Ludi Romani 2761 Circenses reports (Nova Roma)
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Circenses 2761 reports
Here are the reports that C.L.C. has allowed us to display, for every interested civis.
For more excitement, follow the races live, thanks to the interesting reconstitution created in 2761 by Robert Cole.
The reported races are supposed to be run at Republican times, when the later Circus modifications had not yet been made (monuments on the spina, etc.). The Murcia shrine was where Coles' pictures located it, near the western curve. We have also supposed that the Egg-lap markers and the Judge's pavilion were not, at this time, on the track itself, but on the spina, near the secunda meta and the statue of the Genius of the Circus, the Dolphins portico being attested further downtrack.
We have also supposed a larger part of wood in the Carceres' gates, and specially gates formed by double-doors, as well as an open cella, above the Porta pompae.
Last, the starting line, the alba linea, was also marked with a chalked rope, which prevented chariots not to respect this line and to run forward before being abreast, with equal chances.
Twelve chariots have been entried for this Ludi Romani. These twelve competitors have been displayed so that each group contains if possible one chariot of each factio.
The Circus Maximus carceres thus welcome in this sunny Idus afternoon, four heats of three esseda. The last essedum will be disqualified and the 1st and 2nd of each group will get access to the quarter-finals.
1st missus (heat)
Every auriga seemed rather confident before this first series race of the Romani 2761. One of the reasons of this quietness is probably the fact that tomorrow quarterfinals will then be run between two chariots, instead of having four entries races. So, once you advance in quarters, your probabilities to win are theorically higher.
This first race looked like playing cards. Every one seemed observing the neighbor.
The hyper-favorite was Vita Brevis, albata equaria Equitia Marina, driven by famous Petronius Gnypho. The bookmakers gave him winner before Germanica and its driver Anthropophagus, russata eq. Arminia Bruta, just before Scorpianus, less known in Rome, driving the Gallica veneta eq. Rutilia Minervalis called Babientes. Few specialists know the chariot, but the most attentive ones remember that the same Scorpianus has, on horse Babieca, won the prestigious race organized in the frame of Ludi Conditorum last Feb.-March. True, equirria is not circenses, but one never knows.
In this first missus, after that the crowd, excited to live again the wonderful Ludi Romani mood, has roared when the chariots have sprung out from the gate, Vita Brevis tried to control the race and spare his horses, probably for the reminding of the competition. Gnypho has taken the lead, but, dolphin after dolphin, kept a regular speed, specially turning comfortably, maybe too much. For Germanica, who passed Babientes during the last straightaways of the 3rd loop, came back a bit more lap after lap, but with the Gaul chariot tailing it.
When the last lap has been dropped down, Gnypho was in the first third of the Aventine downtrack line when he turned and looked in his back. He was apparently surprised to see Anthropophagus springing up from the secunda curve, and being thirty paces behind him. Vita Brevis stepped aside with no apparent reason, and before the next curve, Germanica was close in contact, while Scorpianus was giving his best. According his staff, Rutilius’chariot realized its best Aventine line time there.
The last dolphin has dived and the three esseda were bunched in a sixty feet pack. In the last curve, Gnypho opened the gate, probably to have Anthropophagus falling in it, but Germanica did not. It speeded up in the curve, keeping Vita Brevis onto the outside. The curve was over when both chariots were yet fighting on the middle of the track, loosing time neutralizing each other, and wasting many feets and precious seconds. What should occur occured, and the third one, Babientes, took advantage of this situation, but also of his very clever race : Scorpianus overtook both competitors, and Germanica took benefit of the better position won in the curve. Despite his efforts, Gnypho could never come back before the arrival, and ended in the worst seat. After the race, Petronius Gnypho did not make any comments to the press, specially to our C.L.C. microphone. Anthropophagus smiled and looked sincerely relieved having escaped from this bluff game and got the second qualifying position. Scorpianus just told us that he was happy for his dominus, Hon. Rutilius, and for his own family.
So, here in Circus Maximus, we have seen the first big surprise of these Ludi Romani, with the elimination of Vita brevis, the experienced team sponsored by Censorius Equitius. First Scorpianus, second Anthropophagus, third Gnypho.
We are living an amazing day, maybe a historical one, for the second chariot sponsored by albatus Gn. Equitius Marinus has been, after Vita brevis, eliminated in the first round of these Romani. And for the second time, one of the guilties is a gallicum essedum, Incitatus. This rig is lead by a unknown young driver, apparently born in Ephesus, Stolo, who is sponsored by russatus G. Petronius Dexter, a new owner in the race circuit, and a Gallus too.
If this day was thus Equitius’ Gergovia, there was no problem for Censor Galerius's equaria, which seemed so confident that the bookmakers had since several days designed Delectus consulis, running venetus, and its driver Incitator, a Syrian auriga, as the top favorites of its heat.
Still confident in the carceres, Incitator impressed to the race a high pace, and this is probably the main reason why the now well known and much popular Aoife Silurum lost this battle. For the Britannica « puella » had apparently decided to make the decision in the bends. But if this tactics is possible when the pace is not fast, it becomes harder at high stretch, specially when you have a chariot like Delectus consulis setting the race. Aoife tried first in the second turn, then in the 4th, last in the fifth one, but still with no success. And even for Biga fortunae, six violent efforts like such ones, in a curve, had to be paid. And Biga fortunae did pay them. The decision was made in the first straightaways of the last turn. Incitator has not weakened and was still leading, and Aoife, whose worrying face looked as red as her hair, was understanding that she was loosing the whole play. Biga fortunae’s horses were now blunt, and the young and handsome young Stolo was in Aoife’s back in a glance. Before the last turn, Stolo swallowed the Britanna, cutting her off before the curve. Anyway, Aoife’s horses would surely have not been strong enough to hold during the last lane.
