Directions: Fill in the blanks with the correct words from the
word bank above.
The modern circus was invented in England by Philip Astley (1742-1814),
a former Sergeant-Major turned showman. The son of a cabinet maker and
veneer cutter, Astley had served during the Seven-Year War (the French
and Indian War) in Colonel Eliott’s Fifteenth Light Dragoon Regiment,
where he displayed _____________ outstanding talent _____________ a horse
breaker and trainer.
Upon his discharge, Astley chose to imitate the trick-riders who exhibited
with increasing success all _____________ Europe. Jacob Bates, an English
equestrian based in the German States who performed as far as Russia (1764-65)
and America (1772-73), was the first of these new showmen to make his
mark. Bates' emulators, Price, _____________ Balp, Coningham, Faulkes,
“Old” Sampson, and many others, had become fixtures of London’s pleasure
gardens and inspired Philip Astley.
In 1768, Astley settled _____________ London and opened a riding-school
near Westminster Bridge, where he taught in the morning and performed
his “feats of horsemanship” _____________ the afternoon. The place featured
_____________ circular arena that Astley called circle, or circus, which
would later be known as the ring. The circus ring however was not Astley’s
invention; it had been devised earlier by trick-riders. Beside allowing
the _____________ to _____________ the riders in sight during their performance
(not an easy task when they dashed back and forth in open fields at full
gallop), the ring also proved ideal, through _____________ generating
of centrifugal force, in helping riders keep their balance while _____________
stood on the back of _____________ galloping _____________ _____________
original ring was about 62 feet in diameter. He eventually settled the
diameter at 42 feet, which has since become the international standard
for all circus rings.