Giacobbe Giusti, GIORGIONE: Madonna and Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius

Giacobbe Giusti, GIORGIONE: Madonna and Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius

The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH
Madonna and Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius
Giorgione - Pala di Castelfranco.jpg
Artist Giorgione
Year c. 1503/04
Medium oil on panel
Dimensions 200.5 cm × 144.5 cm (78.9 in × 56.9 in)
Location Cathedral of Castelfranco Veneto

The painting in its setting

The Madonna and Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius, also known as Castelfranco Madonna, is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Giorgione executed around 1504. It remains in the equivalent of its original setting, in a side-chapel of the Cathedral of Castelfranco Veneto, Giorgione’s native city, in Veneto, northern Italy, although the present church dates to the 18th century.

The picture has all the elements of a typical sacra conversazione, with the Madonna enthroned with the child, with St. Francis to the right and St. Nicasius to the left. However, the extreme height of the throne is most unusual and creates a very different effect from the pictures of this type by Giovanni Bellini and other painters, where the throne is only slightly raised and the figures are at roughly the same level.[1]

It is one of a handful of paintings – perhaps three – which can be very firmly attributed to Giorgione.


The armored figure has formerly been identified as the fighting saint St. George or St. Liberalis, patron of Castelfranco. Matteo and his brother Bruto Muzio were members of the Knights of Rhodes, whose ensign is borne by St. Nicasius (a martyred saint who had also belonged to the Hospitallier order). The traditional scheme of composition is lightened by the novel use of such elements as the throne and the landscape, which takes up a good portion of the background. Noteworthy is also the absence of any reference to ecclesiastical elements of architecture.

The technique of painting is an example of what Vasari called pittura sanza disegno (painting without drawing). This was a new approach to painting which revolutionised the Venetian school and is famously used in The TempestTitian, a pupil of Giorgione, later became one of the most important exponents of this style. The figure of St. Francis is very similar to that in Giovanni Bellini‘s San Giobbe Altarpiece (c. 1487).


The altarpiece was commissioned by the condottiero Tuzio Costanzo in memory of his son Matteo, who died of a fever whilst serving the Republic of Venice, in 1499. Also commissioned was a family chapel, containing the tombs of Matteo and Tuzio, built into the walls on either side of the painting. The church was subsequently demolished and replaced with the Cathedral of Castelfranco in 1724. The new building, which remains today, contains a small chapel housing the painting and the tomb of Matteo directly below. The Costanzo coat of arms, three pairs of ribs, can be seen on the tomb on the base of the Virgin’s throne. (Some scholars have speculated that St. Nicasius himself is actually a portrait of Matteo.)

The work has suffered bad restorations in the past centuries, and was stolen on December 10, 1972. After being recovered, it was accurately restored in 2002-2003 by the Accademia Laboratories in Venice and displayed in the major exhibition Le maraviglie dell’arte, before being returned to its home in Castelfranco in December 2005.


  1. ^ Steer, 79-84


Giacobbe Giusti, A Roman bust of Crassus in the Louvre, Paris, France

Giacobbe Giusti , A Roman bust of Crassus in the Louvre, Paris, France

Gautier Poupeau

Exposition au Grand Palais “Moi, Auguste, empereur de Rome” (19 mars 2014-13 juillet 2014) Milieu du Ier siècle av. JC. Marbre pentélique

Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War

Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War



Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War

Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War

Map of the Ancient Rome at Caesar time (with conquests)-fr.svg


Caesar’s Civil War
Part of the Roman civil wars

Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War

Map of the Ancient Rome at Caesar time (with conquests)-fr.svg
Map of the Roman Republic in the mid-1st century BCE.
Date 10 January 49 BC – 17 March 45 BC
(4 years, 2 months and 1 week)
Result Caesarian victory
Julius Caesar and supporters, the Populares Roman Senate, the Optimates
Commanders and leaders
Gaius Julius Caesar
Gaius Scribonius Curio 
Mark Antony
Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus
Publius Cornelius Sulla
Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus
Titus Labienus 
Metellus Scipio 
Cato the Younger 
Gnaeus Pompeius 
Publius Attius Varus 
Sextus Pompey

The Great Roman Civil War (49–45 BC), also known as Caesar’s Civil War, was one of the last politico-military conflicts in the Roman Republicbefore the establishment of the Roman Empire. It began as a series of political and military confrontations, between Julius Caesar (100–44 BC), his political supporters (broadly known as Populares), and his legions, against the Optimates (or Boni), the politically conservative and socially traditionalist faction of the Roman Senate, who were supported by Pompey (106–48 BC) and his legions.[1]

Prior to the war, Caesar had served for eight years in the Gallic Wars. He and Pompey had, along with Marcus Licinius Crassus, established the First Triumvirate, through which they shared power over Rome. Caesar soon emerged as a champion of the common people, and advocated a variety of reforms. The Senate, fearful of Caesar, demanded that he relinquish command of his army. Caesar refused, and instead marched his army on Rome, which no Roman general was permitted to do. Pompey fled Rome and organized an army in the south of Italy to meet Caesar.

The war was a four-year-long politico-military struggle, fought in Italy, Illyria, Greece, EgyptAfrica, and Hispania. Pompey defeated Caesar in 48 BC at the Battle of Dyrrhachium, but was himself defeated much more decisively at the Battle of Pharsalus. The Optimates under Marcus Junius Brutus and Cicerosurrendered after the battle, while others, including those under Cato the Younger and Metellus Scipiofought on. Pompey fled to Egypt and was killed upon arrival. Scipio was defeated in 46 BC at the Battle of Thapsus in North Africa. He and Cato committed suicide shortly after the battle. The following year, Caesar defeated the last of the Optimates in the Battle of Munda and became Dictator perpetuo (Dictator in perpetuity or Dictator for life) of Rome.[2] The changes to Roman government concomitant to the war mostly eliminated the political traditions of the Roman Republic (509–27 BC) and led to the Roman Empire (27 BC–AD 476).

Pre-war politico–military situation

Caesar’s Civil War resulted from the long political subversion of the Roman Government’s institutions, begun with the career of Tiberius Gracchus, continuing with the Marian reforms of the legions, the bloody dictatorship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, and completed by the First Triumvirate over Rome.

The First Triumvirate (so denominated by Cicero), comprising Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, ascended to power with Caesar’s election as consul, in 59 BC. The First Triumvirate was unofficial, a political alliance the substance of which was Pompey’s military might, Caesar’s political influence, and Crassus’ money. The alliance was further consolidated by Pompey’s marriage to Julia, daughter of Caesar, in 59 BC. At the conclusion of Caesar’s first consulship, the Senate (rather than granting him a provincial governorship) tasked him with watching over the Roman forests. This job, specially created by his Senate enemies, was meant to occupy him without giving him command of armies, or garnering him wealth and fame.

Caesar, with the help of Pompey and Crassus, evaded the Senate’s decrees by legislation passed through the popular assemblies. By these acts, Caesar was promoted to Roman Governor of Illyricumand Cisalpine GaulTransalpine Gaul (southern France) was added later. The various governorships gave Caesar command of an army of (initially) four legions. The term of his proconsulship, and thus his immunity from prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the customary one year. His term was later extended by another five years. During this ten-year period, Caesar used his military forces to conquer Gaul and invade Britain, without explicit authorisation by the Senate.

Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War

Roman world in 56 BC, when Caesar, Crassus and Pompey meet at Luca for a conference in which they decided: to add another five years to the proconsulship of Caesar in Gaul; to give the province of Syria to Crassus and both Spains and Africa to Pompey

In 52 BC, at the First Triumvirate’s end, the Roman Senate supported Pompey as sole consul; meanwhile, Caesar had become a military hero and champion of the people. Knowing he hoped to become consul when his governorship expired, the Senate, politically fearful of him, ordered he resign command of his army. In December of 50 BC, Caesar wrote to the Senate agreeing to resign his military command if Pompey followed suit. Offended, the Senate demanded he immediately disband his army, or be declared an enemy of the people: an illegal political bill, for he was entitled to keep his army until his term expired.

A secondary reason for Caesar’s immediate desire for another consulship was to delay the inevitable senatorial prosecutions awaiting him upon retirement as governor of Illyricum and Gaul. These potential prosecutions were based upon alleged irregularities that occurred in his consulship and war crimes committed in his Gallic campaigns. Moreover, Caesar loyalists, the tribunes Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius Longinus, vetoed the bill, and were quickly expelled from the Senate. They then joined Caesar, who had assembled his army, whom he asked for military support against the Senate; agreeing, his army called for action.

In 50 BC, at his Proconsular term’s expiry, the Pompey-led Senate ordered Caesar’s return to Rome and the disbanding of his army, and forbade his standing for election in absentia for a second consulship; because of that, Caesar thought he would be prosecuted and rendered politically marginal if he entered Rome without consular immunity or his army; to wit, Pompey accused him of insubordination and treason.

Civil War

Crossing the Rubicon

Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War

Julius Caesar pausing on the banks of the Rubicon

On January 10, 49 BC, commanding the Legio XIII Gemina, Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, the boundary between the province of Cisalpine Gaulto the north and Italy proper to the south. As crossing the Rubicon with an army was prohibited, lest a returning general attempt a coup d’etat, this triggered the ensuing civil war between Caesar and Pompey.

The general population, who regarded Caesar as a hero, approved of his actions. The historical records differ about which decisive comment Caesar made on crossing the Rubicon: one report is Alea iacta est (usually translated as “The die is cast”).

Caesar’s own account of the Civil War makes no mention of the river crossing and instead simply states that he marched to Rimini, a town South of the Rubicon, with his army. [3]

March on Rome and the early Hispanian campaign

Giacobbe Giusti, Caesar’s Civil War

Column of Julius Caesar, where he addressed his army to march on Rome and start the Civil War, Rimini, Italy

Caesar’s march on Rome was a triumphal procession. The Senate, not knowing that Caesar possessed only a single legion, feared the worst and supported Pompey. Pompey declared that Rome could not be defended; he escaped to Capua with those politicians who supported him, the aristocratic Optimates and the regnant consuls. Cicero later characterised Pompey’s “outward sign of weakness” as allowing Caesar’s consolidation of power.

Despite having retreated into central Italy, Pompey and the Senatorial forces were composed of at least two legions: some 11,500 soldiers and some hastily levied Italian troops commanded by Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. As Caesar progressed southwards, Pompey retreated towards Brundisium, initially ordering Domitius (engaged in raising troops in Etruria) to stop Caesar’s movement on Rome from the direction of the Adriatic seaboard.

Belatedly, Pompey requested Domitius to retreat south also, and rendezvous with Pompey’s forces. Domitius ignored Pompey’s request, and, after being isolated and trapped near Corfinium, was forced to surrender his army of thirty-one cohorts (about three legions). With deliberate clemency Caesar released Domitius and the other senators with him and even returned 6,000,000 sesterces which Domitius had had to pay his troops. The thirty-one cohorts, however, were made to swear a new oath of allegiance to Caesar and they were eventually sent to Sicily under the command of Asinius Pollio.[4]

Pompey escaped to Brundisium, there awaiting sea transport for his legions, to Epirus, in the Republic’s eastern Greek provinces, expecting his influence to yield money and armies for a maritime blockade of Italy proper. Meanwhile, the aristocrats—including Metellus Scipio and Cato the Younger—joined Pompey there, whilst leaving a rear guard at Capua.

Caesar pursued Pompey to Brundisium, expecting restoration of their alliance of ten years prior; throughout the Great Roman Civil War’s early stages, Caesar frequently proposed to Pompey that they, both generals, sheathe their swords. Pompey refused, legalistically arguing that Caesar was his subordinate and thus was obligated to cease campaigning and dismiss his armies before any negotiation. As the Senate’s chosen commander, and with the backing of at least one of the current consuls, Pompey commanded legitimacy, whereas Caesar’s military crossing of the Rubicon rendered him a de jure enemy of the Senate and People of Rome. Caesar then tried to trap Pompey in Brundisium by blocking up the harbour mouth with earth moles from either side, joined across the deepest part by a string of rafts, each nine metres square, covered with a causeway of earth and protected with screens and towers. Pompey countered by constructing towers for heavy artillery on a number of merchant ships and used these to destroy the rafts as they were floated in position. Eventually, in March 49 BC, Pompey escaped, fleeing by sea to Epirus, leaving Caesar in complete command of Italy.[5]

Taking advantage of Pompey’s absence from the Italian mainland, Caesar effected an astonishingly fast 27-day, north-bound forced march to destroy, in the Battle of IlerdaHispania‘s politically leader-less Pompeian army, commanded by the legates Lucius Afranius and Marcus Petreius, afterwards pacifying Roman Hispania; during the campaign, the Caesarian forces—six legions, 3,000 cavalry (Gallic campaign veterans), and Caesar’s 900-horse personal bodyguard—suffered only 70 men killed in action, while the Pompeian casualties numbered 200 men killed and 600 wounded.

Returning to Rome in December of 49 BC, Caesar was appointed Dictator, with Mark Antony as his Master of the Horse. Caesar kept his dictatorship for eleven days, tenure sufficient to win him a second term as consul with Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus as his colleague. Afterwards, Caesar renewed his pursuit of Pompey in Greece.

Greek, Illyrian and African campaigns

From Brundisium, Caesar crossed the Strait of Otranto with seven legions to the Gulf of Valona (not Palaesta in Epirus [modern Palase/Dhermi, Albania], as reported by Lucan),[6] prompting Pompey to consider three courses of action: (i) to make an alliance with the King of Parthia, an erstwhile ally, far to the east; (ii) to invade Italy with his superior navy; and/or (iii) to force a decisive battle with Caesar. A Parthian alliance was not feasible: a Roman general fighting Roman legions with foreign troops was craven; and the military risk of an Italian invasion was politically unsavoury, because the Italians (who thirty years earlier had rebelled against Rome) might rise against him. Thus, on the advice of his councillors, Pompey decided to engineer a decisive battle.[citation needed]

As it turned out, Pompey would have been obliged to take the third option anyway, as Caesar had forced his hand by pursuing him to Illyria, so, on 10 July 48 BC, the two fought in the Battle of Dyrrhachium. With a loss of 1,000 veteran legionaries Caesar was forced to retreat southwards. Refusing to believe that his army had bested Caesar’s legions, Pompey misinterpreted the retreat as a feint into a trap, and did not give chase to deliver the decisive coup de grâce, thus losing the initiative and his chance to quickly conclude the war. Near Pharsalus, Caesar pitched a strategic bivouac. Pompey attacked, but, despite his much larger army, he was conclusively defeated by Caesar’s troops. A major reason for Pompey’s defeat was a miscommunication among front cavalry horsemen.

Egyptian dynastic struggle

Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was murdered by an officer of King Ptolemy XIII. Caesar pursued the Pompeian army to Alexandria, where he camped and became involved with the Alexandrine civil war between Ptolemy and his sister, wife, and co-regent, Cleopatra VII. Perhaps as a result of Ptolemy’s role in Pompey’s murder, Caesar sided with Cleopatra; he is reported to have wept at the sight of Pompey’s head, which was offered to him by Ptolemy’s chamberlain Pothinus as a gift.

In any event, Caesar was besieged at Alexandria and after Mithridates relieved the city, Caesar defeated Ptolemy’s army and installed Cleopatra as ruler, with whom he fathered his only known biological son, Ptolemy XV Caesar, better known as “Caesarion”. Caesar and Cleopatra never married, due to Roman law that prohibited a marriage with a non-Roman citizen.

War against Pharnaces

After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to Syria, and then to Pontus to deal with Pharnaces II, a client king of Pompey’s who had taken advantage of the civil war to attack the Roman-friendly Deiotarus and make himself the ruler of Colchis and lesser Armenia. At Nicopolis Pharnaces had defeated what little Roman opposition the governor of Asia, Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus, could muster. He had also taken the city of Amisus, which was a Roman ally, made all the boys eunuchs, and sold the inhabitants to slave traders. After this show of strength, Pharnaces drew back to pacify his new conquests.

Nevertheless, the extremely rapid approach of Caesar in person forced Pharnaces to turn his attention back to the Romans. At first, recognizing the threat, he made offers of submission, with the sole object of gaining time until Caesar’s attention fell elsewhere, to no avail; Caesar quickly routed Pharnaces at the Battle of Zela (modern Zile in Turkey) with just a small detachment of cavalry. Caesar’s victory was so swift and complete that, in a letter to a friend in Rome, he famously said of the short war, “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”). Indeed, for his Pontic triumph, that may well have been the label displayed above the spoils.

Pharnaces himself fled quickly back to the Bosporus, where he managed to assemble a small force of Scythian and Sarmatian troops, with which he was able to gain control of a few cities; however, a former governor of his, Asandar, attacked his forces and killed him. The historian Appian states that Pharnaces died in battle; Cassius Dio says Pharnaces was captured and then killed.

Later campaign in Africa and the war on Cato

While Caesar had been in Egypt installing Cleopatra as sole ruler, four of his veteran legions encamped outside Rome under the command of Mark Antony. The legions were waiting for their discharges and the bonus pay Caesar had promised them before the battle of Pharsalus. As Caesar lingered in Egypt, the situation quickly deteriorated. Antony lost control of the troops and they began looting estates south of the capital. Several delegations of diplomats were dispatched to try to quell the mutiny.

