The Roman Forum, Rome, Italy
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A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum…. Beware the Ides of March
We're at the Roman Forum for the Ides of March, a date made famous as the time of Julius Caesar's assassination. According to the ancient historian Plutarch, Caesar had been warned by a seer that his life would be in danger no later than the Ides of March, something that William Shakespeare dramatizes in his famous tragedy of Caesar’s life and assassination. While historical fact and fiction can diverge, we do know that before March 15, 44 BCE was over, a group of senators had intercepted Caesar here in the Forum as Caesar was on his way to the Senate House. They stabbed him 23 times, killing him. Afterward, Rome descended into civil war, ending the Roman Republic, and leading to the rise of the Roman Empire.
The Forum was a city square in which Rome's commercial, political, and religious activity took place, along with the occasional assassination. It was a site of ceremonies and celebrations. It was where Mark Antony's famed funeral oration for Caesar was given, and where Caesar's body was burned before the public. Today the area is a popular tourist attraction, drawing more than 4.5 million visitors in an average year.