The daily life of Roman citizens, at least in the big cities, was anything but dull. Assuming one could get away from one's civic duties and household chores, there were many activities available to distract and entertain. A trip to the baths was cheap and cheerful with the chance to catch up on the latest gossip with fellow bathers. The shops of the forum with their wares from around the Mediterranean world offered a busy and colourful spectacle even if one's purse was a little light. Rarer treats included gladiator battles and animal shows in the amphitheatre that most Roman towns possessed or if there were a circus, thrilling chariot races pulled in the crowds who often violently supported one team against another. Besides all that, there was theatre to watch, public executions to leer at and, perhaps best of all, the great religious feasts on public holidays, top amongst which was the role-reversal mayhem of Saturnalia.
In this collection, we look at all of the above and more - from the public venues to the sell-out performances, the street meals on offer, the private games, public parties and even the medical practitioners who were no doubt busy on the mornings after.
The chariots themselves were colour-coded (red, white, green and blue) and could be pulled by teams of 4, 6, 8 or 12 horses. Victorious charioteers not only became rich with large cash prizes but they also became the darlings of the crowd, particularly with those who had placed bets, which were sometimes huge.