“Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) – Julius Caesar, on the …
On Feb. 15, in the year 44 BC, Julius Caesar, the all-powerful ruler of Rome, visited a soothsayer named Spurinna, who “predicted the future by examining the internal organs of sacrificial animals,” among other omens.
As per the ritual, Caesar “sacrificed a bull,” and Spurinna “made the chilling announcement that the beast had no heart.”
Brave Caesar was “unmoved,” but Spurinna said that he feared Caesar’s life “might come to a bad end,” and warned the dictator that “his life would be in danger for the next 30 days.”
He did not say anything about the “Ides of March,” just one difference of many between the version of Caesar’s assassination presented by William Shakespeare and the likely truth, according to Cornell University history professor Barry Strauss’ new book, “The Death of Caesar.” Strauss pored through ancient texts to determine…
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Julius Caesar fought battle near Oss
Archaeologists say they found the final proof that Julius Caesar has marched around in what is now the Netherlands. They have identified the location of a battle in 55 BC in which Caesar defeated two Germanic tribes. Which took place at the present village Kessel in the municipality of Oss.
These two tribes were the…
Well happy Ides of March! It was on this day, the Ides (or 15th) of March that Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Forum. The day has lived in infamy, as they say, ever since, fascinating scholars, historians and moralists.
Was Brutus the villain or Caesar? The question is still being debated for remember, the victors write the history and Augustus, Caesar’s nephew would be the eventual victor.
For ancient Romans living before that event an ides was merely one of several common calendar terms used to mark monthly lunar events. The ides simply marked the appearance of the full moon.
But the Ides of March assumed a whole new identity after the events of 44 B.C. The phrase came to represent a specific day of abrupt change that set off a ripple of repercussions throughout Roman society and beyond. “The Ides”, as Cicero later wrote “changed everything”.
View original post 625 more words
August 19, 14
The death of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus, first Emperor of Rome.
He was born in the city of Rome on the Palatine Hill on September 23, 63 B.C.E. and named Gaius Octavian Thurinus, bearing his fathers surname. His mother, Atia, was a niece of Julius Caesar, the daughter of Caesar’s sister. His father died when he was four years old. After his mother remarried he was raised by his maternal grand mother, Julia Caesaris.
As a young man he fought with Caesar in Spain and upon returning to Rome, Caesar deposited a new will with the Vestals, naming Octavian as his heir.
After Caesar’s murder on the Ides (March 16, 44 B.C.E.) Octavian learned he had been adopted by Caesar as his son and left 2/3 of his estate. Octavian, in accordance with Roman custom took Caesar’s name and became Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.
View original post 279 more words
On the 12th or of July 100 BC Julius Caesar is believed to have been born in Rome, Italy, although this date is debatable. A legendary historical figure, he is renown for opposing the military dictator Sulla as a teenager and almost losing his life over it. In his illustrious military career he was decorated for courage in battle, was captured and held to ransom by pirates. As a popular leader, he almost bankrupted himself by staging games for the masses and became notorious as a dangerously ambitious maverick. Politically, he became Consul when he was barely in his 30s and ended up dominating the Senate. As for his international expansion, he conquered all of Gaul, invaded Germany, and twice landed in Britain – an achievement which in 55 BC turned him into a God-like figure in the eyes of his contemporaries. It took Caesar only thirty years to…
View original post 577 more words
Originally posted on New Statesman | Mary Beard: humour in ancient Rome was a matter of life and death.
One evening at a palace dinner party, in about 40AD, a couple of nervous aristocrats asked the emperor Caligula why he was laughing so heartily. “Just at the thought that I’d only have to click my fingers and I could have both your heads off!” It was, actually, a favourite gag of the emperor (he had been known to come out with it when fondling the lovely white neck of his mistress). But it didn’t go down well.
Laughter and joking were just as high-stakes for ancient Roman emperors as they are for modern royalty and politicians. It has always been bad for your public image to laugh in the wrong way or to crack jokes about the wrong targets. The Duke of Edinburgh got into trouble with his (to say the least) ill-judged “slitty-eyed” quip, just as Tony Abbott recently lost votes after being caught smirking about the grandmother who said she made ends meet by working on a telephone sex line. For the Romans, blindness – not to mention threats of murder – was a definite no-go area for joking, though they treated baldness as fair game for a laugh (Julius Caesar was often ribbed by his rivals for trying to conceal his bald patch by brushing his hair forward, or wearing a strategically placed laurel wreath). Politicians must always manage their chuckles, chortles, grins and banter with care.
In Rome that entailed, for a start, being a sport when it came to taking a joke, especially from the plebs. The first emperor, Augustus, even managed to stomach jokes about that touchiest of Roman topics, his own paternity. Told that some young man from the provinces was in Rome who was his spitting image, the emperor had him tracked down. “Tell me,” Augustus asked, “did your mother ever come to Rome?” (Few members of the Roman elite would have batted an eyelid at the idea of some grand paterfamilias impregnating a passing provincial woman.) “No,” retorted the guy, “but my father did, often.”…