The Hippodrome


About the Site

When the Hadrianic project to expand the city over the south necropolis was abandoned, the western side of the Gerasa/Philadelphia road was free to build this hippodrome (which means "circus" in Latin). It is the smallest known hippodrome of the Roman Empire, and also the best preserved; particularly the arched carceres, which are the starting gates where the horses would be positioned.

Constructed during the second century AD, this structure served as a venue for horse racing. An inscription discovered at the western entrance of the Temple of Artemis commemorates the triumphs of athletes and horse breeders in diverse competitions

By the late 4th century the northern part of the hippodrome had been transformed into an amphitheater for gladiator fights and other sports, while the south part was abandoned and squatted by potters.

Between the 6th and 8th centuries this monument was used as a quarry, with materials taken to repair the city wall. At the same time, artisan dyers reused part of the ruins as workshops. 



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