'Ides Of March' Julius Caesar's Assassination Walking Tour

by Walter Muzzy, July 5, 2005 (original post)

Part 1: The Big Picture

I recently came across these versions (there are many :-) of the events which are very good: (sorry, broken link) and www.unrv.com/fall-republic/aftermath.php. The Roman Forum and historical sites associated with Julius Caesar have always fascinated me when I'm in Rome. Tourists (like myself :-) often bypass these unmarked major and minor sites, never knowing what transpired there over 2000 years ago. But we all have heard the story, either through history books, teachers, movies, TV or the Shakespearean play.

I'm not a very good writer and an even worse proofreader :-) . This was written in parts over time plus additions from my last trip and finding new links for dead ones. I repeat info sometimes (usually at locations) so if you do take this walk you don't have to go back and look for something I mentioned previously. Also I detail locations in case the Photo Links go dead someday. And I admit I do tend to go overboard in the directions to certain places, especially *The Tree* :-) . The actual site locations are accurate but as far as what was said or done, or the omens that happened...It's up to you to believe it or not :-) . All I have done is piece together what was written by ancient historians (Suetonius, Plutarch, Cassius Dio, etc) and info I've gotten from websites, history books, historical guidebooks, documentaries, etc. I have paraphrased some words and/or combined different versions or just chosen one version of who, what or where. Also a few educated guesses :-) . I have added a "(?)" here and there in the middle of a sentence when there's a doubt or another version says something differently. Again it's just a historical tourist walk of the sites and not a thesis :-) . I just tried to balance everything out to keep it very accurate plus entertaining and interesting. Also no matter how hard I try WebTv just keeps running my paragraphs together with no breaks...sorry.

[ASSASSINATION SITE LOCATION]

You will find many versions of exactly where Julius Caesar was murdered in the Senate building. And where the Senate building was actually located. Some misconceptions come from Shakespeare who places it on the Capitol (Capitoline Hill). While some even say it was in the Roman Forum's Senate Building (Curia Julia). But it was *definitely* in the Curia Pompey which is located outside these two areas about 750-850 m away and used as the Senate Building on that fateful day.

Another major misconception from Shakespeare although he has him entering the Senate building in his Play. He is sometimes shown in the theater to be murdered on the front steps of the Senate. More dramatic plus one less scene change, the Senate building and the steps are already there at least in the two local productions I have seen :-) . This is how many people first see the assassination and it becomes a fact sometimes in other later accounts. It's very common to read that Julius Caesar was killed on the steps of the Senate building. But it's a *fact* that Marc Antony (a strong and fearless man) was kept outside the Senate building on the steps by one of the conspirators in a contrived conversation, in order to separate him from Julius Caesar. Also to do this deed in front of the Roman people gathered outside the Senate building could be very dangerous. They could easily turn into a vengeful mob and kill all the conspirators (it wouldn't be the first or the last time :-) . And there is a better possibility for Caesar to escape although wounded into the mob or into the Senate building or to have others come to his aid. Better to have him out of sight and away from Antony and the mob.

And *where* would the 'Statue of Pompey' at whose base Caesar died at be located on the front steps???

Other accounts say and show the assassination on the floor of the Senate. Caesar enters the building and the Senators all rise in his honor. It would have been very disrespectful to stop and petition him while walking over to the podium and his seat of honor. He would also have 360° to escape, towards the front door or into the main body of Senators on his left and right for help. But mainly he would have *a lot* of ground to cover *while being stabbed* to get to the Statue of Pompey in the rear of the building. Plus he would be running into a dead-end and not towards help or escape. Caesar was a fearless man who has been surrounded and outnumbered before in combat. To give him the slightest advantage could be a foolish mistake even if it is a longshot. In the chaos of the attack, a few seconds, a few meters and the tides could quickly turn against the conspirators. But if they waited until he was seated on the podium, everything will be to their advantage.

Being on their feet while their prey is beneath them, they have the 'high ground'. And time to position themselves while waiting for the signal to attack. Caesar is now cornered, out of sight, distracted by the conspirator's petitions before him and far from Antony and the onlookers outside. Most historians modern and ancient (especially Suetonius) seem to agree he was seated when attacked.

The two best arguments are in my opinion:

The Statue of Pompey is right behind his chair on the podium. He has a stylus (a long pen, probably metal) in his hand with which he stabbed Casca in the arm after he struck the first blow. Caesar wouldn't be walking from his litter to his seat with a pen it his hand signing autographs, it's not a ballpoint pen :-) . It requires an inkpot and both these items would be brought to him when seated to sign petitions or decrees probably with a small table. A stylus is also used to write in wax tablets (paper is very expensive) which can be reused but not in this case.

So if Julius Caesar was attacked while seated and that's the rear section of the 'Curia Pompey' in the 'Area Sacra'. You can see the place where the podium, chair and Statue once were and the World's most famous political assassination took place over 2000 years ago!

Part 2: Caesar's Home

Located around the center of the Roman Forum area ruins is the Regia. Stand on the Via Sacra with the south side of the Regia before you. In front of you is the #27: Temple of Antoninus and Faustina and behind you is the House of the Vestal Virgins (Atrium Vestae) and the Temple of Vesta. ( Photos 1, photo 3, photo 4 ). Directly in front of you is the "Shrine of Mars", a room in the SW (left-bottom) corner of the Regia (all that remains is just the floor). ( Photo 8 ) It's a rectangular area made from stone blocks (some missing). It has a circular grassy mound on it (beneath this mound is a stone circle-2.53 m diameter), this was probably the altar (or hearth?) that held the "Sacred Spears of Mars".

It's the evening of March 14, 44 BC, a violent thunderstorm rages (?) that night. It's looked upon as an ill omen. Julius Caesar enters the "Shrine of Mars". In four days he leaves for war with Parthia (Iran and surrounding areas) but tomorrow after the Senate meeting his friend Marcus Aemilius Lepidus "Master of the Horse" (Commander of the Cavalry) will leave (?) for Parthia also. They will also dine together that night. It's written that while Julius Caesar was in the Shrine that night the "Sacred Spears" started to vibrate/rattle/move on their own. Legend has it that they only do this when something terrible is about to happen. It is not the first omen or warning Julius Caesar has received and it will not be his last! [I wonder if Julius Caesar was there with his friend Lepidus to ask the God Mars for his help/blessing in their upcoming war? Generals would go into the Shrine and rattle the Spears (for luck, blessing, prayer) before they would depart for war. Also I wonder if the violent thunderstorm recorded (?) that night was raging at that moment? Could the sonic boom from a nearby lightening strike have caused the Spears to vibrate? Was this omen just a myth? Or could it have actually happened? It's been said (?) that the Spears might have been *delicately* balanced somehow, like an ancient seismograph.] Now look to your right ( Photo 2 ) and you will see a small grove of trees that appear in the photos below.

Use the first of these photos which still works:

Look at the photo and identify the Temple of Romulus to the right of center, along the top edge. Right below that temple in the photo is the Via Sacra. Two of the photos show people standing on that road. But I'd like you to find the flat green rectangular modern roof just slightly below the Via Sacra in the photo. Its right edge is below the door to the Temple of Romulus, and its left edge is about half way to the #27: Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. There is a group of trees to the left of the modern roof. Imagine yourself + standing in that group of trees ***. OK, you can't actually enter that tree area but you can look into it and imagine yourself inside it. So here you are **+* looking to the right --> to that modern-roofed-over structure [x=x] and then past it to where you see the ruins end at a vertical wall || in the extreme right of the photo. # and T will be ruins I want you to focus on, between the three points you already know about (trees, modern roof, vertical wall section: **+*#--[x=x]T||

The remains are all brick but one thing stands out which isn't brick and that is a whiteish/gray travertine stylobate which is the # above. A stylobate is usually a stepped platform that columns sit upon ==o==o== . In this case the first step has a groove cut lengthwise in it, this is a rain channel/gutter allowing rain water to run-off. This means it was exposed to the outside elements. The second step is the actual stylobate and in this case it supported a vertical half-column as it has a base cut out of it for a vertical half-column. Like a P vs an ---o---. A half-column is one that is built into a wall, which projects from the wall by about half its diameter. This tells us that an actual half-column once butted against a wall that we know was exposed to the outside. Why? As it was only decorative and not functional? The most logical explanation for that, plus based on the remains' exact location that is in line with the covered structure (which I'll mention next), tells us that it was once one of two half-columns with likely some type of pediment on top that framed an impressive doorway into the Domus Publica. It would look something like this o.quizlet.com/8hiOsvc5WOdWwHOka6hnHQ_m.jpg. This stylobate dates to the dictator Sulla who lived in Julius Caesar's lifetime, Sulla almost had the teenage Julius Caesar killed who skipped the country and Vestals intervened on his behalf.

