Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl
History and archaeology Lecture/talk

Julius Caesar as second founder of Rome and the evolution of the first Imperial Forum

!NOTE NEW DATE! Lecture by UrbNet Visiting Professor Christopher Hallett (University of California, Berkeley) and Professor and Centre director Rubina Raja (UrbNet, Aarhus University). Lecture 6/6 in the lecture series "New research on the materials of ancient sculpture".

Info about event

Time

Tuesday 15 June 2021,  at 13:00 - 14:00

Location

Virtual + Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet), Aarhus University, Moesgård Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark (Building 4230-232).

Contact

UrbNet, Centre for Urban Network Evolutions

Abstract

Julius Caesar spent a vast amount of money on building projects in the late 50s and early 40s BC, constructing an extension to the Roman Forum, a great Basilica in the Forum itself, and a temple to Venus. He also planned to monumentalize the ovile, the voting area for the Comitia Tributa (the Tribal Assembly) in the Campus Martius, and to enclose the whole area within a gigantic porticus. In the ancient sources it is reported in addition that he wished to divert the course of the Tiber, to extend the pomerium of the city, and to build a new stone theater and a temple to Mars; though did not live to see any of these latter plans realized. Caesar was not in antiquity generally regarded as a ‘second founder of Rome’; but on account of the sheer scale and ambition of his building activities, it is clear that before his death the people of Rome were beginning to honour him as a second Romulus.

Because Caesar was assassinated with most of his building projects left unfinished—and with some of them not even started—his impact on the city of Rome, and the nature of the interventions he made, is today disputed. Does Caesar’s Forum and the new Senate House, the Curia Julia, completed Augustus about 15 years after Caesar’s death, closely correspond to what Caesar originally aimed to build? Or was Caesar’s original plan changed and adapted in important ways? Given the nature of our evidence, even a question as basic as this is not easy to decide, and remains controversial. Nevertheless, the new joint Danish-Italian excavations of Caesar’s Forum, now already underway, offers a quite exceptional opportunity for scholars to re-open this and other important questions about Caesar’s original intentions, and to offer a comprehensive re-evaluation of his legacy as a builder. In this lecture, Rubina Raja, one of the directors of the new excavations, and Chris Hallett, a research consultant for the project, present some preliminary observations about the promise of this collaborative international effort for gaining a better understanding of Caesar’s far-reaching but unfinished refashioning of the heart of Rome.

Information on how to attend virtually

Sign up for virtual participation here.