Nothing worked and the mutineers continued to call for their discharges and back pay. After several months, Caesar finally arrived to address the legions in person. Caesar knew he needed these legions to deal with Pompey’s supporters in north Africa, who had mustered 14 legions of their own. Caesar also knew that he did not have the funds to give the soldiers their back pay, much less the money needed to induce them to reenlist for the north African campaign.

When Caesar approached the speaker’s dais, a hush fell over the mutinous soldiers. Most were embarrassed by their role in the mutiny in Caesar’s presence. Caesar asked the troops what they wanted with his cold voice. Ashamed to demand money, the men began to call out for their discharge. Caesar bluntly addressed them as “citizens” instead of “soldiers,” a tacit indication that they had already discharged themselves by virtue of their disloyalty.

He went on to tell them that they would all be discharged immediately. He said he would pay them the money he owed them after he won the north African campaign with other legions. The soldiers were shocked. They had been through 15 years of war with Caesar and they had become fiercely loyal to him in the process. It had never occurred to them that Caesar did not need them.

The soldiers’ resistance collapsed. They crowded the dais and begged to be taken to north Africa. Caesar feigned indignation and then allowed himself to be won over. When he announced that he would allow them to join the campaign, a huge cheer arose from the assembled troops. Through this reverse psychology, Caesar reenlisted four enthusiastic veteran legions to invade north Africa without spending a single sesterce.

Caesar quickly gained a significant victory at Thapsus in 46 BC over the forces of Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger and Juba (who all committed suicide).

Second Hispanian campaign and the end of the war

Nevertheless, Luca’s sons Gnaeus Pompeius and Sextus Pompeius, together with Titus Labienus(Caesar’s former propraetorian legate (legatuspropraetore) and second in command in the Gallic War) escaped to Hispania. Caesar gave chase and defeated the last remnants of opposition in the Battle of Munda in March 45 BC. During this time, Caesar was elected to his third and fourth terms as consul in 46 BC (with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus) and 45 BC (sine collega, without a colleague).



Caesar was later proclaimed dictator first for ten years and then in perpetuity. The latter arrangement triggered the conspiracy leading to his assassination on the Ides of March in 44 BC. Following this, Antony and Caesar’s adopted son Octavius would fight yet another civil war against remnants of the Optimates and Liberatores faction, ultimately resulting in the establishment of the Roman Empire.


  1. ^ Kohn, G.C. Dictionary of Wars (1986) p. 374
  2. ^ Hornblower, S., Spawforth, A. (eds.) The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization (1998) pp. 219–24
  3. ^
  4. ^ John Leach, Pompey the Great, p.183
  5. ^ John Leach, Pompey the Great, p.185
  6. ^ Longhurst (2016) “Caesar’s Crossing of the Adriatic Countered by a Winter Blockade During the Roman Civil War” The Mariner’s Mirror Vol. 102; 132–152


Giacobbe Giusti, Augustus as Pontifex Maximus (Via Labicana Augustus)

Giacobbe Giusti, Augustus as Pontifex Maximus (Via Labicana Augustus)


The Pontifex Maximus or pontifex maximus (Latin, “greatest priest”[1][2][3]) was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs(Collegium Pontificum) in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office. Its last use with reference to the emperors is in inscriptions of Gratian[4] (reigned 375–383) who, however, then decided to omit the words “pontifex maximus” from his title.[5][6] Although in fact the most powerful office of Roman priesthood, the pontifex maximus was officially ranked fifth in the ranking of the highest Roman priests (ordo sacerdotum), behind the rex sacrorum and the flamines maiores (Flamen DialisFlamen MartialisFlamen Quirinalis).[7]

The word “pontifex” and its derivative “pontiff” later became terms used for Catholic bishops,[8] including the Bishop of Rome,[9][10]and the title of “Pontifex Maximus” was applied within the Catholic Church to the Pope as its chief bishop and appears on buildings, monuments and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times. The official list of titles of the Pope given in the Annuario Pontificio includes “Supreme Pontiff” (in Latin, Summus Pontifex) as the fourth title, the first being “Bishop of Rome”.[11].


The etymology of “pontifex” is uncertain, and has been since Roman times. The word appears to consist of the Latin word for “bridge” and the suffix for “maker”. However, there is a possibility that this definition is a folk etymology for an Etruscan term,[6] since Roman religion was heavily influenced by Etruscan religion, and very little is known about the Etruscan language, which is not Indo-European.

According to the common interpretation, the term pontifex means “bridge-builder” (pons + facere); “maximus” means “greatest”. This was perhaps originally meant in a literal sense: the position of bridge-builder was indeed an important one in Rome, where the major bridges were over the Tiber, the sacred river (and a deity): only prestigious authorities with sacral functions could be allowed to “disturb” it with mechanical additions. However, it was always understood in its symbolic sense as well: the pontifices were the ones who smoothed the “bridge” between gods and men[12].

The interpretation of the word pontifex as “bridge-builder” was that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Marcus Terentius VarroPlutarchpointed out that the term existed before there were any bridges in Rome and derived the word from Old Latin pontis (sic) meaning a powerful or absolute master, while others derived it from potis facerein the sense of “able to sacrifice”.[13] The last derivation is mentioned also by Varro, who rejected it,[14] but it was the view of Pontifex Maximus Quintus Scaevola.[15] Others have held that the word was originally pompifex (leader of public processions).[15] The word ponsoriginally meant “way” and pontifex would thus mean “maker of roads and bridges”.[15]

Another opinion is that the word is a corruption of a similar-sounding but etymologically unrelated Etruscan word.[16] Yet another hypothesis[17] considers the word as a loan from the Sabine language, in which it would mean a member of a college of five, from Osco-Umbrian ponte, five.[18] This explanation takes into account the fact that the college was established by Sabine king Numa Pompiliusand the institution is Italic: the expressions pontis and pomperiasfound in the Iguvine Tablets may denote a group or division of five or by five. The pontifex would thence be a member of a sacrificial college known as pomperia (Latin quinio).[19]

The Roman title “Pontifex Maximus” was rendered in Greek inscriptions and literature of the time as “ἀρχιερεύς” archierheús (literally, “high priest”|)[20] or by a more literal translation and order of words as “ἀρχιερεὺς μέγιστος” archirheús mégistos (literally, “greatest high priest”).[21] The term “ἀρχιερεύς” archierheús is used in the Septuagint text of the Old Testament and in the New Testament to refer to the Jewish high priest, also in 2Mac 4, 7.

Giacobbe Giusti, LEONARDO and PONTORMO exhibition now in Tuscany


Giacobbe Giusti, LEONARDO and PONTORMO exhibition now in Tuscany

Image result for pontormo leonardo

Giacobbe Giusti, LEONARDO and PONTORMO exhibition now in Tuscany

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Giacobbe Giusti, LEONARDO and PONTORMO exhibition now in Tuscany

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Giacobbe Giusti, LEONARDO and PONTORMO exhibition now in Tuscany

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The birthplace of Jacopo Carucci, known as the ‘Pontormo’ (1494-1527), located in Empoli (Florence), will host until 2019 December 31st a video installation created to create a parallel between the works of the same Carrucci with those of Leonardo da Vinci.

Jacopo Carucci, known as Pontormo (1494-1557), was born and spent part of his youth in the hamlet of Pontorme, just outside Empoli. In the house museum of this famous exponent of Tuscan Mannerism, the exhibition “Leonardo e Pontormo” investigates the artistic ties between the two great artists originating from the Empoli Valdelsa area.

An immersive video installation traces the relationship between Pontormo and the now famous Leonardo da Vinci in the Florence of the ‘500. The works of the two artists are compared to highlight how and how much the master’s art influenced Jacopo’s production, while the narration of his biographical story will allow us to deepen lesser-known aspects of the life and personality of this extraordinary painter.

Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde


Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde

Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde

The Cross of Mathilde in the Essen Cathedral Treasury

The Cross of Mathilde (GermanMathildenkreuzLatinCrux Matildae) is an Ottonian processional cross in the crux gemmata style which has been in Essen in Germany since it was made in the 11th century. It is named after Abbess Mathilde(died in 1011) who is depicted as the donor on a cloisonné enamel plaque on the cross’s stem. It was made between about 1000, when Mathilde was abbess, and 1058, when Abbess Theophanu died; both were princesses of the Ottonian dynasty. It may have been completed in stages, and the corpus, the body of the crucified Christ, may be a still later replacement. The cross, which is also called the “second cross of Mathilde”, forms part of a group along with the Cross of Otto and Mathilde or “first cross of Mathilde” from late in the preceding century, a third cross, sometimes called the Senkschmelz Cross, and the Cross of Theophanu from her period as abbess. All were made for Essen Abbey, now Essen Cathedral, and are kept in Essen Cathedral Treasury, where this cross is inventory number 4.


Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde

The reverse of the Cross of Mathilde

The Cross of Mathilde is 45 cm (18 in) tall and 30.5 cm (12.0 in) wide and the cross beams are 6.3 cm (2.5 in) wide and 2.2 cm (0.87 in) deep. It consists of an oak core covered in gold sheet. Under the cross is a modern glass ball which serves as a handle. The ends of the Latin cross are flared in a way found in Mathilde’s First Cross and the Ottonian Cross of Lothair at Aachen. The narrow sides and reverse of the Cross of Mathilde are covered with gilt copper. On the reverse it is decorated with a punchmarked Agnus Dei which is accompanied by the four Evangelists’ symbols. On the obverse there is a crucifix cast in bronze[1] and gilt, with three cavities for holding relics: two in the back and one in the occiput. To the left and right of the crucifix there are enamelroundels with personifications of the Sun and the Moon, surrounded by four pearls each and by filigreework. Above the crucifix is the normal cross inscription in enamel: IHC NAZA/RENVS REX / IVDEORV (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews), above which there is a large red stone surrounded by four pearls. Under the crucifix there is a brown cameo gem of a lion and under that there is an enamel plate with the donor portrait which depicts Mathilde (named) in monastic clothing, kneeling in prayer before the Madonna. The central area with the crucifix, donor portrait, cross inscription, sun, moon and lion cameo is bordered by a strip of alternating enamel plates and stones, each surrounded by four pearls. At the end of each cross beam there are four teardrop-shaped, coloured stones around a central stone. On the right arm, the central stone is a cameo with a female bust looking left. On the left arm it is an intaglio cut in a piece of striped onyx, showing a helmeted soldier in profile, holding a spear.

The Cross of Mathilde is generally considered the weakest of the four Essen processional crosses in artistic terms,[2] Pothmann considers the artistry and craftsmanship to be not as high as the others.[3] In 1904, Humann described it as a “cluttered grandeur and, every respect, a cruder image.”[4] The assessment of the cross is significantly complicated by an undocumented restoration which must have occurred between 1904 and 1950. In this restoration the edging enamels were melted, allowing the colours underneath to be seen.[5]


Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde

Crucifix detail

Jesus stands on a suppedaneum, with his legs together. The feet are not nailed. The loincloth is knotted in the middle and falls evenly in broad folds. The arms are slightly unequal in length. The head is bent to the side and is surrounded by a halo which is attached to the horizontal member of the cross and is not adjusted to take account of the tilt of the head. Humann calls the position of the body clumsy and awkward.[6] Until 2010, the cavities on his back side contained three small relic packets, which were held in place by ties. The relics had been associated with the cross from its creation. The relic in the lowest cavity was wrapped in a purple-coloured piece of taffeta and lacks a cedula. A nocent relic wrapped in white linen is in the middle cavity with an accompanying cedula, from Innocent I (r.401-417). The script, Carolingian minuscule dates this to the 10th or 11th century and localises it to the scriptorium of Essen Abbey.[7] There are three further fragmentary parchment cedulae on cloth fragments in the cavity in the head. The script of these has typical elements of the Essen scriptorium; one of the fragments can be attributed to Lawrence of Rome (†258). The cross thus contained relics of Saints Lawrence and Innocent. Both of these saints were very important to the Ottonian dynasty to which Mathilde belonged: Innocent was patron saint of the oldest Ottonian abbey, Gandersheim and Otto I, Abbess Mathilde’s grandfather, attributed his success in the Battle of Lechfeld (955) to Lawrence. The relic packets and cedulae are now stored in the Cathedral treasury chamber separately under inventory numbers MK1 to MK4.


The Cross of Mathilde was equipped with forty enamel tablets, of which 37 remain: the enamel with the donor portrait, the enamel with the cross inscription, two round enamels with the personifications of the Sun and the Moon, and 33 ornamental enamels. Three further ornamental enamels were lost before the first description of the cross. Of all the objects in the Essen treasury, the Cross of Mathilde is the most richly decorated with enamel. All the enamel frames are filigreed.

Donor portrait

Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde

The enamel plaque with the donor portrait

The donor enamel is 6 cm × 2.9 cm (2.4 in × 1.1 in) in size. Its iconic “Seat of Wisdom” shows an enthroned Madonna in frontal view on the right, holding her son on her left knee, in front of a figure dressed in the white robes of a monastic. The monastic holds a cross with both hands, which she offers to the baby Jesus. The child stretches both hands towards the cross in a gesture of acceptance. An inscription MA/HTH/ILD / AB/BH/II makes it possible to identify the monastic as the Abbess Mathilde. The inscription is probably faulty, with the second word to be read as ABBATI(SSA).[8] Above and to the right of the Madonna are two further inscriptions, which are incomprehensible. It is theorised that they are mutilated versions of Greek inscriptions. The epigraphist Sonja Hermann suggests that the enameller confused the third and fourth letters and has inverted a Τ, which would yield ΜΗΤΗΡ (μήτηρ – “mother”). Hermann would read the symbols on the right, which are arranged vertically, as ΙΥ ΧΥ as an abbreviation of Ι(ησο)ύ Χ(ριστο)ύ (“of Jesus Christ”).[9]

The background of the enamel is in translucent green, with the letters set in gold. Mary’s head is surrounded by an opaque yellow halo and she wears a white hood as well as a translucent brown-violet robe with red ochre sleeves. Robe and sleeves are harmonised by a single gold wire outline. Mary sits on a yellow throne, with her feet in grey shoes placed on a blue footrest. Her face is beige, with her circular eyes in the same colour as the face. Eyebrows, nose and mouth are depicted with gold wire. The hieratic pose of Mary is a notable feature of the Sedes Sapentiae.

The child sits on Mary’s left knee, his legs hanging down between her knees. Jesus has a red halo with a gold cross. His face is detailed in gold, like Mary’s. Christ wears a blue robe, with gold wire indicating folds in it, and grey shoes. Mathilde’s clothing is made up of a tight white robe of a monastic, with a white hood which is detailed with gold wire. Under the robe, as is visible on her arms, she wears a blue undergarment. The cross which she holds upright is delineated with broader gold wire. Since the vertical cross beam merges into the side of the throne and the horizontal cross beam merges into the throne’s armrest, the cross itself is difficult to make out. Mathilde’s line of sight passes through the transept of her cross and Christ’s hand to the face of her saviour.

This donor portrait shows parallels with the donor portrait on the cover of the Theophanu Gospels, in which Theophanu in a similar but more horizontal pose, presents her donation to an enthroned Mary. Because of the similarity of the posture of the enthroned Madonna to the Golden Madonna of Essen it has been suggested that the actual act of donation was performed in the presence of the statue.[10]

Cross inscription

The cross inscription IHC NAZA/RENVS REX / IVDEORV is made of golden wire set in a translucent blue background. It is surrounded by a broad gold border, and the lines of the inscription are separated by golden stripes. The letters are made easily readable, but do not reach the precision of their model on the Cross of Otto and Mathilde.[11] The dotting of the gold border, which is characteristic of the workshop of Egbert of Trier, is absent, in contrast to the inscription plaque of the Cross of Otto and Mathilde.[12]

Sun and Moon

Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde

The personification of the Moon and the ancient cameo on the right arm of the cross

The two round enamel medallions with personifications of the Sun and Moon, which symbolise the mourning of all creation at Christ’s death, are located on the horizontal beam of the cross. Both personifications look towards Jesus, the Sun from the left and the Moon from the right. The background of the enamel plaque depicting the Sun is green. The bust of the Sun has a mournful expression and its hands are raised to its face. Its brown-violet eyes are round and its eyebrows as well as its bulbous nose are formed with a wire, while its wide open mouth is formed from two other wires. A forrowed brow is formed from a Y-shaped wire, reinforcing the mournful expression. The Sun wears a crown with four jagged rays in his golden hair and holds a cloth before his face.

The enamel plaque of the Moon is made as a mirror image of the Sun’s plaque. The Moon also holds a cloth before her face. The enamel is generally darker, the use of wire somewhat better.[13] In contrast to the Sun’s enamel, the Moon’s clothing and hair are full of wires. For the face, the enameller used a single wire for the nose and the mouth.

