Circus

Circus

Planimetría y partes del complejo de culto imperial (J.F. MURILLO et alii, 2001)
Planimetry and parts of the imperial worship complex (J.F. MURILLO et al., 2001)

The circus of Colonia Patricia was built in the mid 1st century AD, in the eastern area of the city outside the walled perimeter, next to the Via Augusta. It was visually connected to the Temple situated in Claudio Marcelo Street, both separated thanks to an halfway terrace. These three elements constituted a colossal set design in the urban image of the caput Baeticae and for the imperial worship.

This spectacle building was large and occupied the central sector of the present Axerquía district. We know part of its foundations, specifically of its stands, under the current gardens of the Palacio de Orive. These grandstands, which could have had a capacity close to 15,000 spectators, surrounded the arena. This one was divided lengthwisely in two streets by the spina, around which the competitors ran.

Recreación tridimensional del complejo de culto imperial formado por templo, terraza intermedia y circo (AST)
Three-dimensional recreation of the imperial worship complex formed by temple, intermediate terrace and circus (AST)

The circus hosted chariot and horse races (ludi circenses). Bigae and four-horse chariots left the carceres, placed at one end of the circus, led by charioteers dressed in the colors of one of the four factiones at stake: pistrina (green), albata (white), rossata (red) and veneta (blue), strongly encouraged from the stands.

The winner was crowned with olive and left the circus through the Porta Triumphalis. The circus of Colonia Patricia was in use until the late second century AD when, for unknown reasons, it was quickly abandoned and dismantled. However, epigraphy lets us know about the celebration of new ludi circenses in Cordoba at the beginning of the 3rd century. Therefore, it is possible that a second stonework circus was built, not documented yet, or that temporary structures were used.


Bibliography

MORENO ALMENARA, M. (2004): “Arqueología. Nueva hipótesis sobre la ubicación del segundo circo de Corduba”, Arte, Arqueología e Historia, 11, pp. 55-60.

MURILLO REDONDO, J. F. et alii (2001): “El circo oriental de Colonia Patricia”, en T. NOGALES Y F. J. SÁNCHEZ-PALENCIA (coord.), El circo en Hispania romana, Madrid, pp. 57-74.

MURILLO REDONDO, J. F. et alii (2003), “El templo de la C/ Claudio Marcelo (Córdoba). Aproximación al foro provincial de la Bética”,Romula 2, Sevilla, pp. 53-88.

VAQUERIZO GIL, D. (2003): Guía Arqueológica de Córdoba, Córdoba.

VENTURA VILLANUEVA, A. (1997): “La recuperación de la Córdoba romana: los edificios de espectáculos” en Vivir las ciudades históricas. Coloquio Internacional sobre ciudades modernas superpuestas a las antiguas, 10 años de investigación, Badajoz, 33-54.

VENTURA VILLANUEVA, Á. (2004), “Edificios de espectáculos”, en X. DUPRÉ (Ed.), Las capitales provinciales de Hispania. 1. Córdoba, Colonia Patricia Corduba, Roma, pp. 63-79.