Stolo looked in the last four hundred feet as if he was dreaming, and could not prevent himself glancing in his back several times. Incitator first, Stolo second, Aoife third: this is the 2nd heat results.
So, it is over for Aoife, and the road goes on for Incitator, who seems a good candidate for the final victory, with a good staff and equaria. But let us keep an eye on this Stolo and Dexter’s Incitatus, which may be one of the good surprises of these 10th Birthday Ludi Romani circenses.
The third series, was, with the 4th one, one of the most open. For we had there a new competitor, owner L. Fidelius Lusitanus from Brasil, sponsoring and himself driving a new chariot, Fulgur II. Let us care not taking this new Fulgur II with the horse mounted by Lucius and sponsored by Veneta Vestal Messallina, and called Fulgur. Additional source of confusion, Lusitanus is also backed up by Veneta factio.
This new chariot was unknown. But, after what occurred in the first missus, people were seriously wondering whether this new tiro would not eat his opponents.
The best known of both ones was Barbarufa, driving as usual Rubidea and running for russatus M. Arminius Maior. Apart the fact that Arminius lives also in Brasilia provincia, here ends every posible resemblance: Arminius is well known in the Republic and in the Circenses, and Barbarufa is an experienced driver, though this 2761 season has not been as good as the former ones, with just a 15th place best performance in the Matutini.
The third driver was Albatus Samicus driving Pilum, owned by Lacus Magni citizen Q.Cornelia Quadrata. Less known than Barbarufa, Quadrata however regularly enrols her rigs in Nova Roma circenses. She has arrived 12th in last Matutini.
In fact, this third missus was not a race, but rather a hold-up. Like in the first heat, the last chariot finally won. It was Pilum. It started average, managed to come back close to the two others, and made illusion til the second lap. Afterwards, he got nearly lapped by its opponents in the 4th loop, but managed catching up, little by little. Rubidea has been ahead since the beginning, but has exchanged places with Fulgur II in the 5th and 6th. But unlike the first missus, Rubidea, from the second half of the 6th lap, looked a bit burnt, and Fidelius had no real problem to get past him. Famous Barbarufa has not drained the full cup to the dregs, for Samicus surged in his back on the last turn and deposed him without ceremony at the end of the curve. In the last straight line, Fulgur II was nibbled by Pilum, but for many spectators, the fresh Brasilian chariot has run off, as a veteran, to keep some strenght for the further races.
So Pilum 1st, Fulgur II 2nd and Rubidea third in this third heat.
Beati qui in quarto cucurrunt ! For it was the easiest race. Not because of its entrants, or not only. For this heat has been drawn by lots as the one with two genuine competitors, and one chariot sponsored by C. Urius Levator, the good willing and modest man who takes care, for the aediles curules, of the aedilitas equaria. The aedilitas has thus a few rigs and fighters who are happy entering Ludi races and getting experience and training, but whose specificity and mission is that they are not allowed to win. They are just to bring the additional entry in a heat, in order to build a whole table that allows the organisers to qualify an even number of competitors for the next turn.
The chariot was this time Diem perdidi, the well-named, and driven by Urius himself. His sponsored contenders were Ulixes Germinus, a venetum essedum driven by Ultor and sponsored by G. Valerianus Germanicus, and russata Aurora rubra, piloted by Betelgesus and owned by M. Arminius Maior. This was thus Arminius’ second and last chance to qualify a chariot for the quarters.
Here again the rig which has taken the worse first laps finally won the race. Aurora rubra did a slow but efficient come-from-behind and, at last in the fifth lap, Ulixes Geminus and it were alongside, exchanging places in the sixth. At this time, C. Urius Levator, who looks a bit worried by Ultor’s rig performance in the first part of the race, could at last slack off so that his opponents could vie fairly. After the last dolphin has dived, the fight was still uncertain, and this is just because Aurora has better hugged its last curve than its opponent that Russati won this fourth heat, just fifty feets ahead of Ulixex Geminus.
Both Betelgesus and Ultor must be thanked anyway, for they run honestly their race, although they were sure to be qualified. They could have run off from the moment Ultor had come close to Betelgesus, but they played fair, and have owed the applause of the Circus.
Scriba aediliciana and former praetor A. Tullia Scholastica has informed the spectators that Aedilis P. Memmius Albucius has always drawn the lots, under the eyes of the Capitolin triad, for the next turn, the quarter finals. So we already know who will run against who, for we remind you that the quarters will oppose just two chariots. Do not forget, dear Quirites, that the quarters would be run on Sept 15 (a.d. XVII Kal. Oct.), from 16 :30 to 18 :30.
The first quarters will be a full veneta one, and will see challenger first heat winner, Scorpianus on Babientes, towards Ultor on Ulixes Geminus, who had a rather quiet last heat race. Everybody thinks that Valerianus will sure need preventing Ultor on the risk undervaluing Rutilius’rig.
The second quarters will be a red one, and oppose Aurora Rubra, 1st in this last missus, and Germanica, who forbade Vita brevis longer Ludi. The race is not played for Betelgesus against Anthropophagus.
