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ROME — Spanish archaeologists claim to have identified the exact location where Roman general Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C.
Caesar was known to have been stabbed to death at Curia of Pompey based on depictions in ancient Roman texts, but material evidence of the claim had not been discovered until this week.
Archaeologists identified a concrete structure about 9 feet high and 6 feet wide that had been erected by order of Augustus, Caesar's adopted heir who took power upon his death. The structure was meant to commemorate Caesar's death and condemn his assassination. Itw as installed in the exact spot where he fell.
"We know for sure that the place where Julius Caesar presided over that session of the Senate, and where he fell stabbed, was closed with a rectangular structure organized under four walls delimiting a Roman concrete filling," Antonio Monterroso, a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council, explained in prepared remarks. "However, we don't know if this closure also involved that the building ceased to be totally accessible."
The Ides if March is the name of the 15th day of March of the Roman calendar.
The date is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. by a group of conspirators within the Roman senate.
Plutarch claimed a seer had foreseen that Caesar would be harmed no later than the Ides of March. It is said that Caesar again met the seer on his way to the Theater of Pompay and joked, "The Ides of March have come," to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone."
The meeting was made famous by William Shakespeare in the play "Julius Caesar," when a soothsayer warnes Caesar to "Beware the Ides of March."
The team is also looking for links between the archaeology of the assassination and how it has been portrayed in art and literature. Ancient texts say that years after the assassination, the Curia of Pompey was closed and turned into a memorial chapel for Caesar.
The Curia of Pompey was one of the first theaters of ancient Rome. Classical texts tell of Caesar, seated on a chair, being attacked while addressing a meeting of the senate by a group of senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus.
After Caesar's death, the constitutional government of the Roman Republic was dissolved and civil wars broke out throughout the region. Caesar's adopted heir, Augustus, rose to power at the helm of the new Roman Empire.
"It is very attractive, in a civic and citizen sense, that thousands of people today take the bus and the tram right next to the place where Julius Caesar was stabbed 2,056 years ago," Monterroso said.