Philip Astley ( born January 8, 1742 in Newcastle-under-Lyme/England; † January 27, 1814 in Paris) is the founder of the modern circus. Circus emerged from the horse training, so the circus people were often referred to in the 19th century " English horsemen."
Astley's father was a carpenter and was about to give his son the craft, but Philip preferred to work with horses. Therefore the age of 17 he went to the Dragoons ( Colonel Eliott 's Fifteenth Light Dragoon Regiment), there was corporal and did service in the French and Indian War in North America. He was a brilliant rider and had pleasure in inventing and rehearsing of art pieces.
In 1768 Philip Astley opened a riding school in London, just south of Westminster Bridge, where he taught in the morning and afternoon were screenings. He called his arena modeled after the Roman Circus Maximus "Circus". He chose the round shape because the audience was so best overlook what is happening and because they allowed the riders to ride in a circle, thus using the centrifugal forces for their art pieces, such as when they were on the back of her horse. After a few years he supplemented his " ring" with a platform seats and a roof. Astley 's Circus had a diameter of about 19 meters, later he changed it to about 13 meters, which has remained a standard for the ring at the circus until today originally.
Through his good reputation and his economic skill, he managed soon to expand. After a few seasons, he committed another dressage rider, an orchestra, a clown, jugglers and other performers. So he founded a circus company, as it is known today. To present predators in the circus but death became common only after Astley. What is not common today, but at Astley's programs often at the center and held the 19th century through, are the so-called Hippo dramas, a kind of mime with mostly historical actions. Frequently were battle scenes. The scenarios wrote the popular playwright Charles Dibdin. They had great influence on the melodrama of the 19th century.
1772 Astley was the French king Louis XV. invited to a presentation to Versailles. His theater Astley 's Amphitheatre, he opened in 1773 in London. After a fire in September 1794, he was replaced by Astley 's Royal Amphitheatre, in which the ring even came near a stage. Astley founded in 1782 and the first circus in Paris, which he called Amphitheatre Anglais. In the following years, he opened 18 other circuses in other European cities.