The third quarters should normally turn at Delectus consulis’ advantage, towards young Fulgur II, but here also, the tirones may have kept strength enough to create more surprises. Anyway, another venetus missus.
The last quarters will put onto the track Incitatus and Pilum, this one being slightly given favorite, even if the same observations could be made.
So, passionnating Circenses heats on these Idus Septembris, here in Circus Maximus. The sun was there all along the afternoon, the crowd too, and the Ludi circi table is yet upset : favorites have fallen, fresh young rigs and drivers have hit a big slam, and the quarters will sure fill the whole Circus.
O. Pedanius Speratus for C.L.C. (Catena Ludorum Curulium), was reporting. See you all tomorrow, from 16 :15 on, same place !
This is O. Pedanius Speratus reporting for CLC (Catena Ludorum Curulium). Happy to meet again for this new day of Ludi Romani Circenses, direct from Circus Maximus. It is 16 :15 here, between Palatinus and Aventinus, and the first of our four quarterfinals will be begin now in less than 15 minutes.
Our CLC team is well located on the south-western terrace, above the entrance door. Even it is a bit difficult to see as far as the prima curve, we have put in place an ingenious systems of signs with one of our fellows who stands near the Murcia shrine, and that allows us here, thanks to a half dozen basic signs, to be informed of <hat we cannot see, specially in the opposite triomphalis turn.
Though not full, the Circus caveae contains a large public. There are just a small dozen of cunei, specially in the higher stands, which are still empty. The vendors are making their last rounds, scurrying selling sweets, like these excellent amygdalas tostas.
You know that the first quarters will be a full veneta one, between Scorpianus on Babientes, and Ultor on Ulixes Geminus. The bookmakers seem having a preference for Ultor, but what will say Fortuna ?
Here is the first trumpet signal. You can hear that the crowd has stopped chating. Both chariots are also under orders, in the ostia. As they are just two chariots, one has been placed at left of the porta pompae, the other one right of it. The armentari - they are just four - are standing on each side of the gate, towards their pole and the rope in the hand.
Here we go ! The second signal has sound and they have run ten feet ahead and pulled vigorously the rope previously winded up behind and around their pole. Both doors of each swing open at the same time and both blue chariots are prancing their way to the alba linea.
You can see that Fortuna has allotted Ultor track number 6 and Scorpianus track number 7. This is an unsual disposal, and it will be interesting seeing how each of both aurigae will angle to the spina.
Younger lineatores are ready to put off the white strings that delineate the lanes, once the mappa has fallen. Two other ones are waiting, on each hermulus placed on each side of the track to put down the alba linea, this chalked rope that prevents every rig to spring forward before all chariots be abreast and ready to race. The moderatores have not much to do, for both chariots have joined the starting line in good order. Scorpianus and Ultor have waved the audience and now are glancing each other. But they quick watch ahead, concentrated, waiting the signal.
There, above the carceres, aedilis curulis P. Memmius Albucius, who is presiding the games and is among his staff, has seized the white mappa, held it aloft at arm’s lenght, and opened the hand suddenly. The hermulatores, who had similarly seized the white start rope at arm’s lenght, so that every one can see both them and the rope, let it fall at them turn. And the Veneti spring forward !
Both are rushing in the first straightaways, for they want to take the spina. The fight is uncertain but, not far before the western turn, Ultor has not weakened and holds it. Scorpianus decides to tail him... Here are both chariots coming... turning, and the first egg is up. Ultor retains the head, and we have the same positions in the second lap when both veneti rigs are coming west back. Second egg and.... ah !.. a little lapse by Ulixes geminus, whose spina horse seemed not having reacted quick enough in the curve, and here is Valerianus’ rig a bit too far on mid-track, and Babientes, which did not hope such a gift, overtakes it and picks up speed to the East. The third egg has been raised and both rigs are neck and neck. Here we are ! Ultor has taken the lead, but does not seem being able to give the last strike... Fourth egg and Scorpianus still in Ulixes’s wheels... the triumphalis turn, the straight line back.. and here is Scorpianus pouring on ahead. No one seems slacking off and we are now in the fifth lap. Both opponents seems willing trading places til the final rush. Sixth lap and soon the last one, here it is ! Ulixes or Babientes, Babientes or Ulixes ? You hear the crowd screaming ! Last turn, and still Ultor heading, but not really quite, and though he bends forward to boost his horses, he regularly throw an eye behind him. At least, he is hugging the spina and seems at best position. But here is Scorpianus, also leant out of his basket, who decides to throw the last pilum ! During a second, Ultor thinks that he is going to pass on his left, though there is really no place for it. Maybe these moments of doubt are enough for Babientes who are maintaing their effort, and getting past Ulixes geminus, sixty feet before the line ! And Babientes win !
Incredible ! What a suspense ! No one could have told, before the last hundred feet, who would win and then, whether Scorpianus could take the lead again, specially so close to the arrival !
So... ! Very interesting information : if they are not tired, Babientes will be a very serious chariot for the semis, for they have shown just now that they can speed up, and when they have to ! Bye "U2", Ulixes and Ultor, who has nothing to be reproached. They have well run !
It has been a second fratricidal race, but a russata one, now ! It will oppose Aurora Rubra’s Betelgesus, 1st in the last 1st day missus, and Germanica’s Anthropophagus, who eliminated Vita brevis.