That modern roof covers the Domus' Impluvium, located in the Atrium of the Domus Publica. This was a grand entrance room of any Domus. It was actually an open courtyard with rooms on the side like bedrooms and dining rooms but on the opposite end from the entrance was the Tablinum which was where the head of the house would conduct business or meet with guests. Back to the Impluvium, there was a roof over this Atrium/courtyard that sloped downward with a rectangular opening in the center. This allowed rainwater to fall into the impluvium, so in effect a small sunken pond in the atrium's center. Below that was a cistern which stored this rain water but now with the aqueducts it was no longer needed and became more of a decorative feature in the atrium and could now even have a fountain filling it.

And beyond the Atrium was a room with a mosaic floor named the Tablinum. In a rich person's domus the father (head of the household) would store family records, have family statues/portraits or anything he wished to show-off to his guests. The effect was if you were socially beneath this person or wanted something, you enter the door, short corridor into beautiful large Atrium and at the opposite end you see the Master of the house awaiting you in the Tablinum. A view through the Atrium into the Tablinum would look something like this photo. In our case the Tablinum's back wall would be a semicircular apse. In the photo look for a partial section of a wall (vertical || in the photo) that marks the eastern limit of the Domus. In the photo it's to the right and past the intact roundish Temple of Romulus on the opposite side of the Via Sacra. The back of the Tablinum would have been at this wall.

Finally imagine rooms above and below that long narrow section in the photo (actually walking through it the rooms would be to the left and right). That is the known section of the Domus Publica with very likely some basement rooms (just across the street there you can see basement slave cells from a private Domus/house of the same era). And there was probably at least a second floor over this.

Now when Augustus gave the Vestals the Domus Publica (12 BC) they expanded their House all the way over to the right (the grassy area with the ponds in photo). So it's possible the right half of that section belonged to the Domus Publica or the Vestals perhaps just an open space like a garden? Anyway something was there and after the 12 BC fire the Vestals had that section along with the Domus Publica and expanded.

[VIEW FROM THE GROUND]

Now then, when you actually get your 'boots on the ground' things look quite different. Hop the fences to get a good look at things, as in this photo. www.photoroma.com/foto.php?City=rm&ID1=1127&ID2=0 shows the real view of the stylobate, with the Atrium behind it. To the left of that half-column in the stylobate was the main entrance used by Julius Caesar and others to enter his home. The remaining section would be the lower right side only but with a circular half-column base and larger wall blocks. Note that this half-column base is part of a wall block and there is also a wall block next to it. So to the left of that half-column base would be the doorway into the Domus which is in line with the atrium as it should be.

Then through this entrance and into the Atrium where under the modern roof you can see the atrium's impluvium and then past that (bring a shovel) you can dig up the Tablinum where Julius Caesar entertained guests and those on official business.

But perhaps it would be better to just visualize this behind the fence and avoid the legal bills and jail time :-) .

As you walk toward the east on the Via Sacra you can compare the view against these photos which were taken from that road.

So just remember when there to stand across the street from the #27: Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, with your back to that temple, then turn 45° to the left toward that group of trees. Walk around until you can find the travertine half-column stylobate beyond the fence. When you can best line up that stylobate # with the modern roofed structure [x=x] behind it #[x=x] and stop there. You're now looking through the front door of Caesar's home. Think of the others who have also walked through that door to visit Julius Caesar... Marc Antony, Brutus and a young boy visiting his great-uncle who will one day inherit his Empire as Julius Caesar's adopted son and heir. In my opinion the archaeological evidence is overwhelming and rock solid for this as the main entrance door location into the Domus Publica. So an impressive wall and with the front door # into a short corridor -- with a service room on each side, into the beautiful Atrium [x=x] under the modern roof, with the Impluvium = in the center, and then the fancy impressive [T]ablinum #--[x=x][T] . With bedrooms, a dining room, etc off both long sides of the Atrium and likely a second story at the least. This Stylobate dates to the time of the Julius Caesar as does the rest of this excavated House of the Pontifex Maximus. I'm convinced that it is the main entrance to the Domus Publica and the doorway used by Julius Caesar when he left home on the fateful morning of his assassination.

Part 3: The Morning

It's later in the evening, Julius Caesar and his friend Marcus Aemilius Lepidus have just finished dinner along with others (I've read (?) that *Decimus Brutus* was also there). Julius Caesar is catching up on some work (reading and signing things) while everyone else is engaged in after-dinner conversation. The topic of "What is the best death?" comes up, Julius Caesar quickly answers "A sudden one".

That night Julius Caesar and his wife go to sleep, it will not be restful! In the middle of the night the doors and windows in their bedroom(s) (or throughout their home) are blown open by a violent wind. That thunderstorm again? Julius Caesar has a dream (?) that he is flying above the clouds holding the hand of the God Jupiter. His wife has a nightmare, she dreams that the pinnacle (placed there by the Senate) atop their house falls and smashes on the ground and she weeps over the body of her murdered husband in her arms.

*Early Morning March 15, 44 BC*

It is the "Ides Of March". Julius Caesar is ill and his wife begs him not to go to the Senate meeting that day. She tells him of her dream. Julius Caesar is worried by her pleas, she is not an overly superstitious person. Later the priests report to him that they have made several (animal) sacrifices and found them to be inauspicious (unfavorable). [ill health, ill omens, Calpurnia's dream and pleas, and now these unfavorable sacrifices!] Julius Caesar hesitates for quite a while and finally decides to send Marc Antony to the Curia Pompey (about 1.4 km walking distance) to dismiss the Senate. But he doesn't, because of one man's words.

Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus (aka *Decimus Brutus* or Brutus Albinus) is also at the house that morning. He is not *that* Brutus :-) but he is his distant relative of his. He is a confidant, trusted ally and a close friend of Julius Caesar, and is actually in Julius Caesar's will as a second heir (more as an overseer of his decrees and not an actual money/property inheritor). He is also a major one of sixty or so conspirators. His life and the others, all depend on Julius Caesar going to that Senate meeting. If not, it's probably for certain that by sunset Julius Caesar will have gotten wind of their plot. The "cat is out of the bag" and the rumors have already started, they will not get a second chance.

*Decimus Brutus* tells Julius Caesar that *he* called this Senate meeting and it would be insulting to the Senators not to show. He scoffs and mocks the priests and their sacrifices. "Caesar shall we tell the Senate you will only meet them when your wife has better dreams?", "What will your enemies say?" "The Senate wants to give you the title of King/Rex (to be used *only* outside of Italy and only to fulfill a Sybil prophesy, Julius Caesar is "Dictator For Life" [Dictator Perpetuus] but the title *King* to the Romans is like the title *Dictator* to us) and will vote unanimously for you". Decimus Brutus takes Julius Caesar's hand and leads him towards the door. "At least, if you think this day is unfortunate, the decent thing to do is to go to the Senate meeting yourself and adjourn it in person".

Julius Caesar agrees and walks out his door to where his litter awaits. He will leave for the Senate meeting with a small entourage, including friends and conspirators but no bodyguards. (He had already disbanded his Spanish bodyguards, his friends urged him to bring them back into service, Julius Caesar refused.)

Even if Julius Caesar had heard rumors or thought of a possible conspiracy this would be typical of him. In battle when the tides were turning against him, he would send away his horse and his bodyguards and fight alongside his men. His bravery would rally his troops on to victory. Once the enemy's reinforcements arrived and he was now vastly outnumbered and surrounded. Any other commander probably would have dug-in or attempted a break out. Instead Julius Caesar split his troops and attacked both fronts, he won :-) .

