Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
AURIGAE - Charioteers - those who drove the chariots at the games of the Circus, and contended for the prize in the races. It is the auriga whom we see, on coins, guiding so many bigae, trigae and quadrigae, under the guise of Jupiter, Victory, etc. or in the person of the Consul proceeding, or the Emperor triumphing. With regard to chariot racing on public occassions, at first, a Roman citizen disdained to exercise himself in such a competitorship; but afterwards, as corruption introduced itself into the manners of the people, persons of the first distinction, and some even of the Augusti, were not ashamed to practice the science of the whip. Nero and Domitian were passionately addicted to these sports; and the former frequently took a personal share in them. The vanity of Nero (according to Dio Cassius) led him to attempt to equal the Sun in charioteering; and accordingly, with truly ridiculous acclamations (see AVGVSTVS GERMANICVS), the populace greeted him as victor at all the Circus contests in which he took part, awarding him such titles as Caesar Apollo or Nero Apollo. Hence also, on a Corinthian coin of that conceited tyrant, we see the figure of the Sun (distinguished by the rays that adorn his head) standing in a quadriga, and holding a whip in his right hand. - Havercamp, in his dissertation on contorniate medals, furnishes many designs of charioteers, in the act of driving four horses, decorated with palm branches etc. - See Circus Maximus.