The two first eggs were for Anthropophagus, who, like Ulixes’ rig in the first quarter, managed taking and hugging the spina. In the third, Betelgesus quickens the speed from the end of the Pompae curve and get past his opponent. Germanica tried to re-take the lead before the Triumphalis turn, but all what happens is that both chariots hit each other and went on around the turn. We could see that both aurigae just looked, in the middle of the curve, to keep their chariot in the track, and that it be not enmeshed with the other. Getting out of the curve, both russati managed to take some distance with the other. Apparently, the previous fifteen seconds had left a strong impression to both, and Germanica, which has not gotten past, decided to stay quiet a whole lap. This is thus only in the return straightaways of the 4th lap that Germanica renews its attack, that took nearly all the line. But Aurora rubra decides to react immediatly and it counterattacked in the next straight, taking again the lead in the first line of the 5th. It kept heading until the second half of the 6th egg, when Anthropophagus reined forward his horses almost on the same section where he had overtaken first.
Despite his efforts, Betelgesus could not come alongside. He tailed his opponent during a few times of the straights easternward and return, but seemed weakening at the coming of the last curve. Anthropophagus turned round and threw a glance when getting out of the bend, and he saw that Betelgesus had not passed the meta. He pushed then his horses for a last time, and his rig made a visible dash forward. He pulled in front and ended the line and the race 500 feet before Betelgesus.
Exit courageous Betelgesus and Aurora rubra equaria. Germanica qualified, with his star, Anthropophagus. For Russata factio, everything is good, for one chariot is already in semi-finals !
The third quarters opposes Delectus consulis, owned by Ti. Galerius Paulinus, and Fulgur II, L. Fidelius Lusitanus owner. Again and as the first quarter, another venetus fight.
The chariots are in the lines, Fulgur II in six and Delectus consulis in seven. Both rigs look nervous, and the white rope comes well. The three moderatores for each chariot are not too many to have the horses lining up : one for each outside horse, one man for the middle horses. This last one is the stronger of the three, for the place is the most dangerous one, specially when the horses panic and lash out.
Everything is back in order now, and the moderator maior has raised the hand in the direction of the cella, where stands aedilis curulis P. Memmius Albucius. Here it is : the aedilis has seen the signal. He holds now the white mappa, aloft at arm’s lenght. And the mappa falls, and falls the alba funis, hold by the hermulatores, releasing both veneti rigs!
Lucius Fulguris has decided to eked the best of his horses in this first straightaways, and he has taken the lead before the first curve. Incitator is behind, but we are just in the beginning of the race...
The first egg has fallen, and the position is unchanged... again the triumphalis bend, and now the Palatine straights... Delectus consulis speeds up... and get past ! Fulgur II decides not to fight here, and leave his opponent the lead. Second dolphin, the Aventine straights, still Galerius’ rig in one and Fidelius’horses in two. Soon the third lap... here we go...Lucius’chariot is now picking up speed and... yes ! overtakes Incitator, who glances his rival when he comes alongside. Lucius keeps the head when both round the pompeus turn, and that begins the 4th lap. The curve...the Palatine line... and still, in the eve of 5th lap, Lucius ahead by a short lenght nowww...... Incitator, reining his steeds forward, manages overtaking young Lucius in the Aventine ! ! Ah, things are getting serious, for we are in the last half of the race. No change in the Palatine, and here is the 6th lap. Fulgur II has not said its last word, and tries to overtake in the southern spatium.. once... no... twice... no more success... Mmmhhh.. young Brasilian driver may burn out his rig’s strenght that way. He seems to weaken a bit before the pompean curve, and here is the final lap !
Delectus consulis is ahead with three lengths and seems rather confident.. he is turning around the triumphalis now, but here is Fulgur II which seems to give its best... oh probably Lucius tries to take benefit of the turn, and that Incitatus’ attention be on the curve and slackened by its lead, to come back closer. Yes... Lucius has come fast in the outside half of the track and angled to cut its curve. This curve was perfect and he is now back in Incitator’ s heels and wheels. The last Palatine line is swallowed in a dust cloud, and the crowd is roaring. It is incredible, but it seems that the experienced Incitator is now the prey and young Lucius the hunter, the venator. Here is the last curve ! Lucius is taking many risks for if Incitator speeds down, sure that Fulgur II will collide with Galerius’ rig ! But Incitator seems thinking of nothing, instead keeping the lead in this... first part of the Aventine... Lucius still tailing him...and trying overtaking....Incitatus... Lucius... alongside... neck and neck... the horses look winded... all of them....both drivers are shouting, bent forward... but Lucius... last three hundred feet... yes ! It is Lucius in the most perfect hold-up ! Lucius on Fulgur II, owner L. Fidelius Lusitanus winning this third quarter before Delectus Consulis, favorite of this race and probably one of the best bet for the whole Ludi.
The Brasilian team is exulting, and Censoria equaria seems appalled. This was a great race, and honor to both rigs ! Lucius and Fulgur II qualified, Delectus consulis and Incitator eliminated.
This missus aerarius, or last race of the day, is thus the last quarterfinals. It will opposes Incitatus and Pilum.
The chariots are in the moderatores’ hand. Remember that ... the mappa... they are gone !... yes, remember that Incitatus and his young driver Stolo....second straights and Pilum ahead... yes, Stolo, has created the big surprise in the opening missus, eliminating one of the favorites, Aoife on Biga fortunae... Second lap... still Pilum ahead... the pace is not so quick now... and now that Delectus consulis has been ousted by Brasilian Fulgur II, everything is possible for russatus Petronius Dexter’s driver, if he puts down albatus Samicus driving Pilum, owned by Lacus Magni citizen Q.Cornelia Quadrata. But sure Samicus is considering that he has also... we are beginning the third lap... that he has now also a wide open way ahead in the Circenses. He is currently one of the most skilled driver alive at this time of the competition.
