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ROME, Italy — This reenactment just got a lot more real.
For the first time, the assassination of Julius Caesar was reenacted Sunday — the Ides of March — at the exact location in central Rome where the general was stabbed to death by his senators in 44 B.C.
Members of the Roman Historical Group, which recreates traditions and scenes from Ancient Rome, dressed as senators, centurions and maids to play out the last minutes of Caesar’s life in the archeological site of Torre Argentina — once the curia of the Theater of Pompey, and today a cat sanctuary.
“We do this every year, but never before we were allowed to stage the assassination inside the ruins,” Giuseppe Tosti, who played Caesar, told NBC News. “We remember his death every year because his heritage still lives on. Rome wouldn’t have been as great without him.”
The 45-minute re-enactment of the dramatic events of 2,159 years ago was played in three parts. In the first, senators declared Caesar a public enemy of Rome after he appointed himself a perpetual dictator. In the second, Caesar was stabbed to death with twenty-three wounds, the last of which was inflicted by Brutus. Before dying, Caesar shouted his last, famous words in Latin: “Tu quoque, Brute, fili mi!” (‘You too Brutus, my son!’) In the third and final Scene, Brutus and Mark Anthony justified their actions to the people of Rome.
Dozens watched the show from street level, a few meters above the ruins, despite the cold and rain. A way to say “Hail Caesar!” to a man who changed the face of Rome, and the ancient world.