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Today in history


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JANUARY 9

The first modern circus - 1768

On this day, British horse expert Philip Astley opens in London the first circus of the modern era. Riders, acrobats, clowns, tamed animals and other circus elements have been around since time immemorial, but only at the end of the century. XVIII is that the modern spectacle is born. Phili Astley found that galloping in a tight circle, centrifugal force allowed her to perform almost unthinkable acts on a horse's rump. His trick had such a positive response that he had to hire other artists, a clown and musicians and in 1770 built a roof over his arena. He called the structure "The Astley Amphitheater." Later, a competitor used the term "circus" to describe this new form of entertainment, referring to the Roman name for the circular theaters where chariot races were played (a kind of chariot). Soon circuses appeared all over Europe and during the nineteenth century gigantic awnings were set up in America. The last major addition to the circus spectacle was the trapeze, introduced in France in 1859.