It is not known precisely when this hippo drome was entirely destroyed, but as there is no definite reference to any chariot race later than the reign of Isaac Angelus, who was dethroned in 1195, and as the place was sacked in 1203-04 it is probable that it did not survive the begin ning of the 13th century.
The Circus Maximus at Rome was for a i long time the only structure of its kind in the world, taking its form from the Greek hippo drome and furnishing the model for all later circi. In the Vallis Murcia, between the Pala tine and Aventine hills, wooden seats were first constructed by Tarquinius Priscus (Liv. 35); were frequently burned and rebuilt until the time of Julius Caesar, when the steps were con structed of stone and greatly improved. At that time it probably accommodated about 100, 000 people. After its destruction by fire in 31 B.C. Augustus completely restored it, making several magnificent additions. The upper tier of seats on the Aventine side was again de-. troyed by fire in 36 A.D, but Claudius not only restored these, but greatly enlarged the entire circus. These additions were supplemented by others made during the reigns of Trajan and Constantine until it was estimated that the circus held 385,000 spectators, while the (Notitia' places the possible number at 485,000.
The general plan of the Circus Maximus compared favorably with the Greek hippo dromes, the main difference being in the arena around which Caesar had constructed a moat 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep to prevent beasts from injuring the spectators, and in the width of the arena as before stated. Before the reign of Augustus the circus was used for gladi atorial fights with wild beasts and other forms of butchery, but after the erection of the amphitheatre of Statilius Taurus the circus was no longer used for such purposes. The popu larity of this as of the Greek hippodrome also declined and it gradually decayed, now only a few of the remains standing.
The term hippodrome has also been applied to race tracks in England and on the continent, the most famous of these so-called hippodromes being those at Vincennes, Longchamps, Chan tilly in France, Newmarket and Epsom in England, and Curragh in Ireland. The modern hippodrome, or indoor circus, had its beginning in Paris, where the first was constructed in 1845. It was built entirely of wood, the arena was 108 metres long and 104 wide, and it had a seating capacity of 15,000 persons. This was destroyed in 1870 by fire. The word hippodrome was first utilized in this country when Franconi conducted a circus at 23d street and Fifth avenue, New York.
The first hippodrome of the accepted type to be built in America was the New York Hippo drome, which occupies an entire block on Sixth avenue, between 43d and 44th streets. This structure was begun on 1 July 1904 and finished in five months, the opening performance occur ring 12 April 1905. The main façade has a length of 200 feet, and the buildings extends 240 feet east on 43d and 44th streets. It is built of brick, marble and steel, and rises to a height of 72 feet on Sixth avenue, and 110 feet in the rear, the total cost being $1,750,000. It is the largest playhouse in the world, having a seating capacity of 5,200.
In the interior decorations the general scheme of coloring is a Roman red as a back ground, with all the structural features done in ivory, gold and silver. The carpetings are of the same color, and the wall hangings, draperies and upholstery are executed in a Roman red velvet enriched with heavy gold and silver em broidery and tassels.
The auditorium is about 160 feet long and 160 feet wide in the first story, and the balcony and gallery occupy the building in front of the stage above the first story. At the rear of the balcony is the mezzanine floor, below the rear seats of the balcony being the wide segmental promenade with main entrances and flights of shallow stairs at each end leading to the street Behind the promenade the space, 20 to 50 feet wide and 200 feet long, is occupied by smoking rooms, parlors, waiting rooms and cloak rooms. The promenade and lobbies are finished in mar ble and czen-stone, relieved by rich illumina tions of the ornamented parts in gold and silver. A special feature of the auditorium is the ar rangement and construction of cages for ani mals of i the feline kind. Their dens are ar ranged n a segmental curve in the promenade floor and have plate glass fronts with iron bars behind.
The chief point of interest in the hippo drome centres in the stage and the entirely novel mechanical arrangements for operating the movable platforms, filling and emptying the tank, raising and lowering the stage and hand ling the scenery. The depth of the stage from the extreme front to the back wall is 110 feet, or 50 feet from the back wall to the proscenium opening and 60 feet from the arch to the front of the stage. This latter part of the stage lying forward of the proscenium arch is known as the °apron.° It is large enough to contain two regulation circus rings, each 42 feet in dia meter. Beneath the °apron) is built a huge steel and concrete tank, over 14 feet in depth and large enough for the whole to sink within it. When aquatic performances or naval pageants are given the tank is filled with water and the movable capron) is submerged below the water to the bottom of the tank.
Bibliography.— (Pausanias) (v. 15 * 4; v. 120 d) 7 foil.). From results of excava tions the best descriptions of the old hippo dromes of the world may be had in the fol lowing: Curtius, 'Olympia> (Berlin 1852); Gardiner, E. H., 'Greek Athletic Sports and Festivals' (London 1910), and the article •Hippidromos,* in Daremherg and Saglio 'Dic tionnaire des antiquites) (Paris 1897) ; Gros venor, 'Hippodrome of Constantinople' (Lon don 1889); Lehndorf, 'Hippodromos' (Berlin 1876) ; Pollack, I Hippodromica) (Leipzig 1890); Smith, W., 'Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities> (3d ed., London 1890); Wernicke and SchOne, in Jahrbuch des arch eologischen Instituts (Berlin 1894). For de scriptions of chariot races consult Homer's 'Iliad,' and Livy, and "Lew' Wallace, 'Ben Hur' (New York 1880). Of the New York Hippodrome probably the best description is contained in the Scientific American (Vol. XCII, No. 12; 25 March 1905). For a study of the architectural features of the structures of those times consult Sturgis, 'European Architecture' (New York 1896).