locations throughout the city.
This is M. Verus Paenula, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Circus Maximus and we will see you here again three days from now on the a.d. V Non. Mar. for the Ludi Circenses Semi-Finals races of the Conditorum!
Di vos incolumes custodiant!