Ludi Matutini 2761 AUC (Nova Roma)/Ludi Circenses/Semi-Finals

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Ludi Circenses Semi-Finals of the Ludi Matutini 2761 a.U.c.


Contents

2:00 PM ~ Live at the Races

Salvete and Good Afternoon Race Fans!

This is M. Verus Paenula with the Aedilician Network REPORTING LIVE and we are back at the Circus Maximus for second day of racing and the Circenses Semi-Finals Races of the Ludi Matutini, dedicated today to the Gods Sol and Mithras.

The weather in Rome today is currently 79°F (26°C) with scattered clouds. We may see some rain, but that will not stop this crowd!

As the spectators gather for the races, everyone is preparing for the opening ceremony. As the processional gathers to assemble, dozens of small children are gathering together and forming up in the front of the processional. This assembly will be leading the processional march into the circus for the opening of the Semi-Finals races.

Vendors are everywhere offering their goods and wares. One vendor is offering specially-made sun dials, cast in bronze from Vulcan’s Forge in Sicily. I cannot believe people are falling for that one, but they are! If it were actually cast in Vulcan’s Forge, does anyone in their right mind think that there would be hundreds of them and that Vulcan himself would actually do business with such a seemingly questionable merchant? Of course, he is set up next to the guy selling those factio-colored statues of Vesta yesterday . . . which, by the way, he is offering them today at half price . . . hmmm . . .

Today’s Semi-Finals will consist of three races. The teams are a mix of old and new and should prove to be an exciting venue for this afternoon. Let us now make our way onto the terraces inside for the opening processional.


2:15 PM ~ Opening Processional

Making our way through the crowds, it is evident that if you are not a Russata fan, then you are here to blast the Factio Russata for dominating the races yesterday . . . four out of six wins! Since the Blues have no entries in today’s races, the Veneta fans have grouped together with the Whites on the terraces to provide an equal chance, should a melee with the Reds occur . . . one never knows at these type of events! Praesina, with the other two wins yesterday, is glad to have Veneta concentrating on the Reds and not them as they traditionally do. Grass cutters . . . what a name! As we make our way to our designated coverage area on the platform, we hear the tubacins sounding the beginning of the opening processional.

As the processional enters the Circus and proceeds through the Porta Pompae and down the lanes, we see that the processional is being led by dozens of children with their parents. The boys are dressed in red tunics, representing the military popularity with Mithras, and the girls are dressed in yellow tunics, representing the sun for Sol. The children are carrying small statues of Sol and Mithras. They are followed by members of Legio XXIII, who have to stop and warn heckling spectators that the red tunics are not Russata, but in honor of Mithras. As they progress, soldiers break off individually from the marching formation upon reaching their appointed posts along the outer track wall. Next come the entertainment troupes, which will perform for the crowds during the intermissions between the races. After them come the Curule Aedile Memmius, Quaestor Hortensia and the aedician staff and attendants, followed by the Plebian Aedile and his staff and attendants, then the Praetors, their Quaestors, staff and attendants, then the Censors and the censorial staff, and lastly, the Consules, their lictors, consular staff and attendants.

As the processional makes their way around the far meta posts, the tubacins sound again, and everyone’s eyes are on the Pompa Portae again.


2:30 PM ~ Entrance of the Charioteers

As the tubacins sound, the Charioteers and their teams enter the Circus through the Pompa Portae and begin their processional route around the spina presenting the victors from yesterday’s races. Everyone is standing and cheering loudly.

First comes the Editor of the Games, Quaestor L. Vitellius Triarius, and his two sons, Lucius the Younger and Quintus, driving his own chariot, Venetus Magnus, leading the procession. Lucius the Younger, dressed in a red tunic, is holding the Nova Roma vexillum, while Quintus is holding a military standard with statues of Sol and Mithras attached to the top platform and is waving at the crowds. The crowds cheer loudly and wave back!

Second comes Factio Albata. In the lead chariot, Vita Brevis, we can see Dominus factionis, Cn. Equitius Marinus, holding the brilliant white vexillum of the Whites alongside his driver Petronius Gnipho. Next comes Aoife of the Silures, driving the chariot, Biga Fortuna, also owned by Consular Marinus. Next is the chariot, Pilum, driven by Samicus and owned by Q. Cornelia Quadrata. The Albata fans are standing on their seats screaming for the Whites. The Russata fans poke fun at the Whites and tensions rise!

