Turning Posts

quadriga rounding turning post

The Latin is metae. At both ends of the central barrier are high semicircular platforms topped with three tall conical pillars; drivers try to round these turns as tightly as possible without hitting them, as shown in this terracotta relief. Near these turning posts are lap counters, seven bronze dolphins at one end and seven wooden eggs at the other; one counter is lowered at the completion of each lap so that the charioteers and screaming fans can keep track of how many laps remain. The relief below shows the dolphins and a chariot about to round the far turning post:

chariot, dolphins, turning post

Barbara F. McManus