Roman Republic
 


Roman Italy (1st Century AD)


Divus Julius II: After Caesar’s Death

Caesar’s Cult after his Funeral

Original  Monument in the Forum

Caesar (as everyone knows) was murdered on the Ides of March (15th March) in 44 BC.  The first manifestations of a posthumous cult for Caesar appeared during his funeral a few days later:

  1. According to Appian:

  2. “The people returned to Caesar's bier and bore it as a consecrated thing to the Capitol in order to bury it in the [Capitoline] temple and place it among the gods.  Being prevented from doing so by the priests, they placed it again in the Forum where stands the ancient palace of the kings of Rome.  There, they collected together pieces of wood ... for a funeral pyre ... Then, they set fire to it, and the entire people remained by the funeral pyre throughout the night. There, an altar was ... erected ...” (‘Civil Wars’, 2:148).

  3. Cassius Dio provided additional details:

  4. “... the throng was at first excited, then enraged, and finally so inflamed with passion that they sought [Caesar’s] murderers ... Then, [they seized] his body, which some had wished to convey [for burning] to the place in which he had been slaughtered [i.e. the Theatre of Pompey] and others to the Capitol; but, being prevented by the soldiers, who feared that the theatre and temples would be burned to the ground at the same time, they placed it upon a pyre there in the Forum ... After this, ... [they] set up an altar on the site of the pyre (for the freedmen of Caesar had previously taken up his bones and deposited them in the family tomb), and undertook to sacrifice upon it and to offer victims to Caesar, as to a god” (‘Roman History’, 44: 50:1 - 51:1).

In other words, Caesar’s funeral culminated in his consecration by the Roman mob, and the altar that they erected in the Forum constituted an impromptu cult site.

Destruction of the Original Monument

According to Cassius Dio, the consuls Mark Antony and P. Cornelius Dolabella (who had been appointed as suffect consul after Caesar’s death):

  1. “... overthrew [the original] altar and punished some who showed displeasure at the act, at the same time publishing a law that no one should ever again be dictator ...” (‘Roman History’, 44: 51: 2).

Appian gave further details of the context in which the altar was destroyed:

  1. “There was a certain pseudo-Marius in Rome named Amatius.  He pretended to be a grandson of Marius, and for this reason was very popular with the masses.  Being, according to this pretence, a relative of Caesar, he ... erected an altar on the site of his funeral pyre.  He collected a band of reckless men and made himself a perpetual terror to the murderers [of Caesar]. ... It was said that Amatius was only waiting for an opportunity to entrap [M. Junius Brutus and C. Casius Longinus], the most prominent of Caesar’s assassins].  ... [Mark] Antony, making capital out of the [alleged] plot and using his consular authority, arrested Amatius and boldly put him to death without a trial. ... The followers of Amatius, and the plebeians generally ... [then] took possession of the Forum, exclaiming violently against [Mark] Antony, and called on the magistrates to dedicate an altar in place of [that of] Amatius, and to offer the first sacrifices on it to Caesar.  ... they became still more indignant ... [when someone]  told them that he could show them the shop where the statues [of Caesar, which had been torn from their pedestals] were being broken up:  ... having witnessed this, they set fire to the place.  Finally, [Mark] Antony sent more soldiers and some of those who resisted were killed, others were captured: the slaves among them were crucified and the freemen thrown over the Tarpeian Rock” (‘Civil Wars’, 3:2-3).

In fact, pace Cassius Dio (above) it seems that the demolition of the original altar took place in April. while Mark Antony was away from Rome during the recess of the Senate, and that it was the work of Dolabella, much to the delight of Cicero (his father-in-law): in a letter to Atticus a few weeks later, Cicero exclaimed:

  1. “My wonderful Dolabella!  Now I call him mine: before, I can tell you, I had lurking doubts! This affair really gives people something to think about!

  2. Over the [Tarpeian ]Rock with [the freedmen], on to the cross with [the slaves];

  3. away with the pillar [that had presumably been erected near the altar];

  4. contract [awarded] for paving the site!

  5. Why, it’s Homeric!!”, (‘Letters to Atticus’, 369: 1, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 1999, at p. 185).

In an oration that he delivered in early September in the Senate, Cicero looked back on the Consuls’ suppression of the cult site as the light before the storm:

  1. “A new light, as it were, seemed to be brought over us, now that ... the kingly power [of Caesar] ... was taken away from us; and Mark Antony appeared to have been given a great pledge to the Republic [to the effect] that he wished the city to be free, when he utterly abolished out of the Republic the name of dictator [i.e. of Caesar] ... A few days afterwards, the Senate was delivered from the danger of bloodshed, and a hook was fixed into that runaway slave who had usurped the name of Gaius Marius [i.e. Amatius].  And [Mark Antony] did all these things in concert with his colleague [Dolabella].  Some other things that were done were the acts of Dolabella alone: but, I believe that, if his colleague had not been absent, these things would have been done by both of them in concert.  For:

  2. when enormous evil was insinuating itself into the Republic ...;

  3. when the same men who had performed that irregular funeral were erecting a tomb in the Forum; and

  4. when abandoned men, with slaves like themselves, were every day threatening ... the houses and temples of the city;

  5. so severe was the rigour of Dolabella ... and so prompt was his overthrow of that accursed pillar [near the altar to Caesar], that it seems marvellous to me that the subsequent time has been so different from that one day.  For behold, on the first of June, on which day [Mark Antony and Dolabella] had given notice that we were all to attend the Senate, everything was changed” (‘Philippics’, 1: 4-6). 

In fact, as we shall see, this cult site was replaced when the young Octavian appeared on the scene.

Octavian, Divi Filius

At the time of Caesar’s murder, his great nephew, the eighteen-year-old Gaius Octavius, was with Caesar’s army in Apollonia (in modern Albania).  When news reached him, he quickly returned to Italy, where he learned that Caesar had adopted him in his will.  He immediately signalled his intention to accept his inheritance by changing his name to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, or Caesar for short (although hereafter I call him ‘Octavian’, for the sake of clarity).  The name was important in his fight to secure both his financial and his political inheritance: indeed, Mark Antony, in a letter that he sent to Octavian about a year after Caesar’s murder, addressed him as:

  1. “You, boy, you who owes everything to [Caesar’s] name”, (‘Philippics’, 13: 24). 

Cicero used this and other extracts from the letter pejoratively in the speech (the source of the quote above) that he gave in the Senate in late March, 43 BC: it suited him to praise Octavian in this speech, but the irony is that, despite his rhetoric, Cicero almost certainly shared this sentiment.  Indeed, there was much justice in it.  However, what neither Mark Antony nor Cicero had yet appreciated was just how powerful Caesar’s name would become in the hands of the young Octavian. 

