Scientists believe they have identified precisely where Julius Caesar fell: Researchers from the Spanish National Research Council, or CSIC, have uncovered a concrete structure three meters wide and two meters high that they think marks the site where JCaesar was stabbed by conspirators in 44 BC.
The monument was placed by Augustus, Julius Caesar’s adopted son and successor, at the bottom of the Curia Pompeia, a meeting room in a large garden area of the Theatre of Pompey.
“We always knew that Julius Caesar was killed in the Curia of Pompey on March 15th 44 BC because the classical texts pass on so, but so far no material evidence of this fact, so often depicted in [historical] painting and cinema, [has] been recovered,” CSIC researcher Antonio Monterroso said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ancient historians mostly agree on the basic facts of the assassination: a conspiracy of around 60 Roman senators that called themselves liberators, who counted among their numbers Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. Brutus had originally opposed Caesar in his civil war against Pompey, but gave himself up later and fell back into the dictator’s good graces. But Brutus, like the other conspirators, feared that Caesar was about to set the Senate aside to rule as king.
Thanks to Shakespeare, most of us will recall Caesar’s last words as “Et tu, Brute,” but this is entirely the playwright’s invention. The historian Suetonius relates some reports that Caesar actually sighed “Kai su, teknon?” which is Greek for “You too, child?” But Suetonius and Plutarch both say Caesar said nothing, while the latter says Caesar, upon seeing Brutus among his murderers, pulled his toga over his head, perhaps in resignation to his fate.
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According to historians, the spot where Caesar presided over his last Senate session and where he later fell, pierced 23 times, was closed off by a structure and turned into a chapel. Now, with the discovery of the memorial, the researchers have physical weight for those ancient histories.
Next, the researchers are looking at another area in the Theatre of Pompei called the Hecatostylon, or Portico of the Hundred Columns.
"It is very attractive, in a civic and citizen sense, that thousands of people today take the bus and the tram right next to the place where Julius Caesar was stabbed 2056 years ago,” Monterroso said.