Some claim this was just Julius Caesar's way of committing suicide due to ill/failing health, he could become a hero, become immortal and have his revenge! (www.forensic-psych.com/articles/artDeadMenTalking.php)

The Via Sacra is *mobbed* with people outside his home that morning, most are just onlookers, others to try and give him a petition for something they want or desire. But two people in the crowd have an urgent message for Julius Caesar but only one will get through. A servant sent by his master or mistress tries to get to Julius Caesar as he leaves his house but cannot get through the mob that surrounds him. He goes into Julius Caesar's house and begs Calpurnia to secure him until Julius Caesar returns because he has something of great importance to tell him.

A teacher of Greek logic named Artemidorus knows *Brutus* and his friends, he also knows their secret. He is in the crowd that day with a written message warning Julius Caesar of the conspiracy. He notices that Julius Caesar is handing all the petitions he receives to a servant to read later. Artemidorus pushes through the crowd and hands Julius Caesar his message. "Read this Caesar, alone, and quickly, for it contains a matter great importance which concerns *you*". Julius Caesar tries to read it several times but he keeps getting distracted by people wishing to speak to him along the way. It will still be in his hand and unread when he enters the Senate. It's also said that Artemidorus couldn't get through the crowd and give it to someone (stronger?) who could.

Part 4: The Route and Timeline

{The street "Clivus Argentarius" ( Photo 9 and photo 3 ) exits the Forum and provides direct access between the Forum and the Campus Martius where the Curia Pompey ( Photo 10 ) is located. It also *seems* to be the most logical and easiest route. And the only one we can actually take in modern times :-) . Go up the stairs behind the Arch of Septimius Severus and turn right walking towards the Church of Saints Luca and Martina you'll see the ancient 'Clivus Argentarius' on your left. Also visit the 'Carcer Tullianum' - 'Mamertine Prison' while you are up there. The only other logical choice is exiting by the street "Vicus Jugarius" (between the Basilica Julia and the Temple of Saturn) which would be longer and those area streets were probably a lot more crowded (busy commercial area with the Forum Holitorium (vegetable market), Tiber warehouses and slum apartments).

The Timeline is just a guess, it's recorded that he arrived at the Senate Meeting about 11:00 AM or that he left his home about 11:00 AM. Either way timekeeping in 44 BC wasn't that accurate :-) , it was just to the hour (the fourth, fifth etc hour). But what transpired that day probably happened say between 10:30 and noon.

Julius Caesar's litter and his entourage start down the Via Sacra passing between the Regia and the #27: Temple of Antoninus and Faustina ( Photo 1 ). He then passes an open area that's at the end of the Forum on his left. In three days it will be the location of his funeral pyre and in 15 years his Temple. [Also notice 'dead center in photo 1' what looks like a marble paved "speed bump" :-) on that other section of the Via Sacra (the Via Sacra splits before the Regia into a 'Y' and enters the Forum in the NE and SE corners). It's the scanty remains of the "Arch of Augustus" (Actium Arch). Built about the same time as the Temple of Julius Caesar, this triple arch celebrated the naval victory of Augustus over Marc Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC at Actium.]

From his litter as he crosses into the Forum he can see the Basilica Julia and the Curia Julia that he is having built. Also the new Rostra of Caesar that he had built in this new location at the other end of the Forum. A gold statue of himself glistens from atop the Rostra of Caesar. Julius Caesar's litter now leaves the Forum in the northwest corner on the "Clivus Argentarius", in ancient times somewhere to the west of the Lapis Niger.

Julius Caesar is about 56 years old, he has less than 30 minutes remaining in his life. And in about 3 - 4 hours he will be returning home along this same route. He will be in a litter carried by three slaves sent by Calpurnia to retrieve his body and bring it home. One bloodied hand hangs from the litter as it crosses the Forum, in the other hand he still clutches the warning note! Antistius removes it during the autopsy (Suetonius).

At this point you should be standing in front of the Curia Julia ( Photo 4 ). I'm writing this as walk so rather than leave the Forum to go to the assassination site about .9 km away, only to return to the Forum again. We will skip ahead about 1 hour and I will put the assassination at the end.

It's before noon and a large mob of people are marching back along this street to the Forum. Leading this procession are 6-8 Senators, their robes and hands are bloodied from stabbing Caesar 23 times. They are still clutching their daggers. Marcus Junius *Brutus* and Gaius *Cassius* Longinus (*x* these are the names I will use for them) the main conspirators lead the Senators, about 60 total were in on the plot. Along the way they were very confident and called to the people "Resume your liberty, Julius Caesar is dead". Some people for the glory, honor or fame decide to "hop-on this bandwagon" as it passed, even though they weren't in on the plot. It's a fatal mistake for many of them, Caius Octavius and Lentulus Spinther are two of them that history sadly records. The conspirators proudly march into the Forum, proclaiming the great deed they have done for Rome. They march up the Clivus Capitolinus and into the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill (easy to defend it's a hilltop fortress and there are others with them sympathizers, paid clientele and armed gladiators) where they spend that afternoon and night. (There are some Temple remains in the Palazzeo dei Conservatori which is built over this site, they can be seen through the skylights on the floor of the museum's outdoor cafeteria's patio on the second floor. Also the SE temple's corner is visible {just large foundation stones} on the Via del Tempio di Grove, it's below street level surrounded by a metal fence *right alongside* this same building).

[Walk through the Arch of Septimius Severus (203 AD - Photo 5 ) and turn left and stand behind the Rostra, face the Capitoline Hill. On your left is the Temple of Saturn, in front of this Temple and going past it on the right and uphill to the Capitoline Hill is the ancient street called the Clivus Capitolinus]. That afternoon Brutus came down to talk to the people in the Forum from the top steps of the Temple of Concord (?). He either gave a speech or he didn't due to an angry audience. If it was the latter, it was probably because the conspirator and Praetor named Cornelius *Cinna* might have gotten the crowd angry and stirred up with an anti-Julius Caesar speech earlier. The people respect Brutus *very* much. But they also love Julius Caesar and are angry and scared about what has occurred. All-in-all the Roman people are in the middle on this one. The deed is done, it's over with and hopefully let's just get along with our lives with no in-fighting, civil war or revenge...Just Peace!

Lepidus (Master of the Horse - Cavalry) starts to occupy the Forum and the city center that night to keep the peace, he possibly expects to assume power.

The following morning (16th) the Senate convenes. Both sides are heard, Lepidus wants justice and revenge against the assassins, Cicero and others want amnesty, Antony wants a compromise. A deal is struck. The conspirators will get amnesty and positions. Julius Caesar will be deified (made into a God) and they will approve and revoke none of Julius Caesar's acts and laws, including allowing his troops to keep their goods and money. This makes Lepidus lose his "ace-in-the-hole" over the troops under him (?), they thought and were probably told? they wouldn't receive it now that Julius Caesar was dead (Civil war to regain their own money - Yes. But just to put Lepidus in power - No). Marc Antony convinces him he must accept this and be quiet about it, it's a done deal.

That night (16th) over dinner the two opposing factions meet, there is still much negotiating (backroom deals :-) ) to be done before all this can be peacefully settled. Antony and Lepidus(?) send their sons (?) up to the Temple of Jupiter as hostages so that Brutus and Cassius can come down to the dinner negotiations without fear of retaliation against them.

Brutus dines with his relative Lepidus and Cassius with Antony. While eating Antony asks Cassius if he has a dagger on him, he answers "Yes and a large one, if you too desire to become a tyrant yourself".

Part 5: The Mob

The next day (17th) the Senate meets again to finalize the new and old deals that have been struck to maintain the peace. They are very thankful to Marc Antony for the compromise that avoided a civil war. Besides amnesty the conspirators will also receive positions (Brutus in Crete, Cassius in Africa, Decimus Brutus in Cisalpine Gaul). For Antony, all Julius Caesar's acts and laws will remain, he will be defied, his Will will be honored and read to the people (Antony has already read it, so he knows what it contains. I've often wondered if he had a plot of his own for justice and revenge, figuring the will reading would turn the tides against the conspirators?) and Julius Caesar will have a public funeral.