Octavian arrived in Rome in May 44 BC, and it soon became apparent to him that he would not easily secure his inheritance: Mark Antony dominated the political life of Rome, and the fact that he was Caesar’s son by adoption would not take him very far.  What mattered (at least for his intended political audience) was that he should be recognised as divi filius, the son of a god.  He did not invent the cult of divus Julius: as we have seen:

  1. the Senate had recognised Caesar as Jupiter Julius shortly before his murder, and Mark Antony had been designated as his flamen (although, as we shall see, he had not been inaugurated by the time of Caesar’s murder); and

  2. some Romans offered sacrifices to Caesar at the altar that had been established in the Forum during Caesar’s funeral, at least until Dolabella destroyed it about a month later.

It was clear from Mark Antony’s involvement in the destruction of the cult site in the Forum that he had now decided to eradicate the nascent cult.  Octavian’s achievement was that he kept it alive, despite the best efforts of both Mark Antony and Cicero.  In this section, I attempt a chronological account of how he achieved his aim, and how it furthered his fundamental objective: to secure his Caesarian inheritance.

Announcement of Caesar’s Funerary Games (18th May)

On 18th May,  Cicero wrote to Atticus about what had probably been Octavian’s first public speech made in Rome:

  1. “...concerning Octavian’s speech, I feel the same as you do: the preparations for his games and [the fact that he has secured the services of] Matius and Postumus as his procuratores (agents) are displeasing ... ”, (‘Letters to Atticus’, 379: 3, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 1999, at p. 225).

As we shall see below, these games were the ludi Veneris Genitricis, which Octavian was to hold on 20th July, which seem to have been combined with (nominally private) funerary games for his ‘father’, Caesar.  Matius and Postumus, who had been prominent among Caesar’s financial advisers, had now apparently transferred their allegiance to Octavian and, since Octavian could not immediately access Caesar’s bequests, were presumably helping him to find other sources of finance for (inter alia) these games. 

Caesar’s Throne and Crown (probably after 18th May)

Cassius Dio recorded that, among the divine honours awarded to Caesar during his lifetime:

  1. “[The Senate] voted that [Caesar’s] golden chair and his crown, which was set with precious gems and overlaid with gold, should be carried into the theatres [during religious festivals] in the same manner as those of the gods” (‘Roman History’, 44: 6: 3).

Stefan Weinstock (referenced below, at p. 283) suggested that:

  1. “The chair was never exhibited while Caesar was alive.  After his death, Octavian tried to exhibit it [on two occasions] in 44 BC, but was prevented from doing so by [Mark] Antony.”

This section deals with the first of these occasions was an occurred in May 44BC: I discuss the second of these occasions, which was at the Ludi Veneris Genitricis in the following July, below.

Plutarch described what was probably the first of these occasions among his list of the insults that Mark Antony offered to Octavian after their first meeting in Rome:

  1. For instance, [Mark Antony] opposed [Octavian] in his canvass for a tribuneship and, when [Octavian] attempted to dedicate a golden chair in honour of his father by adoption according to a decree of the Senate, [Mark] Antony threatened to haul him off to prison unless he stopped trying to win popular favour” (‘Life of Mark Antony’, 16).

Appian also recorded this occasion:

  1. “Meanwhile, when the time had arrived for the games that the aedile Critonius was about to hold, Octavian made preparations to display [Caesar’s] gilded throne and garland, which the Senate had voted should be placed in front of him at all games.  When Critonius said that he could not allow Caesar to be honoured in this way at games given at his expense, Octavian brought him before [Mark] Antony as consul.  [Mark] Antony said he would refer the matter to the Senate.  Octavian was vexed and said:

  2. ‘Refer it; [but] I will place the throne there as long as the decree is in force.’ 

  3. [Mark] Antony became angry and prohibited it” (‘Civil Wars’, 3: 28: 105).

The games had certainly taken place by the 22nd May, when Cicero reacted to Atticus’ report of the incident:

  1. The Tribunes have done well about Caesar’s chair [i.e. about this incident, of which Atticus had recently informed him].  Good for the fourteen rows [where the knights, sat] too ”, (‘Letters to Atticus’, 380: 3, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 1999, at p. 229).

Thus Atticus had heard from Atticus Cicero that Octavian had been thwarted by the the tribunes.  (Perhaps this is why one of their number, Tiberius Cannutius, was among those executed by Octavian’s army after the Siege of Perusia in 40 BC, as discussed in my page on the Perusine War). 

Whatever the precise details, it seems likely that the decision to ignore the decree relating to Caesar’s golden throne had ultimately been Mark Antony’s.  The identity of the games in question is unclear:

  1. According to William Butler (referenced below, at p. 895), Lucius Critonius was one of the aedilis Ceriales, which suggests that the games in question were the ludi Ceriales.  However, these games were celebrated in early April, so those of 44 BC would have taken place before Octavian arrived in Rome. 

  2. Karl Galinsky (referenced below, at p. 184) asserted that Critonius was responsible for the ludi Floriales (28th April - 3rd May 44 BC)

  3. Geoffrey Sumi (referenced below, 2005, at p. 118) suggested that the ludi Ceriales had been delayed into May because of the recent riots in the Forum.

The last of these is perhaps the most likely, since (as we have seen) Octavian arrived in Rome shortly before 18th May.

Revival of the Cult Site in the Forum(late May)

On late May, M. Brutus and C. Cassius wrote a letter to Mark Antony (that was fortunately preserved by Cicero) to ask his advice on the wisdom of their returning to Rome, since they had wind that there were moves afoot to revive Caesar’s cult:

  1. “Therefore we request you to inform us of your disposition towards us, whether you think we shall be safe among such a multitude of veteran soldiers, who are actually thinking, so we hear, of replacing the altar. It is not easy to believe that anyone who desires our security and dignity can desire and approve of that”, (‘Letters to Friends’, 329: 2, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002a, at p. 109).

From this, we can reasonably assume that Caesar’s veterans were planning a replacement for the altar in the Forum that had been destroyed by Dolabella.  They would presumably have enjoyed Octavian’s support. 

Geoffrey Sumi (referenced below, 2011, at p. 171) reasonably suggested that this replacement monument, now protected from demolition by the veterans, was probably the one that Suetonius described as follow:

  1. “[After Caesar’s funeral, the mob] set up in the Forum a solid column of Numidian marble, almost 20 feet high, and inscribed upon it ‘PARENTI PATRIAE’ (To the father of his country).  At the foot of this they continued for a long time to sacrifice, to make vows, and to settle some of their disputes by an oath in the name of Caesar”  (‘Life of Julius Caesar’, 85).

