Largo Argentina – The Spot Where Caesar Died, Now a Modern Day Cat Sanctuary

Largo di Torre Argentina, known simply as Largo Argentina, is an ancient square located in Rome, in the Campus Martius.  Most famous for the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC on the Ides of March, the site  features four Republican Roman temples of old and the Pompey Theatre.  The theatre was built for the famed Roman general, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. The square was named after Torre Argentina, based on the Latin name for Strasbourg, which was Argentoratum.

LargoArgentinaNGDownsized3716Over the Years

The four temples have been preserved over the years. Interestingly, the temples are categorized by the first four letters of the English alphabet. The temples face a street, which was built in 80 AD following a major fire in Rome.

Temple A is considered to have been built in the 3rd century BC, celebrating the victory over the Carthaginians in 241 B.C. Eventually, this temple was incorporated into a church, thereby preserving it as it appears today.

Temple B, with several columns remaining, was built in a circular shape in 101 BC, and came as a result of the Battle of Vercellae. The temple featured a statue of Aedes and was later excavated by archaeologists. The statue now resides in the Capitoline Museums.

The oldest temple built, Temple C, was built in the 4th or 3rd century BC. It was most likely devoted to Feronia,and was damaged during the fire in 80 AD, after which it was rebuilt.

Temple D, being the largest and mostly unexcavated, was built in the 2nd century BC, and has seen several restorations over the years.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Largo Argentina is that it was decided that the structure be demolished when Italy was unified. However, the excavation of holy statues meant the decision was overturned and the Largo Argentina has been preserved till now.

LargoArgentinaDownsizedNG1552Connection to Caesar’s Death

According to records, Julius Ceasar was infamously assassinated in the Curia, part of the Theatre of Pompey. Since that time, the spot has become popular due to its link with history and Julius Caesar’s death, who was one of the most influential Roman rulers.

The Cat Sanctuary

Modern day Largo Argentina features a sanctuary for cats, named the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. The homeless cats living in this space are not allowed to be killed. This is one reason why the place is teamed with cats of different breeds and sizes. Over the years, there have been requests to shut the place down due to health concerns but the place remains open as of today. In fact, it is said the services offered by the sanctuary have improved considerably.

Largo Argentina Today

You can get a guided tour of Largo Argentina and explore the different areas, with the four temples and the remains of Pompey’s Theatre. Without a doubt, Largo Argentina is one of the most historically significant places in Rome.

241c1bcNora Garibotti is a photographer with a particular interest in Roman antiquity & architecture.  More of Nora’s photography can be viewed on her website: Garibotti Photography.

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