Roman Forum: Temple of Caesar
Julius Caesar had certainly made many enemies. In 44 BCE, the news of his assassination had a devastating effect on Rome. The authors of the assassination plot fled the city while in this exact spot at the center of the Forum, the people, profoundly moved, dedicated to him this final honor.
Here are the ruins of the Temple of the Divine Julius.
His body was cremated here and his adopted son Augustus ordered built first an altar then a temple to pay homage to his father, honoring him as a divinity.
“Deification” of a man in those days was absolutely unthinkable, but Caesar, who had many contacts with oriental kingdoms where the kings were considered and venerated as gods, knew that this was the ticket to absolute power.
He knew exactly what he was doing when he had a temple built in Egypt dedicated to himself, thus considered a god while he was still alive! In this way, he paved the road for his future deification. From that moment on, all emperors were made gods after their death and honored with temples.
Today, little remains of the Temple due to the removal of precious stone over the centuries that followed. You can still make out the semicircular shape and some of the altar. Thanks to the images on certain Roman coins, we know that it must have been quite imposing, with a high stairway and 6 marble columns on the facade.
Maybe even more astounding is that, after more than 2,000 years, there are still those who leave flowers and notes in Caesar’s honor.