Back in September, we were pondering some new evidence that Caesar’s troops may have been in Germany (Evidence of Caesar’s Troops … In Germany?) and it never did seem to make it to the English press. Now, however, a blog put out by the publishers of Ancient Warfare Magazine put out a nice summary (with appropriate links) of our long-time webfriend Jona Lendering’s investigations into same … definitely worth a look (and do follow the links to Jona’s blog):
- Caesar in Germania(Josho Brouwers at Karansaway Publishers
Latest from the Classics Confidential folks:
… for more info on Ancient Civilizations in Silent Cinema
Last week or so we mentioned the media flurry about the discovery of the purported site of Caesar’s assassination (Site of Caesar’s Assassination Found?) … those reports were generated by one of the archaeologists working at the Largo Argentina site (Antonio Monterroso) … now fellow archaeologist Marina Mattei is saying ‘not so fast …
A zillion versions of this one bouncing around the interwebs right now … the clearest seems to be AFP via France 24:
Archaeologists said Wednesday they believe they have found the exact spot in Rome where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on March 15, 44 BC.
The stabbing of the dictator by Roman senators was recorded by ancient historians and dramatised by William Shakespeare who gave Caesar the last words: “Et tu Brute? Then fall, Caesar.”
Now, a team from the Spanish National Research Council say they have unearthed evidence that, they believe, reveals precisely where the attack took place.
They say they have found a concrete structure, three metres (10 feet) wide and two metres (nearly seven feet) high, that was erected by his adoptive son and successor, Augustus.
After taking power himself, Augustus ordered the structure be placed exactly over the place where the attack took place so as to condemn the slaying of his father, the scientists said.
“This finding confirms that the general was stabbed right at the bottom of the Curia of Pompey while he was presiding, sitting on a chair, over a meeting of the Senate,” the Spanish research council said in a statement.
The Curia of Pompey was a closed space used sometimes for senate meetings at the time. The building’s remains are in the Torre Argentina archaeological site in the centre of Rome.
What the archaelogists found was not the spot where Caesar died but the point where he must have been stabbed and fell, Spanish council researcher Antonio Monterroso told AFP.
“We know this because there is a structure that seals the place where Caesar must have been seated presiding over the senate session where he was stabbed,” he said.
“There is a structure from the later period of his successor, the period of Augustus, placed where Caesar must have sat, and that is how we know.”
A comparison of the archaeological remains and the ancient texts led the researchers to their conclusion, said Monterroso, a member of the Institute of History of the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences.
It was impossible to know if Caesar died in the same place, however, the researcher said.
“From there the body was taken to the Roman Forum for his veneration and then it was cremated,” Monterroso said.
“We don’t know if he died in that instant or if he died hours later.”
He agreed that the finding was open to dispute.
“It is not indisputable. All archaeological science is open to dispute, it should be open to dispute, it should be open to argument, it should be open to debate and open to criticism, of course.”
The three-year archaeological project, which began last year, is supported by the Rome City Council, Spanish government financing and the Spanish research council’s Spanish School of History and Archaeology in Rome.
The discovery in the centre of Rome was impressive, Monterroso said. “Thousands of people today take the bus and the tram right next to the place where Julius Caesar was stabbed 2,056 years ago.”
- via: Scientists claim to find spot of Julius Caesar’s slaying (France 24)
The original press release (which almost all the other sources print verbatim) is here.
… I always find it odd when they call archaeologists “scientists”, but I won’t argue. What I’m not clear about, however, is the source for this “structure” they’re referring to … anyone know?
This one seems to be just filtering out to the English press … the most coherent so far is News.com’s coverage:
THE remains of a Roman military camp in Germany have been linked to Julius Caesar, making it the oldest Roman site in the country.
The ruins, near the present-day town of Hermeskeil in western Germany, was first associated with the Romans in the 19th-century but was thought to date from long after Caesar.
In her first public presentation on the site, archaeologist Sabine Hornung explained on Monday how more than 70 rusty studs from the soles of sandals were discovered in the cracks between the cobbles of the camp gate, evidence that connects the site to the time of Caesar.
Although there is no proof the general ever visited the camp, his forces had massed at the site during the Gallic War, in which Caesar conquered the Celts and extended Rome’s territory to the English Channel and the Rhine River.
“It’s so lucky that we found these nails here,” she said. “This moment in world history is now archaeologically accessible.”
The nails, resembling drawing pins, occasionally fell out as soldiers walked. They can be precisely dated to the Gallic War period, along with lost coins and fragments of broken pottery in the camp’s rubbish tip.
Much of the site has been levelled under fields growing maize, but a several metres high earthen wall, built by Roman soldiers with their spades, still exists in nearby woods.
“To see remains like this of a Caesarean military camp is unique,” she said. “It’s incredible good luck to have found it.”
The Romans evidently picked the 26-hectare site – big enough to accommodate 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers – because it has its own spring.
Hornung said she was still looking for evidence that the unnamed camp was constructed as a springboard to attack a major hilltop Celtic stronghold five kilometres away.
“We would like to find catapult ammunition, because the commanding general’s name might be embossed on it,” she said. A dig at the site is expected to continue for five or six years.
via: Ruins in Germany linked to Caesar era (News.com)
See also (in the German press … doesn’t seem to add much):
- Ältestes Lager für römische Soldaten entdeckt (Spiegel)
- Ältestes römisches Militärlager auf deutschem Boden entdeckt (Focus)
FWIW, I really don’t get the Caesar connection … I can’t figure out which legions these would supposedly be. XIII? VII?