Stolo has attacked in the Palatine ! The third dolphin has dived and the fourth lap is on. Samicus speeds up his beasts, and here he’s back in first place ! The curve.... They are back westward, and Stolo cannot or do not want to take again this just lost first place. Four dolphins now and fifth lap...hooves are pounding stronger and clouds of dust are hidding both chariots. Oh ! Incitatus has angled well and cut Pilum off in the triumphalis curve !
The line....Pilum again ! He just overtook Incitatus ! Just hear the crowd, this crowd that rejoices of the race but also that, at last, we have two different factiones vying for victory here ! Again the Palatine straights in this 6th lap, and again the pompean curve. Here we go, the final lap and the last 600 paces. Pilum ahead... both alongside... Incitatus before the curve ! ! ! Pilum in the curve, for he has just best hugged the meta ! Stolo has not said his last word, and he’s back now half straights, heeling his elder.. the last curve... very important... still Samicus ahead... but they are really neck and neck instead... but... here is the young defying the elder ! ! ! See ! ! The whole daring of youth... and he goes on... and.... and... it works ! ! ! Again ! ! ! After Fulgur II, the tiro has defeated the more experienced driver ! ! ! Ahh ! ! ! Nothing is better than Circenses, really ! ! ! ! Do hear the crowd, while Samicus has reined his chariot forward on the track, at small pace, for a honor lap, what he really fully deserves. The audience does know it, beyond any factio preferences, and Pilum receives an ovation while Stolo is on his teammates shoulders, near the triumphalis curve, and waving to the Aventina degrees audience.
So Incitatus’ Stolo, owner Petronius qualified in semis, and the end of the adventure for Pilum’s Samicus, owner Cornelia !
I know that we have not much time, so here was O. Pedanius Speratus, with whole CLC team, reporting from Circus Maximus. Wonderful quarters, new surprises, and exciting semifinals ahead with two russata and two veneta esseda !
This is O. Pedanius Speratus reporting for CLC (Catena Ludorum Curulium). Happy to meet again for this new and last day of Ludi Romani Circenses, direct from Circus Maximus.
It’s a gorgeous late summer day in Rome and excitement fills the air as the races are about to begin. Today, the Circus will feature both semifinals, and the great finals. The semis will be very interesting ones, and for many reasons.
First, we will see a fight between two chariots from Gaul, Babientes and Incitatus. Second, the semis will oppose two different factiones: veneta vs. russata. Third, we will have one tiro in each semi: Incitatus in the first one and Fulgur II in the second one. Last, we have a rather geographical diversity in the semis, for along both Galli, we get one Australian chariot, Germanica (even culturally linked to provincia Germania), and one Brasilian rig, Fulgur II.
The Circus is almost full. Just the top of Palatine praecinctiones needs to get some more people. The top of Aventina is still full, naturally because of the sun: this is the shady side of the Maximus! The vendors are making their last rounds, scurrying selling sweets, cushions and footstools.
Naturally and alas, the partisans of the Praesina faction are disappointed as there was no entry from their beloved Greens this time, while the Albata fans are saddened at seeing all of their entries defeated early on. Perhaps that is why the birds have stopped singing, too, but perhaps the daylight showing between their wing feathers as yet another plume flutters earthward may be involved as well.
The field for this race is rather skimpy, but both Veneta and Russata are represented, albeit by a single entry each. Incitatus, owned by C. Petronius Dexter and driven by Stolo, both newcomers, runs for Russata, while Babientes, driven by Scorpianus and owned by a regional prefect, L. Rutilius Minervalis, hopes to uphold the glory of Veneta. The spicy additional thing is that Rutilius is currently Petronius' regional prefect, of Celtica Gallia. Here is Gallia! Citizens constantly defying the authority!
The chariots approach the starting gate, horses and men alike blinking in the brilliant sun as they emerge from the holding area. The horses prance, eager with expectation, and the charioteers must rein them in lest they start too soon. Now they are towards the starting line, the alba linea, and all eyes turn to the presiding aediliciana, praetoriana A. Tullia Scholastica in the cella. Aed. Memmius has asked her to chair today, in order to thank her for the watch she had upon the Ludi. Maybe also aedilis Memmius, who is also the governor Galliae, is happy not to be in charge of the defeat of one of both Galli, in this first semifinal!
Tullia lifts the mappa aloft and wave it; they drop it...and they’re on the track! No need to hurry yet; one must conserve the horses’ strength for the final laps, but one cannot walk around the track, either. Already Stolo is steering close to the spina, while Scorpianus holds to a steady and none-too-fast pace. Time and again, Stolo takes the lead as he comes round the spina, but Scorpianus catches up every time as the first, second, and third dolphins are turned. Now the pace quickens as the two charioteers vie for position at mid-race, but there still is little change. As they enter the sixth and penultimate lap, Stolo is hugging the spina so closely that he almost seems ready to shake hands with the statues. Sparks are starting to fly, and now he is taking a turn on one wheel...a dangerous tactic, and one which cost him time as Scorpianus passes him with ease. Coming into the seventh and final lap Stolo again grazes the spina in the Palatine straights, but this time the risk is worth it and he pulls well ahead of Babientes and Scorpianus, whose horses seem to be tiring. The final curve is there, and now the finish line in sight, Babientes will not be back, and Stolo crosses it four lengths ahead of Scorpianus. In this race, the palm goes to Russata and the glorious way is keeping open for young Stolo, now congratulated by more experienced Scorpianus. True lesson of dignitas... and humilitas too: the younger has jumped into the elder's chariot, and has waved Scorpianus' arm, asking the audience to honor Minervalis' auriga. The Circus roar with pleasure, and veneti fall in russati arms! Galli, you are the pride of Rome, this afternoon! Anyway, Incitatus qualified for the Finals, Babientes ends its Ludi here.