Caesar’s Birthday (12th July) and the Ludi Apollinares (7th-13th July)

Caesar’s Birthday and the Re-naming of the Month of Quintilis

According to Cassius Dio, in 42 BC (see below), the triumvirs:

  1. “... compelled everybody to celebrate [Caesar’s] birthday by wearing laurel and  ... decreed that those who neglected these observances should be accursed in the sight of Jupiter and of Caesar himself ... Now it happened that the ludi Apollinares [see below] fell on the same day, and they therefore voted that his birthday feast should be celebrated on the previous day, on the ground that there was an oracle of the Sibyl which forbade the holding of a festival on Apollo's day to any god except Apollo”, (‘Roman History’, 47: 18: 6). 

Although the ludi Apollinares took place on consecutive days (7th-13th July) by the late Republic, they had been instituted in 208 BC as a permanent festival held on 13th July.  It is therefore likely that Cassius Dio thought that Caesar had been born on 13th April but that his official birthday was celebrated on 12th July following the decree of 42 BC.  However, as Ernst Badian (referenced below, at p. 16) pointed out, with the exception of Cassius Dio (who cited no sources):

  1. “All our other sources agree on the date [of 12th July for Caesar’s birthday] ..., down to John the Lydian in the 6th century AD.”

Macrobius, who is our most definitive source in this context, recorded that Mark Antony had enacted the renaming of Quintilus as consul, presumably soon after Caesar’s murder.  He explained that:

  1. “.. in Romulus’ system, where March came first [in the calendar], [Iulius] was called Quintilis from its numerical position [as the fifth month], and it still kept that name even after Numa inserted January and February at the start of the year (even though it then appeared as the seventh rather than the fifth month).  Later on, under a law carried by Mark Antony, the son of Marcus, as consul, it was renamed Iulius in honour of Julius Caesar, because he was born a. d. quartum Idus Quintiles (on the 4th day before the Ides of Quintilis - 12th July)”, (‘Saturnalia’, translated by Robert Kaster, referenced below, at p. 153).

Cassius Dio recorded that, in early 44 BC (before Caesar’s murder), the Senate had:

  1. “... voted to celebrate [Caesar’s] birthday by public sacrifice ...”, (‘Roman History’, 44: 4: 4).

Cicero, who heard from Atticus that the new name was to be retained in the official announcement of the ludi Apollinares (see below), expressed his outrage in his reply of :

  1. “Is it really so? ‘Nonis Iuliis’ [7th July]?  The gods confound them!  But one might rage all day long.  What could be a greater insult to Brutus than ‘July’ ?”, (‘Letters to Atticus’, 409:1, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 1999, at p. 307).

Thus, although nothing in our surviving sources indicates that public sacrifices were actually made on Caesar’s birthday before 42 BC (see below), it is clear that Mark Antony had enacted the law in which Quintilis became Iulius at sometime between 15th March and 7th July 44 BC.

Ludi Apollinares (7th-13th July)

Text

Ludi Veneris Genitricis (July 44 BC) 

As we have seen, Cicero had written to Atticus on 18th May about what had probably been Octavian’s first public speech made in Rome:

  1. “...concerning Octavian’s speech, I feel the same as you do: the preparations for his games and [the fact that he has secured the services of] Matius and Postumus as his procuratores (agents) are displeasing ... ”, (‘Letters to Atticus’, 379: 3, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 1999, at p. 225).

Both Suetonius and Cassius Dio believed that  these games had been planned before Caesar’s death:

  1. Suetonius:

  2. “Furthermore, since those who had been appointed to celebrate the ludos autem victoriae Cesaris [games in honour of Caesar's victory] did not dare to do so [in 44 BC, Octavian] gave them himself” (‘Life of Augustus’, 10).

  3. Cassius Dio:

  4. “After [Octavian’s speech of May 44 BC] came the games appointed in honour of the completion of the temple of Venus [Genetrix], which some, while Caesar was still alive, had promised to celebrate, but which they were now holding in slight regard ... ; so, to win the favour of the populace, [Octavian] provided for them at his private expense, on the grounds that they concerned him because of his family”, (Roman History’, 45: 6: 4).

According to Pliny the Elder (see below), these undefined people whom Caesar had been appointed to celebrate the games in fact belonged to a college that he had established for the purpose, to which Octavian actually belonged.  John Ramsey and Arthur Lewis Licht (referenced below, at p. 50) suggested that the dereliction of duty attributed to the other members of the college in the quotes above:

  1. “... sound like pretexts for Octavian to take matters into his own hands.”

After all (as discussed further below), Octavian held the games in July, well in advance of the ‘normal’ date of 26th September.

There is no suggestion in the surviving sources that Mark Antony tried to block the games.  However, this was the second of the two occasions on which he prevented Octavian from exhibiting Caesar’s golden throne and crown: Appian, who recorded that Mark Antony had already prohibited the lawful exhibition these divine attributes earlier in the year (as discussed above), now recorded that he:

  1. “... prohibited this still more unreasonably in the next games, [which were] given by Octavian himself, and which had been instituted by his father in honour of Venus Genetrix when he had dedicated a temple to her in a forum, together with that forum itself”, (‘Civil Wars’, 3: 28: 107).

Cassius Dio gave a similar account relating of this second occasion:

  1. “At this time, out of fear of [Mark] Antony, [Octavian] did not bring into the theatre either Caesar's gilded chair or his crown set with precious stones, as had been permitted by decree” (‘Roman History, 45: 6:4).

Date and Nature of the Games 

Caesar had inaugurated the ludi Veneris Genitricis on 26 September 46 BC. 


John Ramsey and Arthur Lewis Licht (referenced below, at p. 43) argued that he had almost certainly celebrated these games for the second time shortly after his victory in Spain of 45 BC:

  1. “Caesar’s [Spanish] triumph [of 45 BC] will have taken place ... precisely in the period during which  the games to Venus [Genetrix] had been celebrated in 46 BC, ... [which] presumably began on 26th September and ran at least through to the end of the month and probably into October.” 

They also   observed (at p. 42) that:

  1. “ ... this double connection with triumphal returns of Caesar (in 46 and again in 45 BC) ... most probably explains why the festival was transformed into [the ludi Victoria Caesaris, which were [subsequently] celebrated on 20-30 July] under the empire.”



I think that it probably also explains why Matius (in his letter to Cicero) and Suetonius, both quoted above, referred to Octavian’s games as “games in honour of Caesar's victory”.


As John Ramsey and Arthur Lewis Licht (referenced below, at p. 41) pointed out:

  1. “The bulk of our sources [which they reproduced in Appendix I, pp. 157-77] would lead us to believe that the games were still being called ludi Veneris Genitricis [when Octavian held them] in 44 BC.”

