Authenticating the writings of Julius Caesar

Mike Kestemont, Justin Stover, Moshe Koppel, F.B. Karsdorp, Walter Daelemans

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
680 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we shed new light on the authenticity of the Corpus Caesarianum, a group of five commentaries describing the campaigns of Julius Caesar (100–44 BC), the founder of the Roman empire. While Caesar himself has authored at least part of these commentaries, the authorship of the rest of the texts remains a puzzle that has persisted for nineteen centuries. In particular, the role of Caesar’s general Aulus Hirtius, who has claimed a role in shaping the corpus, has remained in contention. Determining the authorship of documents is an increasingly important authentication problem in information and computer science, with valuable applications, ranging from the domain of art history to counter-terrorism research. We describe two state-of-the-art authorship verification systems and benchmark them on 6 present-day evaluation corpora, as well as a Latin benchmark dataset. Regarding Caesar’s writings, our analyses allow us to establish that Hirtius’s claims to part of the corpus must be considered legitimate. We thus demonstrate how computational methods constitute a valuable methodological complement to traditional, expert-based approaches to document authentication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-96
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2016


  • authorship verification
  • stylometry
  • Julius Caesar


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