Heroes of the hippodrome

The fleet battle chariot was also available as a sports model. It had room enough only for the driver, was light, maneuverable, and had small wheels that substantially lowered the center of gravity. This vehicle hugged the road, a special advantage when negotiating curves. 

The first wagon races in history were probably held in the 13th century B.C. at Mycenaean funeral ceremonies. They served to honor the deceased, who had been prominent men in their lifetimes. From 680 B.C. on wagon races were also included in the program of the Olympic Games and enjoyed universal popularity. Because the victory was won by the owner of the team rather than by the driver, it was possible for women to win Olympic medals in ancient Greece, even though they were forbidden to participate themselves. In this way Spartan princess Kynisca had the distinction of being the first Greek woman to enter the annals of the Olympic Games.


Photo: Poniol