Enamels of the edging

The enamels of the edging alternate with gemstones. In total there are five different motifs in five different colours. Eleven of the enamels have a carpet-like stepped pattern, seven enamels are divided into fields. In five enamels a diagonal cross is the motif, often featuring circular motifs with quatrefoil flowers. The remaining enamels feature modified quatrefoil flowers. Diagonal crosses, stepped patterns and quatrefoil flowers also occur as motifs on the Senkschmelz Cross.[14] The colours employed are translucent bottle green and dark blue as well as opque white, red, jade green, turquoise, blue and yellow. Several of the enamels have a reversed counterpart, which is sometimes located opposite.[15] It is probable that all of the enamels of the edging were originally paired, so that the appearance of the cross was less chaotic than it is today.[14]


The Cross of Mathilde contains three classical cameo engraved gems, which have a significant iconographic role. On the horizontal beam of the cross is a brownish chalcedony, with a cameo of a lion lying down or sleeping. On the left arm of the cross, a horizontally striated onyx features a warrior with a spear and helmet in profile facing Jesus. Opposite him, on the right arm of the cross is an oval cameo with a lightly carved female bust on a dark background. All the cameos are ancient spolia[16]

The iconographic significance of the cameo gems is not yet completely clear. The lion stands on the vertical beam of the cross in the same spot in which the chasedsnake appears on the Cross of Otto and Mathilde and in which the Gorgon cameo appears on the Senkschmelz Cross – both of these symbolise evil’s defeat as a result of the crucifixion of Christ. The lion cameo can also be put in this symbolic system.[17] But the depiction of the lion lying peacefully might also have another meaning: in the Physiologus, a characteristic of the lion is that it brings its newborn young to life on the third day with its breath, which makes lion a symbol for the resurrection of Christ. The lion cameo could therefore also be interpreted as a reference to the hope for the resurrection of the donor depicted on the enamel plaque below it.[18]

The meaning of the cameos on the horizontal arms is even less clear. The use of these particular items of spolia seems intentional, but a convincing iconographic interpretation of the naked warrior with spear and helmet and the noble women has not yet been made. Since both look towards Jesus, like the Sun and the Moon, it seems possible that they are intended to amplify those images.[19]

Dating and patroness

The Cross of Mathilde is always considered in connection with the other three Ottonian processional crosses of the Essen Cathedral Treasury. Long ago, Humann noticed significant parallels with the Cross of Otto and Mathilde and the Senkschmelz Cross, such that he assumed that the goldsmith of the Cross of Mathilde had knowledge of the Cross of Otto and Mathilde (known to him as the Older Cross of Mathilde).[20] The form and general idea of the Cross of Otto and Mathilde are adopted by the Cross of Mathilde: donor portrait, crucifixion inscription, the crucified Jesus on a golden background, surrounded by an elaborate border. The adoption is particularly significant in the case of the crucifixion inscription, since the inscription on the Cross of Mathilde is directly copied from the older cross. The border is adopted from the Senkschmelz Cross. The Cross of Mathilde must, therefore be younger than these models. In 1904, Humann concluded on the basis of the image of Mathilde on it, that the Cross of Mathilde was made before 1011, the year of her death.[21] On the grounds that the Cross of Mathilde is generally less harmonised, colourful, and technically successful, it was assumed that Mathilde donated it shortly before the end of her life, when she no longer had the superior artist of the Cross of Otto and Mathilde at her disposal.[9] Since the Cross of Otto and Mathilde was often called the “Cross of Mathilde” at that time, he called the cross the “Younger Cross of Mathilde” or the “Second Cross of Mathilde”.

Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde

Cross of Mathilde
Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde
Cross of Hermann and Ida
Giacobbe Giusti, Cross of Mathilde
Ivory on the bookcover of the Theophanu Gospels
The stylistic relationship of the crucified Jesus on the Cross of Mathilde is significant in comparison.

The dating of the Cross of Mathilde to before 1011 raised art historical problems. For one thing, individual ornamental motifs are found on the Senkschmelz Cross, which was meant to be created earlier, which only become common later. For another thing, the crucified Jesus of the Cross of Mathilde shows numerous parallels to a group of cast bronze crucifixes, of which the most prominent example is the crucifix on the Cross of Hermann and Ida, which was created at least thirty years after the death of Abbess Mathilde. There are further parallels with the depictions of the cross on Cologne ivory carvings, such as the ivory book cover of the Theophanu Gospels.[22] Since the current crucifix is not fitted on the inside, it was assumed that the Cross of Mathilde was made in the middle of the eleventh century and an original, chased crucifix was replaced by the casts.[21][9] Since scholars assumed that Abbess Sophia had discontinued several projects of Mathilde, such as the westwerk of Essen Minster or the Marsus shrine, it was also assumed that the Cross of Mathilde was first assembled under Abbess Theophanu, or rather that she had first arranged Mathilde’s donation.[23] An argument in favour of this is the similarity of the donor portrait of the Cross of Mathilde to the donor portrait of Theophanu on the book cover of the Theophanu Gospels.

A newer interpretation of the Cross of Mathilde is suggested by Klaus Gereon Beuckers. Making Theophanu herself the donor of the cross, he dates it to circa 1050. The crucifix would then be original. Beuckers included the Cross of Mathilde among the efforts of Theophanu to memorialise Mathilde. Theophanu surrounded Mathilde’s grave in the new building consecrated in 1051, the crypt of Theophanu which is known today as the Altfrid Crypt, with a memorial structure, increasing the liturgical importance of her predecessor in order to increase the importance of the Abbey.[24] Theophanu, therefore, would have had new enamel made for the Cross of Mathilde, which directly recalled the older enamel already at Essen. Beuckers supposes therefore that the Cross of Mathilde was made in Essen. Since the only enamels used on the older treasures of Theophanu (the Holy Nail Gospels and the Cross of Theophanu), Theophanu probably put the enamel workshop which had made the Senkschmelz Cross and the Marsus shrine under Mathilde, back into operation for the manufacture of the Cross of Mathilde.[25]


From its creation, the cross has been located in Essen, except for evacuations during wars and other crises. On accound of the depiction of Mathilde and the similarities with two other crosses of the Cathedral Treasury, which were also donations to Essen, it is assumed that it belonged to the Abbey continuously from its donation until the secularisation of Essen Abbey in 1802. However, the sources for the Essen Cathedral Treasury do not explicitly mention the cross. The Inventarium reliquiarum Essendiensium of 12 July 1627, the earliest inventory of the Abbey’s treasurym does not allow a certain identification, since it only recorded “Two crucifixes decorated with a lot of gemstones and gold, but gilded copper on the reverse.”[26] This description applies to all four of the processional crosses in the Essen Cathedral Treasury. The Liber Ordinarius, which controlled the liturgical use of the Abbey’s treasure, speaks of processional crosses only in general terms. During the Thirty Years War, the Abbess fled with the treasure to Cologne and in 1794, as the French advanced on Essen, the Abbey Treasury was taken to Steele (modern Essen-Steele), where it was kept in an orphanage donated by the Abbess Francisca Christina of Sulzbach.

At secularisation the Catholic church of St Johann Baptist took over the Abbey as well as its property, as the parish church. It made the cross, along with the rest of the Cathedral treasury accessible to the public for the first time. During the Ruhr Uprisingof 1920 the whole treasury was taken in great secrecy to Hildesheim, whence it was returned in 1925 in equally secretive circumstances.[27]

In the Second World War the Cathedral Treasury was first taken to Warstein, then to Albrechtsburg in Meissen and thence to a bunker in Siegen. After the end of the war it was found there by American troops and the cross along with the rest of the treasury was taken to the State Museum in Marburg and later to a collection for displaced artworks in Schloss Dyck in Rheydt. From April to October 1949 the Essen Cathedral Treasury was displayed in Brussels and Amsterdam, before it was brought back to Essen.

With the creation of the Diocese of Essen in 1958 and the elevation of Essen Minster to the status of Cathedral, the cross became property of the diocese.

Liturgical use

The details of the liturgical use of the crosses in Essen Abbey are not known. Though the sources, particularly the Essen Liber Ordinarius which dates to around 1400, describe the use of the processional crosses for processions, they speak of these crosses in general terms, without mentioning specific crosses. Although the diocese no longer uses the Cross of Mathilde in processions on conservation grounds, it is not a museum piece, but a religious object, which can be used in religious services. For instance, it was used as the altar cross on 5 November 2011 in a memorial service on the thousandth anniversary of Mathilde’s death, for whose memory it was originally gifted.

  1. ^ The view that it is silver, often encountered in the literature, is faulty: Pawlik, Heilige, Reliquien und Reliquiare im Essener Stift – ein Inventar, p. 286 n. 71.
  2. ^ Eckenfels-Kunst, Goldemails. Untersuchungen zu ottonischen und frühsalischen Goldzellenschmelzen, p. 64.
  3. ^ Pothmann, Der Essener Kirchenschatz aus der Frühzeit der Stiftsgeschichte, p. 147.
  4. ^ Humann, Die Kunstwerke der Münsterkirche zu Essen, p. 145.
  5. ^ Falk, Catalogue “Krone und Schleier”, p. 273; Beuckers, Catalogue “Gold vor Schwarz”, p.86.
  6. ^ Humann, Die Kunstwerke der Münsterkirche zu Essen, p. 119.
  7. ^ Pawlik, Heilige, Reliquien und Reliquiare im Essener Stift – ein Inventar, S. 285.
  8. ^ Hermann, Die Inschriften der Stadt Essen (Die Deutschen Inschriften vol. 81), p. 17 n. 8.
  9. Jump up to:abc Hermann, Die Inschriften der Stadt Essen p. 18 n. 8.
  10. ^ Fremer, Äbtissin Theophanu und das Stift Essen, p. 102; Westermann-Angerhausen, Das Gedächtnis der Gegenstände, p. 218.
  11. ^ Eckenfels-Kunst, Goldemails. Untersuchungen zu ottonischen und frühsalischen Goldzellenschmelzen, p. 67.
  12. ^ Eckenfels-Kunst, Goldemails. Untersuchungen zu ottonischen und frühsalischen Goldzellenschmelzen, p. 251.
  13. ^ Eckenfels-Kunst, Goldemails. Untersuchungen zu ottonischen und frühsalischen Goldzellenschmelzen, p. 252.
  14. Jump up to:ab Eckenfels-Kunst, Goldemails. Untersuchungen zu ottonischen und frühsalischen Goldzellenschmelzen, p. 66.
  15. ^ Eckenfels-Kunst, Goldemails. Untersuchungen zu ottonischen und frühsalischen Goldzellenschmelzen, S. 253-254.
  16. ^ Pothmann, Der Essener Kirchenschatz aus der Frühzeit der Stiftsgeschichte, p. 147, considered the lion cameo to be Medieval.
  17. ^ Leonhard Küppers, Paul MikatDer Essener Münsterschatz. Fredebeul & Koenen, Essen 1966, p. 46.
  18. ^ Westermann-Angerhausen, Das Gedächtnis der Gegenstände, pp. 219-220.
  19. ^ Westermann-Angerhausen, Das Gedächtnis der Gegenstände, p. 221.
  20. ^ Humann, Die Kunstwerke der Münsterkirche zu Essen, p. 145.
  21. Jump up to:ab Humann, Die Kunstwerke der Münsterkirche zu Essen, p. 147.
  22. ^ Beuckers, Der Essener Marsus-Schrein, p. 117.
  23. ^ Fremer, Äbtissin Theophanu und das Stift Essen, p. 102.
  24. ^ Klaus Lange, “Die Krypta der Essener Stiftskirche. Heuristische Überlegungen zu ihrer architektonisch-liturgischen Konzeption,” in Jan Gerchow, Thomas Schilp (edd.), Essen und die sächsischen Frauenstifte im Frühmittelalter. (Essener Forschungen zum Frauenstift, Band 2), p. 178.
  25. ^ Beuckers, Der Marsus-Schrein, p. 118; Beuckers, Catalogue “Gold vor Schwarz”, p. 86; Beuckers, Farbiges Gold, p. 14, followed by Westermann-Angerhausen, Das Gedächtnis der Gegenstände, p. 217.
  26. ^ The inventory is presented by Humann, Die Kunstwerke der Münsterkirche zu Essen, pp. 34-35.
  27. ^ Lydia Konnegen, “Verborgene Schätze. Der Essener Münsterschatz in Zeiten des Ruhrkampfes.” in Münster am Hellweg 58, 2005, pp. 67–81.


  • Georg HumannDie Kunstwerke der Münsterkirche zu Essen. Schwann, Düsseldorf 1904, pp. 115–160.
  • Alfred PothmannDer Essener Kirchenschatz aus der Frühzeit der Stiftsgeschichte. in Günter Berghaus, Thomas Schilp, Michael Schlagheck (edd.): Herrschaft, Bildung und Gebet – Gründung und Anfänge des Frauenstifts Essen.Klartext Verlag, Essen 2000, ISBN 3-88474-907-2, pp. 135–153.
  • Thorsten Fremer. Äbtissin Theophanu und das Stift Essen. Gedächtnis und Individualität in ottonisch-salischer Zeit. Verlag Peter Pomp, Bottrop/Essen 2002, ISBN 3-89355-233-2.
  • Sybille Eckenfels-Kunst. Goldemails. Untersuchungen zu ottonischen und frühsalischen Goldzellenschmelzen. Pro Business Verlag, Berlin 2008 (zugleich Diss. Stuttgart 2004), ISBN 978-3-86805-061-5.
  • Klaus Gereon BeuckersDer Essener Marsusschrein. Untersuchungen zu einem verlorenen Hauptwerk der ottonischen Goldschmiedekunst. Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Münster 2006, ISBN 3-402-06251-8.
  • Klaus Gereon Beuckers, Ulrich Knapp. Farbiges Gold – Die ottonischen Kreuze in der Domschatzkammer Essen und ihre Emails. Domschatzkammer Essen 2006, ISBN 3-00-020039-8.
  • Klaus Gereon Beuckers. “Mathildenkreuz.” In Birgitta Falk (ed.): Gold vor Schwarz – Der Essener Domschatz auf Zollverein. Klartext-Verlag, Essen 2008, ISBN 978-3-8375-0050-9, p. 86.
  • Sonja Hermann. Die Essener Inschriften (= Die Deutschen Inschriften Bd. 81). Wiesbaden 2011, ISBN 978-3-89500-823-8, S. 17–19 Nr. 8.
  • Anna Pawlik. Heilige, Reliquien und Reliquiare im Essener Stift – ein Inventar. In Thomas Schilp (ed), Frauen bauen Europa. Essener Forschungen zum Frauenstift, Bd. 9. Klartext Verlag, Essen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8375-0672-3, pp. 261–317.
  • Hiltrud Westermann-AngerhausenDas Gedächtnis der Gegenstände. Spolien im Essener Schatz als Zeichen von Rang und Herkunft. In Thomas Schilp (ed): Frauen bauen Europa. Essener Forschungen zum Frauenstift, Bd. 9. Klartext Verlag, Essen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8375-0672-3, pp. 203–226.

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar


Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar



Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Creating User:Leomudde


Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Bust of Julius Caesar, posthumous portrait in marble, 44–30 BC, Museo Pio-ClementinoVatican Museums

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar


Retrato de Julio César (26724093101).jpg

The Tusculum portrait, possibly the only surviving sculpture of Caesar made during his lifetime. Archaeological Museum, TurinItaly
Dictator of the Roman Republic
In office
October 49 BC – 15 March 44 BC
Preceded by Sulla
(82/81–81 BC; as previous Dictator)
Succeeded by Augustus
(27 BC – AD 14; as Roman emperor)
Consul of the Roman Republic
In office
1 January 44 BC – 15 March 44 BC

Serving with Mark Antony
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
1 January 46 BC – September 45 BC

Serving with M. Aemilius Lepidus (46 BC)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
1 January 48 BC – 1 January 47 BC

Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
1 January 59 BC – 1 January 58 BC

Preceded by
Succeeded by
Personal details
Gaius Julius Caesar

12 or 13 July 100 BC

Died 15 March 44 BC (aged 55)
Cause of death Assassination
Resting place Temple of Caesar, Rome
Political party Populares
Parents Gaius Julius Caesar and Aurelia Cotta

Gaius Julius Caesar[a] (/ˈszər/Latin pronunciation: [ˈɡaː.i.ʊs ˈjuː.li.ʊs ˈkae̯.sar]; 12 or 13 July 100 BC[1] – 15 March 44 BC),[2] known by his nomenand cognomen Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, military general, and historian who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He also wrote Latinprose.

In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus and Pompey formed the First Triumvirate, a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power as Populareswere opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in the Roman Republic through a number of his accomplishments, notably his victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC. During this time, Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the English Channel and the Rhine River, when he built a bridge across the Rhine and crossed the Channel to invade Britain. Caesar’s wars extended Rome’s territory to Britain and past Gaul. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC. With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Leaving his command in Gaul meant losing his immunity from being charged as a criminal for waging unsanctioned wars. As a result, Caesar found himself with no other options but to cross the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms.[3] This began Caesar’s civil war, and his victory in the war put him in an unrivaled position of power and influence.

After assuming control of government, Caesar began a program of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar. He gave citizenship to many residents of far regions of the Roman Empire. He initiated land reform and support for veterans. He centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed “dictator for life” (Latin: “dictator perpetuo“), giving him additional authority. His populist and authoritarian reforms angered the elites, who began to conspire against him. On the Ides of March (15 March), 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Gaius Cassius LonginusMarcus Junius Brutus and Decimus Junius Brutus, who stabbed him to death.[4][5]A new series of civil wars broke out and the constitutional government of the Republic was never fully restored. Caesar’s adopted heir Octavian, later known as Augustus, rose to sole power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power, and the era of the Roman Empirebegan.

