Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ides of March

I hope everyone wore black today, because we must mourn the anniversary of the murder of Caius Julius Caesar by idiots in the Roman Senate.

Statue of Roman dictator Caius Julius Caesar, outside the Roman Forum (Forum Romanum; il Foro Romano) and the Forum of Caesar (Forum Iulium; il Foro Giulio) on the Via dei Fori Imperali in Rome. (My own photograph.)

Just in case you're wondering about how popular Julius Caesar is in Rome, check out ... well, I have to explain it.

The Temple of Caesar (aka Temple of Deified Julius; Templum Divi Iuli; Tempio del Divo Giulio) in the Roman Forum.  (My own photograph.)
 The picture above is of the remains of the Temple of Caesar, also known as the Temple of Deified Caesar or Temple of Deified Julius (Templum Divi Iuli in Latin; Tempio del Divo Giulio in Italian), in the Roman Forum. After Caesar's murder, he was deified by the Senate and Octavius Caesar (later Caesar Augustus) built a temple to him.  It may not look real impressive right now, but those are just the front of the ruins, which consist of a wall with a semicircular recess, in front of which is the lighter colored wall maybe put there by Caesar Augustus) and on top of which is a modern roof-type deal.  There used to be all sorts of columns and a real roof behind it. It was kinda big.  Not surprisingly given the name, it used to be an actual temple to Julius Caesar.

Another view of the Temple of Caesar. (My own photograph.)
That semicircular recess contains the remains of an altar, on which the body of Julius Caesar was allegedly burned. 

Remains of the altar inside the front alcove of the Temple of Caesar. I guess Julius Caesar is still popular. (My own photograph.)
I realize that it may be tough to see the altar in the picture above, what with all the flowers and cards left by well-wishers to Julius Caesar. Nice to know I'm not the only fan. In all of human history, Julius Caesar is the apex of coolness.

My trip to Rome was so wonderful because after studying ancient Rome for decades, I could see it come alive and have real meaning for people today. The people of Rome are very proud of their imperial history. As they should be.

As sad as today is for the loss of one of the greatest leaders of all time (wish we had Julius Caesar today; we could sure use him to fix our country), we should all use today to remember the greatness that was ancient Rome, which, for all of its many faults, was by far the most progressive, far-sighted, fair and benevolent power of the ancient world; and to celebrate the gifts that Rome bestowed on Western civilization that carry us even today.

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