Everything seems to have gone very well for the conspirators but Brutus has made two fatal mistakes. Cassius and others want to kill Antony (and others?) along with Julius Caesar on the 15th but Brutus wouldn't agree to join the conspiracy (Brutus was the Kingpin they needed) if anyone else was killed besides Julius Caesar. Cassius opposed the public funeral and Will reading, but Brutus agreed to it. Tomorrow Brutus will see that Cassius was correct on both points!

The funeral is held in the Forum on the eighteenth (some say the twentieth). His body is then to be brought to the Campus Martius where a funeral pyre has been built near his family tomb. ( Photo 7 ) You are still behind the Rostra. All that remains of the *Original Julius Caesar Rostra* is the Curved Front, it's substructure (Augustus enlarged the Rostra outward years later) and those white marble slightly curved steps on the left. So if you look from the side of the Rostra you can see the Curved Front (with small sections of marble facing still attached, best seen from the Arch of Septimius Severus side) of the original Julius Caesar Rostra, roughly in the middle of the enlarged Rostra. *THAT* is where all these events took place. [Diagram penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/Rome/Forum_Romanum/_Texts/Huelsen*/2/5.html Fig. 30 It's the section above 'HEMICYCLIVM'] Friends, foes, conspirators?, allies and the common people all crowd into the Forum that day. Julius Caesar's coffin is a model of the Temple of Venus Genetrix (Universal Mother- who Julius Caesar's family claimed decent) which is located in the Forum of Caesar.

Up those stairs the bier (coffin) and Marc Antony ascend. I assume that like at any state funeral there were a lot of speeches :-) . But only one will have impact that changes the course of history. Julius Caesar's Will is read to the crowd.

He has actually named several of the conspirators as guardians to any son that he might father and Decimus Brutus (his friend who convinced him to go to the Senate meeting) as a heir in the second degree. The crowd has just heard that men who Julius Caesar had enough faith and confidence in to be named in his will, have also betrayed and murdered him! He has also left 300 Sesterces (about 3 months' pay, consider that many of them are 'On the Dole' - Welfare) to each Roman Citizen! Plus he leaves his gardens near the Tiber to all Roman Citizens to use as a public park!

The crowd is now on the verge of becoming an angry mob, all that is needed is just one spark to ignite them. Antony steps up to the edge of the Rostra of Caesar and addresses the crowd. He has written a eulogy for his friend, Julius Caesar. [Cassius Dio said it ended with these words (?)] "Of what avail, O Caesar, was your humanity, of what avail your inviolability, of what avail the laws? Nay, though you enacted many laws that men might not be killed by their personal foes, yet now mercilessly you yourself were slain by your Friends! And now, the victim of assassination, you lie dead in the Forum through which you often led the Triumph crowned; wounded to death, you have been cast down upon the Rostra of Caesar from which you often addressed the People. Woe for the blood-bespattered locks of gray, alas the rent (cut) robe, which you assumed (Julius Caesar wears a purple robe - the royal color), it seems, only that you might be slain in it!" Antony then grabs and holds up Caesar's blood-soaked robe to the crowd so they see the all the cuts made by the assassins knives. THE SPARK!!!

Now walk back the way you came, through the Arch, past the Curia and over to the Temple of Julius Caesar ( Photo 4 and photo 1 ). See the little entrance under the tin roof, walk into it. Protected by that roof are the remains of the concrete core of the Altar (usually a few flowers have been placed upon it), this marks the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated and the Temple was built from this point back. Legend says that the ashes from his pyre rest beneath this altar?

Go back outside and face the Rostra. That section on your 90° right and back to the Curia alongside that section of the Via Sacra you just walked along to the Basilica Aemilia (Emilia) located behind it, are the remains of the Portico of Gaius and Lucius Caesar and the Tabernae Novae, a two-story shopping mall :-) . It was built about 40 years after Julius Caesar's death. But in 44 BC that section contained a market place with different shops and they are about to have a very bad business day :-) . I have found nothing about whether or not any of the conspirators were at the Will reading and funeral that day. But if so, I'm certain that they decided to "get outta Dodge" rather quickly at this point :-) . Roman rulers were always cremated and/or buried outside of the city walls. Rumors while Julius Caesar was alive was that he wanted to be buried within the city walls like the Kings from the early Roman times. This would have really upset the Romans...King=Dictator but it would also be a great honor if they (the Mob) choose to do it themselves.

The crowd is now an angry Mob, some are calling for revenge and death to the conspirators! The Mob shouts that they should cremate the body either in the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill or the Curia Pompey where Julius Caesar was murdered.

Finally they decide to do it at the other end of the Forum in front of the Regia (this would be an very honorable spot). The shops are looted of tables, chairs and benches and they are piled high. The Mob takes possession of Julius Caesar's body and places it atop the pile and sets it afire. Some in the Mob throw in parts of their clothing, military awards, jewelry or other personal possessions. The fire is kept burning all night (Julius Caesar's bones will be picked out of the ashes the next day and buried in his family tomb).

A friend of Julius Caesar's named Helvius *Cinna* had a dream the night before that Julius Caesar had invited him to supper (or to go into a dark place) but when he refused Julius Caesar took him by the hand and forced him to go along with him. Helvius was ill (fever) that day and didn't go to the funeral. But when he heard that Julius Caesar was being cremated in the Forum he decided to go and honor his friend.

Someone in the Mob asked who he was (a rich/nobleman that probably looked out of place in the Mob?), someone said *Cinna* and someone said something to someone etc. The Mob now believes that the Praetor Cornelius *Cinna* (the conspirator who read the anti-Julius Caesar speech in the Forum on the 15th) is within their grasp. And poor Helvus is literally torn limb from limb. The Mob now has had it's first taste of blood! They grab firebrands from the pyre and march to Brutus and Cassius's houses to torch their homes and kill them, but they are repelled by their clients, slaves and freemen. Others will not be so lucky. Brutus and the conspirators with other allies and friends wisely choose to leave Rome.

Part 6a: Civil War

The civil war they all wished to avoid is about to begin. Within three years basically all of the 60 conspirators will be dead, along with many friends and allies. Brutus commits (assisted?) suicide with his own sword after being defeated in battle by Antony. Antony gives Brutus an honorable cremation and sends his ashes to his mother. Cassius uses the same dagger he stabbed Julius Caesar with to kill himself, as some of the other conspirators also did. Cicero is killed (he honorably accepted his fate and offered his neck to the sword) by Antony's troops while attempting to flee Italy. He wasn't an actual conspirator, they thought him an old man and a blabbermouth :-) but he was a confidant / friend of Brutus who sided with him. His head and hands are returned to Rome (per Antony's orders - they really hated one another) and displayed on the Rostra of Caesar, it's said that Antony's wife also placed a hatpin through his tongue.

The man who betrayed him is turned-over to a Roman noblewoman who after torturing him forces him to cut off his own flesh, roast it and then eat it.

Julius Caesar's great-nephew and adopted son Octavian (later called Augustus) becomes Ruler (but not officially until 31 BC) per Julius Caesar's Will and after a little spat :-) with Antony and Lepidus they form an alliance and as co-rulers they fight this civil war. But they do have a falling-out in the future and become enemies of Octavian/Augustus. And the civil war will actually end with Marc Antony and Cleopatra's naval defeat at Actium in September of 31 BC. Later Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide (not together like the moves show :-) , she had hoped to be able to also seduce Octavian but he wasn't interested). Lepidus loses his wealth and power but retains his life (in exile), he was made Pontifex Maximus after Julius Caesar's death and this saved him.

