A chariot is a small two wheeled cart pulled by horses. The ancient Romans loved racing. They loved racing anything, so of course they loved chariot races. In the early days of Rome, young men would get into chariot races all over Rome. This was very dangerous, not only for the racers but also for the people who might be out walking.
To end this practice, the Romans built a place to race chariots. This was called the Circus Maximus. The Circus Maximus was built during the 6th century BCE. It was originally built out of wood, but after burning down a couple of times, the Romans rebuilt it using concrete and marble.
In the Circus Maximus, attendance was free. Anyone could attend. Men, women, children, even slaves were allowed to watch. Almost 250,000 people could be seated in the Circus Maximus.
The Circus Maximus was not the only place to race chariots in the Roman Empire, but it was the biggest and best. The Romans could even fill it with water and have boat races or fights inside it. It was considered a great honor and the height of chariot racing if you were able to race your chariot in the Circus Maximus, instead of one of the smaller circuses (race tracks) that were built all over the Roman Empire. Only the best raced in the Circus Maximus.