Commentarii de religione Divi Iulii vel primordio Christianitatis

Category: Chronology

We come to bury Caesar! — Begraben wollen wir Caesar!

We come to bury Caesar!

Printing a journal takes its time: almost a year of waiting after peer review… but now the article on the accurate historical date of Julius Caesar’s funeral has been published in the Revue des Études Anciennes… and the conclusions are shaking many foundations… a new image emerges… and after more than 2000 years we have finally buried Caesar. See below for the links to Liberalia tu accusas!.

Begraben wollen wir Caesar!

Eine Zeitschrift zu drucken dauert seine Zeit: fast ein Jahr des Wartens nach dem Peer-Review… aber nun ist der Artikel über das korrekte historische Datum von Julius Caesars Beisetzung in der Revue des Études Anciennes veröffentlicht worden… und die Ergebnisse rütteln an so einigen Fundamenten… ein neues Bild erscheint… und nach mehr als 2000 Jahren haben wir Caesar endlich bestattet. Hier sind die Links zu Liberalia tu accusas!.

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Proofreading Liberalia tu accusas!

We are currently processing the galley proof of our article Liberalia tu accusas! on the correct date of Julius Caesar’s funeral to be published soon in a renowned peer-reviewed journal for ancient history. The postprint version is being edited accordingly. We do not know yet, when we are allowed to republish the article as a PDF online, but it might be as soon as early 2012. We will keep you posted.

Sitsim: Julius Caesar’s funeral on the iPhone


Kudos to the developers of a really great iPhone app called Sitsim (short for “situated simulation”), which is being supervised by Gunnar Liestøl, professor at the University of Oslo (above, upper right). The app will deliver augmented reality on mobile devices at historically important sites all around the world. Embedded below is a demonstration video, which includes the funeral ceremony of Julius Caesar as part of the augmented reality on the Forum Romanum in Rome:

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The death of Christ on Holy Wednesday

Bercianos de Aliste is a small and remote Spanish village near the Portugese border. Due to its century-long isolation the town’s parish has retained a very ancient and unadorned tradition of the Semana Santa, the Spanish Holy Week leading up to Easter. At first sight they seem to be following the standard rituals of the Holy Week: During the night before Holy Thursday a monumento is built for the host. From Wednesday to Good Friday women mourn for the enshrined body and watch over their Lord and Savior. Then the host is shared during the Holy Thursday liturgy. The Good Friday rituals begin in the morning, when the priest symbolizes the deceased Christ by lying on the floor.


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Écija | Conferencia: 17 de Marzo | Lecture: 17 March


Francesco Carotta ha dado en la ciudad de Écija, la antigua colonia cesárea de Astigi, una conferencia sobre la importancia del 17 de marzo: 17 de Marzo – Liberalia: Victoria de Munda, Fundación de la Colonia Astigi, Funeral de Julio César. Su conferencia también incluye la investigación previa sobre la fecha del funeral de César y su conexión con la última victoria en la guerra civil. Los textos en español están disponibles en PDF aquí (revisado y bifurcado [junio/julio 2010]): Astigi quod Iulienses – El misterio de Astigi y la palmera de Munda”; “Noche de San Juan”).

Francesco Carotta has held a lecture in the city of Écija, the former Caesarian colony of Astigi, on the importance of 17 March: 17 de Marzo – Liberalia: Victoria de Munda, Fundación de la Colonia Astigi, Funeral de Julio César. His lecture also includes previous research on the date of Caesar’s funeral and its connection to the final victory during the Civil War. The Spanish texts are available as PDFs here (revised and forked [June/July 2010]): Astigi quod Iulienses – El misterio de Astigi y la palmera de Munda”; “Noche de San Juan”).

Liberalia: Julius Caesar’s funeral and Resurrection


The Resurrection of Julius Caesar
on the day of the Liberalia

On Friday, 17 March 44 BCE, the day of the Liberalia, the festival of Liber Pater (Bacchus/Dionysus), Julius Caesar received his state funeral and resurrected as god by the will of the people. A wax effigy of his slain body was presented, raised above the bier, at the exact spot where a cruciform tropaeum stood, and was then rotated for the attending crowd.

