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2,000-year-old bullet with Julius Caesar’s name unearthed, reveals new clues in Roman Civil war – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: A 2,000-year-old lead bullet, inscribed with what appears to be the name of Julius Caesar and an unidentified ancient city, was discovered in Spain in 2019, suggesting support for Caesar from local indigenous people during his civil war. This almond-shaped projectile, likely used in a slingshot, offers new insights into the Roman civil war over two millennia ago.
As a general, Caesar led the Roman army to victory in the Gallic Wars from 58 to 50 BC. His refusal to relinquish power led to a civil war spanning Europe, culminating in the decisive Battle of Munda in 45 BC in Andalusia, southern Spain. This battle saw the defeat of tens of thousands of Pompey’s troops, securing Caesar’s triumph.
The research team responsible for this significant find includes Javier Moralejo and Jesúss Robles from the Autonomous University of Madrid, along with Antonio Moreno from the Archaeological Museum of Cabra and José Antonio Morena from the Museo Histórico of Baena. Their findings have been published in the scientific journal Zephyrus of the University of Salamanca.
According to a report in Live Science, the bullet, known as a “glans inscripta,” measures 1.8 by 0.8 inches and weighs 2.5 ounces. It bears the inscriptions “IPSCA” and “CAES,” engraved on either side. The deformation on part of the bullet suggests it hit a hard object when fired. The study posits that “IPSCA” refers to an ancient town involved in the civil war, a town not recorded in early written sources about the Spanish battles. The finding near Montilla, believed to be the Roman Munda, indicates Ipsca’s likely involvement in the final battles of Caesar’s civil war.
Javier Moralejo Ordax, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of archaeology at the Autonomous University of Madrid, explained that inscribed glandes were common in the 1st century BC as they served as effective means for conveying short, specific messages. He suggested that the message on this bullet was likely political propaganda, indicating Ipsca’s support for Caesar over Pompey, the Live Science report said.
Another bullet found in Spain carries the inscription “CAE / ACIPE,” interpreted as a derogatory message from Pompey’s troops to Caesar. Robert Morstein-Marx, a Roman historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who was not involved in the study, finds the discovery significant, especially if the Caesar abbreviation is correct. He noted that Ipsca’s inhabitants publicly declared their loyalty to Caesar, opposing Pompey’s sons.
This discovery sheds light on the loyalties of indigenous cities during the civil war, with most supporting Pompey and his sons. Ipsca, however, appears to have sided with Caesar, possibly manufacturing ammunition and providing troops for his army. This alliance may have been pivotal in Caesar’s victory in Spain, influencing his rise to dictatorship, the fall of the Roman Republic, and the eventual establishment of the Roman Empire.





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