Roman ludi circenses are well known, especially chariot-racing, which was extremely popular during the Roman Empire. In many aspects, this competition even foreshadows modern sport seen as show business (the Circus Maximus could accommodate about 150,000 spectators). One could not say the same thing about the athletic exercises of Roman citizens: the common view is that Romans had a negative attitude towards athletics, which were not regarded as useful and were sometimes considered as scandalous. But Roman citizens did, in fact, practise much sport, for instance in the Campus Martius in Rome, and in the palaestrae of public baths. They were particularly fond of ball-games and of swimming in very large cold pools.
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