Much of Caesar’s life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns and from other contemporary sources, mainly the letters and speeches of Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust. The later biographies of Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch are also major sources. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history.[6] His cognomen was subsequently adopted as a synonym for “Emperor”; the title “Caesar” was used throughout the Roman Empire, giving rise to modern cognates such as Kaiser or Tsar. He has frequently appeared in literary and artistic works, and his political philosophy, known as Caesarism, inspired politicians into the modern era.

Early life and career

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Gaius Marius, Caesar’s uncle.

Gaius Julius Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas, supposedly the son of the goddess Venus.[7] The Julii were of Alban origin, mentioned as one of the leading Alban houses, which settled in Rome around the mid-7th century BC, after the destruction of Alba Longa. They were granted patrician status, along with other noble Alban families. [8] The Julii also existed at an early period at Bovillae, evidenced by a very ancient inscription on an altar in the theatre of that town, which speaks of their offering sacrifices according to the lege Albana, or Alban rites.[9] The cognomen “Caesar” originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor who was born by Caesarean section (from the Latin verb to cut, caederecaes-).[10] The Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair (Latin caesaries); that he had bright grey eyes (Latin oculis caesiis); or that he killed an elephant (caesai in Moorish) in battle.[11] Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored this interpretation of his name.

Despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not especially politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of their political fortunes in the early 1st century BC.[12] Caesar’s father, also called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of Asia,[13] and his sister Julia, Caesar’s aunt, married Gaius Marius, one of the most prominent figures in the Republic.[14] His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of Caesar’s childhood.[15]

In 85 BC, Caesar’s father died suddenly,[16] so Caesar was the head of the family at 16. His coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both sides carried out bloody purges of their political opponents whenever they were in the ascendancy. Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated as the new Flamen Dialis (high priest of Jupiter),[17] and he was married to Cinna’s daughter Cornelia.[18][19]

Following Sulla’s final victory, though, Caesar’s connections to the old regime made him a target for the new one. He was stripped of his inheritance, his wife’s dowry, and his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding.[20] The threat against him was lifted by the intervention of his mother’s family, which included supporters of Sulla, and the Vestal Virgins. Sulla gave in reluctantly and is said to have declared that he saw many a Marius in Caesar.[15] The loss of his priesthood had allowed him to pursue a military career, as the high priest of Jupiter was not permitted to touch a horse, sleep three nights outside his own bed or one night outside Rome, or look upon an army.[21]

Caesar felt that it would be much safer far away from Sulla should the Dictator change his mind, so he left Rome and joined the army, serving under Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia and Servilius Isauricus in Cilicia. He served with distinction, winning the Civic Crown for his part in the Siege of Mytilene. He went on a mission to Bithynia to secure the assistance of King Nicomedes‘s fleet, but he spent so long at Nicomedes’ court that rumours arose of an affair with the king, which Caesar vehemently denied for the rest of his life.[22]

Hearing of Sulla’s death in 78 BC, Caesar felt safe enough to return to Rome. He lacked means since his inheritance was confiscated, but he acquired a modest house in Subura, a lower-class neighbourhood of Rome.[23] He turned to legal advocacy and became known for his exceptional oratory accompanied by impassioned gestures and a high-pitched voice, and ruthless prosecution of former governors notorious for extortion and corruption.

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla stripped Caesar of the priesthood

On the way across the Aegean Sea,[24] Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held prisoner.[25][26] He maintained an attitude of superiority throughout his captivity. The pirates demanded a ransom of 20 talents of silver, but he insisted that they ask for 50.[27][28] After the ransom was paid, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates, and imprisoned them. He had them crucified on his own authority, as he had promised while in captivity[29]—a promise that the pirates had taken as a joke. As a sign of leniency, he first had their throats cut. He was soon called back into military action in Asia, raising a band of auxiliaries to repel an incursion from the east.[30]

On his return to Rome, he was elected military tribune, a first step in a political career. He was elected quaestor for 69 BC,[31] and during that year he delivered the funeral oration for his aunt Julia, and included images of her husband Marius in the funeral procession, unseen since the days of Sulla. His wife Cornelia also died that year.[32]Caesar went to serve his quaestorship in Spain after her funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC.[33] While there, he is said to have encountered a statue of Alexander the Great, and realised with dissatisfaction that he was now at an age when Alexander had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively little. On his return in 67 BC,[34] he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla, whom he later divorced in 61 BC after her embroilment in the Bona Dea scandal.[35] In 65 BC, he was elected curule aedile, and staged lavish games that won him further attention and popular support.[36]

In 63 BC, he ran for election to the post of Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the Roman state religion. He ran against two powerful senators. Accusations of bribery were made by all sides. Caesar won comfortably, despite his opponents’ greater experience and standing.[37] Cicero was consul that year, and he exposed Catiline‘s conspiracy to seize control of the republic; several senators accused Caesar of involvement in the plot.[38]

After serving as praetor in 62 BC, Caesar was appointed to govern Hispania Ulterior(modern south-eastern Spain) as propraetor,[39][40][41] though some sources suggest that he held proconsular powers.[42][43] He was still in considerable debt and needed to satisfy his creditors before he could leave. He turned to Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of Rome’s richest men. Crassus paid some of Caesar’s debts and acted as guarantor for others, in return for political support in his opposition to the interests of Pompey. Even so, to avoid becoming a private citizen and thus open to prosecution for his debts, Caesar left for his province before his praetorship had ended. In Spain, he conquered two local tribes and was hailed as imperator by his troops; he reformed the law regarding debts, and completed his governorship in high esteem.[44]

Caesar was acclaimed Imperator in 60 and 45 BC. In the Roman Republic, this was an honorary title assumed by certain military commanders. After an especially great victory, army troops in the field would proclaim their commander imperator, an acclamation necessary for a general to apply to the Senate for a triumph. However, he also wanted to stand for consul, the most senior magistracy in the republic. If he were to celebrate a triumph, he would have to remain a soldier and stay outside the city until the ceremony, but to stand for election he would need to lay down his command and enter Rome as a private citizen. He could not do both in the time available. He asked the senate for permission to stand in absentia, but Cato blocked the proposal. Faced with the choice between a triumph and the consulship, Caesar chose the consulship.[45]

Consulship and military campaigns

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

denarius depicting Julius Caesar, dated February–March 44 BC—the goddess Venus is shown on the reverse, holding Victoria and a scepter. Caption: CAESAR IMP. M. / L. AEMILIVS BVCA

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

A Roman bust of Crassusin the Louvre, Paris, France

In 60 BC, Caesar sought election as consul for 59 BC, along with two other candidates. The election was sordid – even Cato, with his reputation for incorruptibility, is said to have resorted to bribery in favour of one of Caesar’s opponents. Caesar won, along with conservative Marcus Bibulus.[46]

Caesar was already in Crassus‘ political debt, but he also made overtures to Pompey. Pompey and Crassus had been at odds for a decade, so Caesar tried to reconcile them. The three of them had enough money and political influence to control public business. This informal alliance, known as the First Triumvirate (“rule of three men”), was cemented by the marriage of Pompey to Caesar’s daughter Julia.[47] Caesar also married again, this time Calpurnia, who was the daughter of another powerful senator.[48]

Caesar proposed a law for redistributing public lands to the poor—by force of arms, if need be—a proposal supported by Pompey and by Crassus, making the triumvirate public. Pompey filled the city with soldiers, a move which intimidated the triumvirate’s opponents. Bibulus attempted to declare the omens unfavourable and thus void the new law, but he was driven from the forum by Caesar’s armed supporters. His lictors had their fasces broken, two high magistrates accompanying him were wounded, and he had a bucket of excrement thrown over him. In fear of his life, he retired to his house for the rest of the year, issuing occasional proclamations of bad omens. These attempts proved ineffective in obstructing Caesar’s legislation. Roman satirists ever after referred to the year as “the consulship of Julius and Caesar.”[49]

When Caesar was first elected, the aristocracy tried to limit his future power by allotting the woods and pastures of Italy, rather than the governorship of a province, as his military command duty after his year in office was over.[50] With the help of political allies, Caesar later overturned this, and was instead appointed to govern Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) and Illyricum (southeastern Europe), with Transalpine Gaul (southern France) later added, giving him command of four legions. The term of his governorship, and thus his immunity from prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the usual one.[51] When his consulship ended, Caesar narrowly avoided prosecution for the irregularities of his year in office, and quickly left for his province.[52]

Conquest of Gaul

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

The extent of the Roman Republic in 40 BC after Caesar’s conquests

Caesar was still deeply in debt, but there was money to be made as a governor, whether by extortion[53] or by military adventurism. Caesar had four legions under his command, two of his provinces bordered on unconquered territory, and parts of Gaul were known to be unstable. Some of Rome’s Gallic allies had been defeated by their rivals at the Battle of Magetobriga, with the help of a contingent of Germanic tribes. The Romans feared these tribes were preparing to migrate south, closer to Italy, and that they had warlike intent. Caesar raised two new legions and defeated these tribes.[54]

In response to Caesar’s earlier activities, the tribes in the north-east began to arm themselves. Caesar treated this as an aggressive move and, after an inconclusive engagement against the united tribes, he conquered the tribes piecemeal. Meanwhile, one of his legions began the conquest of the tribes in the far north, directly opposite Britain.[55] During the spring of 56 BC, the Triumvirs held a conference, as Rome was in turmoil and Caesar’s political alliance was coming undone. The Lucca Conference renewed the First Triumvirate and extended Caesar’s governorship for another five years.[56] The conquest of the north was soon completed, while a few pockets of resistance remained.[57] Caesar now had a secure base from which to launch an invasion of Britain.

In 55 BC, Caesar repelled an incursion into Gaul by two Germanic tribes, and followed it up by building a bridge across the Rhine and making a show of force in Germanic territory, before returning and dismantling the bridge. Late that summer, having subdued two other tribes, he crossed into Britain, claiming that the Britons had aided one of his enemies the previous year, possibly the Veneti of Brittany.[58]His intelligence information was poor, and although he gained a beachhead on the coast, he could not advance further, and returned to Gaul for the winter.[59] He returned the following year, better prepared and with a larger force, and achieved more. He advanced inland, and established a few alliances. However, poor harvests led to widespread revolt in Gaul, which forced Caesar to leave Britain for the last time.[60]

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Vercingetorix throws down his arms at the feet of Julius Caesar, painting by Lionel RoyerMusée CrozatierLe Puy-en-Velay, France.

While Caesar was in Britain his daughter Julia, Pompey’s wife, had died in childbirth. Caesar tried to re-secure Pompey’s support by offering him his great-niece in marriage, but Pompey declined. In 53 BC Crassus was killed leading a failed invasion of the east. Rome was on the brink of civil war. Pompey was appointed sole consul as an emergency measure, and married the daughter of a political opponent of Caesar. The Triumvirate was dead.[61]

Though the Gallic tribes were just as strong as the Romans militarily, the internal division among the Gauls guaranteed an easy victory for Caesar. Vercingetorix‘s attempt in 52 BC to unite them against Roman invasion came too late.[62][63] He proved an astute commander, defeating Caesar in several engagements, but Caesar’s elaborate siege-works at the Battle of Alesia finally forced his surrender.[64]Despite scattered outbreaks of warfare the following year,[65] Gaul was effectively conquered. Plutarch claimed that during the Gallic Wars the army had fought against three million men (of whom one million died, and another million were enslaved), subjugated 300 tribes, and destroyed 800 cities.[66]

Civil war

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70–60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy

In 50 BC, the Senate (led by Pompey) ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as governor had finished.[67]Caesar thought he would be prosecuted if he entered Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a magistrate. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason. On 10 January 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon river (the frontier boundary of Italy) with only a single legion, the Legio XIII Gemina, and ignited civil war. Upon crossing the Rubicon, Caesar, according to Plutarch and Suetonius, is supposed to have quoted the Athenian playwright Menander, in Greek, “the die is cast“.[68]Erasmus, however, notes that the more accurate Latin translation of the Greek imperative mood would be “alea iacta esto“, let the die be cast.[69] Pompey and many of the Senate fled to the south, having little confidence in Pompey’s newly raised troops. Pompey, despite greatly outnumbering Caesar, who only had his Thirteenth Legion with him, did not intend to fight. Caesar pursued Pompey, hoping to capture Pompey before his legions could escape.[70]

Pompey managed to escape before Caesar could capture him. Heading for Spain, Caesar left Italy under the control of Mark Antony. After an astonishing 27-day route-march, Caesar defeated Pompey’s lieutenants, then returned east, to challenge Pompey in Illyria, where, in July 48 BC in the battle of Dyrrhachium, Caesar barely avoided a catastrophic defeat. In an exceedingly short engagement later that year, he decisively defeated Pompey at Pharsalus, in Greece.[71]

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

This mid-1st-century-BC Roman wall painting in Pompeii, Italy, showing Venusholding a cupid is most likely a depiction of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt as Venus Genetrix, with her son Caesarion as the cupid, similar in appearance to the now lost statue of Cleopatra erected by Julius Caesar in the Temple of Venus Genetrix (within the Forum of Caesar). The owner of the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus at Pompeii walled off the room with this painting, most likely in immediate reaction to the execution of Caesarion on orders of Augustus in 30 BC, when artistic depictions of Caesarion would have been considered a sensitive issue for the ruling regime.[72][73]

In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator,[74] with Mark Antony as his Master of the Horse (second in command); Caesar presided over his own election to a second consulship and then, after 11 days, resigned this dictatorship.[74][75] Caesar then pursued Pompey to Egypt, arriving soon after the murder of the general. There, Caesar was presented with Pompey’s severed head and seal-ring, receiving these with tears.[76] He then had Pompey’s assassins put to death.[77]

Caesar then became involved with an Egyptian civil war between the child pharaoh and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, Cleopatra. Perhaps as a result of the pharaoh’s role in Pompey’s murder, Caesar sided with Cleopatra. He withstood the Siege of Alexandria and later he defeated the pharaoh’s forces at the Battle of the Nile in 47 BC and installed Cleopatra as ruler. Caesar and Cleopatra celebrated their victory with a triumphal procession on the Nile in the spring of 47 BC. The royal barge was accompanied by 400 additional ships, and Caesar was introduced to the luxurious lifestyle of the Egyptian pharaohs.[78]

Caesar and Cleopatra were not married. Caesar continued his relationship with Cleopatra throughout his last marriage—in Roman eyes, this did not constitute adultery—and probably fathered a son called Caesarion. Cleopatra visited Rome on more than one occasion, residing in Caesar’s villa just outside Rome across the Tiber.[78]

Late in 48 BC, Caesar was again appointed dictator, with a term of one year.[75] After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to the Middle East, where he annihilated the king of Pontus; his victory was so swift and complete that he mocked Pompey’s previous victories over such poor enemies.[79] On his way to Pontus, Caesar visited Tarsusfrom 27 to 29 May 47 BC (25–27 Maygreg.), where he met enthusiastic support, but where, according to CiceroCassius was planning to kill him at this point.[80][81][82]Thence, he proceeded to Africa to deal with the remnants of Pompey’s senatorial supporters. He quickly gained a significant victory in 46 BC over Cato, who then committed suicide.[83]

After this victory, he was appointed dictator for 10 years.[84] Pompey’s sons escaped to Spain; Caesar gave chase and defeated the last remnants of opposition in the Battle of Munda in March 45 BC.[85] During this time, Caesar was elected to his third and fourth terms as consul in 46 BC and 45 BC (this last time without a colleague).

Dictatorship and assassination

While he was still campaigning in Spain, the Senate began bestowing honours on Caesar. Caesar had not proscribed his enemies, instead pardoning almost all, and there was no serious public opposition to him. Great games and celebrations were held in April to honour Caesar’s victory at Munda. Plutarch writes that many Romans found the triumph held following Caesar’s victory to be in poor taste, as those defeated in the civil war had not been foreigners, but instead fellow Romans.[86] On Caesar’s return to Italy in September 45 BC, he filed his will, naming his grandnephew Gaius Octavius (Octavian, later known as Augustus Caesar) as his principal heir, leaving his vast estate and property including his name. Caesar also wrote that if Octavian died before Caesar did, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus would be the next heir in succession.[87] In his will, he also left a substantial gift to the citizens of Rome.

