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G J Caesar's 'Honourable' Enemies

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According to Richard Holland (Augustus: Godfather of Europe) Cassius and Brutus stayed in the east with 17 Legions whilst Italy was torn apart by the fighting between Antony, Octavian, Generals representing the Senate and Optimates. Despite 17 Legions being more than adequate to win victory.

So what were they doing in the east that was so important?

They were taxing the locals so heavily that families were having to sell their children into slavery to avoid all of them meeting the same fate due to an inability to pay their assessments.

The noble Brutus seems to have forgotten just how noble he was at this time.

 

And Cato didn't do everything with a selfless devotion to the Republic.

He divorced his wife so she could marry his old and wealthy friend then remarried her, once she was widowed with a healthy inheritance! Now thats honourable!

The pimp!

 

So how have these men ended up with reputations as the last honourable Republicans with total, and selfless, devotion to the version of Rome they believed in?

 

In my limited knowledge of the characters involved Caesar was far more honourable.

Although I must admit that Cassius deserves recognition as one of the greatest military minds of his age.

 

DISCUSS....?

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They were taxing the locals so heavily that families were having to sell their children into slavery to avoid all of them meeting the same fate due to an inability to pay their assessments.

The noble Brutus seems to have forgotten just how noble he was at this time.

 

Source? I would also like to remind you that even the most virtuous war requires funds to wage. Octavian had the treasury of Rome at his disposal - Brutus and Cassius had what they could scrounge from the Eastern provinces.

 

It must also be remembered that, for both sides, Italy was the key to legitimacy. In Brutus' mind, bleeding the East dry was fine, so long as he obtained Italy.

 

And Cato didn't do everything with a selfless devotion to the Republic.

He divorced his wife so she could marry his old and wealthy friend then remarried her, once she was widowed with a healthy inheritance! Now thats honourable!

The pimp!

 

Did Cato's financial maneuvering endanger or otherwise harm the Republic? No. Did it harm his reputation for perfect personal virtue? Perhaps a touch. But does Cato's personal moral lapse mean that his devotion to the Republic was any less true or pure by extension? Of course not.

 

The same Cato turned down an offered marriage alliance between his niece and Pompeius Magnus - "I will not be outflanked by way of a girl's bedroom."

 

So how have these men ended up with reputations as the last honourable Republicans with total, and selfless, devotion to the version of Rome they believed in?

 

A good question - perhaps because they fought and died in its defense? Perhaps that, when fighting for a cause greater than oneself, personal foibles become insignificant in the scheme of things?

 

Or perhaps simply because they fought to preserve liberty, where Caesar fought only to crush it.

 

In my limited knowledge of the characters involved Caesar was far more honourable.

 

hon

Edited by L. Quintus Sertorius

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So how have these men ended up with reputations as the last honourable Republicans with total, and selfless, devotion to the version of Rome they believed in?

 

In my limited knowledge of the characters involved Caesar was far more honourable.

Although I must admit that Cassius deserves recognition as one of the greatest military minds of his age.

 

DISCUSS....?

 

You are assuming spittle that Caesar has been viewed throughout history as bad.

I, personally don't know he might really have been. But if thats true then

why were German Emperors known as Kaisar

why did the Russians have czars (both titles a direct derivitive of Caesar)

and why is Brutus in the lowest pit of Hell in Dante's Inferno?

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Or perhaps simply because they fought to preserve liberty, where Caesar fought only to crush it.

 

 

Who's liberty ? Surly not the people's ("The Mob")...

 

So you claim that a dictatorship is more liberating than a balanced republic? That will require some explanation, I am afraid.

 

And I defy you to name one law (excepting Sulla, of course) that limited the rights of the people to participate in government. Last I knew, the Republic had been on a steady course toward more equal representation for centuries.

 

After all, wasn't that what the Social War was all about?

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Or perhaps simply because they fought to preserve liberty, where Caesar fought only to crush it.

 

 

Who's liberty ? Surly not the people's ("The Mob")...