Third comes Factio Praesina. In the lead chariot, Velociraptor, we can see Domina Factionis, G. Aurelia Falco Silvana, holding the commanding green vexillum of the Greens alongside her driver, Spandex the Vandal. Next, comes Silvana’s second team, the chariot, Syntarsus, driven by Vindex. Next is Potentia, driven by Drusillus delle Gallie and owned by P. Constantinus Vetranio. The Greens are cheering wildly, but the Blues have not forgotten their primary rivals and again commence with unilaterally yelling “GRASS CUTTERS” at the Praesina chariots and fans!

Fourth, and the largest contingent of the races today, comes Factio Russata. The crowds erupt with shouts and yells. Soldiers of the XXIII watch the terraces cautiously and vigilantly for any eruption between Russata and Albata/Veneta fans. In the lead chariot, we see Dominus factionis, Cn. Cornelius Lentulus, holding the crisp red vexillum of the Reds, unwavering in the wind, alongside Crassus in his chariot, Aprilis. Dorothea was allegedly at home today recouperating from yesterday’s accident, and Lentulus’ chariot, Erinaceus, is at the Russata Stables undergoing a complete overhaul and refitting. Next comes Antropophagus, driving the chariot, Germanica, owned by D. Arminus Brutus. Following them is Poncianus, driving the chariot, Erebus, owned by Gaius Arminius Reccanellus. Trailing them is Amarach the optimistic Celt, driving the chariot, Taurus I, owned by P. Constantinus Placidus. Followed by Amadian, Amarach's brother, driving the chariot, Taurus II, also owned by P. Constantinus Placidus. Next is Ochoa, a Numidian slave, driving the chariot, Gloria Russata, also owned by Sextus Postumius Albus. Behind them is Attila driving the chariot, Cica, owned by T. Popillia Laenas. Again today, the sound at this point is deafening! The Reds are determined to win this series of races . . . and so far, it looks like they have a good start!

The processional makes their way around the spina and back to the carcers to prepare for the races. Quaestor M. Hortensia Maior and the aedilician staff brief the drivers on the rules of the races and confirm the race schedules with the teams and Circus officials.


2:45 PM ~ Opening Ceremony

With the preparations finalized, Quaestor Vitellius stands before the crowd with his wife, Tiberia Octavia, and their two sons, Lucius and Quintus, who are dressed for the occasion in honor of Mithras, and their daughter, Triaria, who is dressed in a yellow tunic in honor of Sol, honored today in the Ludi and for the blessing of these games. Ardavan of Fars, a guest Mystagogos of the Mithraic Mysteries from Persepolis in Persia, offers a ritus to Sol and Mithras, then Quaestor Vitellius looks to the Consules for the official signal to begin the races. The Consules approvingly nod. Quaestor Vitellius hands the mappa to son Lucius the Younger, who smiles, holds up the mappa, waits, then yanks it down quickly . . . and the charioteers break!


3:00 PM ~ Semi-Finals Race I

As the mappa falls, the ropes are dropped and the chariots break the line in a fit of urgency. As the dust boils up into the air, gravel and sand are thrown onto the lower terraces as the chariots rush by. Germanica and Taurus I make an immediate mad dash for the spina wall and momentarily both are along the wall, running within inches of the spina. Pilum is running narrowly behind Taurus I, followed by Velociraptor trailing the rest. As the first dolphin turns, it is Germanica in the lead, followed by Taurus I. Pilum goes into the straight-a-way and is attempting to pass Taurus I, but with no luck. As the second dolphin turns down, Germanica and Taurus I are still traveling dangerously close the spina, while Pilum continues to attempt to push ahead. Velociraptor is traveling a safe distance behind Taurus I and Pilum. As the third dolphin is pulled down, Germanica continues the lead, but Taurus I is pushing his team hard to get out of danger as his team apparently is being slowed by Germanica, but he is blocked in by Pilum! Amarach the Celt is yelling something at Samicus, which obviously has angered the driver of Pilum! As the fourth dolphin is turned down, the teams maintain their consistency and now begin to concentrate on the finish line. As the fifth dolphin us turned, the three charioteers, massed together, continue down the lanes and are generating a tremendous amount of dust, due to their close proximity. Taurus I amd Pilum are still exchanging words as they enter the second turn. Coming out of the second turn, Pilum sees what he believes is an opportunity and attempts to force his way in between Taurus I and Germanica. OHHHHH! He made it in, but not before pushing his rival into the spina wall! Taurus I is in pieces! Now, Pilum has smacked the wall and Taurus I’s horses have run into the mess! Fans, it looks as though someone has dumped several wagon loads of chariot debris all over the track! Velociraptor had maintained his distance enough to divert his team safely around the crash, but is now significantly behind Germanica. As the sixth dolphin is turned, Germanica is a half lap ahead of Velociraptor. Now approaching the finish line, the teams fight down the straight-a-way for the lead position. As they cross, Germanica finishes in lead position, followed by Velociraptor. Medical teams have removed Amarach the Celt and Samicus and are cleaning up the track. Antropophagus makes a victory lap and the crowds cheer loudly, while D. Arminus Brutus celebrates wildly on the terraces with other members of Factio Russata!