The crowd is growing restive as they await the second and last semifinal heat of the day. The sun is rising ever higher in a cloudless sky, and it is getting to be quite warm for this time of year. Too, the Praesina and Albata partisans are rather disgusted at the absence of the former and the defeat of the latter in the quarter finals...and let their feelings show.
As was the case in the previous missus or heat, this race will pit a Veneta entry, Fulgur II, against a Russata one, Germanica. The latter is owned by D. Arminius Brutus and driven by the fearsome Anthropophagus, who has not bothered to clean the filthy gobbets of half-eaten flesh from his chariot. The second chariot, Fulgur II, is owned and driven by a certain L. Fidelius Lusitanus, who reportedly hails from an unknown land called Brasilia. Lusitanus turns up his nose at the foul scent emanating from Germanica, an action not unnoticed by Anthropophagus, as an evil grin spreads over his face. The two chariots emerge from the cool and dark area behind the Porta Pompae into the blazing sun, and make their way to the carceres. The horses prance and snort as they enter the gate, waiting to be freed to run this race; they know the winners will get extra rations of tasty oats, whereas the losers might have to do without even hay...if they survive at all.
The consules stand, and all eyes turn toward them. They lift the mappa in unison, wave it, then let it drop. The crowd roars as the two chariots spring from the gate, but neither is in any great hurry...yet. Germanica keeps a steady and comparatively slow pace during these first few laps, while Fulgur II keeps pace, now passing Germanica, now being passed by it, as Lusitanus wrinkles his nose and averts his eyes.
The fourth and fifth dolphins have turned, and little has changed except that the pace has gradually quickened. Coming into the sixth lap, the pace is no longer leisurely; things are getting serious now. Fulgur II has begun to pour on speed, calling on that conserved earlier in the race, and passes Germanica. Charioteer Lusitanus grabs the reins in one hand and pinches his nose with the other, closing his eyes as he speeds by Germanica, for that chariot is a sight only a vulture could love. Fulgur II is now a good half-lap ahead of Germanica...but that was all that Anthropophagus needed to spur his team into action. He lashes the horses again and again; they, mindful of what might happen to them if they do not give it their all, pour on every drop of speed they possess. Coming round the turn, they are licking at Lusitanus heels. The breeze comes up from behind, and wafts the revolting stench to Lusitanus’ delicate nose. He gags, then vomits.
The horses slow down, lacking encouragement from their driver, and as Germanica passes Fulgur II, a gobbet separates from the chariot and swats the nauseated Lusitanus in the face. He almost swoons as the seventh dolphin is turned, but manages to keep control. However, he is now a good quarter lap behind Germanica and Anthropophagus; the red chariot crosses the finish line well ahead of the retching Lusitanus. Russata carries this match.
These are O. Pedanius Speratus and colleagues reporting for CLC (Catena Ludorum Curulium). Happy to meet you again and for the last time here, during the Romani, in the Circus Maximus. For this is the great day, the D-Dies, the Hora-H ! This is the finals today, and not any finals : this is 10th birthday Ludi Romani Circenses finals. So, whatever be the results of the race that we are going to watch, down in the spatia, both chariots have already entered our Circenses history, and the history of Rome. They are both russati, but we have an interesting duel between a southern rig, Germanica, an Australian chariot sponsored by D. Arminius Brutus and a northern rig, Incitatus, driven by Stolo, belonging to Ludus G. Petronius Dexter, Gaul. The second difference is that Anthropophagus, Germanica’s driver, is an experienced auriga, while Stolo is knowing his first entry in a central Nova Roma contest. He has never run in Rome, having just entered a few provincial races in Syria or in Asia minor, where he was born, in Ephesus. For a first time, it is yet a big entry, for this young 19 years old handsome boy would sure never have dreamt running in a finals, and a fortiori here, into the Circus Maximus.
Anthropophagus is better known. Stolo is not that small with its 6 Roman feet and 9 unciae, but Anthropophagus is much more impressing. But this impression is also due to Brutus’ driver reputation, that has been largely fed by his name. This is sure good advertising to have one’s champion well known and his team too. When he is questioned, D. Arminius Brutus thus never frankly denies the rumors about the fact that his driver would really be a Human-eater... Brrrr.... But anyway, he does know his job and he is today’s favorite.
All degrees, all cunei are full, I can see no place left. It is 5 pm and the sun is shining in its last course from soon just behind the western tower of the Circus. This is precisely the time when the consuls and the aedile will launch this last race, isn’t it, my dear Lucia Solaris Divina ?
— Yes, dear Oppi, it is. Our poor aedile Memmius Albucius still all alone...
— Is he still?
— Yes, he is! But with an good team !
— But did someone speak about any elections ? And how long...?
— Well... it seems to make months, now, yes, since April... yes, Marce ? Good afternoon, Marce ! Here has joined us Marcus Verus Paenula, that everybody knows well.
