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The Assassination of Julius Caesar by William Holmes Sullivan (1888) (Public Domain)

Ecce Homo - The Julius Caesar Murder Mystery

Julius Caesar’s assassination is the best-documented account of any murder committed in the ancient world, and the Ides of March, the day of his murder, is the only day in Roman antiquity that can be re-constructed on an almost hour-by-hour basis. There are seven surviving narrative accounts of varying length, all demonstrating a strong family resemblance. Most are peppered with details that are intended to heighten the sense of drama, including reports of multiple omens.  Some, too, manifest a high degree of literary artifice. How much of the reports are actually true?

As far as is known, there was no mechanism for any public inquiry into the crime. Witnesses were not deposed to provide evidence and the senate did not bring any charges against the perpetrators. In the absence of any official account of Caesar’s assassination, the first question to ask therefore, is: Who supplied the evidence upon which the surviving narratives are based?

Relief from a scribe's tomb found in Flavia Solva. (Public Domain) Background: Latin stone inscription. (Public Domain)

Relief from a scribe's tomb found in Flavia Solva. (Public Domain) Background: Latin stone inscription. (Public Domain)


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