Horse sports and especially horse racing were popular in the Greek world. In ancient Greece, the horse was a status symbol, owned by the elite as an indication of their wealth and prestige. Horses were paraded in processions, used in battle, and entered in athletic contests.
Evidence shows that chariot racing appeared in the late eighth century. Equestrianism was a symbol of aristocracy not only in ancient Greece but also in Roman Italy.
Mosaic of the Chariot of Neptune (IIIrd century) from a villa at Blibane north of Sousse.
Among the many forms of spectacles that were staged in Imperial Rome and its provinces, chariot racing is arguably the one most often represented in the visual arts, where it appears in public, domestic and funerary contexts.
The ancient Romans loved and valued horses very much, as evidenced by the entire Roman culture and art.
One of the most popular art forms in Roman history was mosaics.
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials, which fade hardly at all. They’re as brightly colored now as they were 2,000 years ago.
Roman, 3rd century. Winner of a chariot race. Madrid, Museo Arqueologico Nacional.
The Roman Empire carried this art form from Greece throughout Europe, where it appeared on walls, ceilings, and walkways, depicting everything from simple patterns to stories from everyday life and heroic myths.
Roman artwork, first half of the 3rd century CE. From the Villa dei Severi at Baccano, 16 miles from the Via Appia.
Blending art and home décor, Roman mosaics were commissioned to impress guests inside private homes and villas. Wealthy Romans chose themes to reflect their status: mythological stories would show off a man’s book learning, while scenes of horses or sports might highlight his sponsorship of public games.
Rare 2,000-Year-Old Roman Mosaic from Cyprus village of Akaki, about 14 miles from the capital Nicosia.