"an extravagant partisanship of the Leek Green faction in the chariot races at the Circus"
The Circus Maximus, Rome
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe Circus Maximus, Rome - Credit: Greg O'Beirne


Chariot races were held at the Circus Maximus in Rome, an important form of public entertainment. There were, as Graves describes, four factions, and top charioteers, like modern footballers, could achieve fame and riches. One such charioteer, Gaius Appuleius Diocles, retired in the 2nd Century AD with a fortune of 36 million sesterces ($15 billion in today's terms), making him the best paid sportsman in history.