The image above shows a reconstruction of Caesar’s simulacrum on the cross from the available archaeological sources. In the context of the Liberalia this cross was not (as usually) only a Roman victory cross, but especially needs to be seen as a liturgical prop commonly found in the rituals of Dionysian festivals. The tropaeum is taken from one of the many Caesarian coins that display Caesar’s tropaea, while the effigy is from a denarius by Caesar’s moneyer Buca, a coin that represented the imagery used at Caesar’s funeral, including his effigy as the legendary shepherd/king Endymion.

Caesar’s real body was cremated by the people in an improvised manner during the same ceremony on the Forum Romanum. In the gospels, which are a diegetic transposition of the historical sources on Caesar’s Civil War, Caesar’s cremation was interpreted as Christ’s Crucifixion, and all of the hypotextual properties are still found in the Passion narrative, for example the Latin cremare (CREMO; “to cremate”), which was understood as the Greek term κρεμαω (κρεμάω; “to hang from”, “to suspend”; Christian: “to crucify”), a striking accordance that was also noted (vice versa) by Church Father Augustine in Quaest. Num. 4.33.5, where he insinuated Christ’s cremation and specifically explained the Resurrection as an apotheosis by fire:

Et cremabunt eam in conspectu eius. Puto quia concrematio ad signum pertinet resurrectionis. Natura est quippe ignis ut in superna moveatur, et in eum convertitur quod crematur. Nam et ipsum cremare de graeco in latinum ductum verbum est a suspensione. Quod vero additum est, in conspectu eius, id est in conspectu sacerdotis, hoc mihi insinuatum videtur, quia illis apparuit resurrectio Christi, qui futuri erant regale sacerdotium. Iam quod sequitur: Et pellis eius et carnes et sanguis eius cum stercore eius comburetur, id ipsum expositum est quomodo concremabitur: et significatum est quod non solum substantia mortalis corporis Christi, quae commemoratione pellis et carnium et sanguinis intimata est; verum etiam contumelia et abiectio plebis, quam nomine stercoris significatam puto, converteretur in gloriam, quam combustionis flamma significat.

For more information, especially on the scientific background and sources, see the following three articles and book excerpts:

  • Carotta F, Eickenberg A. 2009a. “Orpheos Bakkikos: the missing cross”. Kirchzarten/Berlin/Écija/Sevilla. Originally published in: Isidorianum 35.
  • Carotta F, Eickenberg A. 2009b. Liberalia tu accusas! Restituting the ancient date of Caesar’s funeral”. Kirchzarten/Berlin.
  • Carotta F. 2005. Jesus was Caesar. On the Julian Origin of Christianity. An Investigative Report. Soesterberg: Uitgeverij Aspekt. Chapter: “Crux”.
  • Below is a camera snapshot series of a sequence from the documentary feature film Death Masks, which originally aired on History HD in 2009. It shows a 3D reconstruction of Caesar’s wax effigy on the cross during his funeral, however with several omissions and errors, most notably the arms that are not extended, but bound to the body and to the vertical stem, as if Caesar were simply a common criminal being crucified.

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    New article · Julius Caesar’s funeral proceeded on the Liberalia, 17 March 44 BCE

    Caesar’s funeral: wax effigy1

    Caesar’s cremation2

    Francesco Carotta has published a new article on his website that deals with the historical date of Julius Caesar’s funeral: Liberalia tu accusas! Restituting the ancient date of Caesar’s funeral”.

    Until today almost all modern historians have assumed that Caesar’s funeral occured at the earliest on 20 March 44 BCE. However, ancient historiographers like Appian, Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Nicolaus of Damascus and Plutarch (in unison) lead to 17 March as the correct historical date. The assumption of a later date is based on a modern scientific fantasy, an erroneous chronology of the events following Caesar’s assassination, which had originally been published in Drumann-Groebe 1922. However, Drumann had developed his original chronology without the knowledge of the Bios Kaisaros by Nicolaus of Damascus, and in the second edition Groebe tried to mend it, misdating an equivocal letter by Decimus Iunius Brutus and misusing an unstable passage in a letter by Cicero, and thus doing even more harm. Some historians have assumed dates as late as 23 March, and one alternate theory combined the two Senate sessions that occured between Caesar’s murder and his funeral into one day, which led to an occasional dating to 18 March. (The German Wikipedia article on Caesar uses the most common of the false dates: 20 March.)

