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Julius Caesar: 15 Things You Didn’t Know

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Regarding number 15: What the ruling oligarchy failed to accept was that the empire had grown too large and complex for the old Republican system to govern effectively. Killing Caesar accomplished nothing as far as allowing them to retain power, and it is my belief that the only way the empire could survive was for a single ruler to govern, unfortunately it wasn't Caesar.

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So the assassins didn't realise that the people liked him?  Odd that - the politicians misjudging the feelings of the people!!  :D

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The assassins were well aware of Caesar's popularity. Nonetheless, he had become Dictator, permanently. That was a republican post where a nominee was given full emergency powers until the emergency was over or six months had elapsed. To be given it for life was unprecedented - and it meant that Caesar was by any other name Rex, the title we usually translate as 'king' but the Romans saw it as something much more tyrannical that our usual quasi-medieval image. With Caesar as Dictator, no-one else stood a chance of becoming top dog, and with that sort of power it was too dangerous. Rome had become a republic to get rid of that sort of situation (The expulsion and later defeat of Tarquinus the Proud) and Rex was almost a dirty word. Caesar had made a theatrical show of refusing the crown offered by Marc Antony during a Lupercalia - it didn't fool anyone. Caesar had to go, even if he was polite and respectful of the Senate.

The Romans were not really aware that the empire had grown too large for governance since at that stage it did not affect them.  Provinces were not ruled from Rome. They were ruled locally by local hierarchies with a governor acting as guarantor of legal and loyalty issues. Please note that a governor did not interfere in normal day to day affairs and was the last word in both Roman and local law.

 

The ability of future Caesars during the imperial era to rule Rome declined because they were continually bleeding off power from the Senate to rule autocratically as much as possible. Whereas under the original system the empire might well have functioned reliably, the Caesar's ambitions basically made it increasingly difficult for them to maintain rule, especially since the bonds of provincial loyalty were no longer to the state, but to individuals, with the usual human vagaries involved.

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My favorite quote, regarding the motivations of the assassins, comes from Colleen McCullough's THE OCTOBER HORSE:  "He is the sun, we are the stars.  As long as he is in our sky, we cannot shine."

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On 12/03/2017 at 4:25 PM, Bonnie said:

Regarding number 15: What the ruling oligarchy failed to accept was that the empire had grown too large and complex for the old Republican system to govern effectively. Killing Caesar accomplished nothing as far as allowing them to retain power, and it is my belief that the only way the empire could survive was for a single ruler to govern, unfortunately it wasn't Caesar.

Indeed - and the writing was on the wall from the time of Marius and Sulla. 

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