 

So you claim that a dictatorship is more liberating than a balanced republic? That will require some explanation, I am afraid.

 

And I defy you to name one law (excepting Sulla, of course) that limited the rights of the people to participate in government. Last I knew, the Republic had been on a steady course toward more equal representation for centuries.

 

After all, wasn't that what the Social War was all about?

 

 

It seems that your definitions are too schematic . Your perspective in a modern one (naturaly) . Try to define "Democracy" , "Republic" , "Dictatorship" , "People" , "Aristocracy" etc' by the ancient standarts . Did I say that "Populares" = Democrats ? No.

 

So , you are saying that the "people" did not had limitations "in participating in government" ?

As you said "That will require some explanation, I am afraid." One example - Just look at the structure of the Comitia Centuriata where 0.1 % of the Romans (the "nobility") had the majority!!

 

The liberty that you are talking about was the liberty of 300 senators and their sons , it is a common knowledge .

The Dictatorship of Caesar was not a "Democracy" , the Republic was not a Democracy , they did not have a Democracy ever . The Dictatorship was "Popularis" , that is for the people and against the control of the Oligarchy . How is that ? Caesar

1. Declared a general amnesty for all who had taken arms against him

2. Founded many civilian and military colonies overseas, to which eventually Some 80,000 of the turbulent Roman poor were transported

3. Granted citizenship (and all its benefits) to doctors and teachers, many of whom were Greek

4. Inserted Gauls and other Westerners (my English) to the Senate

5. Favored the Jews living in Rome

6. The owners of large landed estates were required to hire a third of their farm workers from free men, rather than slaves

7. Made laws limited the terms of provincial governors

8. Abolished the existing tax system (the corrupt Publicani) and returned to the earlier policy of permitting the provinces themselves to collect and pay tribute without middlemen

And on

"In this, unlike the Gracchi, Caesar was a progressive with more than ideas. It is difficult to separate the valid criticisms of Caesar's actions from the suspicion that many of his peers were motivated largely by their own greed and envy of his stature among them." http://web.mac.com/heraklia/Caesar/legacy/index.html

 

Enough said .

Edited by Caesar CXXXVII

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So how have these men ended up with reputations as the last honourable Republicans with total, and selfless, devotion to the version of Rome they believed in?

 

In my limited knowledge of the characters involved Caesar was far more honourable.

Although I must admit that Cassius deserves recognition as one of the greatest military minds of his age.

 

DISCUSS....?

 

You are assuming spittle that Caesar has been viewed throughout history as bad.

I, personally don't know he might really have been. But if thats true then

why were German Emperors known as Kaisar

why did the Russians have czars (both titles a direct derivitive of Caesar)

and why is Brutus in the lowest pit of Hell in Dante's Inferno?

 

No I am not. Often Caesar and Brutus are portrayed has equally honourable but I feel Caesar would do anything to help his friends or crush his enemies whereas Brutus, et al, just wanted to enrich their tiny, over wealthy group by any means and justify it as 'for the Republic'.

Like Democracy today the Republic could be very open to interpretation.

Edited by spittle

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Enough said .

 

Not really. You forgot:

 

(1) He attempted a cover-up of the Catilnarian conspiracy by opposing a trial for the accused. His motivation may have been to hide his own foreknowledge of the traitors' plans (being an intimate of those involved). Moreover, his recommendation of exile for the accused would have let the traitors join Catiline on the fields of war, where they could have passed valuable information to their rebel comrades.

 

(2) While consul, he had M. Porcius Cato arrested merely for voicing his opposition to Caesar's hare-brained schemes. The move was so extraordinarily illegal that the whole Senate refused to meet until Cato's release.

 

(3) In Spain and in Gaul, Caesar betrayed the interests of Roman allies by sacking their towns and enslaving Roman friends. His motivation in both cases was merely to run up a body count so he could celebrate a triumphal parade in Rome. His campaign in Gaul (where he mercilessly slaughtered and enslaved perhaps a million or more trading partners of Rome) finally led to the threat of prosecution for his illegal crossing into German territory.

