Ludi Circenses Semi-Finals ~ Ludi Conditorum 2761 (Nova Roma)
4:30 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 Semi-Finals of the Conditorum!
Today’s races are the second round in the first Circenses of the 10th Anniversary Year of the refounding of the Respublica, and we will be covering a series of two races in the Circus.
All around the Circus Maximus, the fans are crowding into the track to find the best seats. Outside, the Locarii (ticket scalpers) are demanding a horribly inflated price for the best seats…and they are getting the denarii! The superb sunny weather has brought out the masses for the event. Officials are scraping off an epigram, painted on the side of the Circus, which reads: "Gnipho divitiae locariorum" or “Gnipho means riches for the ticket scalpers,” this evidently referring to the recent accident and professional recovery on the scene of Petronius Gnipho, the veteran of the track from Factio Albata!
We are going to take a short break, then join you inside.
4:45 PM ~ Opening Ceremony
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. As we can hear the musicians beginning to play, the gates open and the musicians enter, playing 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, Curule Aedile 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, and Cohors Scriba and newly-elected Flamen, Q. Valerius Poplicola, who will be 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 Semi-Finals races as issued by the officials at the Trigarium:
Race I ~ Amara Aegeus the Greek of Factio Russata, driving Celeritas and sponsored by Ti. Arminius Genalius; Lucius of Factio Veneta, driving the famous Windchaser II, sponsored by Max. Valeria Messallina, Domina Factionis of the Blues; Aoife of the Silures of Factio Albata, driving Ars Longa and sponsored by Gn. Equitius Marinus; and, Merddyn the Celt of Factio Praesina, driving Volcanus, sponsored by Q. Servilius Priscus.
Race II ~ Bellator Marius of Factio Veneta, driving Venetus Daemon, sponsored by Q. Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus; Spandex the Vandal of Factio Praesina, driving the champion Velociraptor, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana; Barinthus of Factio Veneta, driving Faolchú Dubh, 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 3 of the 8 entries! Praesina comes in with 2 entries, Russata with 2 entries, and Albata with 1 entry. Nevertheless, the fans of all the factiones have turned out here this wonderful sunny afternoon.
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 Flamen Valerius, 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 ~ Semi-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 Ars Longa, Windchaser II and Faolchú Dubh 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.
As the second dolphin turns, Celeritas is still engaged in a close struggle with Ars Longa and it seems as is Windchaser II has lost a few yards to the duo. Faolchú Dubh is following Windchaser II closely behind. The dust is tremendous as the chariots fly by and turn the corner.
As the third dolphin is turned down, Celeritas is still in a tiny lead before Ars Longa, Windchaser II and Faolchú Dubh fight for a better position. Ars Longa attacks Celeritas on the straight line and the spectators go crazy on the terraces. Will he make it past the strong Celeritas? The supporters of his factio surely hope not, and they are cheering loud for Celeritas as the chariots comes up as the fourth dolphin is turned down.
Ars Longa and Celeritas are struggling side by side as they race down the straight-a-way. Windchaser II doesn't seem to be able to challenge them, but the fight for the first place is between Ars Longa and Celeritas at this point. Rounding the corner post, everyone is fighting for the lead position in the cloud of dust that has developed! Who of them will make it? Celeritas gets the lead and receives a small advantage over Ars Longa, Windchaser II and Faolchú Dubh as the chariots enters the next curve. Celeritas makes a really tight curve, but is strongly challenged by Ars Longa. The drivers are pushing their chariots to the limit. Windchaser II pushes on to overtake Faolchú Dubh and ends up a few yards behind the other two chariots as they struggle on the straight line of the circus.
The chariots fly by as the fifth dolphin is turned down. Ars Longa and Celeritas has a really breathtaking duel for the lead of the race as the lap closes up. The spectators are totally ecstatic and their loud cheers are almost deafening. Windchaser II keeps a good, constant pace, but he doesn’t seem to be able to challenge Ars Longa and Celeritas at this point. CRASH!!! Windchaser II has crashed into the spina, parts go flying up into the air, but the chariot is still racing as the sixth dolphin is turned down!
As Faolchú Dubh races by, a piece of wheel strikes him in the chest and chin, but this seems to have no effect on the determined driver. The crowd yells in support! The fight for the first place is we're the action is! Ars Longa and Celeritas are struggling tremendously as they come up towards the finishing line as the seventh and last dolphin is turned down. Ars Longa gets a small advantage with a few feet as the finish line comes closer and closer. Will he be able to hold the lead? …YES…it is Ars Longa of Factio Albata that crosses the finish ahead of the rest, closely followed by Celeritas of Factio Russata who takes the second place, followed by Faolchú Dubh of Factio Veneta and Windchaser II of Factio Veneta who end up third and forth, respectively.