UPDATE: a few seconds later … must have missed this in my own Blogosphere updates … Adrian Murdoch (who follows the German press much more closely than I can) is covering this … the most recent links to his previous coverage:
I’m always interested in seeing how folks in different eras portrayed the big names of the folks within our purview and, as it happens, the Metropolitan Museum’s ‘Featured Artwork of the Day’ (via Facebook) is Colin Nouailher’s plaque of Alexander the Great, which forms part of a series of depictions of the ‘Nine Worthies’ a.k.a. ‘Nine Heroes’ which were popular ‘at court’ in sixteenth century France (due to Jacques de Longuyon’s Les Voeux du Paon). In any event, check this depiction out:
… the official description page with further details can be found here but it is interesting how — to a Classicist — ‘unAlexander-like’ this depiction is, not least because of the beard. One could make a similar comment about another plaque in the series depicting Julius Caesar:
… more info here. Both look more like oriental potentates than anything else, which probably reflects on the French court’s ideas of ‘power’ at the time (that’s me drawing conclusions rather quickly). The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History does have an interesting article on this sort of thing: Images of Antiquity in Limoges Enamels in the French Renaissance.
Outside of that, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France has a very nice manuscript of Les Voeux du Paon online, although it isn’t illustrated. The Bodleian has some pages of illustrations from the same work (I think), but they are kind of grotty. I’m sure there are better ones out there …
I could have sworn I mentioned this museum when it opened, but I guess not (it’s probably lurking way in the bottom of my email) … anyhoo, here’s a nice AFP video report:
Okay, this is officially ridiculous … first it was the Volvo nonsense, then Lamborghini with its Deimos nonsense, and now some town in Turkey has managed to trademark Julius Caesar’s phrase? From Hurriyet:
The municipality of Zile in the northern province of Tokat has announced the acquisition of the Turkish patent license for the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar’s famous saying “Veni Vidi Vici” which is believed to have been uttered in district’s 4,000-year-old castle.
It took two and a half years to acquire the patent, Mayor Lütfi Vidinel said.
“The copyright of the phrase belongs to our municipality for the following 10 years. We are planning to renew it every decade. A global tobacco company is using this phrase as part of its brand logo and we are planning to contact them and ask for our copyright share for the use of the phrase. We will allocate the funds we raise for the fight against tobacco use,” Vidinel said.
In May 47 B.C., Caesar defeated Pharnaces of Pontus near the town of Zile. He claimed he captured the enemy in four hours. To inform the Roman Senate of his victory, Caesar succinctly wrote, “veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered).
- via: ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici’ patented in Turkey(Hurriyet)
This a.m. I quipped on Twitter that all the Classics departments should band together and trademark the name of every Greek and Roman divinity. We should add to that the name of every ancient author and everything they said. We clearly could easily fund Classics for eternity …
ante diem iv nonas sextilias
- 338 B.C. — Death of Archidamus III (King of Sparta)
- 216 B.C. — Hannibal inflicts a massive defeat on Roman forces at Cannae (possible date)
- 86 B.C. — Sulla defeats Mithridates at Chaeronea (possible date)
- 49 B.C. — Julius Caesar defeats Afranius and Petreius (legates of Pompey) at Ilerda
- 47 B.C. — Julius Caesar defeats Pharnaces II at Zela (and would later proclaim his victory with the famous “Veni, vidi, vici” )
- 9 A.D. — death of Quintilius Varus (not sure about this one)
- ludi Apollinares (day 8)– games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo
- 431 B.C. (?) — dedication of the Temple of Apollo outside the pomoerium (and associated rites thereafter)
- 100 B.C. (?) — birth of G. Julius Caesar (another possible day)
- ca. 251 A.D. — martyrdom of Myrope
ante diem iv idus quinctilias
- ludi Apollinares (day 7) — games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo
- 100 B.C. (?) — birth of G. Julius Caesar
- 67 A.D. — martyrdom of Paulinus of Antioch
- 1536 — death of Erasmus
- 1922 — birth of Michael Ventris, who would decipher Linear B
ante diem vii idus junias
- the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Temple of Vesta was opened to the (female) public
- ludi piscatorii (?) — a private festival celebrated by fishermen
- 17 B.C.. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)
- 20 A.D. — Nero Julius Caesar, son of the emperor-in-waiting Germanicus, dons his toga virilis; a congiarium is given to the people as well
- 86 A.D. — ludi Capitolini — a festival involving poetic contests, inaugurated by Domitian based on something done by Nero (day 2)
- 204 A.D. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)
The initial couple of ‘graphs from a movie-industry blog (and there are no further details after these few words):
Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton are teaming up with Exclusive Media Group on a potential franchise based on the life of Julius Caesar.
The partners are eyeing a trilogy of films adapted from Conn Iggulden’s four-book The Emperor Series. Exclusive Media Group co-chairman Nigel Sinclair said the company might finance the first project in a split-rights deal with a US studio.
Folks might want to check out an interview with Conn Iggulden from back in 2006 at the UNRV site on this (tip o’ the pileus to Viggen!)