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circus, i, m., = κίρκος [kindr. with κρίκος; Dor. κίρκος, and κορώνη; cf.: κυλινδέω, κυλλός, cirrus, curvus].

I. A circular line, circle, in astronomy (less freq. than circulus): quot luna circos annuo in cursu institit, Att. ap. Non. p. 20, 28: circus lacteus, the Milky Way, Macr. Somn. Scip. 1, 15, 2; cf.: candens circus, Lacteus hic notatur, Cic. Arat. 248 (492): illum incolunt locum ... erat autem is splendidissimo candore inter flammas circus elucens, id. Rep. 6, 16, 16 B. and K.: globus et circi zonaeque ac fulgida signa, Mart. Cap. 6, 583.—

II. Circus Maximus, and more freq. κατ̓ ἐξοχήν Circus, the oval circus built by Tarquinius Priscus between the Palatine and Aventine hills, which could contain more than one hundred thousand spectators. It was surrounded by galleries three stories high, and a canal called Euripus. Through its whole length, in the middle, a wall four feet high and about twelve broad was built, called spina, at the ends of which there were three columns upon one base (meta), around which the combatants were required to pass seven times before the prize was awarded. In the middle of the spina, Cæsar erected the obelisk, 132 feet high, brought from Egypt; cf. Dion. Hal. 3, 68; Dict. Antiq. p. 252 sqq.; Becker, Antiq. 1, p. 467 sq.—Passages with Circus Maximus, Varr. L. L. 5, 153 Müll.; id. R. R. 3, 13, 3; Cic. Verr. 2, 1, 59, 154; Vitr. 3, 3, 5; Liv. 1, 35, 8 sqq.; Ov. F. 2, 392; Plin. 30, 15, 24, 102; Suet. Ner. 25; 27; Gell. 5, 14, 5 al.Circus Magnus, Ov. F. 6, 477; Plin. 36, 9, 14, 71.—Most freq. only Circus, Enn. ap. Cic. Div. 1, 58, 132; Cic. Leg. 2, 15, 38; id. Mur. 34, 72 sq.; id. Phil. 2, 43, 110; Liv. 1, 36, 2; 42, 10, 5; Tac. H. 1, 4; Quint. 1, 6, 45; Suet. Caes. 39; id. Aug. 43; 74; id. Calig. 18 et saep.—In or around the Circus many jugglers and soothsayers, etc., stationed themselves; hence, Circus fallax, Hor. S. 1, 6, 113; Cic. Div. 1, 58, 132; Suet. Aug. 74: Circus clamosus, Mart. 10, 53, 1; cf. Juv. 3, 65. —Besides the Circus Maximus, there were at Rome still other Circi, among which the most celebrated was the Circus Flaminius in the ninth region, Varr. L. L. 5, 154; Cic. Att. 1, 14, 1; id. Planc. 23, 55; id. Sest. 14, 33; Liv. 27, 21, 1; 28, 11, 4; Plin. 34, 3, 7, 13; called only Circus, Ov. F. 6, 205; 6, 209; cf. Becker, Antiq. 1, p. 598; and the Circus Vaticanus, begun by Caligula and finished by Nero, Plin. 16, 40, 76, 201: in Vaticani Gai et Neronis principuus circo, id. 36, 11, 15, 74.—Also, without the walls of Rome, Circus maritimus, Liv. 9, 42, 11.—

B. Hence, Circensis, e, adj., pertaining to the Circus: ludi, the contesls in the Circus Maximus, also called ludi magni (Liv. 4, 27, 2; 5, 19, 6; 22, 9, 10 al.; cf. Baumg.Crus. ad Suet. Aug. 23), Cic. Verr. 2, 4, 15, 33; Suet. Ner. 7; 11: ludicrum, the same, Liv. 44, 9, 3.—Hence, Circensis pompa, Suet. Claud. 11.—Also absol.: Circenses, ium, m. (sc. ludi; cf. Neue, Formenl. 1, p. 458): edere, Suet. Caes. 39; id. Calig. 18: committere, id. Claud. 21: spectare, id. Aug. 45: Circensium die, id. Dom. 4: plebeii, prepared by the ediles annually in November, id. Tib. 26.—

2. Transf., any race-course, Verg. A. 5, 109; 5, 289; 5, 551; Sil. 16, 313; 16, 323; Stat. Th. 6, 247.—

b. Meton., the spectators in the circus, Sil. 16, 535.