Green Gaius Julius Caesar

The Berlin Green Caesar

Many archaeologists place this green schist bust of Gaius Julius Caesar from the first century BC, but the majority prefer the first century AD, in the early Imperial period. It is 41cm highs and posthumous portrait, the only known portraits made of Caesar from his lifetime are on coins.

It was probably made in Egypt, since the green slate it is made of derives from Upper Egypt. In addition, the engraving of the hair instead of carving it in the round derives from Late Egyptian art, as do the firm, heavy contours of the slate.

Antikensammlung Berlin, Altes Museum, Berlin.

Green Gaius Julius Caesar
Green Gaius Julius Caesar. Photograph by Carole Raddato

Ides of March

The Ides of March is the day on the Roman calendar marked as the idus, roughly the midpoint of the month of Martius, corresponding to the 15th of March on the Gregorian calendar. It was marked by several major religious observances.

The Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar on the Ides of March.
On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, “Well, the Ides of March are come”, implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied “Aye, they are come, but they are not gone.”

This meeting is famously dramatised in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” The Roman biographer Suetonius identifies the “seer” as a haruspex named Spurinna.