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stadium
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek stadion
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: In classical Greece, a long narrow track for foot-races and other athletic events. It most often is exactly one "stadium" or 600 feet (180 meters) long a Greek measure equaling 1/8 of a Roman mile. It is an open-air construction with seating probably on raised embankments along the two sides and around the turning end. The Greek stadion is the ancestor of the Roman circus. Surviving examples are at Olympia Delphi Epidauros Athens and Isthmia. Sometimes they were connected with major sanctuaries where athletic games took place but were also part of the public buildings for a Greek city. The first Greek stadiums were in the shape of a horseshoe. They were sometimes cut into the side of a hill as at Thebes Epidaurus and Olympia site of the Olympic Games begun there in the 8th century BC. The Greeks also built hippodrome stadiums similar in layout but broad enough to accommodate four-horse chariot races.

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