This did not preclude their being additionally funerary games: as set out in the page on Caesar’s Divine Honours, the inaugural games of 46 BC had included funerary games for Caesar’s daughter, Julia.  Matius stated in his letter to Cicero that Octavian’s games of 44 BC were funerary games for Caesar.  So too did Servius, in his commentary on this passage from Virgil, in which the poet described Octavian at the Battle of Actium, when:

  1. “... his father’s star adorned the crest [of his helmet]” (‘Aenid’, (8.681);

Servius noted that this star/comet had appeared:

  1. “... dum sacrificaretur Veneri Genetrici et ludi funebres Caesari exhiberentur” (‘Vergilii Aeneidos Commentarius’, 8, 681)

  2. “... while [Octavian] was sacrificing to Venus Genetrix and holding funerary games for Caesar” (my translation).

However, as noted above, it is clear that Octavian announced his intention to hold these games in May 44 BC, and that they had certainly been held before Matius’ letter to Cicero in the following August.  The date might be inferred from the fact that the ludi Victoria Caesaris were subsequently celebrated on 20-30 July: John Ramsey and Arthur Lewis Licht (referenced below, at p. 41) argued that:

  1. “... in 44 BC, conditions were ripe for holding in July the games that were to be the forerunner of the imperial ludi Victoria Caesaris”;

but that, despite the change of date, the name of the games initially remained unchanged.  Indeed, as they noted at p. 56, Cassius Dio recorded that:

  1. “... the consuls [of 34 BC] celebrated the festival held in honour of Venus Genetrix” (‘Roman History, 49:42:1).

Clearly, these games subsequently became the ludi Victoria Caesaris.

Octavian had a number of reasons for wishing to hold funerary games for his father, not the least of which was probably his desire to demonstrate filial piety and to draw attention to the fact that Mark Antony was still blocking the formalisation his posthumous adoption by Caesar.  July was an excellent month for his purposes: it was the month of Caesar’s  birth and had been renamed in his honour: and 20th July was exactly four months after Caesar’s funeral.  Unfortunately, as Matius had pointed out (above), funerary games were a matter of private obligation with no constitutional significance.  However, as John Ramsey and Arthur Lewis Licht (referenced below, at p. 52 ) pointed out:

  1. “If [Octavian] could not openly advertise Caesar’s divinity [by, for example, securing the enactment of the decree relating to the exhibition of his golden throne and crown in the theatre], he could at least indirectly convey his message by using the  ludi Veneris Genitricis to lend an aura of divine majesty to Caesar’s funeral games. The close connection between Venus [Genetrix] and he most famous descendant [Caesar] had recently been demonstrated during [his] funeral, when [as noted in the main page on Octavian] his body had been laid out in a gilded replica of [her temple] that was placed on the rostra ”. 

By advancing the date of these public games to 20th July, just a week after Brutus’ ludi Apollinares (see the main page on Octavian), Octavian was able to secure a major boost to Caesar’s cult. 

The fortuitous appearance of the comet during the games provided the icing on the cake.  As John Ramsay (referenced below, 2001, at p. 255) pointed out, our main sources on its effect on the public - i.e not only Pliny the Elder but also Suetonius and Cassius Dio - probably all relied on Octavian’s memoirs, which were hardly unbiased.  Nevertheless, Adrian Goldsworthy (referenced below, at p. 99), for example, judged that: 

  1. “The story caught on and ... in many ways it built on the semi-divine honours awarded to [Caesar] during his lifetime and the altar to him [that had been] set up [in the Forum after his funeral] but later knocked down on the consuls’ orders.”

Perhaps the best evidence for this is the fact that (as we shall see) Mark Antony now began to relax to an extent his earlier opposition to the establishment of Caesar’s cult.

As noted above, Cicero wrote to Atticus on 18th May 44 BC, expressing dismay that Matius and Postumus were involved in the organisation of these games, which Octavian had recently announced.  In late 44 BC, after the event, Matius wrote to Cicero justifying his actions:

  1. “[My critics complain that] I superintended the ludos quos Caesaris victoriae [games in honour of Caesar's victory] that were  given by [Octavian].  That is a matter of private obligation with no constitutional significance.  [It was merely] a service that I was bound to render to the memory of a dear friend even after his death, and I could not refuse  the request of a young man [Octavian] of very great promise and in the highest degree worthy of Caesar”, (‘Letters to Friends’, 349: 6, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002a, at p. 163).


Sidus Iulium (Julian Star)

Pliny the Elder’s account of these games is the most important of the surviving sources, not only because it is the earliest to describe them in any detail but also because (as noted, for example, by Tim Cornell, referenced below, volume II, p. 881) Pliny included what is probably a direct quotation from the lost memoirs of the late Emperor Augustus (i.e. of Octavian himself).  Pliny reported that:

  1. “Rome is the only place in the whole world where there is a temple dedicated to a comet; [Octavian] regarded this comet as auspicious to [himself] because it appeared during the games that he was celebrating in honour of Venus Genetrix, not long after the death of his father Caesar, as a member of the college that Caesar had founded.  He [Octavian] expressed his joy in these terms:

  2. ‘During the very time of these games of mine, a hairy star was seen for 7 days in the part of the heavens that is under the Great Bear.  It rose about the 11th hour of the day, was very bright, and was conspicuous in all parts of the earth.  The common people supposed the star to indicate that the soul of Caesar had been admitted among the immortal Gods; [and thus] the star was placed on the bust [of Caesar] that had been lately consecrated in the Forum’.

  3. This is what [Octavian] proclaimed in public but, in secret, he rejoiced at this auspicious omen, believing that it had been for himself and that he was born in it; and, to tell the truth, it really proved a salutary omen for the world at large” (Natural History’, 2: 23).

As noted above, these games became famous for the appearance of a comet, an event that Octavian/ Augustus apparently described in his memoirs:

  1. “During the very time of these games of mine, a hairy star was seen for 7 days, in the part of the heavens that is under the Great Bear.  It rose about the 11th hour of the day, was very bright, and was conspicuous in all parts of the earth.  The common people supposed the star to indicate that the soul of Caesar had been admitted among the immortal Gods; [and thus] the star was placed on the bust [of Caesar] that had been lately consecrated in the Forum” (reproduced by Pliny the Elder, ‘Natural History’, 2:23).

Other authors produced similar reports:

  1. Suetonius:

  2. “[Caesar] died in the 56th year of his age and was numbered among the gods, not only by a formal decree, but also in the conviction of the common people.  For at the first of the games which his heir [Octavian] gave in honour of his apotheosis, a comet shone for 7 successive days, rising about the 11th hour, and was believed to be the soul of Caesar, who had been taken to heaven; and this is why a star is set upon the crown of his head in his statue” (‘Life of Julius Caesar’, 88).