A few months before Julius Caesar death, settlers in Capua were demolishing some ancient tombs to make room for country estates. One of the tombs was that of the Capys the founders of Capua. They found a bronze tablet written in Greek saying "Whenever the bones of Capys shall be moved, it will come to pass that a son on llium shall be slain at the hands of his kindred, and presently avenged at heavy cost to Italia". Cornelius Balbus a friend of Julius Caesar vouched for this event. The following late-July (or years later) which is the month Julius Caesar named after his family name (Julia/Julio). A comet is seen for seven nights around sunset, it is believed to be the defied soul of Julius Caesar traveling to or through heaven.

Part 6b: Curia Pompey

Ok now we will backtrack to where Julius Caesar is leaving the Forum and going to the Curia Pompey.

On your map it will be called the "Largo di Torre Argentina". It's about 300 m due south of the Pantheon. In your guidebooks it will be called the "Area Sacra" or the "Four Republican Victory-Temples". Face the Rostra, the Curia Pompey remains are about 1 km away on the other side of the Capitoline Hill. You can exit three ways, to the left and behind the Rostra going up the Clivus Capitolinus and across the top of the Capitoline Hill ( Photo 5 ).

***Or the stairs to the right of the Rostra and behind the Arch of Septimius Severus ( Photo 3, photo 5 ). Exit right at the first street-level landing and go counterclockwise around the Hill (Julius Caesar's route). But be certain to follow the actual road (Clivus Argentarius) he took with the original paving stones (like the Via Sacra in the Forum). This road is to the right (and lower) of the modern one there and passes *directly* behind the Forum of Julius Caesar ( Photo 9 ).

Or exit ( Photo 4 ) by the main gate, behind you (45° right) and up the ramp to the gate and the Via dei Fori Imperial (go left). The main gate has a gift shop / bookstore / w.c. ("The Roman Forum" by the Soprintendenza Archeologica Di Roma is the best guidebook in my opinion). Also another w.c. (bathroom) is hidden behind the (south side) Basilica Julia. Also before you leave go into the Curia Julia to get an idea of the layout of the Curia Pompey. The Curia Pompey was a little smaller, the two back doors would have been large windows, the Senator's seats would also be on the right and left on those steps and the Statue of Pompey would have been centered and against the back wall on the slightly raised podium in the rear.

After you exit the Forum get yourself in front of the Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument facing the large traffic square in front of it which is the Piazza Venezia. The main street at the opposite end coming into it is the Via Del Corso (in ancient times called Via Lata "Broad Way") which goes to the Piazza del Popolo and then continues on as the Via Flaminia (ancient times called Flaminia), this is the path of the ancient road that left Rome. Julius Caesar's litter would have taken the first exit :-) which is today's Via San Marco. Ancient maps show this street passing between the "Theatre and Porticus (Crypta) of Balbus" (actually built after Julius Caesar's death, admittance to the remains are beneath the museum on the left side of the street) and the two columns of a disputed temple (Nymphs, Guardians of Seafarers, ?) on the right side of the street. So cross the street (have fun :-) to that little grass and tree park (Piazza San Marco) on the left side of the Piazza Venezia, and go left (west) down the Via San Marco. In about 500 m you will come upon the "Area Sacra" in the Largo di Torre Argentina on the right ( Photo 11 ).

The four Temples are in an excavated block below street level. The fourth temple (D) is excavated partially beneath the street you're on, so Julius Caesar's litter would have passed-by the left side of this temple and somehow entered the Porticus of Pompey in the southeastern corner (possibly between Temples C and D?, just a guess :-) but I saw a walled-in arch and some marble paving stones remains that looked sort of out-of-place, like a wide pathway that could enter that building attached to the outside-rear of the Porticus) or through the side ( Photo 10, photo 10a ). And then turned right to go to the front steps of the Curia Pompey, which was centered in the backend (E) of the Porticus with the Theatre of Pompey (W) at the other end. This entire complex was about 325 m x 150 m.

Cross the street (Via di Torre Argentina) and turn right (you are behind the temples), in the Temple area now across the street you'll see six columns rising above street level ( Photo 12 ) You'll be on the sidewalk in front of that building in the background), stop just before you get parallel with them and face them. A black iron and plexiglass fence surrounds these temples. Now look to the right and you will see stairs leading down into the site (no admittance) and to the left of this a brick wall (part of this fence) and then a short section of this fence connected to a white stone fence post and around the center of the next (second) section you will see a *tree*. Align yourself with that, it will put you in the center of the front of the Curia Pompey ( Photo 14 - the *tree* is on the extreme right).

5 m past that sidewalk fence across the street would be the back wall of the Curia Pompey and about 23 m from that rail coming towards you would be the front entrance to the Curia Pompey. The front steps would be located beneath that building behind you and in front of them Julius Caesar's litter was put down upon the ground (I paced out this area, the Curia Pompey building itself probably ended about 5 m into that building, add to that probably a columned porch and then the front steps). [It's said that on the 14th a Kingbird flew into the Curia Pompey carrying a sprig of laurel (Julius Caesar wears a laurel wreath crown) pursued by other birds, it was then attacked and torn to pieces, another omen! ( Photo 10, photo 10a )]

Part 7: The Assassination

The Senator-Conspirators have been waiting around since early morning, their daggers lay hidden beneath their robes. [Dagger = Pugio en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pugio] Also hidden somewhere nearby are a group of Gladiators owned by Decimus Brutus. The Gladiators will be called upon if things start to go wrong. A Senator named Popilius Laenas whispers to Brutus and Cassius, "My wishes are with you, that you may accomplish what you design and I advise you to make no delay, for the thing is now no secret". They are now probably past the point of no return, it is either kill Julius Caesar or themselves.

They await Julius Caesar near the entrance and on the steps of the Curia Pompey. Julius Caesar's litter arrives and he steps out. Popilius Laenas walks over and starts talking to Julius Caesar, the conspirators can't hear what is being said but think the worst. Popilius kisses Julius Caesar's hand and walks away, he was just talking business with Julius Caesar. I wonder if he was trying to be on the winning side? Wishing the conspirators luck if they won and acting if everything was normal with Julius Caesar if he won?

Julius Caesar starts up the steps and sees the Soothsayer (fortune-teller) Spurinna who had told him earlier (within fifteen days) "Beware of a danger that will come no later than the Ides of March" (Beware the Ides of March). Julius Caesar mockingly says to him in passing "The Ides of March have come". Spurinna calmly replies "Yes, but not yet passed".

Julius Caesar enters the Curia Pompey alone, his friend and ally Marc Antony is kept outside engaged in a contrived conversation with either Decimus Brutus or Gaius Trebonius. [I'd guess Decimus, from the doorway he'd be able to easily call to his Gladiators if things went wrong inside. It would be the best place for him.] Marcus Lepidus was also said to have arrived with Julius Caesar and Antony, assume he was also taken aside in a phony conversation. [A bit of irony: While Julius Caesar was walking across the Curia Pompey floor, he would see the back of Temple "B" through the window (if not curtained) to the left of the podium. The name of that temple is "Fortuna Huiusce Diei" (Good Fortune On This Day).

Walk across the street to that place I mentioned before, that tree, the closest one to you, is actually in the middle of the rear remains of the Curia Pompey ( Photo 15 ). Look over to Temple C on your right, alongside that ditch. The Curia Pompey's right wall (iron fence) comes out from under the sidewalk and butts right up to the rear wall of that temple. The Curia Pompey's rear wall ran over to your left behind Temple B, but that last 30% of rear wall is completely missing along with the left side wall ( Photo 13 ).

But if you move over to the left so that you are directly behind that first (left) column of Temple B and look over the railing directly straight down ( Photo 15 - stand right there), you will see a small section of stone blocks coming out from the sidewalk. This is all that remains of the left side wall (*just* to the left (1.5 m) of that broken column on the ground ).

For a diagram of this walk over to the stairs to the right of you. #1 marks the "Remains of the central exedra of Pompey's Porticus. Used as the Senate House, it was here that Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC". #1 is exactly where that tree is located! Ok back to the tree :-) , what actually remains below you is the concrete core and rooms? that were below the Curia Pompey floor ( Photo 14, photo 15, photo 16 ). Look at the ground level around Temple B and remember the Curia Pompey was entered by walking up the front steps ( Photo 10a ). So somewhere (in space and time :-) ) hovering this rubble was the floor, podium and the large Statue of Pompey.

