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HIPPODROMUS.

tlonal confusion created by the overthrow of some of them, would so frighten some of the horses as to make them unmanageable ; and this is expressly referred to by Homer (468)

at 8* Qrjp&rjo'aJ'j eirel fjiivos eXAa§€ &v{ji,6v.

Among the other disasters, to which the competi­tors were liable were the loss of the whip (384) ; the reins escaping from the hands (465) ; the breaking of the pole (392) ; the light chariot being overturned, or the driver thrown out of it, through the roughness of the ground, or by neglecting to balance the body properly in turning the goal (368, 369, 417—425, 335) ; and the being compelled to give way to a bolder driver, for fear of a colli­sion (426 — 437) ; but it was considered foul play to take such an advantage (439 — 441, 566 — 611). These and similar disasters were no doubt frequent, and, in accordance with the religious character of the games, they were ascribed to the intervention

609

HIPPODROMUS.

of the deities, Whom the sufferer had neglected to propitiate (383—393, 546, 547). The prizes, as in the other Homeric games, were of substantial value, and one for each competitor (262—270). The charioteer accused of foul play was required to lay his hand upon his horses, and to swear by Poseidon, the patron deity of the race, that he was guiltless (581—585).

This description may be illustrated by the fol­lowing engraving from an antique Greek vase ; in which we see the goal as a mere stone post, with a fillet wound round it: the form of the chariots are well shown, and the attitude of the drivers ; each has four horses, as in the earliest Olympic chariot race ; and the vividness of the representa­tion is increased by the introduction of the incident of a horse having got loose from the first chariot, the driver of which strives to retain his place with the other. (Panofka,1 Bilder Antiken Lebens, pi. iii No. 10.)

For other representations of the race and its disasters, see circus, p. 285, currus, p. 379.

In no other writer, not even in Pindar, have we a description at once so vivid and so minute, of the Greek chariot race as this of Homer's ; but it may be safely assumed that, with a few points of difference, it will give us an equally good idea of a chariot race at Olympia or any other of the great games of later times. The chief points of differ­ence were the greater compactness of the course, in order that a large body of spectators might view the race with convenience, and the greater number of chariots. The first of these conditions involved the necessity of making the race consist of several double lengths of the course, instead of only one •

! the second required some arrangement by which, the chariots might start without confusion and on equal terms. It is now to be seen how these conditions were satisfied in the hippodrome at Olympia ; of which the only description we possess is in two passages of Pausanias (vi. 20, v. 15. § 4). Very different explanations have been proposed of some important points in those descriptions ; but, from want of space, and from a strong conviction of what the correct explanation is, we pass over the discussion, and give only the result of it, ac­cording to the view of Alexandre de la Borde, which is adopted by Hirt (Lelire d. Geb'dude, pp. 147—150), The following is the ground-plan, Hirt (pi. xx, fig. 8) has drawn out from the

description of Pausanias. A, B, the sides, C, the end of the hippodrome, with raised seats for the spectators (the dotted line D d is the axis of the figure), a. Place of honour for the magistrates and musicians ; 6, d. gateways ; D, the starting-place ; e, its apex ; /J g, its curved sides ; li^ z, &c., up to /, stations of the chariots, their directions con­verging towards the point E. F, G. the goals, or turning-posts j H, the spma ; p p, small intervals

between the spina and the goals ; <?, the winning line ; «z, dolphin used as a signal; n, altar, with eagle for signal ; o o o, portico of Agnamptus.

The general form of the hippodrome was an oblong, with a semicircular end, and with the right side, A, somewhat longer than the left, B, for a reason to be stated presently. The right side, A, was formed by an artificial mound; the left, B, by the natural slope of a hill. There were (besides

r R

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