  3. Cassius Dio:

  4. “When, however, a certain star, which some called a comet, appeared in the north toward evening during [every day of the games], the majority ... ascribed it to Caesar, interpreting it to mean that he had become immortal and had been received into the number of the stars.  [Octavian] then took courage and set up a bronze statue of Caesar with a star above his head in the temple of Venus”  (‘Roman History, 45:7:1).

Caesar’s Cult in Late 44 BC

Mark Antony’s Honours for Caesar

Posthumous Honour for Caesar

Cassius Dio recorded that, after the public reaction to the appearance of the comet on 21st July (described above):

  1. “... at last, some of the other decrees that had been passed in honour of Caesar were put into effect.  Thus, ...  in the course of certain supplicationes (festivals of thanksgiving), [the Romans] sacrificed during one special day in memory of his name”, (‘Roman History’, 45: 7: 2).

Cassius Dio had already recorded that, in 45 BC (when Caesar was still alive) the Senate had decreed that:

  1. “... a special thanksgiving and sacrifices should be offered [in Caesar’s name] whenever any victory should occur, even if he had not been on the campaign or had any hand at all in the achievements”, (‘Roman History’, 43: 44: 5).

As John Ramsey (referenced below, 2008, at p. 110) pointed out, the posthumous honour for Caesar that Mark Antony put before the Senate on 1st September:

  1. “ ... did not concern a supplicatio of the traditional sort: rather, it provided for the permanent addition of an extra day in Caesar’s honour to all future supplicationes. ... it therefore marked a radical innovation, and contributed to the elevation of Caesar to the status of being a new Roman god.”

The reason is that, on this extra day, sacrifices of thanksgiving would be made  to Caesar’s departed spirit. 

Cicero had not attended this meeting, but the speech that he gave on the following day encapsulated what he would have said, had he done so.  His substantive remarks on this decree were as follows:

  1. “Or do you think, Members of the Senate, that I would have supported the decree that you passed against your will,

  2. that parentatio (a  sacrifice in honour of the dead) should be mixed up with supplicationes (public thanksgivings);

  3. that sacrilege incapable of expiation should be introduced into the commonwealth;

  4. that supplicationes be decreed to a dead man?

  5. I do not [care who the dead man is: let him be L. Brutus, who, according to tradition],  freed the commonwealth from monarchy and who, after almost 500 years,  has left descendants [in the form of D. and M. Brutus, two of Caesar’s murderers] to show similar courage and to achieve a similar deed.  Even so, I could not have been induced to associate any dead man with the worship of the immortal gods, so that a supplicatio should be made for him while, somewhere, a tomb exists at which offerings can be made [[in the proper way to his departed spirit]”, (‘Philippics’, 1: 13). 

In his commentary on this passage, John Ramsey (referenced below, 2008, at p. 113) explained that Cicero argued that honouring a dead mortal with a supplicatio (rather than honouring him in the normal way, at his tomb during the Parentalia) constituted a heinous sacrilege, and that:

  1. “... in providing for Caesar to be ... honoured [in supplicationes], even after his death, [the Senate allowed] the boundary between human and divine [to be] blurred.” 

Mark Antony’s Ambivalent Attitude to the Cult of Divus Julius

Cicero’s speech of 2nd September seriously soured his relations with Mark Antony.  Thus, Cicero wisely avoided attending a meeting of the Senate that Mark Antony convened on 19th September.  He did however compose a speech that was highly critical of Mark Antony: it was written as if it had been delivered on 19th September, and was probably published in late December.  (See John Ramsey, referenced below, 2008, at pp. 155-9 for the context.)  It contained a particular accusation against Mark Antony that is of relevance here: that, since Caesar’s death, he had been extremely selective in maintaining the honours that had been granted to Caesar in his lifetime, including some that had implied or actually acknowledged his divinity:

  1. “And are you [Mark Antony] diligent in doing honour to Caesar’s memory?  Do you love him even now that he is dead?  What greater honour had he obtained [while alive, at your urging] than that of having:

  2. -a pulvinar [a cushioned couch for the gods];

  3. -a simulacrum [an image, usually of a god];

  4. -a fastigium [a gable added to his official house that made it resemble a temple]; and

  5. -a flamen [priest]? 

  6. Thus, as Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus all have priests, so [too Mark Antony is now] the priest of divus Julius (the god Julius).  Why then do you delay?  Why are not you inaugurated?  Choose a day; select someone to inaugurate you; we are colleagues; no one will refuse.  O you detestable man, whether you are the priest of a tyrant or of a dead man!”, (‘Philippics’, 2: 110-1). 

The speech then turned to another example of Mark Antony’s dereliction:

  1. “I ask you then, [Mark Antony], whether you are ignorant of what day this is?  Are you ignorant that yesterday was the 4th day of the ludi Romani in the Circus, and that you yourself submitted a motion to the people that a 5th day should be added besides, in honour of Caesar?  Why are we not all clad in the praetexta [the appropriate attire]?  Why are we permitting the honour that was appointed for Caesar by your law to be neglected? 

  2. You had no objection to so holy a day being polluted by the addition of supplicationes [see above];

  3. yet you did not choose [that this holy day] should be similarly [polluted] by the addition of ceremonies connected with a pulvinar [sacred cushion - i.e. by a specific ritual that would have been held before the statue of Caesar on his sacred couch if the last day of the games been held].  

  4. Either take away religion in every case, or preserve it in every case”, (‘Philippics’, 2: 110-1).

Cicero then summed up what all this said about Mark Antony:

  1. “You will ask whether I approve of [either the living or the dead Caesar] having a sacred cushion, a temple and a priest?  I approve of none of those things.  But you, who are defending the acts of Caesar, what reason can you give for defending some [of his honours] and disregarding others?  Unless, indeed, you choose to admit that you measure everything by your own gain, and not by his dignity”, (‘Philippics’, 2:110-1).

Octavian’s Oath (November)

When Mark Antony erected a statue of Caesar in the Forum in October 44 BC, Cicero’s indignation reached new heights.  In a letter to Cassius, one of the assassins, he complained:

  1. “Your friend [Mark Antony] gets crazier every day.  To begin with, he has inscribed the statue that  he set up on the Rostra ‘Parenti optime merito’, so that you are now set down, not only as assassins, but as parricides to boot!”, (‘Letters to Friends’, 345: 1, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002a, at p. 145).   

This statue had presumably been Mark Antony’s response to the similarly inscribed statue on the pillar that now marked the place at the other end of the Forum where Caesar had been cremated.  Note, however, that Cicero did not express his objection to the statue itself, but rather to the inscription and its implication that Caesar’s murder had been parricide. 

