Circus is a Latin word. Its history is more than two thousand years old. Sporting activities in the Roman time saw the creation of the first circus. It was the creation of a stage where people would come and perform. It was built in a way that there were circular rows of seats with a larger space left in the inner row. This place in the innermost was to be used as the stage and those watching would sit around them on the seats. Rome had the first circus event. This event was known as the Circus Maximus. Its name is believed to have been given to it because of the vast capacity of spectators that it hosted. It held a sitting capacity of 250, 000 people at any one given time. It was the largest open air arena as per that time. It was used to hold many activities like horse riding, chariot races and musical festivals. The circuses were aimed at promoting acrobats and jugglers besides the main events. Because of this, they brought in acrobats and jugglers to perform when the main events were on a break. Many entertaining activities were used as opening entertainments.
In the mid of the 14th century, the Roman Empire was faced by some problems and fell. Circuses were a main identification of the Roman Empire and thus they were not seen any more after the collapse of the empire. People who used to stage the circuses however organized themselves into small groups. They practiced and started staging shows from town to town. It was different in that they did not prepare places for people to sit. Instead, people could just stand in a circle and watch the performance.
Comeback of the Circuses
When Queen Elizabeth the first came into power, minstrels had gained so much popularity. It was, however, a subject of debate that they were a bother to the society. The Queen, therefore, authorized for the ban of the performances. They were only allowed to perform in chosen functions or at the designated places. This was like a move to cripple the circuses. The performances slowly died away until the year 1768. This was when the first moving but permanent circus was made. Philip Astley combined the idea of a permanent structure to hold a performance and one that could be moved. His idea was to create money and he would perform in one town then move his circus to a different town and stage another performance.