So look at the back wall and imagine say 0.5 meter for the wall thickness, the large Statue of Pompey on a 1-meter square base against the back wall. (Think of the Curia Julia) In front of the Statue on the slightly raised podium was Julius Caesar's chair. I used a diagram by Christian Meier (author and Professor of Ancient History), he shows the two large windows on each side of the podium. I also noticed extra support (stone blocks) along the back wall where these windows would be ( Photo 14, photo 15 ). So it's safe to assume that below you (the *tree* in Photo 15 ) and above the ruins about 3 meters from the back wall was where Julius Caesar died. His chair was probably somewhere directly below you (looking straight down) along with the area he was surrounded and stabbed.

Pompey was a great general and once a political ally who had married Julius Caesar's daughter Julia in an arranged marriage to bond their alliance. He really loved her but she died young. Julius Caesar defeated Pompey in a civil war and he was murdered escaping to Egypt but not on Julius Caesar's orders. Not really friends but Julius Caesar respected him. So dying at the foot of the Pompey's Statue was a bit of poetic justice for Pompey.

Julius Caesar walks over to his chair (an elaborate camp stool actually) and sits down. He's surrounded by the conspirators (many of these men are men he trusts and/or had pardoned after winning the civil war). Some to pay their phony respects and others with petitions. Tillius Cimber is in the forefront with a petition on behalf of his exiled brother. They are starting to annoy and crowd Julius Caesar, he scolds them for their disrespect towards him and his office.

Cassius against his beliefs, looks to the Statue of Pompey and silently asks/prays for assistance. Suddenly Tillius grabs Julius Caesar's robe with both hands and pulls it down from his neck. This is the prearranged signal to attack. Publius Casca who is behind Julius Caesar stabs him slightly between the shoulder and the neck. Julius Caesar grabs Casca's hand/dagger and with his other hand stabs Casca in the arm with his stylus (pen). And shouts "Vile Casca, What does this mean?" Julius Caesar rises still struggling with Casca. Casca yells in Greek "Brother Help!", asking his real brother for Help.

Now they all attack, for they all have promised one other that they all will inflict one wound. A pact in blood that will tie them all together, for better or worse. In the bloody frenzy that ensues they have also mistakenly cut one another (Brutus receives a bad cut on his hand). Julius Caesar is still fighting for his life until he sees Brutus (Julius Caesar's longtime mistress's son, a good and trusted friend and one who he had pardoned after the civil war plus had given a good position too) with his dagger drawn.

Julius Caesar looks to Brutus and says in Greek "Even you, my child", he then stabs Julius Caesar in the groin. (Suetonius claims Julius Caesar said to Brutus in Greek "Kai su, teknon?" "Even you, my child?" "Et tu, Brute?" "Even you, Brutus?" is Latin from Shakespeare's play.)

Julius Caesar bleeding from the 6-8 attackers' 23 stab wounds falls at the base of the now bloodied Statue of Pompey and covers his head and legs with his robe (head covering is common in Greece and Italy when dying) and dies.

It happened so quickly that the Senators in their seats were in shock and then a panic ensued as they all tried to exit at once. Brutus attempts to give a speech on the reason for their act but no one is waiting around to listen.

Antony and Lepidus flee the area and go into hiding, not knowing Brutus has forbidden their deaths. His first major mistake, he should have listened to Cassius and the others. The conspirators leave the Curia Pompey and march en mass to the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill.

Julius Caesar's body lies alone for about three hours until slaves sent by his wife retrieve it.

Cleopatra and her 3-year-old son Caesarion by Julius Caesar flee Rome to Alexandria. She and Antony will become lovers in about three years and commit suicide in fourteen years. Julius Caesar and Cleopatra's son will be murdered on Augustus's orders, he was advised that "A multiplicity of Caesars is not a good thing". Later Augustus has the Statue of Pompey moved into Pompey's theatre and the Curia Pompey walled up. The Ides of March will also be now called the "Day of Parricide", the Senate will never again meet on that fateful day.

Part 7b: More about the Actual Site of the Assassination

This is the Curia Pompey site which was where Julius Caesar was assassinated, it is about 800 m northwest of the Roman Forum so a fifteen-minute walk at most. On a map this location is called the 'Largo di Torre Argentina' and it is a city block of excavated ruins with the famous cat sanctuary within. I believe many archaeologists and historians including Rome's Archaeology Department believe that the assassination site was the Curia (Hall) of Pompey.

I've been posting about the Curia Pompey's location on European travel message boards since about 1998 and in about 2004 or 2005 the City of Rome finally put up plaques all around this one block site which makes it a lot easier to find :-) .

These plaques have this EXCAVATION DIAGRAM upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/7/71/20080316223211!Largo_torre_argentina_PIANTA.jpg. (the numbers on this image are not the same as the signs in Rome, though. The only spot we're interested in here is #3 in the image, but is labelled as #1 in the signs in Rome. This is the back edge of the Curia Pompey.)

On the Rome plaques, this spot reads, in Italian and English: "Remains of the central exedra of Pompey's portico. Used as the senate house, it was here that Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC." It is in the exact location of the 'Tree' I mention below, but that is also the exact center of the Curia Pompey's rear section remains, so a logical place for them to put the label.

Also note on the 'Excavation Diagram' that the right (north) rear section of the Curia Pompey is missing which is about 25-30% but if you look over the sidewalk railing straight-down you can see a couple of those finely cut stone blocks (these type blocks are seen in the photo below) protruding from the area beneath the sidewalk at ground level, those are from the right (north) long side of the Curia Pompey |___..."<--- So even though the 25-30% is missing we can still see how wide this was.

The Hall's (Curia Pompey) prominent location in the exact center of the rear porticus would be visually attractive. A beautiful theater at one end, a large open area with trees, fountains, etc surrounded by a porticus and a temple-like Hall at the opposite end with a beautiful facade. Also this had to be an important building in this complex because it was elevated on a high foundation requiring steps to enter and very likely had a porch with columns, architrave, pediment, etc. If it was just a functional-type building (shop, storage, office, wc, etc) it would be at ground level like the shops on the southern-side of the porticus.

Now Suetonius, Plutarch and Appian claim Caesar was seated when attacked. Which seems likely because the Statue of Pompey was probably on or besides the podium as a place of honor, and Suetonius states that Caesar had a stylus in his hand with which he stabbed Casca in the arm after he struck the first blow.

This seems to rule out other locations like the Hall's front steps or porch because outside Marc Antony was being detained in a planned phony conversation with one of the conspirators. Plus it would be in public view with the possibility of the Mob turning against them. Or crossing the Hall to the podium: A moving target with the assassins also moving while trying to uncover their hidden daggers? Plus Caesar would be on his feet with the possibility of fleeing even wounded into the Senator's seats or to the front entrance. But just wait a few seconds longer until Caesar is seated and all the assassins are in position with their hidden daggers at the ready and then just await the signal to attack. Their victim now surrounded with his back figuratively against the wall.

[MODEL] www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/pompeyrecon.GIF That half-circle structure at the bottom of the model is the actual Theatre of Pompey. The large rectangular Porticus of Pompey is behind the theatre. And in the *exact center* of the rear section of the porticus is the Curia (Hall) of Pompey (small square building). And behind the rear porticus are four Temples (A, B, C, D). These temples predate Pompey's Theater and Porticus.

Directly behind the Curia Pompey is the circular Temple B and the rectangular Temple C (The Curia Pompey's rear corner actually butts up against the rear corner of Temple C). This PHOTO puts you at the top of the MODEL above looking between Temples B and C at the back wall of the Curia of Pompey: (sorry, broken link), but I believe this photo is nearly identical (and this one shows the slightly-wider view). Temple C is on the left and to the right you can see a curved section of the circular Temple B. The "Tree" I keep mentioning is the fourth tree from the left and next to the temple's column. Also you can see the Curia Pompey's concrete core and stone block facing at the end of the drainage ditch, those finely-cut stone blocks were likely looted as was the entire upper building except for the concrete foundation.