On the terraces we can see Consularis Marinus, Petronius Gnipho and the supporters of Factio Albata cheering wildly as Ars Longa crosses the finish line! Consularis Marinus is pleased that he will have at least one of his chariots advance to the Finals!
- 1st Place: Ars Longa of Factio Albata (advances to the Finals)
- 2nd Place: Celeritas of Factio Russata (advances to the Finals)
- 3rd Place: Faolchú Dubh of Factio Veneta
- 4th Place: Windchaser II of Factio Veneta
5:30 PM ~ Semi-Finals Race II
As the chariots line up for the second race of the day, Flamen Valerius readies the mappa, the crowd pauses along with the drivers, the hoses snort wildly with excitement, the mappa falls and off they go!
Velociraptor speeds off the line and races ahead of the others! Aprilis also gets a great start and receives a small advantage over Venetus Daemon and Volcanus as the chariots enter the first curve. Venetus Daemon makes a really tight curve and strongly challenges Aprilis on the inside of the curve. Volcanus takes up the fight on the straight line and struggles to get passed Venetus Daemon on the inside. Wow!!! Now all three chariots are up side by side and struggling for leading place as they race down the straight-a-way. 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 as the first dolphin is turned down.
Velociraptor makes the turn and…OH NO! Velociraptor starts to slide in the gravel! He has taken the turn too fast and the chariot begins to tip over. The driver climbs the frame and throws his weight toward the rising side, and the chariot falls back to the ground, speeding down the lane! Nice recovery for Velociraptor! Venetus Daemon is tightly pressed between the two rival chariots, Volcanus and Aprilis.
The chariots pass by and the second dolphin is turned down. As the chariots come by all of them are struggling tremendously side by side as the make another turn. The fight for first place is anybody’s at this point. Volcanus seems to get a small advantage over the other chariots as the third dolphin is turned down.
Will Venetus Daemon and Aprilis be able to answer to Volcanus? Venetus Daemon is going really strong and leaves Aprilis a few feet behind. Will he pass the leading Volcanus? Not yet, currently it is Volcanus in the first position, tightly followed by Venetus Daemon in second place and Aprilis, then Velociraptor, as the fourth dolphin is turned down.
Velociraptor trails behind Venetus Daemon, Aprilis and Volcanus as the chariots enter the next curve. Venetus Daemon makes a really tight curve and actually passes Velociraptor on the inside of the curve. Volcanus takes up the fight on the straight line and struggles to get past Aprilis and Velociraptor to challenge Venetus Daemon. The spectators are standing on their seats and their loud cheers are almost deafening to anyone in the Circus. As they make another turn, Venetus Daemon is still in the lead, but close behind him Volcanus and Velociraptor are engaged in a close struggle side by side, followed by Aprilis.
The fifth dolphin is now turned down, and Volcanus races on the outside of Velociraptor, which is tightly pressed against the inner wall of the circus. Will he be able to handle this strenuous situation? Volcanus is really pressing Velociraptor. Velociraptor horses stray back and forth, forcing Aprilis to break his team and circle around, losing much valuable time. Aprilis spatters gravel all over Velociraptor and the fight is on! Aprilis and Velociraptor are lashing each other and exchanging remarks and continue this exchange until the sixth dolphin is turned down. Now, they focus on the race and press on ahead!
The seventh dolphin has now been turned down, and the charioteers drive madly down the lanes in this last leg of the race! As the two leading chariots come up towards the finish line, Volcanus catches up with Venetus Daemon 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 Volcanus and Venetus Daemon, without much challenge now. But Volcanus is going really strong... very strong...and.... yes, it's Volcanus of Factio Praesina that takes the first place, narrowly ahead of Venetus Daemon of Factio Veneta in second place, followed by Aprilis of Factio Russata and then Velociraptor of Factio Praesina.
- 1st Place: Volcanus of Factio Praesina (advances to the Finals)
- 2nd Place: Venetus Daemon of Factio Veneta (advances to the Finals)
- 3rd Place: Aprilis of Factio Russata
- 4th Place: Velociraptor of Factio Praesina
6:00 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. As the Gods would have it be, and with no intervention by the officials clocking this race, the Finals race will be held, with each Factio represented! Quaestor Vitellius is pleased and announces the winners who are to advance to the Finals race tomorrow:
- Ars Longa of Factio Albata, sponsored by Gn. Equitius Marinus
- Celeritas of Factio Russata, sponsored by T. Arminius Genialis
- Volcanus of Factio Praesina, sponsored by Q. Servilius Priscus
- Venetus Daemon of Factio Veneta, sponsored by Q. Vitellius Triarus Avitus
As the sun sets in a beautiful orange glow, many of the spectators are leaving the Colosseum now to attend the various factiones’ festivities at locations throughout the city.
This is M. Verus Paenula, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Circus Maximus and we will see you here again tomorrow for the Ludi Circenses Finals race of the Conditorum!
Di vos incolumes custodiant!