 

(4) Rather than face prosecution like an honorable Roman or even go into temporary exile (as Cicero had once done), Caesar forced his troops to wage war against the Republic. Taking Rome essentially by surprise, he confiscated the entire Roman treasury for his own personal use, and he threatened the legal tribunes of the people with death if they stood in his way.

 

(5) The Civil War he launched wiped out the cream of the Roman Senate and their best generals, including Pompey and Caesar's best officer Labienus (who refused to join Caesar in his traitorous mission). After Pharsalus, he refused to offer a general amnesty, but instead went to Egypt, where he burned the Library of Alexandria through criminal negligence.

 

(6) Once victorious over all his old enemies, he had himself declared a DICTATOR FOR LIFE. In this role, he immediately cancelled all elections for lower offices, abolished the power of the tribunes (who were the representatives of the people of Rome), and personally selected Yes-Men for the office of consul (which had been the highest-ranking elected position in the old Republic). Laying the precedent for future serfdom (and anticipating Stalin's Berlin Wall), he forced 20 - 40 year old Italian civilians to remain in Italy, and he attempted to wipe out the wealth of his political opponents by cancelling debts owed to them.

 

(7) As dictator, Caesar seemed to lose all touch with reality. He had his face plastered over all the coins (a previously illegal act). He forced Romans to build him a palace, to carry an ivory statue of him at religious ceremonies, to place another statue of him within the great Quirinal temple with the inscription "To the Invincible God," and to place still another statue of him beside the statues of the (deposed) kings of Rome. All the time he did this, he ostentatiously refused to allow anyone to call him King, and he sent out goon-squads to arrest anyone who made the mistake of recognizing that Caesar had robbed all Romans of their liberty.

 

The notion that this monster--and I'm being generous by not mentioning the Queen's more outrageous personal perversities--was honorable makes me wonder if anyone even knows the meaning of the term. (I guess Caesar137 will call this another issue of 'semantics'.)

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"The notion that this monster--and I'm being generous by not mentioning the Queen's more outrageous personal perversities--was honorable makes me wonder if anyone even knows the meaning of the term. (I guess Caesar137 will call this another issue of 'semantics'.)"

 

Ah , at last . I knew it ! And they say that there is no such thing as monsters... :hammer:

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MPC, with all due respect you seem to have an everlasting hate about Caesar. You have your opinion but always remember he was a good general and an even greater politician.

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According to Richard Holland (Augustus: Godfather of Europe) Cassius and Brutus stayed in the east with 17 Legions whilst Italy was torn apart by the fighting between Antony, Octavian, Generals representing the Senate and Optimates. Despite 17 Legions being more than adequate to win victory.

So what were they doing in the east that was so important?

They were taxing the locals so heavily that families were having to sell their children into slavery to avoid all of them meeting the same fate due to an inability to pay their assessments.

The noble Brutus seems to have forgotten just how noble he was at this time.

 

And Cato didn't do everything with a selfless devotion to the Republic.

He divorced his wife so she could marry his old and wealthy friend then remarried her, once she was widowed with a healthy inheritance! Now thats honourable!

The pimp!

 

So how have these men ended up with reputations as the last honourable Republicans with total, and selfless, devotion to the version of Rome they believed in?

 

In my limited knowledge of the characters involved Caesar was far more honourable.

Although I must admit that Cassius deserves recognition as one of the greatest military minds of his age.

 

DISCUSS....?

 

1) Italy was not being 'torn apart'

 

2) Cato was already dead!

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So, P.Clodius, your saying the Cato thing never happened?

I never said the events took place at the same time. I simply questioned the characters of men who are regarded as a group.

I mentioned my source, R.Holland. Expand your argument.

 

My 9 yr old son can manage more than a facile comment and a contradiction (!)