The cool thing about that Tree is it is *exactly* in the center of the Curia Pompey hall widthwise [.....T.....] and about 1 m in from the outside back wall, so picture a rectangular audience hall that tree would be growing inside, dead-center along the rear wall. The exact place where someone presiding over an assembly would be seated and exactly where a statue would be placed of the VIP (Pompey) who build this structure. [SIDE VIEW: Tree is right-center: www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/largoargent11.jpg] So if you had a time machine and went back to 44 BC along with that tree :-) , it would be growing inside the Curia Pompey alongside the back wall dead-center. [-____|||| <-front stepped entrance

What I am getting at is that any VIP that was going to address a crowd in this Hall would enter through the monumental front entrance, walk across the Hall and be seated along the back wall in the center on possibly a low podium perhaps similar to the Curia Julia in the Roman Forum www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/curia.jpg or just a chair placed there on the floor.

So now imagine the missing floor of the Curia Pompey hovering in the air just above the Tree's ruins in that photo and you are looking at the rear section of this building [- the rest of the Curia Pompey is beneath the sidewalk and street, with the stepped monumental entrance across the street beneath the sidewalk and modern buildings.

So it's very possible that 'Once Upon A Time' in that exact "Tree" space on the morning of the Ides Of March 44 BC, a seated Julius Caesar was struck by the first dagger and then raising to his feet he received an onslaught of stab wounds, finally falling to the floor and dying at the base of the Statue of Pompey? This is how Suetonius described it: "As he took his seat, the conspirators gathered about him as if to pay their respects, and straightway Tillius Cimber, who had assumed the lead, came nearer as though to ask something, and when Caesar with a gesture put him off to another time, Cimber caught his toga by both shoulders. Then as Caesar cried, "Why, this is violence!" one of the Cascas stabbed him from one side just below the throat. Caesar caught Casca's arm and ran it through with his stylus, but as he tried to leap to his feet, he was stopped by another wound. When he saw that he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its lap to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this wise he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, "You too, my child?" All the conspirators made off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, and finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with one arm hanging down. And of so many wounds none turned out to be mortal, in the opinion of the physician Antistius, except the second one in the breast." (This was the World's first recorded autopsy, which took place in the Domus Publica.)

The views (1, 2, 4, 5) are taken from the Palatine Hill and 7 from the Capitoline Hill.

1.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/for_rom_central/ac822333.html At the top of the photo right-to-left you can see an arch in a brick wall and [¯¯] shaped areas. This is the Portico of Gaius and Lucius Caesar and behind it is the Basilica Aemilia (aka Emilia, Paulli). The Porticus was built about 42 years after Julius Caesar's assassination but in 44 BC that area had many shops facing the original Forum across the street. It was from these shops that tables, chairs, benches etc were looted by the frenzied mob to build Julius Caesar's funeral pyre.

The large brick ruin in the center of the photo is the "Temple of (Divine) Julius Caesar" (Divus Julius). The rectangular area on the left side is the front of the Temple facing the Forum, in the middle of this is a half-circle recess covered by a modern tin roof. In this recess are the remains of the altar's concrete core which marks the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated. The small standing white columns also roughly in the center of the photo is the "Temple of Vesta" where the Vestal Virgins kept an eternal sacred fire burning.

Directly behind the Temple of Julius Caesar to the right of the Temple of Vesta is the Regia.

The road to the right of the Temple of Vesta is the original Via Sacra. Halfway between the Temple of Vesta and the right edge of the photo you can make out a rectangular area then a smaller square hole to the right alongside the Via Sacra.

The rectangular area is the "Shrine of Mars" in the Regia where my trip report starts (also see Photo 8 ).

2.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/for_rom_central/ac660408.html In this photo the Regia is covered over and you can see the Via Sacra (partially hidden) from the Regia heading to the right side of the photo. Directly below the photo out of view is the garden courtyard of the "House of the Vestal Virgins".

Between the bottom of the photo and the Via Sacra you'll see a small roofed building in the center with a small grove of trees on the left and an open space with some ruins on the right to the right/end of the photo.

This is where the "Domus Publica" was located, it was the official residence of the Pontifex Maximus (Pope). It was Julius Caesar's residence from 62 BC when his pontificate (term) began until the day he was assassinated.

The photo is old but today between that small roofed building and the bottom of the photo is a modern tin roof to protect recent excavations. The Domus Publica has been built over by later buildings. But under that tin roof they have discovered rooms from Julius Caesar's resident time period including an apsidal room with mosaic paving, identified as the Tabilinum. Also now they are doing excavations all along the area to the right of this building.

3.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/for_rom_west/ac990904.html This is the view from Regia / Shrine of Mars. The Temple of Julius Caesar and behind that is a tall complete brick building. That is the Curia Julia (Senate House) that Julius Caesar was having built at the time of his death. It was completed by Augustus about fifteen years later. It was to replace the Curia Hostilia which was demolished to build this new Curia. It's remains are probably located under the Church you see to the left behind the Curia. The rear doors of Julius Caesar's Curia opened into the Forum of Caesar where the Senate sometimes met.

But on 15 March 44 BC the Senate was to meet at the Curia Pompey, located outside the Forum about .9 km NW of the Curia Julia. Julius Caesar's litter bearers left his house (Domus Publica) and exited the Forum on the street "Clivus Argentarius" (The Banker's Rise) Photo 8. It was located between where that building (Church: St. Giuseppe dei Falegnami, Carcer Mamertine Prison) is just to the right of the scaffolding on the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Forum of Julius Caesar located behind the Curia.

4.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/for_rom_west/ac660411.html From the Palatine. The Regia is covered over, the bottom left square section covers "The Shrine of Mars".

5.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/tabularium/ac660412.html At the bottom section of the photo from the center over to the Arch of Septimius Severus, there appears to be a wall behind that lone standing column. This is the Rostra of Caesar (podium - orator's platform) where Julius Caesar's body was brought and Marc Anthony give his famous speech.

6.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/tabularium/ac881321.html A closeup of the Rostra, the holes in the bricks are where the captured enemy rostra were mounted (sharp bronze prows mounted on the front of a ship for ramming/sinking). The original location of the Rostra was in front of the Curia, Julius Caesar had this one built at the end of the Forum. After his death Augustus expanded it outwards towards the Forum. The only real remnants of Julius Caesar's Rostra would be in the back. Basically the concrete core and some of the substructure. But a section of steps up onto the Rostra do remain, these would have been climbed by Julius Caesar, Marc Anthony and also those who carried Julius Caesar's coffin (bier) up onto the podium.

7.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/arch_septimius/ac740810.html To the right of the Arch you can see the rear of the Rostra. The remaining "steps" mentioned above appear black in this photo (they must have been covered over then?) but they are white. They are at the bottom of the photo to the right of that circular object, which is the Mundus / Umbilicus Urbis. The center of the city and where the living world was in contract with the underworld through a deep cleft in the earth. [Please also see the bottom of this photo, taken from behind Augustus' Rostra -Jeff]

8.

penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/Rome/Forum_Romanum/.Texts/Huelsen*/2/31.html See the "Ground Plan" diagram, you are standing on the Via Sacra which runs from the right-middle side to the top-middle end of the diagram. You are facing "D" which is the "Shrine / Altar of Mars" in the "Temple of Mars". The "D circle" (2.53 m diameter) appears today as a circular grassy raised mound but beneath it is a grey tufa stone circle in the floor.

9.

penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/Rome/_Texts/PLATOP*/Clivus_Argentarius.html This is the street mentioned in Photo 3 'Clivus Argentarius', it's the road from the Forum to the Campus Martius (Field of Mars) where the Curia Pompey was located.

10.

www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/3theaters.jpg That half-circle building at the bottom of the photo is the Theatre of Pompey. The rectangular Porticus of Pompey is behind the theatre, and in the center of the back section of the porticus is the Curia Pompey (small square building). And behind the rear porticus are the four Temples (A, B, C, D), directly behind the Curia is the circular Temple B and the rectangular Temple C. At the top of the photo right-of-center is a temple (Juno?) atop the Capitoline Hill where today stands the Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument. To the left of that off the photo is the Forum.

