Commentarii de religione Divi Iulii vel primordio Christianitatis

Tag: Ides of March

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.

The arsonist Apostles in the Gospel of Peter

In the Gospel of Peter there is a peculiar remark by the apocryphal evangelist who uses the Apostle Peter as his proxy (GPet 7:26):

ἐγὼ δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἑταίρων μου ἐλυπούμην, καὶ τετρωμένοι κατὰ διάνοιαν ἐκρυβόμεθα· ἐζητούμεθα γὰρ ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν ὡς κακοῦργοι καὶ ὡς τὸν ναὸν θέλοντες ἐμπρῆσαι.

But I with the companions was sorrowful; and having been wounded in spirit, we were in hiding, for we were sought after by them as wrongdoers and as wishing to set fire to the sanctuary.

In the canonical gospels there is no mention of the fact or of the belief that after the death of Jesus his followers wished to “set fire” to the “temple”, the “sanctuary” or “dwelling” of the god. But within the new theory of the Gospel as a Julio-Caesarian hypertext we can easily establish that we are yet again dealing with a diegetic transposition from the sources about Julius Caesar’s death and resurrection as god in March 44 BCE. Two possibilities arise:

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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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