As described in the main page on Octavian, while Mark Antony was away from Rome in November 44 BC, Octavian made clear his exasperation with Mark Antony at a public in the Forum.  Appian described it thus::

  1. “When Octavian arrived, he proceeded to the temple of Castor and Pollux, which his soldiers surrounded carrying concealed daggers.  Cannutius, [the tribune who had convened the meeting], addressed the people first, speaking against Mark Antony.  Afterwards Octavian also reminded them of his father [Caesar] and of what he [Octavian himself] had also suffered at the hands of Mark Antony ... He declared himself the obedient servant of his country in all things, and said that he was ready to confront Mark Antony in the present emergency” (‘Civil Wars’, 3:41).

Cicero provides us with further details of contents of Octavian’s speech:

  1. “Why, what a speech!  It has been sent to me.  He qualifies his oath by the words:

  2. ‘So may I [be permitted to] achieve the honours of my father’,

  3. and, at the same time, he held out his right hand in the direction of his [father’s] statue.  Heaven forfend that we should be saved by such a man!” (Letter to Atticus, 16:15; the phrase in italics is from the translation of Geoffrey Sumi, referenced below, 2005, p. 164).

Octavian’s immediate purpose in having raised his private army was now clear: he was determined to secure in full his legacy from Caesar and the enactment of Caesar’s divine honours, which had been his (i.e. Caesar’s) by decree and which did not fall away now that he was dead.  If Mark Antony would not co-operate, then Octavian would achieve his objectives by force.

What is less clear is what was meant by Octavian’s qualification of his oath:

  1. So may I [be permitted to] achieve the honours of my father.”

Michael Koortbojian (referenced below, at pp. 37-8) considered three possibilities:

  1. that Octavian swore by his hopes of emulating all of Caesar’s honours, including his divine honours;

  2. that he swore by his hopes that all the honours decreed for Caesar would be achieved (i.e. acted upon); or

  3. that he simply swore to emulate Caesar’s cursus honorum.

There is considerable room for discussion between their respective merits,  For example:

  1. Geoffrey Sumi (referenced below, 2005, at p. 161) put forward the first possibility,  adding (at p. 164) that:

  2. “The cautious language of his oath might have been intended to demonstrate that he was acting at the behest of the army: they would ‘permit’ him to achieve his father’s honours ...”.

  3. Michael Koortbojian himself:

  4. -rejected the first possibility on the grounds that Octavian’s audience would not have found it credible, for example, that Octavian would ever achieve Caesar’s divine honours; and

  5. -rejected the second, since:

  6. “Mark Antony had already succeeded in enacting many of these honours.”

  7. He thus favoured the third.  However, Geoffrey Sumi (referenced below, 2005, at p. 164) observed that this implied that:

  8. “... Octavian, by his oath, could express his hopes of becoming quaestor, aedile and consul, as Caesar had before him - perhaps not an overly ambitions statement.”

  9. It is indeed arguable thatCicero would not have chosen to quote this passage, had this been all that  it implied.

For what it is worth, I think that the second of these possibilities is the most likely, given that Octavian probably swore the oath while pointing to a statue of Caesar that stood near the altarthat had been rebuilt on the site of Caesar’s cremation (which would have been behind him as he spoke).  In other words, I think that Octavian swore to defeat Mark Antony in order to achieve the enactment in full of the decrees that prescribed Caesar’s cult, which Mark Antony was signally failing to do (as Cicero had pointed out in his second Philippic, quoted above).  If so, as we shall see below, once he became consul in 43 BC, Octavian redeemed his oath.




Honour for D. Junius Brutus (April 43 BC)

Cicero’s correspondent, M. Junius Brutus ( relative of Decimus Brutus) had participated in Caesar’s murder and, by the time of this correspondence, was living in self-imposed exile in Greece.  Cicero’s letter to him was his response to:

  1. “... a letter of yours in which, while paying me a number of compliments, you find one fault, namely that I am ... prodigal in voting honours”, (‘Letters to Brutus’, 23, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002b, at p. 273).

He started his defence by reminding Brutus of the objective that had guided his dealings with the Senate in the period following Caesar’s murder:

  1. “You will not have forgotten, Brutus, that, after Caesar’s death, ...  I said that you and your associates had left one thing undone ... : although you had removed  ... a great stain on the honour of the Roman people and won immortal glory for yourselves, [you had not removed] the apparatus of monarchy, [which had] passed to:

  2. [M. Aemilius Lepidus, the proconsul of Gallia Transalpina, who had welcomed Mark Antony to his province after Mutina]; and

  3. [Mark] Antony [himself];

  4. [the former] a weathercock and the other ... a blackguard”, (‘Letters to Brutus’, 23, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002b, at p. 275).

It seems that the honours to which Brutus had objected had been those given to Octavian, because Cicero countered that:

  1. “All I will say [in answer to your charge] is that this young man, Caesar [i.e., Octavian], thanks to whom ... we are still alive, drew his inspiration from my counsels.  I have given him no honours, Brutus, but what were due, none that were unnecessary.  ... ”, (‘Letters to Brutus’, 23, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002b, at p. 277).

This, of course, glosses over the undeserved honour that Cicero had secured for Octavian after the ‘victory’ at Forum Gallorum, which was presumably what Brutus had had in mind.   Having said that, Cicero admitted that he had proposed another honour for Octavian, even though he had refused to assist Decimus Brutus in his pursuit of Mark Antony and was still at Mutina, in command of what had been Pansa’s army:

  1. “I suspect that another proposal of mine is less to your liking ... : namely that Caesar should be granted leave to enter Rome in ovation.  For my part ... , I do not think that I have made a wiser proposal in the course of this war”, (‘Letters to Brutus’, 23, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002b, at p. 277-9).

It is clear from this that, as he wrote this letter, he expected that Decimus Brutus would eliminate Mark Antony and Lepidus in Gaul and once he had thus dismantled the apparatus of monarchy, that Octavian would return to Rome and reach an accommodation with him. 

We now come to the context in which Cicero placed the passage under discussion here, in which Cicero described his proposed additional honour for the triumphal Decimus Brutus in the euphoria that had followed the victory at Mutina.  He noted wistfully that:

  1. “... for some reason, it is easier to find good will [from the Senate] in the hour of danger than [to secure] gratitude [from them] in victory.  There came that most joyful day of the liberation of Decimus Brutus, which happened also to be his birthday.  I proposed that Brutus’ name should be entered in the fasti beside that day [21st April], following the precedent of our ancestors, who paid that compliment to a woman, Larentia, at whose altar in the Velabrum you pontifices offer sacrifice.  In trying to confer that honour on [Decimus] Brutus, I wished the fasti to contain a permanent record of a most welcome victory.  [However], on that day, I [found out] that gratitude has considerably fewer votes in the Senate than spite, [which explained why, in Cicero’s view, his proposal had been rejected]”, (‘Letters to Brutus’, 23, translated by David Shackleton Bailey, referenced below, 2002b, at p. 277).

