Circus of Maxentius, Spina

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Carole Raddato
published on 27 May 2024
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The Circus of Maxentius is the best-preserved Roman circus in Rome and is second only in size to the Circus Maximus. It lies outside the city, between the second and third milestones along the Appian Way (Via Appia). This circus was part of a large palace complex built by Emperor Maxentius between 306 and 312 CE. The track of the Circus of Maxentius was 503 metres (1650 ft) long and 79 metres (259 ft) wide. It had a capacity for 10,000 spectators.

The spina, the barrier running down the middle of the track, was exactly 1000 Roman feet (296 m / 571 ft) long and would have had many ornaments, including metae (cones) and obelisks. In the centre stood the Obelisk of Domitian, which Maxentius presumably moved from the Iseum Campense, the Temple of Isis on the Campus Martius in Rome. Pope Innocent X moved the obelisk to the Piazza Navona in Rome in 1650.

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About the Author

Carole Raddato
Carole maintains the popular ancient history photo-blog Following Hadrian, where she travels the world in the footsteps of emperor Hadrian.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Raddato, C. (2024, May 27). Circus of Maxentius, Spina. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Raddato, Carole. "Circus of Maxentius, Spina." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 27, 2024.

MLA Style

Raddato, Carole. "Circus of Maxentius, Spina." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 27 May 2024. Web. 18 Jul 2024.