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The hippodrome (Greek: ἱππόδρομος) was a stadium for horse racing and chariot racing. The name is derived from the Greek words "hippos (ἵππος; "horse") and "dromos" (δρόμος; "course"). The term is used in the French language and some others; hence, some present-day horse racing tracks are also called hippodromes, for example the Central Moscow Hippodrome.
The Greek hippodrome was similar to the Roman Circus, except that in the latter only four chariots ran at a time, whereas ten or more contended in the Greek games, so that the width was far greater, being about 400 ft (120 m)., the course being 600 to 700 ft (210 m). long. The hippodrome was not a "Roman amphitheatre" which was used for spectator sports, games and displays, or a Greek or Roman semi-circular theater used for theatrical performances.
The Greek hippodrome was usually set out on the slope of a hill, and the ground taken from one side served to form the embankment on the other side. One end of the hippodrome was semicircular, and the other end square with an extensive portico, in front of which, at a lower level, were the stalls for the horses and chariots. At both ends of the hippodrome there were posts (termai) that the chariots turned around. This was the most dangerous part of the track, and the Greeks put an altar to Taraxippus (disturber of horses) there to show the spot where many chariots wrecked.
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