— Yes, good afternoon you all, and you Lucia and Oppi. No in fact, S. Lucilius Tutor has resigned his functions ante diem sixth before the Idus of May.
— [O.P.S.] Ah, well... - if I can say that - but the elections... ?
— Well it seemed that neither the consuls nor the tribunes have thought necessary to organize any elections to renew this second aedilis office.
— But this is law, no ? And another aedile office is vacant, too ? The plebeian one, it seems... ?
— Yes, you are right Oppi, on both points. Well, remember that we have already asked the consuls about this vacancy, and that they have just shrugged their large shoulders.
— [L.S.D.] So, apparently, no election forward ?
— [M.V.P.] I don’t think so, yes: for the annual elections are coming, in one month, six weeks perhaps, and sure that nobody among our highest magistrates seems willy disturbing his agenda, when things are rolling on for the aedilitas.
— [O.P.S.] And what about our aedile, Memmius ? What does he think about it ?
— [L.S.D.] Listen, Oppi, I have asked him the question after the Ludi opening ceremony, and he just shrugged the shoulders !
— Did he too ? !
— Yes, he just added that he was not in charge of deciding such an election, and that, from the moment the curule aedilician team kept on working since the end of december, he was stoïc enough to fulfill his office normally.
— [M.V.P.] Is he stoïc ?
— [O.P.S.] Well, this is another debate, Marce ! What were you going to say, cara Lucia, on the sun ?
— Just that we can know the hour thanks to the direction from which the sun shines. During Ludi Romani, the sun shines at 5 behind the western tower of the oppidum.
— Thanks for this useful precision, Divina. You are not usurpating your nomen ! The crowd is more excited, dear Quirites, for both chariots are now in the carceres. As for the semis, one is in a right-side box, and the other on a left-side one.
— [M.V.P.] Yes, Sperate, Germanica has been alloted by Dea Fortuna the sixth track, and Incitatus the seventh one. They will be released now in a few minutes, I think.
— [O.P.S.] So a few words on the rituals...
— [L.S.D.] Effectively, Pontifex Maximus Fl. Galerius Aurelianus has celebrated a ritual a little hour ago, in the « cavern », in this inner side of the secunda meta. The ritual has been dedicated to the Capitoline triad and to Consus, because of the coming of the autumn.
— Galerius has taken the auspices?
— In fact, Oppi, Consul Moravius, as consul maior presiding, on Memmius’ aedilis request, has. The Pontifex Maximus was there, beside him and Consul Iulius, Memmius standing also in the cella.
— The auspices have been taken before the ritual?
— Yes naturally, for if the auspices had been nefasti, the Finals should have been postponed.
— Uneasy decision to take, asking this whole crowd leaving the Circus with no race...
— Yes, but you well know, dear Oppi, that our Quirites understand well that we have all no interest defying the gods refusing to follow such warnings. We would not be Romans, either !
— Sure, dear Divina ! Here they are: the carceres gates have swung open, and the armentarii have kneeled down close towards the hermulae. I can hardly hear my own voice, such is the noise made by the crowd. Both chariots are prancing to the alba linea, but both drivers are retaining their horses, Marce...
— [M.V.P.] Yes, I think there are two reasons : first they obviously both want to make this particular moment as longest as possible. See them waving to the crowd, to Palatine’s one as to Aventine’s one. Just for this, the aedilis has been right scheduling the finals at 5, for the sun does not disturb the drivers in the opening, nor during the race.
— [O.P.S.] They look fresh...
— [M.V.P.] Yes, and in a way this is normal, for they seem having efficient teams... But on the other hand, they have already run a semi-final, and there are still a few traces left, after such efforts.
— And the other reason, Paenula?
— The second reason why they have reined their horses into this low pace is that both are afraid that their animals would draw them into the rope, and get both them and chariot ennmeshed in it. Fortunately, we have seen no rig entangled in the alba since the Ludi begun, but this is not really unusual.
— No, you are right..
— ..and so imagine, Oppi, that the race be already over before it starts ! Imagine the impression let by the poor driver ! In ten years, people would have carried on speaking of his dishonor !
— [O.P.S.] Yes, true... but happily everything is ok now. The moderatores have done their work. Both rigs were a bit nervous, and we can easily understand this. You get not many 10th birthday Romani Finals in your life. The horses are getting quiet, and we see now that both Anthropophagus and Stolo do not know anything more but the track, their horses and their race. The Roman world could crush around them, they would not see it !
— [L.S.D.] Yes, it is clear that they are in their race yet ! The lineatores are ready to put off the entrance lines strings. The hermulatores have just seized the white start rope at arm’s length... and are ready... They are looking up to the cella....
— [O.P.S.] Aedilis P. Memmius Albucius has given the mappa to the Consul maior, and here is M. Moravius Piscinus stepping forward, and holding the white signal aloft at arm’s lenght, showing it slowly to the Palatine tribune, to the oppidum triumphalis and to the Aventine. Mappa consulis manu decidit ! That’s done, Marce !
— [M.V.P.] The hermulatores let the alba funis fall. And...
— [L.S.D.] ... it’s gone ! !
[The crowd is shouting « Russati, russati !]
— [O.P.S.] The lineatores have folded their strings, and on the track, Germanica has decided not to let Incitatus angle at first place to the spina...
— [M.V.P.] Yes, first curve and Germanica ahead, at a serious pace. Apparently, Anthro does not want to rein down before a few laps. He swallowed the palatine spatium like an etesian Mare Nostrum wind, and here is the first egg gulped down.
