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mail: Bill Thayer 
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Historic Sites Don't Look More Average Than This


[image ALT: A wide street, opening out into a large square, or more properly a sort of urban clearing. Three parked cars and a woman on a bicycle approaching us, but otherwise the piazza is empty. On the left, a newspaper kiosque with an octagonal metal roof and behind it the wrought-iron balcony of a building. On the right, not far away, a diminutive tempietto with a copper dome and lantern, no more than 7 meters tall. In the background, the square belfry of a church pokes up from a block of four-story buildings with arcades on the ground floor. It is a view of the Piazza Quaranta Martiri in Rimini, Italy.]

Even today, the Roman Forum remains the main square of Rimini.
It was in the Middle Ages, as well. Click on the tempietto for a slice of medieval life.
(We are facing SE: the Flaminia is the street in the distance with the white market van across it.)

The Ghost of Julius Caesar


[image ALT: A square stone pillar about 90 cm tall and 40 cm wide and deep, bearing nine short lines of a neatly carved inscription in monumental capitals. It is an inscription in Rimini commemorating Julius Caesar's departure from the Rubicon towards Rome in the Roman Civil War.]
Transcribed:
1



5

C · CAESAR
DICT ·
RVBICONE
SVPERATO
CIVILI BEL ·
COMMILIT ·
SVOS HIC
IN FORO AR ·
ADLOCVT
Expanded:
1



5

Gaius Caesar
dictator,
Rubicone
superato,
civili bello
commilitones
suos hic
in foro Ariminensi
adlocutus est.
Translated:

The dictator Gaius Caesar,
having crossed the Rubicon,
addressed his comrades-in‑arms in the civil war
here in the forum of Rimini.

So this weathered and fragmentary inscription commemorates Julius Caesar. In January of 49 B.C., having crossed the Rubicon not very far north of here (strangely, no one knows exactly where: not even which river is meant) and reached the first city within the borders of Italy, he stood somewhere around here and harangued his troops and, one must presume, much of the local population — then started his long march down the Flaminia to Rome and supreme power.

Now, an epigraphy test:

Can you tell, from the style of the lettering for example, exactly which century this is from? (Hint: it postdates Caesar.)

Try it: give it some thought first, resist the temptation to do the instant click‑here-for-the‑answer.


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Page updated: 17 Dec 00