The Roman circus (from the Latin word that means "circle") was a large open-air venue used for public events in the ancient Roman Empire. The circuses were similar to the ancient Greek hippodromes, although circuses served varying purposes and differed in design and construction. Along with theatres, amphitheatres, and the much similar but smaller stadiums, circuses were one of the main entertainment sites of the time. Circuses were venues for chariot races, horse races, gladiatorial combat, and performances that commemorated important events of the empire were performed there.
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According to Edward Gibbon, in Chapter XXXI of his work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Roman people, at the start of the 5th century: