Pontifex Maximus

Leap Year – February 29

One of the most well-known events of ancient Rome occurred on March 15, 44 BC – the assassination of Julius Caesar. But, what is the “Ides of March” of which Caesar was warned by a seer to beware? The Roman calendar didn’t mark dates numerically as we do today. Instead, they had three fixed points in each month and worked their way backwards from those three points. The three points were the Nones, Ides and Kalends. The original Roman calendar, the Calendar of Romulus, was said to have been made by the founder of Rome in 753 BC. This calendar consisted of 10 months of either 30 or 31 days, equaling 304 days, with the remainder of days in winter unassigned to any month and called the “intercalary month”. The ten months and their origins were Martius (Mars the god), Aprilis (Virilis the godd...

Temple of Divus Julius – August 18, 29 BC

After Julius Caesar was murdered by Brutus, Cassius, and the others on the Senate floor in 44 BC, the Senate deified Caesar in 42 BC. Octavian, Caesar’s adopted heir, began construction of the Temple of Divvs Ivlivs (Temple of the Divine Julius Caesar) after the deification. It was completed and dedicated in Rome on August 18, 29 BC, after the Battle of Actium, with the defeat by Octavian of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. The temple stands on the site of Caesar’s cremation. This is a category of  julius caesar coins. After some time after the death of Caesar, a comet appeared and was clearly visible for seven days. The comet appeared for the first time during the ritual games in front of the Temple of Venus Genetrix, the fabled ancestor of the Julii, of which Caesar was part. The Romans though...

The Year of Four Emperors – 69 AD

When January 1, 69 arrived, Servius Sulpicius Galba was on the throne of the Roman Empire, following the suicide of Nero in June the previous year. It was a tumultuous time in the empire, with civil war breaking out in several regions. Galba himself rose to the purple through the machinations of the Praetorian Guard prefect, Nymphidius Sabinus, after the failed attempt of Vindex to promote Galba, while he was governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to replace Nero. Galba marched into Rome with the Legion VII Galbiana, which would later be renamed VII Genima. Support was tenuous for Galba in the beginning as it was, even though he was confirmed by the Senate. Two of the legions in Gaul refused to support him and instead wanted the governor of their region, Aulus Vitellius Germanicus, proclaimed...

The Second Triumvirate – November 11, 43 BC

Octavian had been involved in conflicts with Marc Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, but in October of 43 BC, they decided to meet to unify their power. Officially ending the Roman Republican period, they met near modern-day Bologna on November 11, 43 BC, to draft the Lex Titia, creating the legally established Second Triumvirate when signed into law two weeks later. The term was for five years, at which time it would be reviewed and renewed. The Triumvirate, which held supreme authority, was officially titled Triumviri Rei Publicae Constituendae Consulari Potestate, translating to “Three Men for Confirming the Republic with Consular Power”. The titles are shown on coins as III VIR R P C and the name of the triumvir. Before the new alliance began, their parts of the Roman World were split...

Augustus Born – 23 September 63 BC

“Caesar Augustus” was born on September 23, 63 BC to Gaius Octavius and Atia. As was common in Roman culture, Augustus’s birth name was the same as his father and was called Octavian. He had an older sister named Octavia, who would later wed Gaius Claudius Marcellus, and after his death, Marcus Antonius (Marc Antony). This is a category of  Augustus coins. Octavian’s father died when he was only 4 years old as was raised by his mother. However, his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, helped Atia look after her only son and personally introduced him to society. Throughout his lifetime, Octavian acquired many titles, beginning with pontifex (Priest) and Praefectus Urbi (City Prefect of Rome) in 47 BC. Although never of excellent health, he lived a long and very active life. Octavian campaigned with ...

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