Friday, May 13, 2011

Roman Chariot Races - A Dream

This is a dream I had many years ago, back when I was in High School.

The dream started with trumpets blaring. It was a Roman coliseum. The size of the arena was a little less wide than a football stadium, but square, so it’s a pretty big space. There was a hollywood production of chariot races from the 60′s, if you saw this, it is pretty close to the real thing. (Here’s a link to that segment the big difference is that the coliseum in my dream was open in the middle, and they’re driving 4 horses rather than 2)

I remember that things were not announced in the coliseum as they are today; the audience knew what was happening by what the trumpets did. So there would be different tunes for different parts of the event. There was an entrance tune and an exit tune, for example, and the performers in the arena would be synchronized to these.

There were both willing and unwilling participants in the arena. Some were prisoners, others were performers. The Arena was an opportunity for slaves and prisoners to earn a better life for themselves.
In my case I was a voluntary performer, and performed in chariot races with a group of women (I was a woman in this incarnation, with light brown hair). Each chariot had 2 horses. At the start of it, we would have a routine where we showed off for the crowd. Something I did was to get the chariot going, and then jump onto the bindings that tied the 2 horses together. Then I would jump onto one of the horse’s backs, stand on the horse’s back, and then jump back into the chariot. Another would drive the chariot by balancing on top of the front part of the chariot. Yet another would get the chariot going, turn the horses, cleat the reins, then jump out of the chariot, then jump back in when the horses came back around.

There were 3 teams competing that day, and each team had 2 chariots (for a total of 6 chariots), so you had a team member competing as well. The outfit would coordinate in some way, and you always competed with that team member. I recall red as my team color. I remember two of the team members were good friends – a woman from the black team with black hair, and a woman from the blue team with light-brown hair.
After doing our various stunts, the races started. The trumpets sounded and we were off! The woman from the black team was very competitive – even when she was first place she would try to do anything she could to stay in first place. If she wasn’t in first place, she would do everything she could to knock over the other chariots. The woman from the blue team was more about winning the race and was amiable, but was loyal to the woman on the black team. We were all around 24-27 years old.

On this particular day, the woman in black decided she was going to pick on me. She focused all her wrath on my chariot – she’d knock my chariot, run her chariot in front of my horses, and just harass the hell out of me. A few times around the corners I remember my chariot spinning out on one wheel, but I was able to kick the platform next to the elevated wheel to get it level again. When she came close to me, she’d hit me every chance she got to try and distract me. She did these things a few times to the other competitors, but the majority of it was focused on me.

Near the end of the race, despite her harassment, I managed to pull out in front. And then on the 2nd to last lap she managed to drive her chariot on the inside corner, causing my chariot to ride on one wheel – and then she hit the bottom of my chariot with her hand, causing it to flip over! The race ended, and she won. The trumpets sounded that the race was over. The girl in black got off her chariot and strutted out in the arena with her arms held high in victory. And as she did so, she gave me this big smirk and a glare that said, I’m the winner and you’re the loser! I BEAT you!!! The girl in blue was supportive of the girl in black, and gave her a pat on the back. I had nothing against this girl, but was wondering why she could support such a ruthless person. And I was thinking to myself about the woman on the black team – Jeeze, you won – why do you have to rub it in?

I was pretty pissed – like “WTF????” I remember limping so I must have broken my leg.
The postscript is that a few weeks ago, Laurinda sent me a photo of her, and I immediately recognized her eyes as the eyes of the girl in the black uniform. I looked at her eyes in the photo, and the whole face of the girl in Roman times popped into view. Even parts of the face were the same, but the girl in the dream had more angular features – a sharper chin, for example.

Initially it triggered my memory of all the intense, searing anger I felt, and then I realized – wow! This is really wonderful – I had that dream all those years ago so I could remember my past life knowing Laurinda! And having this experience confirmed that this past life dream was real – it was not just another dream!
And knowing this is worth its weight in gold.

I consider Laurinda to be a good friend in this lifetime, and it is all “water under the bridge” since we had our experience in Roman times for the specific purpose of remembering who we were in THIS lifetime. She did this back then so that I could REMEMBER.

Thank you, Laurinda – it is real a blessing to know you (and glad you’re on my team now!)!

Background info on chariot races...

I didn’t know any of this, but wow! Maybe what I thought was black was actually green…

The Chariot Riders

The charioteers wore leather helmets, knee pads and shin pads. Their coloured tunics with sleeves were called “vestis quadrigaria”. Mosaics show us that this was covered by a sort of corset of leather bands. Even their hair had a particular curly styling. They held the reigns in their left hand and a whip in the right. A curved knife was fastened over their backs or at their waist so that they could cut themselves free in the event of a crash. The horses would also be handsomely decorated and even their manes combed and possibly threaded with pearls.

The charioteers’ tunics were coloured according to their team. There were four major teams called “factiones”: the greens (“Prasini” ), the reds (“Russata” ), the whites (“Alba” or “Albata” ) and the sky/sea blues (“Veneti” or “Veneta” ). Roman writers suggest that the colours were inspired by the colours of the four seasons of the year.

The prasini were the most popular team and there was particular animosity between their supporters and those of the veneti. Suetonius tells us that emperor Domitian added two further teams, the gold and purple, but these teams didn’t last longer than his reign.

Women as gladiators

Another well known class of gladiators not to wear helmets were women. There were indeed female gladiators, although they seem only to have been used in order to further add to the variety of the games, rather than as a mainstay comparable to the male gladiators. And it was hence, in this role as an additional facet to the games, that they fought without helmets, to add feminine beauty to the slaughter of the circus.

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