Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yes We Can! salute to Caesar on the Ides

When I was in Rome on the Ides of March this year and went to pay my respects to Caesar's statue that stands along the Via Foro Imperiali, my friend and I saw a huge wreath at the foot of the bronze sculpture of him. This must have been the one referred to in this article. It's too bad we had not been there just a little sooner! As it was, we got to witness a group of American college students dressed in make-shift togas and adorned with wreaths made from plants probably pilfered from a nearby hotel or park. They sang bawdy songs that I'm sure Caesar's tenth legion would have been proud of then gave their somewhat altered rendition of the death scene from Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar" complete with shouts of "Yes We Can!"

"Recently, residents and tourists around the Coliseum watched in awe as a legion of Roman soldiers marched in unison down Rome’s Imperial Avenue.

“Caesar!” called out the commander in Latin as the legion came to a stop. “I, Centurion Lucius Valerius Seianus, have brought your favorite legion here to return the scepter of command to your hands!”

A horn blared as the Centurion placed a large laurel crown on the pedestal of the statue of Julius Caesar, the great Roman general who was stabbed to death in the Forum 2,053 years that day — March 15, or the "Ides of March." - More: Global

My friend, Patricia Hunter, author of "Immortal Caesar", always brings roses to lay on Caesar's funeral pyre and on his statue whenever she visits Rome. Here, she places this year's offering.

While we were at the statue of Caesar a Roman family approached the statue and the father of the family took out some sheets of paper, held his hand up in salute and began reading a memorial to Caesar while his son respectfully placed his hand on his father's shoulder and raised a salute as well. It was very touching even though I couldn't understand what he was saying. After fifteen minutes or so, though, I told Pat that the man must have decided to recite the entire Commentarii de Bello Gallico so we moved on!

[Photo credits: Top left: Image courtesy of Fulvio Paolocci]; Other photos by Mary Harrsch]

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