    The new article shows convincingly, where and why Groebe erred in his chronology. Following a complete rebuttal the case is then made for a dating of the funeral ceremony to the Liberalia, the festival of Liber Pater, a Roman god identified with Bacchus (Dionysus). The article provides several arguments based on diverse sources like Suetonius, Ovid, Virgil and Cicero, which clearly prove and/or indicate that Caesar’s funeral proceeded on 17 March. Therefore the dating that can be derived from the ancient historiographers is correct, and it would have been a bizarre coincidence anyway if these ancient authors had all made the same mistake, although they used many different sources. What is definitely bizarre is that Groebe’s warped chronology has deceived—without exception—all of the modern academic community. But this is now over: Caesar was cremated and resurrected as god on Friday, 17 March 44 BCE—on the Liberalia, two days after the Ides of March, on the third day.

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    Neuer Artikel · Julius Caesars Begräbnis erfolgte an den Liberalia, 17. März 44 v. Chr.

    Caesars Begräbnis: Wachsfigur1

    Caesars Feuerbestattung2

    Francesco Carotta hat auf seiner Internetseite einen neuen Artikel veröffentlicht, der das historische Datum von Julius Caesars Begräbnis zum Thema hat: Liberalia tu accusas! Zur Restitution der antiken Datierung von Caesars Funeralien”.

    Bis zum heutigen Tag haben beinahe alle modernen Historiker angenommen, dass Caesars Begräbnis frühestens am 20. März 44 v. Chr. stattfand, obwohl die Berichte der antiken Historiographen wie Appian, Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Nikolaos von Damaskus und Plutarch unisono den 17. März als korrektes historisches Datum ergeben. Die Annahme eines späteren Datums basiert auf einer modernen wissenschaftlichen Fantasie, einer fehlerhaften Chronologie der Ereignisse nach Caesars Ermordung, die ursprünglich in Drumann-Groebe 1922 veröffentlicht wurde. Drumann hatte jedoch seine ursprüngliche Chronologie ohne Kenntnis des Bios Kaisaros von Nikolaos entwickelt, und in der zweiten Edition versuchte Groebe, die Fehler auszubessern, indem er einen zweifelhaften Brief von Decimus Iunius Brutus fehldatierte und eine unsichere Passage in einem Brief des Cicero missbräuchlich verwandte, womit er noch mehr Schaden anrichtete. Einige Historiker haben sogar Datierungen bis hin zum 23. März angenommen, und eine alternative Theorie kombinierte die beiden Senatssitzungen, die zwischen Caesars Ermordung und seinem Begräbnis einberufen wurden, an einem Tag, was mitunter zu einer Datierung auf den 18. März führte. (Der deutsche Wikipedia-Artikel über Caesar verwendet das gebräuchlichste der falschen Daten, den 20. März.)

    Der neue Artikel weist in überzeugender Weise nach, wo und warum Groebe sich in seiner Chronologie irrte. Nach einer vollständigen Widerlegung werden Argumente für eine Datierung der Begräbniszeremonie auf die Liberalia geliefert, das Fest des Liber Pater, eines römischen Gottes, der mit Bacchus (Dionysos) identifiziert wurde. Berücksichtigt werden u.a. diverse Quellen wie Suetonius, Ovid, Vergil und Cicero, die eindeutig beweisen und/oder darauf hindeuten, dass Caesars Begräbnis am 17. März stattfand. Deswegen ist die Datierung, die aus den Quellen der antiken Historiographen abgeleitet werden kann, korrekt, und es wäre sowieso ein bizarrer Zufall gewesen, wenn diese antiken Autoren allesamt denselben Fehler begangen hätten, wo sie doch viele verschiedene Quellen benutzten. Was jedoch definitiv bizarr erscheint, ist dass Groebes verzerrte Chronologie – ohne Ausnahme – die komplette akademische Welt in die Irre führen konnte. Aber das ist nun vorbei: Am Freitag, den 17. März 44 v. Chr. wurde Caesar eingeäschert und erfuhr seine Wiederauferstehung als Gott – an den Liberalia, zwei Tage nach den Iden des März, am dritten Tag.

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