Circus officials certify the results and present them to Quaestor Hortensia, who announces the following results:


  • 1st Place: Germanica, sponsored by D. Arminus Brutus +++
  • 2nd Place: Velociraptor, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana +++
  • 3rd Place: Taurus I, sponsored by Publius Constantinus Placidus (Accident)
  • 4th Place: Pilum, sponsored by Q. Cornelia Quadrata (Accident)

+++ qualified for Finals


The Celme Folk Group from the Provincia Hispania performs traditional Galician folk dancing as the Circus workers prep the track and make preparations for the next race.


3:15 PM ~ Semi-Finals Race II

Quaestor Vitellius hands the mappa to son Quintus, who smiles, holds up the mappa, waits, then throws it up into the air . . . and the charioteers break!

As the mappa falls, the ropes are dropped and the chariots break the line in a fit of urgency. As the dust boils up into the air, gravel and sand are thrown onto the lower terraces as the chariots rush by. Erebus and Potentia leap ahead in first and second positions, respectively. They both move to the inside of the track, against the spina wall. Vita Brevis and Gloria Russata are close behind, running their teams steady, beside each other. As the second dolphin turns, they continue on down the track in the same positions. As the third dolphin is turned, coming out of the curve, Vita Brevis accidentally bumps Erebus, and a fight breaks out in the stands between the Reds and the Whites, with several Veneta fans throwing in with the Albata fans! Soldiers immediate break into the melee and escort several of the fans out of the Circus. As the fourth dolphin is turned down, the teams maintain their consistency and now begin to concentrate on the finish line. Gloria Russata begins to speed up a bit, and is trying to gain the advantage over Vita Brevis. Now, Vita Brevis and Erebus are in a heat for second position. Drusillus delle Gallie looks back to verify the lead position and to analyze the competition. As the fifth dolphin is turned down . . . Wait! . . . Vita Brevis has overtaken Erebus in the turn, and Erebus pulls around Vita Brevis in an attempt to push back into place. Erebus makes a charge for Vita Brevis, but anticipating the move, Vita Brevis yanks his reins back, slowing his team, and Erebus overcompensating smashes into the spina wall in front of him! There is a huge cloud of dust, and Vita Brevis is still moving! He made it through the wreckage without any major complications! Although, someone has just pointed out to me that Vita Brevis’s left wheel is wobbling some. This could be a problem. Gloria Russata makes his way around the crash and speeds down the straight-a-way as the sixth dolphin is turned down. Around the curve and down the straight-a-way they go, with Vita Brevis’s wheel still wobbling. The medical and crash teams have removed most of the debris on the track but there is still part of the basket on the field. It is now too late to recover it, so the teams move immediately out of harm’s way from the oncoming chariots. As they make the turn, Vita Brevis drives over the chariot debris, bounces a couple of times, and . . . it looks like the bouncing corrected the wheel problem. Vita Brevis is now running smooth, and the Albata fans become hysterical in the stands as Petronius Gnipho waves and presses on ahead. Now approaching the finish line, the teams fight down the straight-a-way for the lead position. As they cross, Potentia finishes in lead position, followed by Vita Brevis, then Gloria Russata. Drusillus delle Gallie makes a victory lap and the crowds cheer loudly, while Publius Constantinus Vetranio celebrates wildly on the terraces with other members of Factio Praesina!


Circus officials certify the results and present them to Quaestor Hortensia, who announces the following results:


  • 1st Place: Potentia, sponsored by Publius Constantinus Vetranio +++
  • 2nd Place: Vita Brevis, sponsored by Gnaeus Equitius Marinus +++
  • 3rd Place: Gloria Russata, sponsored by Sextus Postumius Albus
  • 4th Place: Erebus, sponsored by Gaius Arminius Reccanellus (Accident)

+++ qualified for Finals


A musical troupe from Moldavia plays traditional folk music from their homeland in celebration of Moldavia recently being accepted into Provincia Dacia by the Senate as the Circus workers prep the track and make preparations for the next race.


3:30 PM ~ Semi-Finals Race III

Quaestor Vitellius hands the mappa to daughter Triaria, who smiles, holds up the mappa, waits, then waves it back and forth . . . and the charioteers break for a false start! Officials get the chariots stopped and backed up into the carcers for the restart. Triaria’s mother, Tiberia Octavia, whispers something to her, and Triaria holds the mappa up high . . . waits a moment . . . then lets the mappa fall . . . and the charioteers break again!