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Caesar was a great military commander, a shrewd politician and very intelligent. I believe he also instituted some farsighted and wise reforms. I can no longer however completely overlook his acceptance of Dictatorship for life, his actions in Gaul, or his actions once dictator with regard to what should have been elected offices. This being said, the "liberators" caused more problems than they solved, which is why even Cicero comments in May 44 BC - "if things stay the way they seem to be now(bear with me in what I am saying), I find no joy in the Ides of March", and later "since the killing of our master has not made us free, he was not a master to run away from."

 

Shakespeare has a lot to do with how people view Caesar and Brutus and Cassius these days, but he had his own reasons for naming the killing of a Dictator(or King) a tragedy.

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Or perhaps simply because they fought to preserve liberty, where Caesar fought only to crush it.

 

 

Who's liberty ? Surly not the people's ("The Mob")...

 

So you claim that a dictatorship is more liberating than a balanced republic? That will require some explanation, I am afraid.

 

And I defy you to name one law (excepting Sulla, of course) that limited the rights of the people to participate in government. Last I knew, the Republic had been on a steady course toward more equal representation for centuries.

 

After all, wasn't that what the Social War was all about?

 

 

It seems that your definitions are too schematic . Your perspective in a modern one (naturaly) . Try to define "Democracy" , "Republic" , "Dictatorship" , "People" , "Aristocracy" etc' by the ancient standarts . Did I say that "Populares" = Democrats ? No.

 

So , you are saying that the "people" did not had limitations "in participating in government" ?

As you said "That will require some explanation, I am afraid." One example - Just look at the structure of the Comitia Centuriata where 0.1 % of the Romans (the "nobility") had the majority!!

 

The liberty that you are talking about was the liberty of 300 senators and their sons , it is a common knowledge .

The Dictatorship of Caesar was not a "Democracy" , the Republic was not a Democracy , they did not have a Democracy ever . The Dictatorship was "Popularis" , that is for the people and against the control of the Oligarchy . How is that ? Caesar

1. Declared a general amnesty for all who had taken arms against him

2. Founded many civilian and military colonies overseas, to which eventually Some 80,000 of the turbulent Roman poor were transported

3. Granted citizenship (and all its benefits) to doctors and teachers, many of whom were Greek

4. Inserted Gauls and other Westerners (my English) to the Senate

5. Favored the Jews living in Rome

6. The owners of large landed estates were required to hire a third of their farm workers from free men, rather than slaves

7. Made laws limited the terms of provincial governors

8. Abolished the existing tax system (the corrupt Publicani) and returned to the earlier policy of permitting the provinces themselves to collect and pay tribute without middlemen

And on

"In this, unlike the Gracchi, Caesar was a progressive with more than ideas. It is difficult to separate the valid criticisms of Caesar's actions from the suspicion that many of his peers were motivated largely by their own greed and envy of his stature among them." http://web.mac.com/heraklia/Caesar/legacy/index.html

 

Enough said .

 

Demos - Attic Greek, people.

 

Kratos - Attic Greek, power.

 

Demokratos (could be wrong on spelling here, it's all Greek to me) - a form of government in which legislative powers are placed in the hands of the whole citizenry, and executive actions carried out by their elected representatives.

 

Res publica - literally, the "public business"; more technically, the Roman form of representative government in which legislative powers are placed in the hands of popular assemblies, with an aristocratic Senate playing only an advisory (but still very influential and powerful) role in the governance of the state.

 

Dictator - A Roman magistrate given complete control of the resources of the State for a set period of time, generally six months; but when held illegally the restrictions obviously no longer applied.

 

The Dictatorship of Caesar was not a "Democracy" , the Republic was not a Democracy , they did not have a Democracy ever . The Dictatorship was "Popularis" , that is for the people and against the control of the Oligarchy . How is that ? Caesar

 

When did I assert that either Caesar's illegal dictatorship, or the Roman Republic were democracies?

 

And the dictatorship was an antiquated office - it had nothing to do with political affiliation. After all, did not Sulla also hold the dictatorship?

