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in the ancient world, a popular form of contest between small, two-wheeled vehicles drawn by two-, four-, or six-horse teams. The earliest account of a chariot race occurs in Homer's description of the funeral of Patroclus (Iliad, book xxiii). Such races were a prominent feature of the ancient Olympic Games and other games associated with Greek religious festivals. They were the main events of the Roman public games (ludi publici) that took place at the Circus Maximus.