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".

Next: Part 5: The Mob
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