 

And populares were not "for the people and against the oligarchy". Mainly, because there was no clear cut "people". Gallic traders had different interests than Umbrian farmers, and Roman plebes urbana had different goals than Corsican fisherman.

 

And yet you claim that the populares represented them all against the overweening "oligarchy" - an oligarchy whose decrees did not even have the power to overrule a plebiscite?

 

Caesar

1. Declared a general amnesty for all who had taken arms against him

2. Founded many civilian and military colonies overseas, to which eventually Some 80,000 of the turbulent Roman poor were transported

3. Granted citizenship (and all its benefits) to doctors and teachers, many of whom were Greek

4. Inserted Gauls and other Westerners (my English) to the Senate

5. Favored the Jews living in Rome

6. The owners of large landed estates were required to hire a third of their farm workers from free men, rather than slaves

7. Made laws limited the terms of provincial governors

8. Abolished the existing tax system (the corrupt Publicani) and returned to the earlier policy of permitting the provinces themselves to collect and pay tribute without middlemen

 

1. Without a bloody and thoroughly illegal civil war, there would have been no need for amnesty - would there?

 

2. Unexceptional - that could and probably would have been achieved without a civil war. Also, I'd like to know where you procured that figure from. 80,000 was not just a drop in the bucket of the city of Rome's population - that's a significant number.

 

3. So Caesar was the only one who possibly could have done that?

 

4. Citizenship and entry into the Senate had already been granted to Rome's Socii. By cramming the Senate (whose ranks had been thoroughly culled by Caesar's little war) with Gallic noblemen (of whom the surviving percentage overwhelmingly favored Caesar), he essentially was attempting to procure its cooperation and support. There were no grand, idealistic motives about the equality of Gauls and Romans - Caesar needed yes-men.

 

5. Why was that such an outstanding thing? They were his clients, having benefited from legislation passed by him during his earlier political posts.

 

6, 7, 8. If my memory serves, these were reforms never actually carried out by Caesar - they were left for Octavian. But by all means, correct me if I am wrong.

 

"In this, unlike the Gracchi, Caesar was a progressive with more than ideas. It is difficult to separate the valid criticisms of Caesar's actions from the suspicion that many of his peers were motivated largely by their own greed and envy of his stature among them.

 

Despite the passing of the lex Sempronia agraria?

 

Despite the fact that Caesar's complicity with the Catilinarian conspiracy, passing of the ridiculously inethical lex Julia Campania, illegal marauding in the land of a people Rome was not at war with, arbitrary attack on a "Friend and Ally of the Roman People" - and illegal and totally unjustified invasion of his own country for personal gain gave his peers plenty of room for criticism; despite all this, they were simply jealous of "Julius Divus".

 

Makes perfect sense.

Edited by L. Quintus Sertorius

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And populares were not "for the people and against the oligarchy". Mainly, because there was no clear cut "people". Gallic traders had different interests than Umbrian farmers, and Roman plebes urbana had different goals than Corsican fisherman.

 

This is an absolutely critical point. In addition to explaining the duplicity of some populares, it also explains why the "people" so often turned on their alleged champions. For example, why the Gracchi were popular in the city, yet couldn't find support among the urban poor when standing up for the Italian allies (who made up the army).

 

Also, an oligarchy is "rule by the few". Therefore, by its strictest definition, the triumvirs were the purest oligarchy. Far from the populares standing for the people against the oligarchy, the populares stood for SOME people IN ORDER TO BECOME oligarchs.

 

Despite the fact that Caesar's complicity with the Catilinarian conspiracy, passing of the ridiculously unethical lex Julia Campania, illegal marauding in the land of a people Rome was not at war with, arbitrary attack on a "Friend and Ally of the Roman People" - and illegal and totally unjustified invasion of his own country for personal gain gave his peers plenty of room for criticism; despite all this, they were simply jealous of "Julius Divus".

 

Makes perfect sense.

 

Indeed! Couldn't have said it better myself.

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