Friday, 12 February 2016
Ben Hur - went fast, turned left
I'm lucky enough to ride past the Circus Maximus in Rome most days*. While it's little more now than a giant earthwork, the layout of what was Rome's biggest and oldest chariot racing track is still clear. There was seating for 150,000 spectators around the three-quarter-mile track, with its long, fast straights and notoriously tight bends.
Chariots raced anti-clockwise with horses harnessed four abreast and the laps were counted down by huge, gilded tilting dolphins - of course. This clip from Ben Hur strikes me as being, in many ways, pretty authentic, for a Hollywood product. Ah, what it would have been to be in the stands with a bag of wolf's nipple chips and a skin of rough plonk. MP
*Perhaps I should explain. While Sideburn is based in England, our deputy editor, Mick, lives in the Italian capital. GI