OT: Assassination of Caesar

Not the kind of post I planned for this site. These pho­tos are not intend­ed to be part of my port­fo­lio. Still, it is a sub­ject that I find worth an image.

On a recent vis­it to Rome (images will no doubt appear here in due course) I passed sev­er­al times by the Lago di Torre Argenti­na: a city-block-sized exca­va­tion ordered by Mus­soli­ni in 1926. It con­tains the remains of four tem­ples dat­ing from the 4th to the 1st cen­tu­ry BCE that backed-onto the The­ater of Pom­pey, con­struct­ed after 61 BCE.

Pom­pey (‘The Great’), who at one time was one of the wealth­i­est and most pow­er­ful men in the Repub­li­can Sen­ate and Cae­sar’s ally-of-con­ve­nience in a sort of three-way dic­ta­tor­ship, built the mas­sive and beau­ti­ful amphithe­ater as a gift to Rome, and to remind every­one of his mil­i­tary vic­to­ries in the East (mod­els and images of the theater).

It was just the sort of ges­ture that Emper­ors in the fol­low­ing cen­turies would use to dis­play their pow­er and wealth. At the time when Pom­pey pro­posed it, there was a ban on mas­sive civic con­struc­tion inside the City, so he built it just out­side the walls, incor­po­rat­ing both a new tem­ple to “Vic­to­ri­ous Venus” — to give his the­ater a ‘sacred’ char­ac­ter — and these old­er tem­ples at the end of the court­yard attached to the theater.

Also at the end of the court­yard, Pom­pey con­struct­ed a “Curia”: a tall, rec­tan­gu­lar build­ing suit­able for meet­ings: specif­i­cal­ly, meet­ings of the Roman Sen­ate. It was there, on 15 March, 44 BCE (the Ides of March), that the plot­ters stabbed an unwary Julius Cae­sar to death, at the foot of  a huge stat­ue of Pom­pey — killed four years ear­li­er in Egypt flee­ing from his mil­i­tary defeat by Caesar.

I have anno­tat­ed the image of the Lago di Torre Argenti­na to indi­cate the approx­i­mate loca­tion of the Curia — destroyed by fire in ancient times and by demo­li­tion in the cen­turies since . Click on either of the images to see a larg­er view.

Anno­tat­ed view of the approx­i­mate loca­tion of the Curia of Pom­pey’s The­atre in the Lago di Torre Argenti­na, Rome
A panora­ma of the Largo di Torre Argenti­na, Rome

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