As the mappa falls, the ropes are dropped and the chariots break the line in a fit of urgency. As the dust boils up into the air, gravel and sand are thrown onto the lower terraces as the chariots rush by. Taurus II immediately takes the lead and drives right along the spina wall. Syntarsus and Cica hurry down the straight-a-way, side by side, as if their chariots were on fire. Biga Fortuna maintains a close lead behind Syntarsus and Cica. As the second dolphin is pulled down, Biga Fortuna manages to pass Cica and is running with Syntarsus. Cica speeds up in the straight-a-way, narrowing the lead of Biga Fortuna. They make the turn and the third dolphin comes down. Back on the straight-a-way, Syntarsus and Biga Fortuna are side by side, and Syntarsus speeds up, overtaking Biga Fortuna in the turn. Taurus II is driving his team even harder down the spina wall. As the fourth dolphin is turned down, the teams maintain their consistency and now begin to concentrate on the finish line. With only three more laps to go, Cica makes his move on the straight-a-way and overtakes Biga Fortuna! Now, it’s Taurus II in lead position, followed by Syntarsus, Cica, then Biga Fortuna. As the fifth dolphin is turned down, Taurus II continues the lead, driving his team even harder! Is Amadian gone mad! Those horses can’t take it . . . or can they? Down the straight-a-way, Cica makes an attempt at Syntarsus but cannot pull it off before they all reach the curve. Through the curve, Amadian’s team is beginning to slow a bit. This allows Syntarsus to pull ahead in the straight-a-way, and Cica to gain a position directly beside Taurus II, with Biga Fortuna hot on their tails! Now, the sixth dolphin comes down. Pressing ahead it Syntarsus, now in the lead, Cica and Taurus II side by side, and Biga Fortuna trailing. Coming to the first curve, Taurus II’s horses buck . . . they have had enough . . . now Cica pulls ahead of Taurus II, who is now running beside Biga Fortuna in a dead even position. Back down the straigt-a-way, it is Syntarsus and Cica, neck and neck. Then, Taurus II and Biga Fortuna, who are alternating back and forth for third position. And the final dolphin falls. Out of the turn, Syntarsus and Cica are running side by side, they run faster and faster, but both manage to keep up with the other. Into the first turn they go, and its Syntarsus, Cica, Biga Fortuna, and Taurus II. Down the back straight-a-way they go with Syntarsus and Cica fighting each other hard for first position. Each driver lashes the other, but when that proves ineffective they both begin to focus on the last curve. Meanwhile, Biga Fortuna has slowed some, maybe due to some kind of problem. We just don’t know. Biga Fortuna is still running fine, but Taurus II has just passed Biga Fortuna for a solid third position in the race at this point. Coming into the last curve, there is a pillar of dust in the turn. As the dust clears . . . Attila has just pulled Cica ahead of Syntarsus! Vindex is furious and jolts his team forward down the lanes, pulling up with Cica! Who will win this race? Now approaching the finish line, the teams fight down the straight-a-way for the lead position. As they cross, Cica finishes in lead position, followed by Syntarsus, Taurus II, then Biga Fortuna. Attila makes a victory lap and the crowds cheer loudly, while T. Popillia Laenas celebrates wildly on the terraces with other members of Factio Russata!


Circus officials certify the results and present them to Quaestor Hortensia, who announces the following results:


  • 1st Place: Cica, sponsored by Tita Popillia Laenas +++
  • 2nd Place: Syntarsus, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana +++
  • 3rd Place: Taurus II, sponsored by Publius Constantinus Placidus
  • 4th Place: Biga Fortuna, sponsored by Gnaeus Equitius Marinus

+++ qualified for Finals


3:45 PM ~ Closing Ceremony

As the races come to a close, the Editor of the Games, Quaestor Triarius and his children present victory coronas and bags of gold denarii to each of the victors in today’s races. The Consules present small statues of Mithras to Lucius and Quintus and a small statue of Sol to Triaria for their participation in today’s events. Quaestor Vitellius announces to the departing crowd that gates will be open tomorrow at 12:00 Noon for those who wish to get a top-rated seat at tomorrow’s grand finale, the Finals Races, which will begin at 3:00 PM. Everyone is making their way out of the Circus to participate in the various celebrations and festivities around the eternal city. There is also a special banquet being held on the Trigarium grounds for the members of the Factios, scheduled to begin at dusk each day. No doubt, the celebrations will last into the early morning hours! However, the Vigils are prepared for whatever problems may occur.


This is M. Verus Paenula of the Aedilician Network, signing off from the Circus Maximus and we will see you here again tomorrow for the Finals chariot races of the Ludi Matutini!


Di vos incolumes custodiant!




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