About Temple of Caesar
The Temple of Caesar (Tempio del Divo Giuli), the remains of which can be seen in the Roman Forum, was dedicated to the Roman Dictator Julius Caesar (100BC – 44BC).
Caesar, who was murdered by the senators Cassius, Brutus, and their supporters on 15 March 44BC, was cremated. Following his death, he was deified and the Temple of Caesar was constructed on the site of his cremation to house his cult. It was completed in 29BC.
All that remains of the Temple of Caesar today is its altar.
History of the Temple of Caesar
The temple was begun by emperor Augustus after Julius Caesar was posthumously deified by the senate. Augustus dedicated the temple to Caesar, his adoptive father, in 29 BC, after the Battle of Actium.
The Temple was built on the site of Caesar’s cremation and where Caesar’s testament was read aloud at the funeral by Marc Antony.
Caesar was the first resident of Rome to be deified, and the Temple of Caesar was the only temple to be dedicated to the cult of a comet. The comet appeared some time after Caesar’s murder and was considered to be his soul, and symbolised the ‘new birth’ of Augustus as Roman ruler and Emperor.
The plan of the temple is unfortunately missing from the Imperial Forma Urbis. The temple was likely an example of a pycnostyle front porch, with six closely spaced columns on the front. Inside there would have been a rostra – a ram on the front of a boat – from the Battle of Actium, which was attached to the podium and would have been prominent during civil and official speeches made by orators.
Most of the temple remained intact until the late 15th century, at which point its marble and stones were reused to construct new churches and palaces.
Temple of Caesar Today
Today, only part of the cement core of the platform from which speeches would be made has been preserved. The same platform is treated as Julius Caesar’s grave, and is the only place in the Roman Forum where fresh flowers are placed every day. Indeed, it is a popular pilgrimage site.
The Temple of Caesar stands on the east side of the main square of the Roman Forum, between the Regia, Temple of Castor and Pollux, and the Basilica Aemilia. As a result visitors can spend the day wandering between and enjoying the different sites that the forum has to offer.
Getting to the Temple of Caesar
The Temple of Caesar is reachable in around 20 minutes by foot from Rome’s centre, via Via Torino and Via Cavour. By car, it takes around 6 minutes, though parking near the Forum might prove difficult. There’s also a regular schedule of public transport, with the 40, 60, 64, 70, and 170 buses departing from Nazionale/Torino every 2 minutes, and taking around 10 minutes to reach the Forum.