"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse": So ended Richard III's duel in William Shakespeare's tragedy by the same name, yet just as the play suggests, the horse can be a most tragic actor.
Indeed, spectator violence began with a horse.
Jan. 13, 532: It is a tense time in the Roman and Byzantine empires—divided along political lines and street gangs, the populace gathers at the ancient Hippodrome for a series of chariot races between four teams, the Blues, Reds, Greens and Whites, though the Blues and Greens were decidedly the Yankees and Red Sox of the sixth century.
In 531, several Blues and Greens fans were sentenced to death by hanging after committing multiple murders during a chariot race riot earlier that year.
Emperor Justinian I, an avid Blues fan, was watching the proceedings from a private palace box as spectators inside the Hippodrome began chanting "Nika"—meaning "Win!"—prior to completely abandoning the race in front of them and taking to attacking Justinian's palace.
In the end, 30,000 rioters were killed and several senators were exiled, establishing the sporting event as an opportunity and excuse for hooliganism.