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 The TRUTH behind CAESAR's ASSASSINATION

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PostSubject: The TRUTH behind CAESAR's ASSASSINATION   Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:26 pm

The assassination of Julius Caesar occurred in Ancient Rome on the Ides of March in 44 BC when a group of senators self-proclaimed the Liberatores, led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and his brother-in-law Marcus Junius Brutus, stabbed Caesar to death hoping to restore the Roman Republic. Caesar was a Roman military general and political leader who had been granted control of the Roman government as dictator in perpetuity . The consequences of the assassination led to the Liberators' civil war, the establishment of a permanent autocracy by Caesar's adopted heir Gaius Octavianus, and thus resulted in the Roman Empire.

On the Ides of March (March 15 in Roman calendar) of 44 BC, a group of senators called Caesar to the forum for the purpose of reading a petition written by the senators, asking him to hand power back to the Senate. However, the petition was a fake. Mark Antony, having vaguely learned of the plot the night before from a terrified Liberator named Servilius Casca, and fearing the worst, went to head Caesar off at the steps of the forum; however, the group of senators intercepted Antony just as he was passing the Theatre of Pompey, located in the Campus Martius, and directed him to a room adjoining the east portico.

As Caesar began to read the false petition, Tillius Cimber, who had handed him the petition, pulled down Caesar's tunic. While Caesar yelled at Cimber "But that is violence!" ("Ista quidem vis est!"), the aforementioned Casca produced his dagger and made a glancing thrust at the dictator's neck. Caesar turned around quickly and caught Casca by the arm, saying in Latin "Casca, you villain, what are you doing?" Casca, frightened, shouted "Help, brother" in Greek ("ἀδελφέ, βοήθει!", "adelphe, boethei!") as he was stabbed with a pen by the unarmed Caesar. Within moments, the entire group, including Brutus, was striking out at the dictator. Caesar attempted to get away, but, blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him as he lay prone on the lower steps of the portico. According to Eutropius, around sixty or more men participated in the assassination. He was stabbed 23 times. According to Suetonius, a physician later established that only one wound, the second one to his chest, had been lethal.

The dictator's last words are not known with certainty, and are a contested subject among scholars and historians alike. The version best known in the English-speaking world is the Latin phrase Et tu, Brute? (literally, "and you Brutus?" It can also be read as, "even you, Brutus?" or "you too, Brutus?"); this derives from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, where it actually forms the first half of a macaronic line: "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar." Shakespeare's version evidently follows a tradition hinted at, but discounted, by the Roman historian Suetonius, who reports that there have been claims that Caesar's last words had been the Greek phrase "καὶ σύ, τέκνον;" (transliterated as "Kai su, teknon?": "You too, my child?" in English). Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators.

According to Plutarch, after the assasination, Brutus stepped forward as if to say something to his fellow senators; they, however, fled the building. Brutus and his companions then marched to the Capitol while crying out to their beloved city: "People of Rome, we are once again free!". They were met with silence, as the citizens of Rome had locked themselves inside their houses as soon as the rumour of what had taken place had begun to spread.

A wax statue of Caesar was erected in the forum displaying the 23 stab wounds. A crowd who had amassed there started a fire, which badly damaged the forum and adjacent buildings. In the ensuing chaos Mark Antony, Octavian (later Augustus Caesar), and others fought a series of five civil wars, which would end in the formation of the Roman Empire.
The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic. The Roman middle and lower classes – among whom Caesar was immensely popular and had been since Gaul and before – were enraged that a small group of high-browed aristocrats had killed their champion. Antony did not give the speech that Shakespeare penned for him more than 1600 years later ("Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears..."), but he did give a dramatic eulogy that appealed to the common people, a reflection of public opinion following Caesar's murder. Antony, who had been drifting apart from Caesar, capitalised on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to unleash them on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking control of Rome himself. But Caesar had named his grand nephew Gaius Octavian his sole heir, giving him the immensely powerful Caesar name as well as making him one of the wealthiest citizens in the Republic. Gaius Octavian was also, for all intents and purposes, the son of the great Caesar, and consequently also inherited the loyalty of much of the Roman populace. Octavian, only aged 19 at the time of Caesar's death, proved to be dangerous, and while Antony dealt with Decimus Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavian consolidated his position. Later Mark Antony would marry Caesar's lover, Cleopatra.

In order to combat Brutus and Cassius, who were massing an army in Greece, Antony needed both the cash from Caesar's war chests and the legitimacy that Caesar's name would provide any action he took against the two. A new Triumvirate was formed (the second and final one) with Octavian, Antony, and Caesar's loyal cavalry commander Lepidus as the third member. This Second Triumvirate deified Caesar as Divus Iulius and, seeing that Caesar's clemency had resulted in his murder, brought back the horror of proscription, abandoned since Sulla. It proscribed its enemies in large numbers in order to seize even more funds for the second civil war against Brutus and Cassius, whom Antony and Octavius defeated at Philippi. Their common enemies having been vanquished, relations between Octavian and Antony quickly broke down. A third civil war eventually broke out between Octavian on one hand and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. This final civil war, culminating in Antony and Cleopatra's defeat at Actium, resulted in the ascendancy of Octavian, who became the first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus. In 42 BC, Caesar was formally deified as Divus Iulius, and Caesar Augustus henceforth became Divi filius ("Son of a god").
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PostSubject: Re: The TRUTH behind CAESAR's ASSASSINATION   Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:08 pm

Hey thanks for that. I had learned Julius Caesar in my high school.

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