In other words, Cicero answer to M. Brutus was that he had no regrets about the honours that he had proposed for Octavian, albeit that, had it been in his power, he would have awarded a far greater honours for Decimus Brutus. 

Unfortunately, this letter is our only surviving source for Cicero’s rejected proposal, and it is important to remember that it might not accurately reflect the case that Cicero actually made in the Senate.  In particular, I doubt that he actually claimed in the Senate that the case of Acca Larentia provided a precedent for his proposal, since it was clearly inaccurate:

  1. According to the accepted tradition at that time, Acca Larentia’s name had been added to the fasti on her dies mortalis in recognition of her valuable bequest to Romulus and/or the Roman people: thus, when the pontifices and other priests offered sacrifices at the public festival of the Larentalia, they did so to her departed spirit at an altar at her tomb.  The public nature of these sacrifices was an indeed an unprecedented honour, but they were otherwise comparable to the private sacrifices that were offered during the Parentalia to the departed spirits of family ancestors at family tombs.  (Modern scholars sometimes refer to Acca Larentia as a goddess, but no surviving source records her as such.)

  2. Cicero’s proposal was that the name of Decimus  Brutus should be added to the fasti on his dies natalis, in recognition of the fact that he destroyed the apparatus of monarchy and saved the Republic by:

  3. planning and participating in the murder of Caesar; and then

  4. defeating Mark Antony (on a day that had happened to be his birthday);

  5. public priests should make annual sacrifices in his honour, even though he was still very much alive.

So, having disposed of this red herring, we might consider what Cicero had actually proposed.

  1. He (of all people) is unlikely to have proposed to the Senate that sacrifices should be offered to Decimus Brutus as a living god.

  2. Thus, he had presumably proposed that  sacrifices should be offered to the gods at a public festival held on the dies natalis of Decimus Brutus, in thanksgiving for his birth. 

That would still have been an entirely unprecedented honour for a living person: even the name of Caesar did not appear in the fasti until Octavius dedicated the Temple of Divus Julius on 18th August 29 BC (see, for example, the fasti Antiates for the day).  As we have seen, the Senate had already awarded Decimus Brutus a triumph over a fellow-Roman: the unprecedented addition of his name in the fasti during his lifetime was apparently a bridge too far.

We can now focus in on what this passage from Cicero’s letter actually tells us about the Acca Larentia and the Larentalia in the late Republic: 

  1. It is clear that, at the Larentalia, public priests (including the pontifices) still sacrificed to the departed spirit of Acca Larentia at an altar in the Velabrum (presumably at her putative tomb, although Cicero did not say so).

  2. Furthermore, since Cicero had to rely on her for the precedent that he offered to M. Brutus (and perhaps to the Senate), she was presumably the only mortal recorded in the fasti at that time.

Consecration of Divus Julius (42 BC ?)


                                                     Divus Julius (RRC 526/2)           Divi Filius (Octavian, RRC 526/3)

       Obverses of two coins issued by Q. Voconius Vitulus in 40 BC

The momentous events of 43 BC are set out in the main page on Octavian.  To summarise: 

  1. On 19th August, Octavian became the youngest consul in the history of the Republic, with his uncle, Quintus Pedius, as his colleague.  Among his first acts, Octavian:

  2. reversed the amnesty that had been decreed for Caesar’s assassins, who were duly tried in absentia and pronounced guilty; 

  3. used public funds to pay the bonuses owed to his soldiers and the outstanding bequests to the Romans that Caesar had made in his will; and

  4. put in motion the formal process for the ratification of his own posthumous adoption by Caesar. 

  5. In October, he came to terms with Mark Antony and Lepidus at Bononia, and the three men agreed to share power in a legally constituted triumvirate.  They returned to Rome, where the triumvirate was duly constituted on 27th November, with a mandate to rule for five years.  They also unleashed a vicious programmes of proscription against  their enemies.

According to Cassius Dio:

  1. “While [the triumvirs] were behaving in this manner [i.e. engaged in proscriptions], they were also magnifying the former Caesar to the utmost degree, ... [and] did everything that tended to his honour, in expectation of some day being themselves deemed worthy of like honours.  For this reason, they exalted him, not only by the honours that had already been voted him, but also by others which they now added. Thus, on the first day of [42 BC], they:

  2. -took an oath and made all the rest swear that they would consider all his acts binding ...;

  3. -... laid the foundation of a shrine to him, as hero, [i.e of the Temple of Divus Julius] in the Forum, on the spot where his body had been burned;

  4. -caused an image of him, together with an image, that of Venus, to be carried in the procession at the Circensian games; 

  5. -[decreed that], whenever news came of a victory anywhere, ... the honour of supplicationes [should be due] to both the victor by himself and to Caesar, though dead ...;

  6. -... compelled everybody to celebrate his birthday ...;

  7. -... made the day on which he had been murdered ... an unlucky day, closed the room in which he had been murdered and later transformed it into a privy;

  8. -built the Curia Julia, named after him ...;

  9. -... forbade any likeness of him to be carried at the funerals of his relatives, just as if he were in very truth a god ...; and

  10. -enacted that no one who took refuge in his shrine to secure immunity should be driven or dragged away from there, a distinction that had never been granted even to any of the gods since the days of Romulus”, (‘Roman History’, 47: 18-19).

Appian gave a shorter account of these events, in which he seemed to equate the decree that allowed the triumvirs to lay the foundation stone of the shrine mentioned by Cassius Dio above with the later practice of formal consecration and deification of ‘good’ emperors:

  1. “[On the place in the Forum where Caesar’s bier had been burned and where the mob had erected an altar] now stands the temple of Caesar himself, as he was deemed worthy of divine honours; for Octavian, his son by adoption, who took the name of Caesar, ... decreed divine honours to his father.  From this example the Romans now pay like honours to each emperor at his death if he has not reigned in a tyrannical manner or made himself odious, although at first they could not bear to call them kings even while alive.” (‘Civil Wars’, 2:148).

The formal consecration of Caesar by the Senate is evidenced by the fortunate survival of an inscription (CIL IX 2628) from Aesernia (modern Isernia, some 180 km east of Rome):

Genio deivi Iuli / parentis patriae

quem senatus / populusque / Romanus

in / deorum numerum / rettulit

To the Genius of divus Julius, parent of his country

whom the Senate and the People of Rome

have restored to the number of the gods

The date of this inscription is unknown, but the decree to which it relates was almost certainly passed at some time after Cicero’s death 7th December on 7th December 43 BC, since he would surely have referred to it in his correspondence.  Most scholars assume that it was passed on 1st January 42 BC, paving the way for the laying of the foundation stone of the Aedes Divi Julii.  Suetonius seems to have drawn on a similar inscription when he reported that:

  1. “[Caesar] died in the 56th year of his age and was numbered among the gods, not only by a formal decree, but also in the conviction of the common people.  For at the first of the games which his heir [Octavian] gave in honour of his apotheosis, a comet shone for 7 successive days, rising about the 11th hour, and was believed to be the soul of Caesar, who had been taken to heaven; and this is why a star is set upon the crown of his head in his statue” (‘Life of Julius Caesar’, 88).