Between his crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BC, and his assassination in 44 BC, Caesar established a new constitution, which was intended to accomplish three separate goals.[88] First, he wanted to suppress all armed resistance out in the provinces, and thus bring order back to the Republic. Second, he wanted to create a strong central government in Rome. Finally, he wanted to knit together all of the provinces into a single cohesive unit.[88]

The first goal was accomplished when Caesar defeated Pompey and his supporters.[88] To accomplish the other two goals, he needed to ensure that his control over the government was undisputed,[89] so he assumed these powers by increasing his own authority, and by decreasing the authority of Rome’s other political institutions. Finally, he enacted a series of reforms that were meant to address several long-neglected issues, the most important of which was his reform of the calendar.[90]


Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Bust of Julius Caesarposthumous portrait of the 1st century AD, Altes Museum, Berlin

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Statue of Julius Caesar, Via dei Fori Imperiali, Rome

When Caesar returned to Rome, the Senate granted him triumphs for his victories, ostensibly those over Gaul, Egypt, Pharnaces, and Juba, rather than over his Roman opponents. Not everything went Caesar’s way. When Arsinoe IV, Egypt’s former queen, was paraded in chains, the spectators admired her dignified bearing and were moved to pity.[91] Triumphal gameswere held, with beast-hunts involving 400 lions, and gladiator contests. A naval battlewas held on a flooded basin at the Field of Mars.[92] At the Circus Maximus, two armies of war captives, each of 2,000 people, 200 horses, and 20 elephants, fought to the death. Again, some bystanders complained, this time at Caesar’s wasteful extravagance. A riot broke out, and only stopped when Caesar had two rioters sacrificed by the priests on the Field of Mars.[92]

After the triumph, Caesar set out to pass an ambitious legislative agenda.[92] He ordered a census be taken, which forced a reduction in the grain dole, and decreed that jurors could only come from the Senate or the equestrian ranks. He passed a sumptuary law that restricted the purchase of certain luxuries. After this, he passed a law that rewarded families for having many children, to speed up the repopulation of Italy. Then, he outlawed professional guilds, except those of ancient foundation, since many of these were subversive political clubs. He then passed a term-limit law applicable to governors. He passed a debt-restructuring law, which ultimately eliminated about a fourth of all debts owed.[92]

The Forum of Caesar, with its Temple of Venus Genetrix, was then built, among many other public works.[93] Caesar also tightly regulated the purchase of state-subsidised grain and reduced the number of recipients to a fixed number, all of whom were entered into a special register.[94] From 47 to 44 BC, he made plans for the distribution of land to about 15,000 of his veterans.[95]

The most important change, however, was his reform of the calendar. The Roman calendar at the time was regulated by the movement of the moon. By replacing it with the Egyptian calendar, based on the sun, Roman farmers were able to use it as the basis of consistent seasonal planting from year to year. He set the length of the year to 365.25 days by adding an intercalary/leap day at the end of February every fourth year.[90]

To bring the calendar into alignment with the seasons, he decreed that three extra months be inserted into 46 BC (the ordinary intercalary month at the end of February, and two extra months after November). Thus, the Julian calendar opened on 1 January 45 BC.[90][92] This calendar is almost identical to the current Western calendar.

Shortly before his assassination, he passed a few more reforms.[92] He established a police force, appointed officials to carry out his land reforms, and ordered the rebuilding of Carthage and Corinth. He also extended Latin rights throughout the Roman world, and then abolished the tax system and reverted to the earlier version that allowed cities to collect tribute however they wanted, rather than needing Roman intermediaries. His assassination prevented further and larger schemes, which included the construction of an unprecedented temple to Mars, a huge theatre, and a library on the scale of the Library of Alexandria.[92]

He also wanted to convert Ostia to a major port, and cut a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth. Militarily, he wanted to conquer the Dacians and Parthians, and avenge the loss at Carrhae. Thus, he instituted a massive mobilisation. Shortly before his assassination, the Senate named him censor for life and Father of the Fatherland, and the month of Quintilis was renamed July in his honour.[92]

He was granted further honours, which were later used to justify his assassination as a would-be divine monarch: coins were issued bearing his image and his statue was placed next to those of the kings. He was granted a golden chair in the Senate, was allowed to wear triumphal dress whenever he chose, and was offered a form of semi-official or popular cult, with Mark Antony as his high priest.[92]

Political reforms

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

La clémence de CésarAbel de Pujol, 1808

The history of Caesar’s political appointments is complex and uncertain. Caesar held both the dictatorship and the tribunate, but alternated between the consulshipand the proconsulship.[89] His powers within the state seem to have rested upon these magistracies.[89] He was first appointed dictator in 49 BC, possibly to preside over elections, but resigned his dictatorship within 11 days. In 48 BC, he was reappointed dictator, only this time for an indefinite period, and in 46 BC, he was appointed dictator for 10 years.[96]

In 48 BC, Caesar was given permanent tribunician powers,[97][not in citation given] which made his person sacrosanct and allowed him to veto the Senate,[97] although on at least one occasion, tribunes did attempt to obstruct him. The offending tribunes in this case were brought before the Senate and divested of their office.[97] This was not the first time Caesar had violated a tribune’s sacrosanctity. After he had first marched on Rome in 49 BC, he forcibly opened the treasury, although a tribune had the seal placed on it. After the impeachment of the two obstructive tribunes, Caesar, perhaps unsurprisingly, faced no further opposition from other members of the Tribunician College.[97]

When Caesar returned to Rome in 47 BC, the ranks of the Senate had been severely depleted, so he used his censorial powers to appoint many new senators, which eventually raised the Senate’s membership to 900.[98] All the appointments were of his own partisans, which robbed the senatorial aristocracy of its prestige, and made the Senate increasingly subservient to him.[99] To minimise the risk that another general might attempt to challenge him,[96] Caesar passed a law that subjected governors to term limits.[96]

In 46 BC, Caesar gave himself the title of “Prefect of the Morals”, which was an office that was new only in name, as its powers were identical to those of the censors.[97]Thus, he could hold censorial powers, while technically not subjecting himself to the same checks to which the ordinary censors were subject, and he used these powers to fill the Senate with his own partisans. He also set the precedent, which his imperial successors followed, of requiring the Senate to bestow various titles and honours upon him. He was, for example, given the title of “Father of the Fatherland” and “imperator“.[96]

Coins bore his likeness, and he was given the right to speak first during Senate meetings.[96] Caesar then increased the number of magistrates who were elected each year, which created a large pool of experienced magistrates, and allowed Caesar to reward his supporters.[98]

Caesar even took steps to transform Italy into a province, and to link more tightly the other provinces of the empire into a single cohesive unit. This addressed the underlying problem that had caused the Social War decades earlier, where persons from outside Rome or Italy did not have citizenship. This process, of fusing the entire Roman Empire into a single unit, rather than maintaining it as a network of unequal principalities, would ultimately be completed by Caesar’s successor, the Emperor Augustus.

In February 44 BC, one month before his assassination, he was appointed dictator in perpetuity. Under Caesar, a significant amount of authority was vested in his lieutenants,[96] mostly because Caesar was frequently out of Italy.[96] In October 45 BC, Caesar resigned his position as sole consul, and facilitated the election of two successors for the remainder of the year, which theoretically restored the ordinary consulship, since the constitution did not recognise a single consul without a colleague.[98]

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Denarius (42 BC) issued by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Lentulus Spinther, depicting the crowned head of Liberty and on the reverse a sacrificial jug and lituus, from the military mint in Smyrna. Caption: C. CASSI. IMP. LEIBERTAS / LENTVLVS SPINT.

Near the end of his life, Caesar began to prepare for a war against the Parthian Empire. Since his absence from Rome might limit his ability to install his own consuls, he passed a law which allowed him to appoint all magistrates in 43 BC, and all consuls and tribunes in 42 BC.[98] This, in effect, transformed the magistrates from being representatives of the people to being representatives of the dictator.[98]


On the Ides of March (15 March; see Roman calendar) of 44 BC, Caesar was due to appear at a session of the Senate. Several Senators had conspired to assassinate Caesar. Mark Antony, having vaguely learned of the plot the night before from a terrified liberator named Servilius Casca, and fearing the worst, went to head Caesar off. The plotters, however, had anticipated this and, fearing that Antony would come to Caesar’s aid, had arranged for Trebonius to intercept him just as he approached the portico of the Theatre of Pompey, where the session was to be held, and detain him outside (Plutarch, however, assigns this action to delay Antony to Brutus Albinus). When he heard the commotion from the Senate chamber, Antony fled.[100]

According to Plutarch, as Caesar arrived at the Senate, Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother.[101] The other conspirators crowded round to offer support. Both Plutarch and Suetonius say that Caesar waved him away, but Cimber grabbed his shoulders and pulled down Caesar’s tunic. Caesar then cried to Cimber, “Why, this is violence!” (“Ista quidem vis est!“).[102]

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

The senators encircle Caesar, a 19th-century interpretation of the event by Carl Theodor von Piloty

At the same time, Casca produced his dagger and made a glancing thrust at the dictator’s neck. Caesar turned around quickly and caught Casca by the arm. According to Plutarch, he said in Latin, “Casca, you villain, what are you doing?”[103] Casca, frightened, shouted, “Help, brother!” in Greek (“ἀδελφέ, βοήθει“, “adelphe, boethei“). Within moments, the entire group, including Brutus, was striking out at the dictator. Caesar attempted to get away, but, blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him as he lay defenceless on the lower steps of the portico. According to Eutropius, around 60 men participated in the assassination. He was stabbed 23 times.[104]

According to Suetonius, a physician later established that only one wound, the second one to his chest, had been lethal.[105] The dictator’s last words are not known with certainty, and are a contested subject among scholars and historians alike. Suetonius reports that others have said Caesar’s last words were the Greek phrase “καὶ σύ, τέκνον;[106] (transliterated as “Kai su, teknon?“: “You too, child?” in English). However, Suetonius’ own opinion was that Caesar said nothing.[107]

Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators.[108] The version best known in the English-speaking world is the Latin phrase “Et tu, Brute?” (“And you, Brutus?”, commonly rendered as “You too, Brutus?”);[109][110] best known from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, where it actually forms the first half of a macaronic line: “Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.” This version was already popular when the play was written, as it appears in Richard Edes‘s Latin play Caesar Interfectus of 1582 and The True Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke & etc. of 1595, Shakespeare’s source work for other plays.[111]

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

According to Plutarch, after the assassination, Brutus stepped forward as if to say something to his fellow senators; they, however, fled the building.[112] Brutus and his companions then marched to the Capitol while crying out to their beloved city: “People of Rome, we are once again free!” They were met with silence, as the citizens of Rome had locked themselves inside their houses as soon as the rumour of what had taken place had begun to spread. Caesar’s dead body lay where it fell on the Senate floor for nearly three hours before other officials arrived to remove it.

Caesar’s body was cremated, and on the site of his cremation, the Temple of Caesarwas erected a few years later (at the east side of the main square of the Roman Forum). Only its altar now remains.[113] A life-size wax statue of Caesar was later erected in the forum displaying the 23 stab wounds. A crowd who had gathered there started a fire, which badly damaged the forum and neighbouring buildings. In the ensuing chaos, Mark Antony, Octavian (later Augustus Caesar), and others fought a series of five civil wars, which would end in the formation of the Roman Empire.

Aftermath of the assassination

The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar’s death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic.[114] The Roman middle and lower classes, with whom Caesar was immensely popular and had been since before Gaul, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had killed their champion. Antony, who had been drifting apart from Caesar, capitalised on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to unleash them on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking control of Rome himself. To his surprise and chagrin, Caesar had named his grandnephew Gaius Octavius his sole heir (hence the name Octavian), bequeathing him the immensely potent Caesar name and making him one of the wealthiest citizens in the Republic.[115]

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

The crowd at the funeral boiled over, throwing dry branches, furniture, and even clothing on to Caesar’s funeral pyre, causing the flames to spin out of control, seriously damaging the Forum. The mob then attacked the houses of Brutus and Cassius, where they were repelled only with considerable difficulty, ultimately providing the spark for the civil war, fulfilling at least in part Antony’s threat against the aristocrats.[116] Antony did not foresee the ultimate outcome of the next series of civil wars, particularly with regard to Caesar’s adopted heir. Octavian, aged only 18 when Caesar died, proved to have considerable political skills, and while Antony dealt with Decimus Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavian consolidated his tenuous position.

To combat Brutus and Cassius, who were massing an enormous army in Greece, Antony needed soldiers, the cash from Caesar’s war chests, and the legitimacy that Caesar’s name would provide for any action he took against them. With the passage of the lex Titia on 27 November 43 BC,[117] the Second Triumvirate was officially formed, composed of Antony, Octavian, and Caesar’s loyal cavalry commander Lepidus.[118] It formally deified Caesar as Divus Iulius in 42 BC, and Caesar Octavian henceforth became Divi filius (“Son of the divine”).[119]

Because Caesar’s clemency had resulted in his murder, the Second Triumvirate reinstated the practice of proscription, abandoned since Sulla.[120] It engaged in the legally sanctioned killing of a large number of its opponents to secure funding for its 45 legions in the second civil war against Brutus and Cassius.[121] Antony and Octavian defeated them at Philippi.[122]

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Caesar’s adopted heir

Afterward, Mark Antony formed an alliance with Caesar’s lover, Cleopatra, intending to use the fabulously wealthy Egypt as a base to dominate Rome. A third civil war broke out between Octavian on one hand and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. This final civil war, culminating in the latter’s defeat at Actium in 31 BC and suicide in Egypt in 30 BC, resulted in the permanent ascendancy of Octavian, who became the first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus, a name conveying religious, rather than political, authority.[123]

Julius Caesar had been preparing to invade Parthia, the Caucasus, and Scythia, and then march back to Germania through Eastern Europe. These plans were thwarted by his assassination.[124] His successors did attempt the conquests of Parthia and Germania, but without lasting results.


Julius Caesar was the first historical Roman to be officially deified. He was posthumously granted the title Divus Iulius (the divine/deified Julius) by decree of the Roman Senate on 1 January 42 BC. The appearance of a comet during games in his honour was taken as confirmation of his divinity. Though his temple was not dedicated until after his death, he may have received divine honours during his lifetime:[125] and shortly before his assassination, Mark Antony had been appointed as his flamen (priest).[126] Both Octavian and Mark Antony promoted the cult of Divus Iulius. After the death of Caesar, Octavian, as the adoptive son of Caesar, assumed the title of Divi Filius (son of a god).

Personal life

Health and physical appearance

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Bust of Julius Caesar, posthumous portrait in marble, 44–30 BC, Museo Pio-ClementinoVatican Museums

Based on remarks by Plutarch,[127] Caesar is sometimes thought to have suffered from epilepsy. Modern scholarship is sharply divided on the subject, and some scholars believe that he was plagued by malaria, particularly during the Sullan proscriptions of the 80s.[128] Other scholars contend his epileptic seizures were due to a parasitic infection in the brain by a tapeworm.[129][130]

Caesar had four documented episodes of what may have been complex partial seizures. He may additionally have had absence seizures in his youth. The earliest accounts of these seizures were made by the biographer Suetonius, who was born after Caesar died. The claim of epilepsy is countered among some medical historians by a claim of hypoglycemia, which can cause epileptoid seizures.[131][132][133]

In 2003, psychiatrist Harbour F. Hodder published what he termed as the “Caesar Complex” theory, arguing that Caesar was a sufferer of temporal lobe epilepsy and the debilitating symptoms of the condition were a factor in Caesar’s conscious decision to forgo personal safety in the days leading up to his assassination.[134]

A line from Shakespeare has sometimes been taken to mean that he was deaf in one ear: “Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf”.[135] No classical source mentions hearing impairment in connection with Caesar. The playwright may have been making metaphorical use of a passage in Plutarch that does not refer to deafness at all, but rather to a gesture Alexander of Macedon customarily made. By covering his ear, Alexander indicated that he had turned his attention from an accusation in order to hear the defence.[136]

Francesco M. Galassi and Hutan Ashrafian suggest that Caesar’s behavioral manifestations—headaches, vertigo, falls (possibly caused by muscle weakness due to nerve damage), sensory deficit, giddiness and insensibility—and syncopal episodes were the results of cerebrovascular episodes, not epilepsy. Pliny the Elder reports in his Natural History that Caesar’s father and forefather died without apparent cause while putting on their shoes. These events can be more readily associated with cardiovascular complications from a stroke episode or lethal heart attack. Caesar possibly had a genetic predisposition for cardiovascular disease.[137]

Suetonius, writing more than a century after Caesar’s death, describes Caesar as “tall of stature with a fair complexion, shapely limbs, a somewhat full face, and keen black eyes”.[138]

Name and family

The name Gaius Julius Caesar

Using the Latin alphabet of the period, which lacked the letters J and U, Caesar’s name would be rendered GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR; the form CAIVS is also attested, using the older Roman representation of G by C. The standard abbreviation was C. IVLIVS CÆSAR, reflecting the older spelling. (The letterform Æ is a ligature of the letters A and E, and is often used in Latin inscriptions to save space.)

In Classical Latin, it was pronounced [ˈɡaː.i.ʊs ˈjuːl.i.ʊs ˈkae̯sar]. In the days of the late Roman Republic, many historical writings were done in Greek, a language most educated Romans studied. Young wealthy Roman boys were often taught by Greek slaves and sometimes sent to Athens for advanced training, as was Caesar’s principal assassin, Brutus. In Greek, during Caesar’s time, his family name was written Καίσαρ (Kaísar), reflecting its contemporary pronunciation. Thus, his name is pronounced in a similar way to the pronunciation of the German Kaiser.

In Vulgar Latin, the original diphthong [ae̯] first began to be pronounced as a simple long vowel [ɛː]. Then, the plosive /k/ before front vowels began, due to palatalization, to be pronounced as an affricate, hence renderings like [ˈtʃeːsar] in Italian and [ˈtseːzar] in German regional pronunciations of Latin, as well as the title of Tsar. With the evolution of the Romance languages, the affricate [ts] became a fricative [s](thus, [ˈseːsar]) in many regional pronunciations, including the French one, from which the modern English pronunciation is derived.

Caesar’s cognomen itself became a title; it was promulgated by the Bible, which contains the famous verse “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. The title became Kaiser in German and Tsar or Czar in the Slavic languages. The last Tsar in nominal power was Simeon II of Bulgaria, whose reign ended in 1946. This means that for two thousand years after Julius Caesar’s assassination, there was at least one head of state bearing his name.


