DIVVS·IVLIVS

Commentarii de religione Divi Iulii vel primordio Christianitatis

Tag: Roman religion

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.

The Ascensions of Christ and Caesar

A picture is worth a thousand words, so today we will rather look at the iconography…

A famous depiction of Christ’s Ascension is the Christus Helios, a late third century Roman ceiling mosaic, which is said to show Jesus as the sun god Helios (Sol or Sol Invictus) riding to heaven in his chariot. Since the historical Jesus was Julius Caesar, we find the iconographical predecessor in the first century BCE, a relief depicting the apotheosis and ascension of Caesar as Divus Iulius (“God Julius”), riding to heaven in his chariot. The main characteristics are exactly the same: god, chariot, wheel, horses with raised forelegs, plants, and the general theme of ascension. Here are the images:

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Liberalia and Easter: The breads of the Holy Week

There is a long tradition of bakery products for Easter all over continental Europe—and even beyond, as the popularity of the hot cross bun in the UK and former British colonies like the US and Australia shows. In the more traditional regions, especially those in the Mediterranean area, it is often a form of plain flatbread or wafers that are a prominent part of the tradition. In Spain a whole wafer industry has developed for the Semana Santa, and in rural areas with stronger and older traditions these wafers and especially more traditional flatbreads are sold or handed out to the people attending the ceremonies of the Holy Week, especially on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday. (Please note that these products are all distinct from the liturgical communion wafers.) In Greece there is for example a long tradition of women baking the so-called koulouria using outdoor ovens (see image below).

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

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Caesar’s funeral: wax effigy1

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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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