How did the circus begin?
Circus Begining, The first circuses took place in ancient Rome in a huge arena called ‘the Circus Maximus’. They were quite different from the ones we know today.
The first circuses took place in ancient Rome in a huge arena called ‘the Circus Maximus’. They were quite different from the ones we know today. The main attraction was chariot races. Between the races, acrobats, tightrope walkers and horsemen entertained the crowds.
There were van shows held in England in the 18th century. Troops of acrobats and jugglers traveled from one town to another in vans, which they used as dressing rooms. They used to perform in the open at fairs and markets and after each performance the manager passed a hat to collect what money he could get.
In the late 18th century, the first United States circus was presented by Ricketts in Philadelphia and in New York City which was attended by George Washington as well.
In the early 19th century, many circuses began in the United States. They traveled across the country in wagons, and performed only in daytime as there was no way to light up the ring. Nine horses and seven men were considered a full troupe at that time.
About 1860, circuses began to resemble the kind we know today. Tents began to be used, candles on a frame around the center pole enabled them to give shows at night. The number of performers and animals increased, and fresh attractions were always being added. PT Barnum started to take circus around the country by rail and the modern circus was born!