CAESAR’S MURDER ON IDES OF MARCH RE-ENACTED IN ROME
About 10 days ago I saw the following announcement in the online edition of “Wanted in Rome” and it really piqued my curiosity: 15 March. The Gruppo Storico Romano stages an historical re-enactment of the dramatic events that occurred in Rome on the Ides of March, culminating in the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The event is being staged at the Largo Argentina archaeological site on Thursday 15 March, at 14.00, followed by a funeral procession to the Temple of Divus Iulius in the Roman Forum. This unassuming site marks the spot where Caesar was cremated, and is located to the eastern side of the central Forum area. Each year people commemorate Caesar’s death by leaving flowers inside the temple. For details of the Ides of March events see the Gruppo Storico Romano website.
How could I miss such an occasion in the Eternal City! Rome offers so many “firsts” and that is why living here is so fascinating. I did learn, however, when I arrived that this is the 15th such re-enactment by this troupe!
When I got off the bus at the Largo Argentina ruins of the Roman Forum – where Caesar was killed in 44 BC – I could not see what I expected to see, that is, a big crowd gathering around the ancient ruins – they are below street level and there are metal barriers on all four sides of the Largo Argentina site.
I started walking around the perimeter and soon saw a crowd gathered around the southeast side of the ruins where there is a tower.
In fact, the full name of this square is Largo di Torre Argentina, The name of the square comes from the Torre or tower which, I learned from wikipedia, takes its name from the city of Strasbourg whose Latin name was Argentoratum. In 1503, the Papal Master of Ceremonies Johannes Burckardt, who came from Strasbourg and was known as “Argentinus,” built in the nearby via del Sudario a palace (now at number 44), called Casa del Burcardo, to which the tower is annexed.
Here are a few photos I took of the Largo Argentina ruins after the drama ended and the actors and onlookers processed to the Roman Forum to the site where Caesar was cremated. There are always a lot of cats who roam these ruins and there is, in fact, a cat hospital here, as you’ll see.
I found a place about three people in from the rope barrier around the “stage” where the re-enactment would occur. It was not ideal for taking photos or doing a FB Live video because, while Italy is not known for the great height of its men, a number of Rome’s tallest stood right next to and in front of me! Eventually one of them, to whom I explained what I wanted to do, arranged for me to have a fair view of the stage area. He made sure, in fact, that my view was consistently fairly clear and allowed only two youngsters to move in front of us. God bless him!
Before the actual drama began, there were, of course, two political speeches (this IS Italy), one of which bemoaned the fact that Rome’s City Hall had denied permission to re-enact the death of Caesar actually inside the Roman ruins. They hope to have permission next year.
Not easy to take photos and video at same time but here goes….seems the photos appear twice and I do not have time to remedy
I posted a few videos, interrupting myself occasionally because the “finish video” button is located on the phone exactly where one’s fingers would normally be when you hold the phone up to video. And of course I hit that “finish” button two or three times.
Those videos, for better or worse, are on my facebook page (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420), as is a video I took afterwards of the ancient Roman Forum – I only wish I had explained how Largo Argentina got its name!
I did mid-identify Julius Caesar at one point as I tried to listen to the actors. Their script, by the way, was from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”
As Shakespeare also wrote: All’s well that ends well! (Speaking of my day, not Caesar’s end)