The ‘formal decree’ presumably ratified the desire of the common people after the omen at Caesar’s funerary games.

Development of the Cult (42 - 40 BC)

Lex Rufrena (42 BC ?)

An inscribed statue base (CIL VI 0872) from Ocriculum, which is now in the Sala Rotunda, Musei Vaticani, reads

Divo Iulio iussu / populi Romani/ statutum est lege/ Rufrena

It records that the base supported a statue of divus Julius that had been erected by order of the Roman people in accordance with the Lex Rufrena.  The existence of  two other similar inscriptions:

  1. CIL I 2972, from Minturnae in Latium et Campania (now in the lapidarium of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Minturno); and

  2. CIL IX 5136, from Interamna Praetuttiorum in Picenum (now in the church of San Pietro at Campli, near Teramoo, in the Abruzzo region);

suggests that this law required such cult statues to be erected across Italy.  Stefan Weinstock (referenced below, at p.397, note 5) noted that Rufrenus, whom Cicero mentioned as serving under Lepidus in 43 BC, could have issued this law as Tribune of the Plebs (a post that he might have held in 42 BC), but this is far from certain.

Inauguration of Mark Antony as Flamen Divi Julius (40 BC)

According to Plutarch, after Octavian and Mark Antony made peace at Brundisium in 40 BC (cemented by Mark Antony’s marriage to Octavia, Octavian’s sister):

  1. “... Antony..., as a favour to [Octavian], was appointed to the priesthood of [divus Julius]: [Mark Antony and Octavian] transacted everything else also of the most important political nature ... in a friendly spirit” (‘Life of Mark Antony’, 33:1).



  1. Caesar’s birthday:

  2. 12th July (fasti Amiternini, fasti Antiates Ministrorum);

  3. three religious festivals associated with Caesar:

  4. 26th September, dies natalis of the Temple of Venus Genetrix, dedicated in 46 BC:

  5. 20th-30th July, ludi Victoriae Caesaris (fasti Maffeiani, fasti Amiternini);

  6. 18th August, dies natalis of the Temple of Divus Julius, dedicated in 29 BC (fasti Allifani: fasti Amiterni, fasti Antiates Ministrorum);

  7. two of his victories victories over Pompey and his armies:

  8. 2nd August, for his victory over Pompey’s army at Ilerda in 49 BC (fasti Maffeiani);

  9. 9th August, for his victory over Pompey at Pharsalus in 48 BC (fasti Fratrum Arvalium, where ‘Pharsalus, is misspelt as ‘Pharnaces’), fasti Maffeiani, fasti Allifani, fasti Amiternini, fasti Antiates Ministrorum);

  10. three of the four victories for which he triumphed in 46 BC:

  11. 27th March, for his victory over Ptolemy XIII at Alexandria in 47 BC (fasti Maffeiani);

  12. 2nd August, for his victory over Pharnaces at Zela in Pontus in 47 BC (fasti Fratrum Arvalium, fasti Vallenses, fasti Amiternini, fasti Antiates Ministrorum);

  13. 6th April, for his victory over Juba and the Pompeians  at Thapsus in 46 BC (fasti Praenestini); and

  14. the victory for which he triumphed in 45 BC:

  15. 17th March, for his victory over victory Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey’s son) at Munda in 45 BC (fasti Caeretani, fasti Farnesiani).



Read more:

B. Strauss, “The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination”, (2015) New York

A. Goldsworthy, “Augustus: First Emperor of Rome”, (2014) New Haven and London

J. Neel, “Legendary Rivals: Collegiality and Ambition in the Tales of Early Rome”, (2014) Leiden; Boston

S. Cole, “Cicero and the Rise of Deification at Rome”, (2013) Cambridge

T. J. Cornell, “The Fragments of the Roman Historians” (2013) Oxford

M. Koortbojian, “The Divinisation of Caesar and Augustus: Precedents, Consequences, Implications”, (2013) New York

R. A. Kaster (translator), “Macrobius. Saturnalia, Volume I: Books 1-2”, (2011) Cambridge MA

D. A. Phillips, "The Temple of Divus Iulus and the Restoration of Legislative Assemblies under Augustus", Phoenix, 65: 3-4 (2011), 371-92

G. Sumi, “Topography and Ideology: Caesar's Monument and the Aedes Divi Iulii in Augustan Rome”, Classical Quarterly, 61.1 (2011) 205–19

E. Badian, “From the Iulii to Caesar”, in

  1. M. Griffin (ed.), “A Companion to Julius Caesar”, (2009) Chichester and Malden, MA, at pp. 11-22

D, Wardle, “Caesar and Religion”, in:

  1. M. Griffin (Ed.), “Companion to Julius Caesar’ (2009) Chichester and Malden, MA, at pp. 100-11

J. Ramsey, “Cicero: Philippics I-II”, (2008) Cambridge

K. Galinsky, The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus”, (2005) New York

G. Sumi, “Ceremony and Power: Performing Politics in Rome between Republic and Empire”, (2005) Michigan

D. R. Shackleton Bailey (translator), “Cicero: Letters to Friends, Volume III: Letters 281-435”, (2002a) Cambridge MA

D. R. Shackleton Bailey (translator), “Cicero: Letters to Quintus and Brutus; Letter Fragments;  Letter to Octavian.; Invectives; Handbook of Electioneering”, (2002b) Cambridge MA

J. Ramsey, “Did Mark Antony Contemplate an Alliance with His Political Enemies in July 44 BC ?”, Classical Philology, 96:3 (2001) 253-68

D. R. Shackleton Bailey (translator), “Cicero: Letters to Atticus, Volume IV”, (1999) Cambridge MA

J. Ramsey and A. L. Licht, “The Comet of 44 B.C. and Caesar's Funeral Games”, (1997) Atlanta, Georgia

R. Weigel, “Lepidus: The Tarnished Triumvir”, (1992) London and New York

D. Fishwick, ‘‘The Name of the Demigod,’’ Historia, 24 (1975) 624–8

A. Alföldi , “La Divinisation de César dans la Politique d'Antoine et d'Octavien entre 44 et 40 avant JC”, Revue Numismatique, 15 (1973) 99-128

S. Weinstock, “Divus Julius”, (1971) Oxford

W. Butler, “Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology”, (1844) London 


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