Rome recreates the scene of the most notorious political crime in history

Here Italian politics would have been born. Or politics in general, if we pay attention to the extreme idea of ​​survival that governs the ability to manage the limited capacity that constitutes power. In this place I am staying The conspiracy and the most famous assassination in history – Courtesy of John F. Kennedy – to the harmonious rhythm of the 23 stab wounds Julius Caesar’s aides inflicted on him on Christmas morning in March. The incident hastened the end of the long Roman republican phase and the beginning of the empire established by his nephew and heir, Caesar Augustus, after his victory in the civil war against Mark Antony in the first century BC. It was a pivotal moment – also for literature, film and theater – that for centuries remained buried in the underground of modern Rome and abandoned in recent decades as a huge colony and home for cats. Now, 2067 years after that incident, it can be visited.

The Rome City Council has just opened a redesign of the archaeological site of Largo Argentina. One of those many places in this city that, inexplicably, lie for years in a semi-abandoned state and are little Rosetta stones for deciphering a part of the history of the West. It is an area with four sacred temples from the Republican era – the period before Augustus and little documentation – that came to light with the excavations for the construction of a new quarter in 1926-1929. When the ruins appeared, the Italian state, headed by Benito Mussolini at the time, decided to stop the work at that point and preserve it. What is strange about this site is that the temples preserved from ancient Rome were re-used as churches, while three of the four preserved in the Highlands are not. “And it’s almost a miracle that they stayed that way,” explains Rome’s Director of Cultural Assets, Claudio Baresi.

An image shows a general view of Largo dei Torre, Argentina on October 11, 2012 in central Rome. It is the exact place among the ancient ruins where the Roman general Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Gabriel Boyes (AFP via Getty Images)

The trail now allows you to walk through the ruins at the original pavement height that was used at the time: about 20 meters below the current level. “This is one of the great values ​​of this intervention, because it allows us to observe many details such as the superimposition of planes. The different materials also speak of those periods that extend in some places from the second century BC to the end of the first century,” insists Parisi, while pointing out the place that attracts all eyes on this site.

The site’s four temples hide in the background what was the scene of Pompeii, the scene of the crime. This was the wall that closed the classroom at the Theater of Pompeii where the Roman Senate was to meet that day. We are sure that this was the case because the sources of the time tell us that there were toilets on both sides. We know he was assassinated at the foot of the statue of Pompeii. [una vez su enemigo]. Caesar had been badly warned, but he decided to go anyway, to his misfortune. A bad fate was shared by his wife, Calpurnia, who had had a dream earlier that night, and who had, essentially, witnessed the scene that occurred later. Presumably, the dictator took the warning into account, since his wife was not very interested in this kind of superstitious concoction. I suspect. But he went ahead with his plans. “You just have to fear the fear,” he declared as he headed to the slaughterhouse.

The curia of Pompey the Great (106 to 48 BC) was an almost square building, measuring 24 by 27 meters at the base, where the Senate met during the Roman Republic. It was located next to the so-called Pompeii Theater and was connected to it by a portico. Heading the place is a large statue of Pompey (106-48 BC). The official Senate, the Curia, is being reconstituted at that time by the will of Julius Caesar himself. So on the morning of March 15, he and the senators met at the spot where the refunded deposit is today. There he was attacked, first by Servilio Casca, who grazed him with his dagger to his neck. Then, by about thirty senators and conspirators, including Marco Junio ​​Bruto (whose mother was a fan of Julius Caesar). Hence the famous phrase: “Tu quoque, Brute, fillii mi!” (You too, my son Brutus!).

A recreation of the death of Julio Cesar in Largo, Argentina in March 2016.
A recreation of the death of Julio Cesar in Largo, Argentina in March 2016. Pacific Press (LightRocket via Getty Images)

The plot to assassinate Caesar was successful, but its consequences were exactly the opposite of what the assassins wanted. Also classic in current politics. Rome never regained its freedom, and the dictator’s adopted son, Octavio, established an imperial monarchy under the name of Augustus. the historian Mary Bird He explains in his book SPQR (Criticism) That these ideas of March – in the fifteenth – were the culmination of a period during which Rome witnessed “a gradual decline of the political process and a series of atrocities which occupied the imagination of the Romans for centuries”.

The Largo Argentina site is now one of the main places for understanding the history of Rome. But that was the case only after the luxury brand Bulgari paid for the restoration of the Trinità dei Monti staircase and there was some remaining sponsorship that decided to invest in opening it to the public. With this million euros, an amazing area has been adapted such as the fact that it has never been rehabilitated before. Baresi shrugged off the suspicious question and pointed out that there are about 230 archaeological sites in Rome alone. In a city where the unit of measure is the horn, there isn’t always time or money for everything.

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