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Archive for May, 2010



Was Brutus really Caesarʼs son? Lacking any DNA proof, weʼll always be in doubt! But, we like to believe it and recount for you this story: Cleopatraʼs arrival in Rome was the cause of Cassiusʼ and Brutusʼ decision to lay the plot to murder Caesar.


Brutusʼ mother, everybody knows, was Servilia, a member of the patrician family of Servili.   While she was married to Marcus Giunius Brutus, tribune of the people,  Caesar was her young, tall and handsome lover.  We donʼt have any portraits of her, but she was certainly beautiful.  She was clever and, above all, so charming that her passionate love affair with Caesar lasted thirty years.


Servilia became pregnant by Caesar.  Unknown to Caesar, her son, Brutus, was also his.  As time went by, the young Brutus, did not hide his rebellious, oligarchic ideas.  Caesar was the unconquerable General.   Young Brutus was in danger.  As her son was in danger of being defeated and killed by his own father, Servilia revealed the truth to Caesar.  “Spare Brutusʼ life”, were her last words to him.  Caesar honored her wish and on the battle ground he ordered: “Donʼt touch Brutus!”


So the young man came safely back home to his mother who probably told him everything.  Caesar should have come back too, but the war wasn’t over.   His next move was to run after Pompeo to Egypt.  This is where he met Cleopatra.  He was 52 years old, she only 20.   He forgot about the civil war, Rome and…Servilia.


When Caesar finally came back to Rome, Servilia was ready to greet him. But she surely couldn’t compete with her young rival.   However, her daughter, Giunia Terza, was now the stunning beauty that she was at 16, her age when she first met Caesar.  So she offered her daughter to Caesar who was now returning with honors and substantial gifts.


While Caesar left again as a winner, in Rome the Senate’s resentment against him grew stronger, and Brutus firmly supported them.


In the meantime, while Servilia vicariously relived her love for Caesar through her young daughter, Cleopatra arrived in Rome.  She came with her little son, Tolomeus Caesar, fruit of her love affair with Caesar.


In the Senate, spirits got excited.  Cassius suspected that Caesar could take Cleopatra as his legitimate wife and recognize Tolomeus as his son.   This would mean the return of the kings, the end of the Republic… Certainly, this would be the end for Giunia Terza and, above all, Servilia.  This time, however, while she suspected the plot against him, Servilia didn’t side with Caesar, but let her son Brutus punish the betrayer.


Maria Elena Mastroiacovo

Roman Guide Center



centuries of neglect, part of the area beneath the Colosseum stage is being restaured and cleaned. Thanks to a couple of hoists faithfully reconstructed according to ancient models starting next July 2010 it will be open for viewing.


Visitors, who so far could only catch a glimpse of it, will be able to explore the underground of the famous “Blood and arena”. Gladiators used to reach it through a tunnel connecting it with their school, the “Ludus magnus”. In addition to the athletes for  gladiatoral combats, the subterranean maze of galleries, ramps and cells, were the waiting room for hunters and wild animals and condemned prisoners. Also housed  here were scene-shifters, operators, workmen ready to give life to the show with the striking noises of machines, screams, cries and roars.


One will shiver watching one of the most exciting and dreadful places of all times.
Now from the point of view of the service staff and the applauded gladiators, you will be looking up at the massive architecture of the Flavian Amphitheatre.

Also for the first time, you will see the advanced engineering of the Ancient Romans: the reconstructed underground machinery and the cruel ways of turning death into a show. This will be a thrilling experience from the very heart of the Circus.



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