Lapham’s Quarterly

Rooting for the laundry, 109 A.D.

It does the more surprise me therefore that so many thousand people should be possessed with the childish passion of desiring so often to see a parcel of horses gallop and men standing upright in their chariots. If indeed it were the swiftness of the horses or the skill of the men that attracted them, there might be some pretense of reason for it. But it is the dress they like, it is the dress that takes their fancy. And if, in the midst of the course and contest, the different parties were to change colors, their different partisans would change sides and instantly desert the very same men and horses whom just before they were eagerly following with their eyes, as far as they could see, and shouting out their names with all their might. Such mighty charms, such wondrous power reside in the color of a paltry tunic!

Pliny the Younger, around 109 A.D.

Seinfeld said it better, but he didn’t say it first. Interesting thought: what if the Red Sox and Yankees players exchanged uniforms one day?

More about the chariot races of ancient Rome here.

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