Julio-Claudian family tree


Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Reliefs of Cleopatra and her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion at the Temple of Dendera

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Roman painting from the House of Giuseppe II, Pompeii, early 1st century AD, most likely depicting Cleopatra VII, wearing her royal diademconsuming poison in an act of suicide, while her son Caesarion, also wearing a royal diadem, stands behind her[139]


Suspected Children

  • Marcus Junius Brutus (born 85 BC): The historian Plutarch notes that Caesar believed Brutus to have been his illegitimate son, as his mother Serviliahad been Caesar’s lover during their youth.[140] Caesar would have been 15 years old when Brutus was born.
  • Junia Tertia (born ca. 60s BC), the daughter of Caesar’s lover Servilia was believed by Cicero among other contemporaries, to be Caesar’s natural daughter.
  • Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus (born ca.85–81 BC): On several occasions Caesar expressed how he loved Decimus Brutus like a son. This Brutus was also named an heir of Caesar in case Octavius had died before the latter. Ronald Syme argued that if a Brutus was the natural son of Caesar, Decimus was more likely than Marcus.[141]
  • Grandson from Julia and Pompey, dead at several days, unnamed.
Notable relatives

Rumors of homosexuality

Roman society viewed the passive role during sexual activity, regardless of gender, to be a sign of submission or inferiority. Indeed, Suetonius says that in Caesar’s Gallic triumph, his soldiers sang that, “Caesar may have conquered the Gauls, but Nicomedes conquered Caesar.”[143] According to Cicero, BibulusGaius Memmius, and others (mainly Caesar’s enemies), he had an affair with Nicomedes IV of Bithynia early in his career. The tales were repeated, referring to Caesar as the Queen of Bithynia, by some Roman politicians as a way to humiliate him. Caesar himself denied the accusations repeatedly throughout his lifetime, and according to Cassius Dio, even under oath on one occasion.[144] This form of slander was popular during this time in the Roman Republic to demean and discredit political opponents. A favorite tactic used by the opposition was to accuse a popular political rival as living a Hellenistic lifestyle based on Greek and Eastern culture, where homosexuality and a lavish lifestyle were more acceptable than in Roman tradition.[citation needed]

Catullus wrote two poems suggesting that Caesar and his engineer Mamurra were lovers,[145] but later apologised.[146]

Mark Antony charged that Octavian had earned his adoption by Caesar through sexual favors. Suetonius described Antony’s accusation of an affair with Octavian as political slander. Octavian eventually became the first Roman Emperor as Augustus.[147]

Literary works

Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

Julii Caesaris quae exstant (1678)

During his lifetime, Caesar was regarded as one of the best orators and prose authors in Latin—even Cicero spoke highly of Caesar’s rhetoric and style.[148] Only Caesar’s war commentaries have survived. A few sentences from other works are quoted by other authors. Among his lost works are his funeral oration for his paternal aunt Julia and his Anticato, a document written to defame Cato in response to Cicero’s published praise. Poems by Julius Caesar are also mentioned in ancient sources.[149]


Giacobbe Giusti, Julius Caesar

A 1783 edition of The Gallic Wars

  • The Commentarii de Bello Gallico, usually known in English as The Gallic Wars, seven books each covering one year of his campaigns in Gaul and southern Britain in the 50s BC, with the eighth book written by Aulus Hirtius on the last two years.
  • The Commentarii de Bello Civili(The Civil War), events of the Civil War from Caesar’s perspective, until immediately after Pompey’s death in Egypt.

Other works historically have been attributed to Caesar, but their authorship is in doubt:

These narratives were written and published annually during or just after the actual campaigns, as a sort of “dispatches from the front.” They were important in shaping Caesar’s public image and enhancing his reputation when he was away from Rome for long periods. They may have been presented as public readings.[150] As a model of clear and direct Latin style, The Gallic Wars traditionally has been studied by first- or second-year Latin students.



The texts written by Caesar, an autobiography of the most important events of his public life, are the most complete primary source for the reconstruction of his biography. However, Caesar wrote those texts with his political career in mind, so historians must filter the exaggerations and bias contained in it.[151] The Roman emperor Augustus began a cult of personality of Caesar, which described Augustus as Caesar’s political heir. The modern historiography is influenced by the Octavian traditions, such as when Caesar’s epoch is considered a turning point in the history of the Roman Empire. Still, historians try to filter the Octavian bias.[152]

Many rulers in history became interested in the historiography of CaesarNapoleon III wrote the scholarly work Histoire de Jules César, which was not finished. The second volume listed previous rulers interested in the topic. Charles VIII ordered a monk to prepare a translation of the Gallic Wars in 1480. Charles V ordered a topographic study in France, to place The Gallic Wars in context; which created forty high-quality maps of the conflict. The contemporary Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent catalogued the surviving editions of the Commentaries, and translated them to Turkish language. Henry IV and Louis XIII of France translated the first two commentaries and the last two respectively; Louis XIV retranslated the first one afterwards.[153]


Julius Caesar is seen as the main example of Caesarism, a form of political rule led by a charismatic strongman whose rule is based upon a cult of personality, whose rationale is the need to rule by force, establishing a violent social order, and being a regime involving prominence of the military in the government.[154] Other people in history, such as the French Napoleon Bonaparte and the Italian Benito Mussolini, have defined themselves as Caesarists.[155][156] Bonaparte did not focus only on Caesar’s military career but also on his relation with the masses, a predecessor to populism.[157] The word is also used in a pejorative manner by critics of this type of political rule.


Chronology of life

See also


  1. ^ The Classical Latin spelling and reconstructed Classical Latin pronunciation of his name is Gaius Iulius Caesar, Latin: [ˈɡaː.i.ʊs ˈjuː.li.ʊs ˈkae̯.sar]. His titulary name was Imperator Gaius Iulius Gai(i) filius Gai(i) nepos Caesar Patris Patriae “Commander Gaius Julius Caesar, son of Gaius, grandson of Gaius, Father of his Country”, pronounced [ɪm.pɛˈraː.tɔr ˈgaː.i.ʊs ˈjuː.li.ʊs ˈgaː.i.iː ˈfiː.li.ʊs ˈgaː.i.iː ˈnɛ.poːs ˈkae̯.sar ˈpa.trɪs ˈ̯] (Suetonius, Divus Julius 76.1). Official name after deification in 42 BC: Divus Iulius (“The Divine Julius”).


  1. ^ Dates in this article are given in the Roman calendar before 1 January 45 BC, and in the Julian calendar as observed in Rome on and after that date. There is some dispute over the year of Caesar’s birth. Some scholars have made a case for 101 or 102 BC as the year of his birth, based on the dates that he held certain magistracies, but scholarly consensus favors 100 BC. Similarly, some scholars prefer 12 July, but most give 13 July. Goldsworthy, p. 30, Ward, Heichelheim, & Yeo p. 194. For a source arguing for 12 July, see Badian in Griffin (ed.) p.16
  2. ^ After Caesar’s death, the leap years were not inserted according to his intent, and there is uncertainty about when leap years were observed between 45 BC and AD 4 inclusive; the dates in this article between 45 BC and AD 4 inclusive are those observed in Rome and there is an uncertainty of about a day as to where those dates would be on the proleptic Julian calendar. See Blackburn, B and Holford-Strevens, L. (1999 corrected 2003). The Oxford Companion to the Year. Oxford University Press. p. 671. ISBN 978-0-19-214231-3
  3. ^ Keppie, Lawrence (1998). “The approach of civil war”. The making of the Roman Army: from Republic to Empire. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-8061-3014-9.
  4. ^ Suetonius (121). “De vita Caesarum” [The Twelve Caesars]. University of Chicago. p. 107. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. More than sixty joined the conspiracy against [Caesar], led by Gaius Cassius and Marcus and Decimus Brutus.
  5. ^ Plutarch. “Life of Caesar”University of Chicago. p. 595. … at this juncture Decimus Brutus, surnamed Albinus, who was so trusted by Caesar that he was entered in his will as his second heir, but was partner in the conspiracy of the other Brutus and Cassius, fearing that if Caesar should elude that day, their undertaking would become known, ridiculed the seers and chided Caesar for laying himself open to malicious charges on the part of the senators …[dead link]
  6. ^ Tucker, Spencer (2010). Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO. p. 68.
  7. ^ Froude, James Anthony (1879). Life of Caesar. Project Gutenberg e-text. p. 67. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. See also: Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve CaesarsJulius 6Velleius PaterculusRoman History 2.41VirgilAeneid
  8. ^ LivyAb urbe condita1:28–30
  9. ^ Dionysius, iii. 29.
  10. ^ Pliny the ElderNatural History 7.7. The misconception that Julius Caesar himself was born by Caesarian section dates back at least to the 10th century (Suda kappa 1199). Julius wasn’t the first to bear the name, and in his time the procedure was only performed on dead women, while Caesar’s mother Aurelia lived long after he was born.
  11. ^ Historia AugustaAelius 2.
  12. ^ Goldsworthy, p. 32.
  13. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1PlutarchCaesar 1Marius 6; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.54Inscriptiones Italiae, 13.3.51–52
  14. ^ Plutarch, Marius 6
  15. Jump up to:a b Plutarch, Caesar 1; Suetonius, Julius 1
  16. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.54
  17. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.22; Florus, Epitome of Roman History 2.9
  18. ^ “Julius Caesar”. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012.
  19. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Plutarch, Caesar 1; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History2.41
  20. ^ Canfora, p. 3
  21. ^ William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman AntiquitiesFlamen
  22. ^ Suetonius, Julius 2–3; Plutarch, Caesar 2–3Cassius DioRoman History43.20
  23. ^ Suetonius, Julius 46
  24. ^ Again, according to Suetonius’s chronology (Julius 4). Plutarch (Caesar 1.8–2) says this happened earlier, on his return from Nicomedes’s court. Velleius Paterculus (Roman History 2:41.3–42) says merely that it happened when he was a young man.
  25. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 1–2
  26. ^ “Plutarch • Life of Caesar”
  27. ^ Thorne, James (2003). Julius Caesar: Conqueror and Dictator. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 15.
  28. ^ Freeman, 39
  29. ^ Freeman, 40
  30. ^ Goldsworthy, 77–78
  31. ^ Freeman, 51
  32. ^ Freeman, 52
  33. ^ Goldsworthy, 100
  34. ^ Goldsworthy, 101
  35. ^ Suetonius, Julius 5–8; Plutarch, Caesar 5; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History2.43
  36. ^ Mouritsen, Henrik, Plebs and Politics in the Late Roman Republic, Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 97. ISBN 0-521-79100-6 For context, see Plutarch, Julius Caesar, 5.4.
  37. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.43; Plutarch, Caesar 7; Suetonius, Julius13
  38. ^ SallustCatiline War 49
  39. ^ Kennedy, E.C. (1958). Caesar de Bello Gallico. Cambridge Elementary Classics. III. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 10. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  40. ^ Hammond, Mason (1966). City-state and World State in Greek and Roman Political Theory Until Augustus. Biblo & Tannen. p. 114. ISBN 9780819601766. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  41. ^ Suetonius (2004). Lives of the Caesars. Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading Series. Translated by J. C. Rolfe. Barnes & Noble. p. 258. ISBN 9780760757581. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  42. ^ T.R.S. BroughtonThe Magistrates of the Roman Republic (American Philological Association, 1952), vol. 2, pp. 180 and 173.
  43. ^ Colegrove, Michael (2007). Distant Voices: Listening to the Leadership Lessons of the PastiUniverse. p. 9. ISBN 9780595472062. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  44. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 11–12; Suetonius, Julius 18.1
  45. ^ Plutarch, Julius 13; Suetonius, Julius 18.2
  46. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 13–14; Suetonius 19
  47. ^ Cicero, Letters to Atticus; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.44; Plutarch, Caesar 13–14Pompey 47Crassus 14; Suetonius, Julius 19.2; Cassius Dio, Roman History 37.54–58
  48. ^ Suetonius, Julius 21
  49. ^ Cicero, Letters to Atticus; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 44.4; Plutarch, Caesar 14Pompey 47–48Cato the Younger32–33; Cassius Dio, Roman History 38.1–8
  50. ^ Suetonius, Julius 19.2
  51. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2:44.4; Plutarch, Caesar 14.10Crassus14.3Pompey 48Cato the Younger 33.3; Suetonius, Julius 22; Cassius Dio, Roman History 38:8.5
  52. ^ Suetonius, Julius 23
  53. ^ See Cicero’s speeches against Verres for an example of a former provincial governor successfully prosecuted for illegally enriching himself at his province’s expense.
  54. ^ Cicero, Letters to Atticus 1.19; Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 1; Appian, Gallic Wars Epit. 3; Cassius Dio, Roman History 38.31–50
  55. ^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 2; Appian, Gallic Wars Epit. 4; Cassius Dio, Roman History 39.1–5
  56. ^ Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus 2.3; Suetonius, Julius 24; Plutarch, Caesar21Crassus 14–15Pompey 51
  57. ^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 3; Cassius Dio, Roman History39.40–46
  58. ^ Black, Jeremy (2003). A History of the British Isles. Palgrave MacMillan. p. 6.
  59. ^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 4; Appian, Gallic Wars Epit. 4; Cassius Dio, Roman History 47–53
  60. ^ Cicero, Letters to friends to his brother Quintus to Atticus; Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 5–6; Cassius Dio, Roman History 40.1–11
  61. ^ Suetonius, Julius [1]; Plutarch, Caesar 23.5Pompey 53–55Crassus 16–33; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 46–47
  62. ^ “France: The Roman conquest”Encyclopædia Britannica OnlineEncyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 6, 2015Because of chronic internal rivalries, Gallic resistance was easily broken, though Vercingetorix’s Great Rebellion of 52 bce had notable successes.
  63. ^ “Julius Caesar: The first triumvirate and the conquest of Gaul”Encyclopædia Britannica OnlineEncyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 15, 2015Indeed, the Gallic cavalry was probably superior to the Roman, horseman for horseman. Rome’s military superiority lay in its mastery of strategy, tactics, discipline, and military engineering. In Gaul, Rome also had the advantage of being able to deal separately with dozens of relatively small, independent, and uncooperative states. Caesar conquered these piecemeal, and the concerted attempt made by a number of them in 52 bce to shake off the Roman yoke came too late.
  64. ^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 7; Cassius Dio, Roman History40.33–42
  65. ^ Aulus HirtiusCommentaries on the Gallic War Book 8
  66. ^ “Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, by Plutarch (chapter48)”.
  67. ^ Suetonius, Julius 28
  68. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 32.8
  69. ^ Thomson, D. F. S.; Sperna Weiland, Jan (1988). “Erasmus and textual scholarship: Suetonius”. In Weiland, J. S. Erasmus of Rotterdam: the man and the scholar. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill. p. 161. ISBN 90-04-08920-9.
  70. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 35.2
  71. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 42–45
  72. ^ Roller, Duane W. (2010). Cleopatra: a biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195365535, p. 175.
  73. ^ Walker, Susan. “Cleopatra in Pompeii?” in Papers of the British School at Rome, 76 (2008): 35–46 and 345-8 (pp. 35, 42–44).
  74. Jump up to:a b Plutarch, Caesar 37.2
  75. Jump up to:a b Martin Jehne, Der Staat des Dicators Caesar, Köln/Wien 1987, p. 15-38.
  76. ^ Plutarch, Pompey 80.5
  77. ^ Plutarch, Pompey 77–79
  78. Jump up to:a b Salisbury, Joyce E (2001). “Cleopatra VII”. Women in the ancient world. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 52. ISBN 1-57607-092-1.
  79. ^ Suetonius, Julius 35.2
  80. ^ Caesar: a history of the art of war among the Romans down to the end of the Roman empire, with a detailed account of the campaigns of Caius Julius Caesar, page 791, Theodore Ayrault Dodge, Greenhill Books, 1995. ISBN 9781853672163
  81. ^ Paul: The Man and the Myth, page 15, Studies on personalities of the New Testament Personalities of the New Testament Series, Calvin J. Roetzel, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999. ISBN 9780567086983
  82. ^ Julius Caesar, page 311, Philip Freeman, Simon and Schuster, 2008. ISBN 9780743289535
  83. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 52–54
  84. ^ Martin Jehne, Der Staat des Dictators Caesar, Köln/Wien 1987, p. 15-38. Technically, Caesar was not appointed dictator with a term of 10 years, but he was appointed annual dictator for the next 10 years in advance.
  85. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 56
  86. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 56.7–56.8
  87. ^ Appian, The Civil Wars 2:143.1
  88. Jump up to:a b c Abbott, 133
  89. Jump up to:a b c Abbott, 134
  90. Jump up to:a b c Suetonius, Julius 40
  91. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History 43.19.2–3; AppianCivil Wars 2.101.420
  92. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i J.F.C. Fuller, Julius Caesar, Man, Soldier, Tyrant”, Chapter 13
  93. ^ Diana E. E. Kleiner. Julius Caesar, Venus Genetrix, and the Forum Iulium(Multimedia presentation). Yale University.
  94. ^ Mackay, Christopher S. (2004). Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History. Cambridge University Press. p. 254.
  95. ^ Campbell, J. B. (1994). The Roman Army, 31 BC–AD 337. Routledge. p. 10.
  96. Jump up to:a b c d e f g Abbott, 136
  97. Jump up to:a b c d e Abbott, 135
  98. Jump up to:a b c d e Abbott, 137
  99. ^ Abbott, 138
  100. ^ Huzar, Eleanor Goltz (1978). Mark Antony, a biography By Eleanor Goltz Huzar. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-0-8166-0863-8.
  101. ^ “Plutarch – Life of Brutus”. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  102. ^ “Suetonius, ‘Life of the Caesars, Julius’, trans. J C Rolfe”. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  103. ^ Plutarch, Life of Caesar, ch. 66: “ὁ μεν πληγείς, Ῥωμαιστί· ‘Μιαρώτατε Κάσκα, τί ποιεῖς;‘”
  104. ^ Woolf Greg (2006), Et Tu Brute? – The Murder of Caesar and Political Assassination, 199 pages – ISBN 1-86197-741-7
  105. ^ Suetonius, Julius, c. 82.
  106. ^ Suetonius, Julius 82.2
  107. ^ From the J. C. Rolfe translation of 1914: “…he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, ‘You too, my child?”.
  108. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 66.9
  109. ^ Stone, Jon R. (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations. London: Routledge. p. 250. ISBN 0-415-96909-3.
  110. ^ Morwood, James (1994). The Pocket Oxford Latin Dictionary (Latin-English). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860283-9.
  111. ^ Dyce, Alexander (1866). The Works of William Shakespeare. London: Chapman and Hall. p. 648. Quoting Malone
  112. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 67
  113. ^ “Temple of Caesar”. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  114. ^ Florus, Epitome 2.7.1
  115. ^ Suetonius, Julius 83.2
  116. ^ “Suetonius, Life of Caesar, Chapters LXXXIII, LXXXIV, LXXXV”. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  117. ^ Osgood, Josiah (2006). Caesar’s Legacy: Civil War and the Emergence of the Roman Empire. Cambridge University Press. p. 60.
  118. ^ Suetonius, Augustus 13.1; Florus, Epitome 2.6
  119. ^ Warrior, Valerie M. (2006). Roman Religion. Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-521-82511-3.
  120. ^ Florus, Epitome 2.6.3
  121. ^ Zoch, Paul A. (200). Ancient Rome: An Introductory History. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 0-8061-3287-6.
  122. ^ Florus, Epitome 2.7.11–14; Appian, The Civil Wars 5.3
  123. ^ Florus, Epitome 2.34.66
  124. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 58.6
  125. ^ Cicero, Philippic ii.110: Cicero refers to the divine honours of : “…couch, image, pediment, priest” given to Caesar in the months before his assassination.
  126. ^ According to Dio Cassius, 44.6.4.
  127. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 17, 45, 60; see also Suetonius, Julius 45.
  128. ^ Ronald T. Ridley, “The Dictator’s Mistake: Caesar’s Escape from Sulla,” Historia 49 (2000), pp. 225–226, citing doubters of epilepsy: F. Kanngiesser, “Notes on the Pathology of the Julian Dynasty,” Glasgow Medical Journal 77 (1912) 428–432; T. Cawthorne, “Julius Caesar and the Falling Sickness,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 51 (1957) 27–30, who prefers Ménière’s disease; and O. Temkin, The Falling Sickness: A History of Epilepsy from the Greeks to the Beginnings of Modern Neurology (Baltimore 1971), p 162.
  129. ^ Bruschi, Fabrizio (2011). “Was Julius Caesar’s epilepsy due to neurocysticercosis?”Trends in Parasitology. Cell Press. 27 (9): 373–374. doi:10.1016/ Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  130. ^ McLachlan, Richard S. (2010). “Julius Caesar’s Late Onset Epilepsy: A Case of Historic Proportions”Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences Inc. 37 (5): 557–561. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  131. ^ Hughes J; Atanassova, E; Boev, K (2004). “Dictator Perpetuus: Julius Caesar—did he have seizures? If so, what was the etiology?”. Epilepsy Behav5 (5): 756–64. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2004.05.006PMID 15380131.
  132. ^ Gomez J, Kotler J, Long J (1995). “Was Julius Caesar’s epilepsy due to a brain tumor?”. The Journal of the Florida Medical Association82 (3): 199–201. PMID 7738524.
  133. ^ H. Schneble (1 January 2003). “Gaius Julius Caesar”. German Epilepsy Museum. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
  134. ^ Hodder, Harbour Fraser (September 2003). “Epilepsy and Empire, Caveat Caesar”Accredited Psychiatry & Medicine. Harvard, Boston: Harvard University. 106 (1): 19.
  135. ^ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar I.ii.209.
  136. ^ Plutarch, Alexander 42; Jeremy Paterson discussing Caesar’s health in general in “Caesar the Man,” A Companion to Julius Caesar (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), p. 130 online.
  137. ^ Galassi, Francesco M.; Ashrafian, Hutan (29 March 2015). “Has the diagnosis of a stroke been overlooked in the symptoms of Julius Caesar?”. Neurological Sciences36(8): 1521–1522. doi:10.1007/s10072-015-2191-4.
  138. ^ SuetoniusLife of Caesar 45excelsa statura, colore candido, teretibus membris, ore paulo pleniore, nigris vegetisque oculis.
  139. ^ Roller, Duane W. (2010), Cleopatra: a biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 178–179, ISBN 978-0-19-536553-5.
  140. ^ PlutarchBrutus 5
  141. ^ Ronald Syme, “Bastards in the Roman Aristocracy,” pp. 323–327. Thomas Africa thought Syme had recanted this view; see “The Mask of an Assassin: A Psychohistorical Study of M. Junius Brutus,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 8 (1978), p. 615, note 28, referring to Syme’s book Sallust (Berkeley, 1964), p. 134. This would appear to be a misreading, given Syme’s fuller argument twenty years later in “No Son for Caesar?” Historia 29 (1980) 422–437, pp. 426–430 regarding the greater likelihood that Decimus would be the Brutus who was Caesar’s son.
  142. ^ TacitusHistories 4.55
  143. ^ Suetonius, Julius 49
  144. ^ Suetonius, Julius 49; Cassius Dio, Roman History 43.20
  145. ^ CatullusCarmina 2957
  146. ^ Suetonius, Julius 73
  147. ^ Suetonius, Augustus 6871
  148. ^ Cicero, Brutus, 252.
  149. ^ Edward Courtney, The Fragmentary Latin Poets (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), pp. 153–155 and 187–188. See also Poems by Julius Caesar.
  150. ^ T.P. Wiseman, “The Publication of De Bello Gallico,” Julius Caesar as Artful Reporter(Classical Press of Wales, 1998).
  151. ^ Canfora, p. 10-11
  152. ^ Canfora, p. 10
  153. ^ Canfora, pp. 11–12
  154. ^ Caesarism, Charisma, and Fate: Historical Sources and Modern Resonances in the Work of Max Weber. Transaction Publishers. 2008. p. 34.
  155. ^ Brown, Howard G. (29 June 2007). Napoleon Bonaparte, Political ProdigyWileydoi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2007.00451.x.
  156. ^ Hartfield, James (28 September 2012). Unpatriotic History of the Second World War. John Hunt Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 9781780993799.
  157. ^ Canfora, pp. 12-13


