Tag Archives: Julius Caesar

Oldest Roman Military Encampment Uncovered in Germany

Gaul on the eve of the Gallic Wars. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Archaeologists working in the small German town of Hermeskeil have uncovered what they believe is the oldest Roman Military Encampment in Germany uncovered to date. They believe that the camp was constructed during Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars and may have played a key role in the conquest of Gaul.

Archaeologists confirmed the dating of the site as mid 1st century BCE using shards of pottery and stylized building nails. Its connection to a neighboring village, abandoned in the middle of the 1st century BCE, also collaborates the sites significance in combating local tribes that fought the Roman invasion.

To learn more about the excavations and its findings, see the article on Science Daily.

Archaeologists Uncover Statues of the Children of Antony & Cleopatra

One of the most famous love stories of history, that of Antony and Kleopatra, has had a new piece to the puzzle added with the discovery of a new statue that archaeologists believe depict their children: Alexander Helios (the Sun) and Kleopatra Selene II (the Moon). The children, twins, were Kleopatra’s second and third child (having already given birth to Caesarion, the son of Julius Caesar). They would have a third child later, Ptolemy Philadelphus.

Caesarion, a potential and dangerous heir to rival Augustus, was put to death. However, the children of Antony and Kleopatra were actually given to Augustus’s sister, Octavia  (the Roman legal wife of Mark Antony) to raise and educate. Reportedly, she loved them deeply and grieved the loss of her adopted sons. Years later, the sons of Antony would disappear from history, but the daughter, Kleopatra Selene, was married off to King Juba II (a prominent Eastern King) and seemed to serve as co-regent.

To learn more about the discovery, see the article in Discovery News.

Today Marks the Ides of March

Mort de César by: Camuccini

Most of us are familiar, largely reading Shakespeare in high school, of the “Ides of March.” In the Roman Calendar, it marked March the 15th. It was made famous for the date of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE.

Caesar: The Ides of March have come!

Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.

— Shakespeare

The Roman Calendar was very similar to our own, divided into twelve months and then demarcated by the kalends (the first day of the month), the Nones (the 9th day of the month), and the Ides (the middle of the month falling on the 13th or the 15th); other days were marked by counting back from the stated demarcation (e.g. 3 days before the Ides of July). In Ancient Rome, the Ides of March were traditionally a day set aside to settle debts – a symbolic element highlighted by Caesar’s assassins. The Roman Calendar was fastidiously kept by the government and regularly required adjustment. Its accuracy (like most ancient calendars) was problematic and it regularly required adjustment. It was also often adjusted by various politicians (such as Julius Caesar – July, Augustus – August, etc).

To learn more about the significance of the Ides of March, see the article in National Geographic.