The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Caesar's Fatal Steps

One of the more interesting, if not particularly important, Roman archaeological mysteries has been the identification of the exact spot where Gaius Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. Anyone who's been to Rome and taken in some of the ancient archaeological sites has likely stood on Via Arenula and looked across Torre Argentina and seen the remains of several temples. Behind them is the Theater of Pompey and its famous curia, used for political meetings. It was also chosen as the site of one particularly fatal political meeting that resulted in Caesar's murder by his rival senators. Today the area is perhaps equally famous for its many cats who inhabit the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary where they are protected from felinophobics who might want to do to them what Brutus did to Caesar.
My photo of Torre Argentina (2005) Click and look for cats.

Like many ancient Roman sites, over the centuries Torre Argentina with it temples and theater have been plundered of most of their stones and columns, so for archaeologists there hasn't been very much to work with. As a result, there has never been any solid archaeological evidence pointing to the exact spot where the assassination took place...at least, until now.

Because they're always digging in Rome these busy archaeologists keep uncovering interesting stuff. It seems a team recently unearthed what they believe to be a memorial structure at the base of the curia. This structure -- ten feet wide and over six feet tall -- was apparently built by Augustus to mark the site of Caesar's death. Many ancient texts point to this location and several mention that after the assassination a chapel was built there as a memorial.
Recent photo of the location of Caesar's Assassination

So now, when you visit Rome, you can satisfy your curiosity, along with any morbid inclinations you might have, and gaze on the actual spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed by Brutus and his pals.

If you want to read more, click here.

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