Friday night, the Caliphs of Cairo found inspiration in ancient Rome for the tableau presented at the organization's annual bal masque, staged at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
It was on Feb. 15, in the year 44 B.C., that all of Rome turned out to celebrate the Feast of the Lupercalia and to honor their hero, Gaius Julius Caesar, the ball tableau recalled. The Lupercalia was the oldest of the Roman feasts, honoring the birth of Rome's founders, Romulus and Remus. As legend had it, these orphaned, infant sons of Aeneas were suckled by a wolf and raised in a cave at the foot of Palantine Hill. For hundreds of years, Romans paid tribute to them during the annual feast in celebration of the coming spring season.
According to the tableau tale, at three times during the festivities in 44 B.C., to the frenzied approval of the crowd, Marc Antony presented Caesar with a crown of golden leaf, but Caesar refused the glory. Fearing the loss of the Republic, a cabal of senators led by Cassius, Casca and Caesar's longtime friend, Marcus Junius Brutus, decided to dispatch Caesar just 30 days later, on the Ides of March. The assassins hoped to restore the Republic, but instead provoked a civil war and established a dynasty of Roman emperors.