— [L.S.D.] Incitatus is still well in this second lap and in Germanica’s track, in one length behind. The triumphalis curve... no problem for both... Anthropophagus has chosen a quite large, but steady quick path to turn around.
— [O.P.S.] Could not Incitatus take his chance in the curve ?
— [M.V.P.] Easier to tell it than to do it, Oppi... In fact, Anthropophagus’ tactics could well be to impulse the race a high pace...
— [L.S.D.] A very high, I would say : 3rd lap and look how Anthropophagus is re-boosting his rig in the straights.. the curve... ok..
— [M.V.P.] ... you’re right, Lucia... Stolo is coming back on Germanica in the Palatine straights, but Gaul horses seem to be close to their peak...
— [O.P.S.] The pompae curve is over and we are in the fourth, Stolo is coming back, but still Anthro in the turn, and putting some more wood in the boiler... Does Brutus’man look tired, Lucia?
— [L.S.D.] I would say he is not at all - eheu for Stolo - and, worse for the Gaul, he is controlling the race. We are now in the fifth... If Stolo wants to try something, it’s time now. Oh...! Germanica is heading to the outside before the turn... What happens !
— [M.V.P.] ... oh, incredible, this was a trap! Anthropophagus has let Stolo imagine that he had lapsed, and has just closed the door, just when Stolo was putting the head in the hole!
— [O.P.S.] Yes, incredible too that the young driver has not overturned! He has stepped in a glance on the edge of his basket and has bent backward, like an onager’s arm !
— Yes, incredible, you’re right ! Never in a four chariots race he could have risked such a figure. He would have been crushed by the chariot behind !
— [O.P.S.] But imagine how this move has pumped in his physical reserves...
— [L.S.D.] ... and made him loose time too!
— [O.P.S.] Sure, and now that the sixth lap is beginning, the situation is the same one: Germanica heading, Incitatus behind. Germanica does not weaken, and it seems that the last trick in the curve has rather, at least, put a doubt in Stolo’s mind, and at worst disturbed his horses.
— [L.S.D.] Indeed, he seems having a bit more difficulties to come on Anthropophagus’heels. Look, here, in the straights.
— [M.V.P.] The 6th egg has fallen and we are in the last lap. Frankly, I cannot see how Germanica, apart a big mistake, could loose.The last western curve is over, Stolo is speeding up, but is still in the worst position, and to overtake he will need a few additional strenghts..
— [L.S.D.] And Anthropohagus is holding tight... last curve... he hugs perfectly the spina... Germanica is in a great day... He’s surging out of the pompean as if it was the first turn, and Anthro is reining forward again.
— [O.P.S.] Stolo coming back, once again... It is time now, kid ! This is the final line, ahead ! Five... no three lengths to catch up... nearly two...
— [M.V.P.] He will not do it, Sperate.. he won’t....
— [L.S.D.] Germanica !
— [M.V.P.] Yes, Germanica has won ! Without any contest ! For the first time in these Ludi, young Gallus Stolo has lost, and let him forgive me, but this may be better for him and the briliant career he is promised to..
— [O.P.S.] Sure he is gifted, but has faced a very good and experienced Anthropophagus. Maybe Anthropophagus has found here the only tactics to defeat Stolo with the best probabilities. I am glad for this driver, for it shows our citizens that he is not necessarily what he looks like...
— [L.S.D.] You mean that he can think ?
— [O.P.S.] Yes, absolutely !
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— [O.P.S.] We are back here in Circus Maximus. You see now that the officials have come down on the track and stepped up on the top of the spina, in its center. People have left the praecinctiones, but the Circus remains 2/3 full. Lucius Fidelius Lusitanus, who has lost against the final winner is thus third of the Circenses 2761, and has joined today’s both heroes. I can see deceived Scorpianus in the Aventine podium, applauding, but 4th. Stolo seems a bit gloomy and haggard, but he leaves his elder stepping first and before him on the stand.
Here we are : Consul Moravius gives both his laurels crown and award to Anthropophagus who waves to the crowd, which gives him back a legitimate ovation. Germanica’s driver now respectfully applauds Stolo, who receives laurels and award from Consul Iulius. The crowd shouts «Stolo! Stolo!» and it seems that the Ephesian has lost a finals but won many female hearts, even in the Palatine aristocratic podium sections. Now the last cheerings are for Lusitanus, awarded and congratulated by aed. Memmius Albucius. The Brasilian owner, who has been courageous enough to drive himself, is clearly moved by his third place.
This is now time to leave you, Quirites ! Here were O. Pedanius Speratus, with colleagues Lucia Solaris Divina and Marcus Verus Paenula, all covering for CLC (Catena Ludorum Curulium), the 10th Birthday Ludi Romani Circenses Finals. Champion : Anthropophagus on Germanica, owner D. Arminius Brutus ; second Stolo, Incitatus, owner C. Petronius Dexter ; third L. Fidelius Lusitanus on his own Fulgur II, and let us not forget 4th Babientes led by Scorpianus, L. Rutilius Minervalis owner.
Russati are the incontestable winners of these special Games, Veneta behind and Albata third. Praesina, no entry, needs recovering soon !
For our provinces, first ex aequo Gallia and Brasilia with 20 points, third Australia with 12, fourth Mediatlantica with 7 points, and fifth Nova Britannia with five.
- Return to: Ludi Romani 2761 AUC (Nova Roma)