Primary sources

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Ancient historians’ writings

Secondary sources

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Giacobbe Giusti, Basilica of San Francesco, Arezzo

Giacobbe Giusti, Basilica of San Francesco, Arezzo


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Giacobbe Giusti, Basilica of San Francesco, Arezzo



Giacobbe Giusti, Basilica of San Francesco, Arezzo
Arezzo-Basilica di San Francesco.jpg

Façade of the church
Coordinates43°27′52.20″N 11°52′50.88″E
Country Italy
Denomination Roman Catholic
Dedication St Francis of Assisi
Architect(s) Fra Giovanni da Pistoia
Groundbreaking 1290
Archdiocese Florence
Diocese Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro

The Basilica of San Francesco is a late Medieval church in ArezzoTuscanyItaly, dedicated to St Francis of Assisi. It is especially renowned for housing in the chancel the fresco cycle Legends of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca.


San Francesco is the second church built by the Franciscans in Arezzo, an earlier church being located outside the city walls and destroyed during the Occupation. The building work on San Francesco was begun around 1290. The decoration of its façade was never realised.

The interior presents as a large church of simple unadorned design with a wide single nave, flanked on the left side by some chapels and, on the right side, by some niches. The tall groin-vaulted chancel is of square plan.[1]

Beneath the church is a smaller Chiesa inferiore or “Lower Church” as at Assisi, with a nave and two aisles, now used as exhibition hall.


Giacobbe Giusti, Basilica of San Francesco, Arezzo

The interior

At the chancel entrance is suspended a very large painted rood crucifix by one Master of San Francesco, a contemporary of Cimabue. It also contains a Maesta or “Madonna in Majesty” by Guido da Siena.

The walls and particularly the niches on the right have some fresco decoration, which dates in part to the 14th century.

The Cappella Maggiore, (Major Chapel or chancel) houses one of the masterworks of Italian Early Renaissance, a fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca depicting the Legend of the True Cross.

The frescoes of Legend of the True Cross

The painting of the chancel began with a commission by the Aretine family Bicci, who called the painter Bicci di Lorenzo to paint the large cross-vault. In 1452, at Bicci’s death, only the four Evangelists had been painted in the vault, as well as the triumphal arch with the Last Judgement and two Doctors of the Church.

Piero della Francesca was called in to complete the work. According to a document, he did so in two stages, the works halted during 1458-1459, and completed in 1466.[2]

The frescoes occupy three levels on the side walls and the eastern wall, surrounding a large window. The theme of the fresco cycle is the Golden Legend by Jacopo da Varagine. Piero della Francesca did not follow a chronological order, preferring to concentrate himself in the creation of symmetrical correspondences between the various scenes.

The episodes depicted are the following:

On the walls of the chancel arch are frescoes which depict: an angel, CupidSt. LouisSt. PeterSt. Augustine and St. Ambrose.

In addition, there is a fine painting of St Mary Magdalene, also by Piero della Francesca, by the door of the Sacristy.


  1. ^ Kennedy, Trinita (30 October 2014). Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy. Philip Wilson Publishers. p. 47. ISBN 9781781300268.
  2. ^ Simonis, Damien (15 September 2010). Italy. Lonely Planet. p. 555. ISBN 9781742203522.,_Arezzo

Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion


Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion



Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion


Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion



Ἐρέχθειον (in Greek)
Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion
Erechtheum Acropolis Athens.jpg
General information
Architectural style Ionic
Location AthensGreece
Current tenants Museum
Construction started 421 BC[1]
Completed 406 BC[1]
Owner Greek government
Design and construction
Architect May have been Mnesicles

The Erechtheion or Erechtheum(/ɪˈrɛkθiəmˌɛrɪkˈθəm/Ancient GreekἘρέχθειονGreekΕρέχθειο) is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athensin Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.


Floor plan of the Erectheion temple complex on the Acropolis

The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. The sculptor and mason of the structure was Phidias, who was employed by Pericles to build both the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer‘s Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period, and Erechtheus and the hero Erichthonius were often syncretized. It is believed to have been a replacement for the Peisistratid temple of Athena Polias destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC.[2]

The need to preserve multiple adjacent sacred precincts likely explains the complex design. The main structure consists of up to four compartments, the largest being the east cella, with an Ionic portico on its east end. Other current thinking[3] would have the entire interior at the lower level and the East porch used for access to the great altar of Athena Polias via a balcony and stair and also as a public viewing platform.

The entire temple is on a slope, so the west and north sides are about 3 m (9 ft) lower than the south and east sides. It was built entirely of marble from Mount Pentelikon, with friezes of black limestone from Eleusis which bore sculptures executed in relief in white marble.[4] It had elaborately carved doorways and windows, and its columns were ornately decorated (far more so than is visible today); they were painted, gilded and highlighted with gilt bronze and multi-colored inset glass beads. The building is known for early examples of egg-and-dart, and guillocheornamental moldings.[5] The Theory of Mouldings, p22, J.H. Janson 1926, has detailed drawings of some of the decorations.

Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion

Porch of the Caryatids

Porch of the Caryatids

On the north side, there is another large porch with six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns. The porch was built to conceal the giant 15-ft beam needed to support the southwest corner over the Kekropion, after the building was drastically reduced in size and budget following the onset of the Peloponnesian war.

Religious functions

The Erectheum was associated with some of the most ancient and holy relics of the Athenians: the Palladion, which was a xoanon (defined as a wooden effigy fallen from heaven – not man-made) of Athena Polias (Protectress of the City); the marks of Poseidon‘s trident and the salt water well (the “salt sea”) that resulted from Poseidon’s strike; the sacred olive tree that sprouted when Athena struck the rock with her spear in her successful rivalry with Poseidon for the city; the supposed burial places of the mythical kings Kekrops and Erechtheus; the sacred precincts of Kekrops’ three daughters, HersePandrosus and Aglaurus; and those of the tribal heroes Pandion and Boutes. An olive tree remains on the Western side of the Erechtheus, though it was planted there in modern times by Sophia of Prussia, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, in honour of the Athenians.[6] In front of the main statue, a golden lamp called “asbestos lychnia” made by the sculptor Callimachusburned continuously with its asbestos wick and was refuelled once a year.[7]

The eastern part of the building was dedicated to Athena Polias, while the western part served the cult of Poseidon-Erechtheus and held the altars of Hephaistus and Voutos, brother of Erechtheus.[8][9] According to the myth, Athena’s sacred snake lived there.[9] The snake was fed honey-cakes by Canephorae, the priestesses of Athena Polias, by custom the women of the ancient family of Eteoboutadae, the supposed descendants of the hero Boutes. The snake’s occasional refusal to eat the cakes was thought a disastrous omen[citation needed].

Late antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Erechtheion underwent extensive repairs and reformation for the first time during the 1st century B.C., after its catastrophic burning by the Roman general Sulla.[10]The intact Erechtheum was extensively described by the Roman geographer Pausanias (1.26.5 – 27.3), writing a century after it had been restored in the 1st century AD.[11] If still in use by the 4th-century, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans. The building was altered decisively during the early Byzantine period, when it was transformed into a church dedicated to the Theometor. With this alteration many architectural features of the ancient construction were lost, so that our knowledge of the interior arrangement of the building is limited.[10][12] It became a palace under Frankish rule and the residence of the Turkish commander’s harem in the Ottoman period.[9][13]

Modern times

Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion

South-East view of the Erechtheum

In 1800 one of the caryatids and the north column of the east porch together with the overlying section of the entablature were removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and were later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture taken from the Parthenon).[1][14][15] Athenian legend had it that at night the remaining five Caryatids could be heard wailing for their lost sister. Elgin attempted to remove a second Caryatid; when technical difficulties arose, he tried to have it sawn to pieces. The statue was smashed, and its fragments were left behind. It was later reconstructed haphazardly with cement and iron rods. During the Greek War of Independence the building was bombarded by the Ottomans and severely damaged,[9] the ceiling of the north porch was blown up and a large section of the lateral walls of the cella was dismantled.[16]

The Erechtheum went through a period of restoration from 1977 to 1988.[17]

Previous attempted restorations by Greece damaged the roof of the Caryatids’ porch with concrete patches, along with major damage caused by pollution in Athens.[18] In 1979, the five original Caryatids were moved to the Old Acropolis Museum and replaced in situ by exact replicas. Scientists were working in 2005 to repair the damage using laser cleaning.[18]

The restoration of Erechtheion received the Europa Nostra award.[19]

Recent events

Giacobbe Giusti, Erechtheion

Original figures in the Acropolis Museum

One of those original six figures, removed by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, is now in the British Museum in London. The Acropolis Museum holds the other five figures, which are replaced onsite by replicas. The five originals that are in Athens are now being exhibited in the new Acropolis Museum, on a special balcony that allows visitors to view them from all sides. The pedestal for the Caryatid removed to London remains empty. As of 2011, they are being cleaned by a specially constructed laser beam, which removes accumulated soot and grime without harming the marble’s patina.

Each Caryatid is cleaned in place, with a television circuit relaying the spectacle live to museum visitors. Although of the same height and build, and similarly attired and coiffed, the six Caryatids are not the same: their faces, stance, draping, and hair are carved separately; the three on the left stand on their right knee, while the three on the right stand on their left knee. Their bulky, intricately arranged hairstyles serve the crucial purpose of providing static support to their necks, which would otherwise be the thinnest and structurally weakest part.