10a.

www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/pompeyrecon.GIF

11.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/largo_argent/ac740511.html This will be your first view of the Temples. "D" is below you (not in photo), "C" is in the bottom of photo, "B" is center (white steps), "A" is the far temple (Brown steps). Also wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/largo_argent/ac990808.html

12.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/largo_argent/ac990807.html Circular Temple "B', distant tree - second one from the left side of photo - marks the center/rear of the Curia.

12a.

www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/largoargent3.jpg

13.

wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/rome/largo_argent/ac991829.html The missing section of the Curia Pompey is to the left of that tree on the right-end of photo.

14.

www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/largoargent8.jpg Taken in front of Temple B (on the right), the plastic shelter is attached to Temple C, and that footbridge crosses the ditch between these temples. Behind the plastic the right/rear wall of the Curia Pompey comes out from the sidewalk and butts against the rear of Temple C and the Curia Pompey's rear wall (stone blocks) are visible to the right of the plastic and extending (right) to behind Temple B.

To the left of that middle tree is the first rear structure (window?) support (stone blocks). From there to behind "C" is the first third of the Curia Pompey. The tree on the right is *The Tree* again :-) in the middle of the second third.

15.

www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/largoargent11.jpg Standing behind Temple B (directly behind the first column on left). Directly beneath the feet of where this photo was taken is where the missing left-rear wall. If you look straight down (not in the photo) you will see *a* stone block which is all that remains of that left side of the Curia Pompey. The wall would have come out from the sidewalk and turned right and been attached to the second stone structure (window?) support in the center of the photo. You can see the first structure support at the end of the plastic. And that small rectangular stone block above it in the photo is the right-rear corner of the Curia Pompey. There it turns right and heads back to the sidewalk along that iron fence. And on the right is *The Tree* again, dead center in the middle rear third of the Curia Pompey.

16.

www.vroma.org/images/raia_images/largoargent10.jpg View from behind Temple C of the Curia Pompey, the iron fence is along the Curia Pompey's right-rear wall. In the distance are the remains (visible from the sidewalk) of marble toilets behind Temple A, this bathroom was attached to the rear wall of the Porticus of Pompey, to the left of the Curia Pompey in Photo 10a.

Part 9: Regia: (House of the King) The site of the second King of Rome's (Numa Pompilius 715-673 BC) Royal Palace

.

Excavations under this site show it was built upon a noble Etruscan-style residence from that time and below that are early Iron-Age huts (ninth Century BC), like those on the Palatine. A cup excavated from the site was dated to about 625 BC and had the word REX (King) on it (this cup is on display in the "Museo Nazionale Romano Terme Di Diocleziano"). It's been rebuilt many times but the general plan we see today is *Early* Republican (after 509 BC). Rebuilt after fires in 210 BC, 148 BC and 36 BC when they used solid marble floors and walls and other solid rock blocks. It later withstood the fires of 64 AD and 191 AD.

The Regia was a very sacred place where the Pontifex Maximus (Pope) had his official headquarters. It's where he and his Pontiffs (priests) held official meetings and stored their records. Julius Caesar was the Pontifex Maximus from 63 BC until his death in 44 BC.

The largest room is believed to be the "Temple of Mars" (Sacrarium Martis). This temple housed the Hastae (sacred spears/lancers consecrated to Mars) and the Ancilia (shields in a figure-eight like shape). The God Jupiter (father of Mars who in turn was the father of Romulus and Remus) sent down from heaven an ancilia/shield as a gift to Numa Pompilius. Numa was so afraid that the Ancilia would be stolen, he had eleven perfect copies made. This way no one would know which one was the actual divine Ancilia. It's *assumed* that the shields hung on the walls in the Temple and the spears were either hung or somehow fastened to the circular shrine/altar or hearth(?) within the Temple.

Before going to war the General leading the army went into the temple and rattled, shook or moved the spears, while saying "Mars Vigila" (Mars Awaken). The God Mars would then lead the army to victory. If the spears ever vibrated/shook/rattled/moved on their own it was a bad omen of something terrible about to happen to Rome. I've read that possibly that the spears were so *delicately balanced* that a very minor earthquake or rumble could vibrate them, like a primitive seismograph. *OR* perhaps even a very loud clap of thunder could get them to vibrate?

Part 10: Summary

See mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/17916679.jpg. If that link goes dead, try this backup photo instead, even though it's not as good: www.vroma.org/~forum/images/forum.01.jpg

See the group of trees left of center. From there to the far right edge of the photo is the front of the Domus Publica which faces the Via Sacra which you can see people walking on, and the intact 'Temple of Romulus' on the opposite side of the Via Sacra.

Now in your mind imagine the Domus Publica extends to the bottom of the photo. That was the section Emperor Augustus gave to the Vestal Virgins to extend their House which very likely wasn't actually built as we see today until after the 64 AD Fire, although I won't be surprised if the Vestals didn't have a section in the lower left corner or left side before Augustus.

And just right of dead-center of the photo you will see a small protective roofed structure [__]||[__]. That excavation is of the Domus Publica's atrium that dates to Julius Caesar's time.

My advice is to read through my walk and when in Rome visit the five major sites of Julius Caesar's assassination. It's easy as four of them are in the Roman Forum with the assassination site nearby the Pantheon and other sites that most tourists will likely visit so not really out of the way.

Back to the photo:

So first site is the Domus Publica although mostly buried just imagine the night before and the day of the assassination on the 'Ides of March'.

The second site is the Regia. In the photo, on the left side of the group of trees is the Regia. Some of the branches in the photo cover part of this site. So it's the night before the Ides and Julius Caesar is in the 'Shrine of Mars' within the Regia. A thunderstorm rages as the Sacred Spears rattle in the Shrine foretelling a bad omen for Rome.

The third site is the Temple of Julius Caesar. In the photo just left of the Regia see a short up and down street with a couple of people on it. Just to the left of that at the photo's edge are some ugly brick structures. That is the back/middle of the Temple of Julius Caesar where the Roman Mob cremated his body on the day of his funeral. The actual site of the cremation is in front of the temple under a protective roof in a semi-circular niche. The concrete core of the altar survives within that niche and will very likely have flowers on top left by tourists.

The fourth site is the Rostra of Caesar about 100 m away from the front of the Temple of Julius Caesar. It's at the opposite end of the football-field-sized Roman Forum Square. Just remember the Rostra you see from there is the partly reconstructed ugly tufa and brick Rostra built by Augustus (The remains are ugly; the Rostra was originally quite beautiful). The Rostra we want is the prettier stone curved Rostra of Caesar behind it (best viewed from the side of the Arch of Septimius Severus) and the remaining marble curved steps best seen from behind this structure. This is where Julius Caesar's body was laid when Marc Antony made his famous speech from *this* Rostra.

Part 11: Roman Forum Sites

#9.1: Rostra

#11.3: Umbilicus Urbis Romae and Mundus: This site is the Rostra of Caesar where his body was laid out and Marc Antony made his famous speech. This is a photo of Julius Caesar's Rostra. It is the slightly curved ruin on the left, what you see is the concrete core which would have been marble-faced. You can see a small section of this marble facing at the far end along with some of the decorative marble remains placed on top. Note: the width of this rostra where the speaker(s) would stand it's only about 1 m wide for the entire length. Later Augustus built-over this rostra and extended it 10 m (the ruins on the right) so it was now more like a stage. This is best viewed from the other side next to the Arch of Septimius Severus. 1.bp.blogspot.com/_CVC1vurT3xk/TCU2wH7t-LI/AAAAAAAABcU/rsoX38eUyU0/s1600/IMG_3032.JPG

#19: Temple of Julius Caesar: The spot where Julius Caesar's body was cremated and later this temple was built there.

#22: Regia: The official office of the Pontifex Maximus which Caesar was since 62 BC right up until his death.

#26: Domus Publica: This was the home of the Pontifex Maximus where Julius Caesar lived, he walked out his doorway on the Ides of March and his body was carried back to his house a few hours later by his three slaves.

More info on the layout of the Domus Publica are in these sections:


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