The Caryatids have been transferred from the Old Acropolis Museum to the New Acropolis Museum.[20] The first was carried over safely on December 9, 2007, via an elaborate system of aerial cranes.[21][22] Within the new museum, the statue was reunited with its long-missing sandalled left foot, which was identified among rubble in the 1980s. The reassembled Caryatid, along with the four others remaining in Athens, are having their decayed patina thoroughly restored by laser, and are on display in the new museum.[23] Visitors today can see this process being carried out via camera in the gallery where the Caryatids are displayed in the museum. The Acropolis Museum was awarded for its innovative program of the conservation and the restoration of the Caryatids by the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) in Vienna, with the Keck Award 2012.[24][25]



  1. Jump up to:a b c Donald Langmead; Christine Garnaut (1 December 2001). Encyclopedia of Architectural and Engineering Feats. ABC-CLIO. pp. 110–112. ISBN 978-1-57607-112-0. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  2. ^ Robert Garland (1992). Introducing New Gods: The Politics of Athenian Religion. Cornell University Press. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-0-8014-2766-4. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  3. ^ Lesk (2004) A Diachronic Examination of the Erechtheion and Its ReceptionArchived 2007-07-02 at the Wayback Machine –
  4. ^ David Watkin (July 2005). A History of Western Architecture. Laurence King Publishing. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-1-85669-459-9. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  5. ^ Lewis, Philippa & Gillian Darley (1986) Dictionary of Ornament, NY: Pantheon
  6. ^ Emily Mieras and Alexandra M. Tyler (1990). Let’s Go: The Budget Guide to Greece. New York : St. Martin’s Press. p. 50. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  7. ^ Eleftheratou, S. (2016). Acropolis museum guide. Acropolis Museum Editions. p. 258.
  8. ^ Jeffrey M. Hurwit (1999). The Athenian Acropolis: History, Mythology, and Archaeology from the Neolithic Era to the Present. CUP Archive. pp. 200–. ISBN 978-0-521-41786-0. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  9. Jump up to:a b c d Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
  10. Jump up to:a b orbitlab. “ACROPOLIS RESTORATION SERVICE”
  11. ^ Ian Jenkins (2006). Greek Architecture And Its Sculpture. Harvard University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-674-02388-8. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  12. ^ Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism “In the Early Christian period it was converted into a church dedicated to the Theotokos (Mother of God)”
  13. ^ Acropolis Restoration Service “Among the significant points in the historical course of the Erechtheion are also its transformation into the palace of the bishopric during the Frankish domination and subsequently, during the Ottoman occupation, into a dwelling for the harem of the Turkish commander of the garrison.”
  14. ^ Arthur Hamilton Smith (1892). A catalogue of archaic Greek sculpture in the British Museum. Printed by Order of the Trustees. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  15. ^ Acropolis Restoration Service “The serious crisis suffered by the monument include its plundering by Lord Elgin, whose cohorts made off with the north column of the east porch together with the overlying section of the entablature and one of the Caryatids.”
  16. ^ Acropolis Restoration Service “The monument suffered severe damage also during the War of Independence, when the ceiling of the north porch was blown up and a large section of the lateral walls of the cella was dismantled.”
  17. ^ Hans Rupprecht Goette (13 April 2001). Athens, Attica and the Megarid. Psychology Press. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-415-24370-4. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  18. Jump up to:a b “Laser treatment used to protect Acropolis from pollution”. London: Daily Mail. October 17, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  19. ^ Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism “Its restoration received the Europa Nostra award.”
  20. ^ Robert Emmet Meagher; Elizabeth Parker Neave (22 October 2007). Ancient Greece: An Explorer’s Guide. Interlink Books. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-1-56656-682-7. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  21. ^ “Safely transferred… – News –”
  22. ^ Pegasus Interactive. “Δίπλα στην… κλεμμένη αδελφή της”
  23. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  24. ^ Acropolis Museum “The Acropolis Museum was awarded for this innovative program by the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) in Vienna, with the Keck Award 2012”
  25. ^ press release keck award 2012 acropolis museum


Giacobbe Giusti, Greco-Roman mysteries


Giacobbe Giusti, Greco-Roman mysteries

User:Bibi Saint-Pol

Giacobbe Giusti, Greco-Roman mysteries

Samothrace Louvre
From left to right, Agamemnon, Talthybios and Epeios, identified by inscriptions in Ionian script (“Agamemnon” is written in retrograde script). Fragment of a relief, maybe the armrest from the throne of a cult statue. May represent Agamemnon’s initiation to the Samothracean mystery cult. Marble, Greek archaic artwork, ca. 560 BC. From Samothrace.


Giacobbe Giusti, Greco-Roman mysteries

Roman fresco Villa dei Misteri Pompeii – detail with dancing menad
Giacobbe Giusti, Greco-Roman mysteries

Hydria by the Varrese Painter (c. 340 BC) depicting Eleusinian scenes

Mystery religionssacred mysteries or simply mysterieswere religious schools of the Greco-Roman world for which participation was reserved to initiates (mystai).[1] The main characterization of this religion is the secrecy associated with the particulars of the initiation and the ritual practice, which may not be revealed to outsiders. The most famous mysteries of Greco-Roman antiquity were the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were of considerable antiquity and predated the Greek Dark Ages. The mystery schools flourished in Late AntiquityJulian the Apostate in the mid 4th century is known to have been initiated into three distinct mystery schools—most notably the mithraists. Due to the secret nature of the school, and because the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were persecuted by the Christian Roman Empire from the 4th century, the details of these religious practices are derived from descriptions, imagery and cross-cultural studies. “Because of this element of secrecy, we are ill-informed as to the beliefs and practices of the various mystery faiths. We know that they had a general likeness to one another”.[2] Much information on the Mysteries come from Marcus Terentius Varro.

Justin Martyr in the 2nd century explicitly noted and identified them as “demonic imitations” of the true faith, and that “the devils, in imitation of what was said by Moses, asserted that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter, and instigated the people to set up an image of her under the name of Kore” (First Apology). Through the 1st to 4th century, Christianity stood in direct competition for adherents with the mystery schools, insofar as the “mystery schools too were an intrinsic element of the non-Jewish horizon of the reception of the Christian message”. Beginning in the third century, and especially after Constantine became emperor, components of mystery religions began to be incorporated into mainstream Christian thinking, such as is reflected by the disciplina arcani.


The English word ‘mystery’ originally appeared as the plural Greek Mystêria, and developed into the Latin mysterium where the English term originates. The etymology of the Greek mystêrion is not entirely clear though scholars have traditionally thought it to have derived from the Greek myo, meaning “to close or shut” (chiefly referring to shutting the eyes, hence, one who shuts their eyes and is initiated into the mysteries).[3] More recently, a number of Hittite scholars have suggested that the Greek term derives from the Hittite verb munnae, “to conceal, to hide, to shut out of sight”.[4]


Mystery religions formed one of three types of Hellenistic religion, the others being the imperial cult, or the ethnic religion particular to a nation or state, and the philosophic religions such as Neoplatonism. This is also reflected in the tripartite division of “theology“—by Varro—into civil theology (concerning the state religion and its stabilizing effect on society), natural theology (philosophical speculation about the nature of the divine), and mythical theology (concerning myth and ritual).

Mysteries thus supplement rather than compete with civil religion. An individual could easily observe the rites of the state religion, be an initiate in one or more mysteries, and at the same time adhere to a certain philosophical school.[5] Many of the aspects of public religion such as sacrifices, ritual meals, and ritual purification were repeated within the mystery, but with the additional requirement that they take place in secrecy and be confined to a closed set of initiates. The mystery schools offered a niche for the preservation of ancient religious ritual.

Though historians have given up trying to outline a rigid definition to categorize all mystery cults, a number of characteristics that the mystery cults shared can be outlined. All the mystery cults placed emphasis on the secrecy of their practices and an emotional initiation ritual for a new member to join the group. The members were voluntary participants, had nocturnal settings and preliminary purifications for their gatherings, there was an obligation to pay in order to participate, promised rewards for this life and the next, and the older mysteries were located at a variable distance from the nearest city. Furthermore, they were all, with the exception of the Mithraic cult, open to all people, including men and women, slaves and freeman, the young and old, etc. However, the expenses required to participate in all the rituals often precluded many from joining. And though the mysteries were secret, they were not very mysterious. [6]

For this reason, what glimpses we do have of the older Greek mysteries have been understood as reflecting certain archaic aspects of common Indo-European religion, with parallels in Indo-Iranian religion. The mystery schools of Greco-Roman antiquity include the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Dionysian Mysteries, and the Orphic Mysteries. Some of the many divinities that the Romans nominally adopted from other cultures also came to be worshipped in Mysteries, for instance, Egyptian Isis, Persian Mithrasfrom the Mithraic Mysteries, Thracian/Phrygian Sabazius, and Phrygian Cybele.

Eleusinian Mysteries

The Eleusinian Mysteries were the earliest and most famous of the mystery cults and lasted for over a millennium. Whenever they first originated, by the end of the 5th century BC, they had been heavily influenced by Orphism, and in Late Antiquity, they had become allegorized. These mysteries were more concerned with prosperity than eschatalogy and hope in the afterlife, and so belief in an afterlife had always belonged to a minority and no person initiated into the mysteries made reference to it on their tombstones until the 2nd century BC.[7]


In the 15th of the month of Boedromion (September/October) in the Attic calendar, as many as 3,000 potential initiates would have gathered in the agora of Athens, the gathering limited to those that spoke Greek and had never killed (as the emphasis on purity grew, this ban would include those who had “impure” souls). Like other large festivals such as the Diasia and Thesmophoria, the prospective initiates would bring their own sacrificial animals and hear the festivals proclamation as it began. The next day, they would have gone to the sea and purified themselves and the animals. Three days of rest would pass until the 19th, the agora was once more filled with the initiates at the procession at the sanctuary of Demeter and her daughter Persephone. Two Eleusinian priestesses were at the front of the procession followed by many Greeks holding special items in preparation for the rest of the ceremony, and the procession would leave the city on an hours-long 15-mile journey constantly interrupted by celebration, dances, etc, to the city of Eleusis. The initiates would carry torches on the way to the city. Once the city was reached, the pilgrims would dance into the sanctuary. The next day would begin with sacrifices, and at sunset, the initiates would go to a building called the telestêrion where the actual initiations would commence. The initiates washed themselves to be pure and everyone sat in silence surrounded by the smell of extinguished torches. The initiation may have taken place over two nights. If so, the first night may have concerned the myths of the kidnapping of Persephone by Hades in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (where Persephone is kidnapped and her mother, Demeter, searches the earth for her, and once her daughter was returned, Demeter promised prosperity in this life and the next) and ended with Persephone’s return and the guarantee of fertility, whereas the second night concerned the epopteia (the higher degree of the Mysteries) which was a performance that included singing, dancing, potentially the showing of a phallus, a terrifying experience for the audience by the skilled Eleusinian clergy, and the climax of the event which must have included displaying a statue of Demeter and showing of an ear of wheat and a “birth” of agricultural wealth. Hence, these mysteries had associations with fertility and agriculture.[7]


The day of the completion of the initiation was called the Plemochoai (after a type of vessel used to conclude a libation), and the new members could now wear a myrtle wreath like the priests. Eventually, the initiates would leave and utter the phrases paks or konks, which referenced the proclamation of a conclusion of an event. The new members used their clothing in the journey as lucky blankets for children or perhaps were given to their sanctuary.[7]

Samothracian Mysteries

The second most famous Mysteries were those on the island of Samothrace and promised safety to sailors from the perils of the sea, and most participants would come to be initiated from the neighboring regions. While the information here is even more scarce than that available with the Eleusinian Mysteries (and more late, dating to the Hellenistic and Roman periods), it’s known that the Samothracian Mysteries significantly borrowed from the ones at Eleusis (including the word ‘Mysteries’), furthermore, archaeological and linguistic data continues elucidating more of what happened at Samothrace. These rituals were also associated with others on neighboring island such as the mysteries of the deities of CabeiriPhilip II of Macedon and his later wife Olympias were said to have met during the initiation ceremony at Samothrace.[8] HeraclesJasonCadmusOrpheus and the Dioscuriwere all said to have been initiated here. The deities at Samothrace tended to be anonymously identified, being referred to as the “Samothracian gods”, “gods of Samothrace”,”Great Gods”, etc. This makes it difficult to reconstruct who they were, though they were often compared to the Cabeiri.[9]


Unlike at Eleusis, initiation at Samothrace was not restricted to a narrow few days of the year and lasted from April to November (the sailing season) with a large event likely taking place in June but may have taken place over two nights. Like in Samothrace, the future initiates would enter the sanctuary of Samothrace from the east where they would have enterred into a 9-meter in diameter circular space with flagstones and a grandstand of five steps now called the Theatral Circle. Livy records that here, the initiates would listen to a proclamation concerning the absence of crime and bloodshed. Near the beginning of the rituals, like at Eleusis, sacrifices and libations were likely made, where the prospective animal for the sacrifice would have been a ram. The initiates would have moved to a building where the actual initiation took place at night with torches, though archaeologists are unsure of which building it was considering the abundance of possibilities including the Hall of Choral Dancers, the Hieron, the Anaktoron and the Rotunda of Arsinoe II. In the 3rd century, Hippolytus of Rome in his Refutation of All Heresies quotes a Gnostic author who provides a summary of some of the images here;

There stand two statues of naked men in the Anaktoron of the Samothracians, with both hands stretched up toward heaven and their pudenda turned up, just as the statue of Hermes at Kyllene. The aforesaid statues are images of the primal man and of the regenerated, spiritual man who is in every respect consubstantial with that man.

The scarcity of information precludes understanding what went on during the initiation, though there may have been dancing such as at Eleusis associated with the mythology of the search for Harmonia. At the end of the initiation, the initiates were given a purple fillet. There was also a second night of initiation, the epopteiawhere the “usual preliminary lustration rites and sacrifices” took place though not much else can be known besides that it may have been similar to the epopteia at Eleusis and would have climaxed with the showing of a great light.[7]


The initiation of the first night was concluded by banqueting together and many dining rooms have been uncovered by archaeologists in association with the cult at Samothrace. The bowls used for the libation were also left behind, revealed by the thousands of discovered libation bowls at the cult sites. The participants occasionally left behind other materials, such as lamps. In addition to the purple fillet, they also left with a ‘Samothracian ring’ (magnetic iron ring coated in gold) and some initiates would set up a record of their initiation in the stoa of the sanctuary. The initiation of the second night was also concluded by a banquet.[7]

Influence on Early Christianity

Modern scholars reject simplistic notions of dependence of Christianity on the mystery religions.[10] Towards the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, it was becoming more popular in German scholarship to connect the origins of Christianity with heavy influence from the mystery cults, if not labeling Christianity itself as a mystery cult. This trend was partly the result of the increasing growth of critical historical analysis of Christianity’s history, as exemplified by David Strauss‘s Das Leben Jesu (1835-6) and the secularizing trend among scholars that sought to derive Christianity from its pagan surroundings. Scholars, for example, began attempting to derive Paul’s theology from a Mithraic mystery cult in Tarsus, even though no mystery cult existed there nor did a Mithraic mystery cult exist before the end of the 1st century.[11] The attitudes of scholars began to change as Egyptology continued emerging as a discipline and a seminal article published by Arthur Nock in 1952 that noted the near absence of mystery terminology in the New Testament.[12]While some have tried to tie the origins of rites in Christianity such as baptism and the Eucharist to mystery religions, it has been demonstrated that the origins of baptism rather lie in Jewish purificatory ritual and that cult meals were so widespread in the ancient world that attempting to demonstrate their origins from any one source is arbitrary. Searches for Christianity deriving content from mystery religions has also been unsuccessful; many of them (such as the mysteries of Eleusis and Samothrace) had no content but rather limited themselves to showing objects in initiation.[13]

The studies of modern scholarship reveal that while Christianity was not a mystery religion, it was compared to them by various opponents of the early religion, such as Lucian[14] and Celsus.[15] Most early Christians, including Justin Martyr, launched attacks against the mysteries. Justin also compared Christianity to pagan religions, however scholars have criticized Justin for the shallowness of his comparisons. On the other hand, once Constantine became emperor of the Roman Empire and legalized the Christian religion, Christians lost their fear of pagan persecution and some concepts from the mystery religions, for the first time, became mainstream in Christian thought.[13]

List of mystery schools


  1. ^ Crystal, David, ed. (1995), “Mystery Religions”Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language, Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
  2. ^ Barnes, Ernest William. The rise of Christianity. Longmans, Green and Company, 1947, 50-51.
  3. ^ Bromiley 1995, p. 451.
  4. ^ Puhvel 1984, pp. 188-192.
  5. ^ Johnson 2009, pp. 98-99.
  6. ^ Bremmer 2014, p. XI.
  7. Jump up to:abcde Bremmer 2014, pp. 1-20.
  8. ^ W. Greenwalt, ‘Philip II and Olympias on Samothrace: A Clue to Macedonian Politics during the 360s’, in T. Howe and J. Reames (eds), Macedonian Legacies (Claremont, 2008) 79–106
  9. ^ Bremmer 2014, pp. 21-36.
  10. ^ (ed.) Patte, Daniel. The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Cambridge University Press, 2010, 848-849.
  11. ^ Lease, Gary. “Mithraism and Christianity: borrowings and transformations.” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2 (1980): 1306-1322
  12. ^ A.D. Nock, Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, 2 vols (Oxford, 1972) 2.791–820
  13. Jump up to:ab Bremmer 2014, pp. 142-164.
  14. ^ Peregrinus 11
  15. ^ Against Celsus 6.24; see also 3.59


Further reading

  • Alvar, Jaime. Romanising Oriental Gods: Myth, Salvation, and Ethics in the Cults of Cybele, Isis, and Mithras (Leiden, 2008).
  • Aneziri, Sophia. Die Vereine der Dionysischen Techniten im Kontext der hellenistischen Gesellschaft (Stuttgart, 2003).
  • Bowden, Hugh. Mystery Cults of the Ancient World (Princeton, Princeton UP, 2010).
  • Bremmer, Jan N. Initiation into the Mysteries of the Ancient World (Berlin, 2014).
  • Burkert, Walter (1987), Ancient Mystery Cults, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Casadio, Giovanni Casadio and Johnston, Patricia A. (eds), Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia (Austin, TX, University of Texas Press, 2009).