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Caesar CXXXVII

Caesar "illegal" march - T.D. Barnes view

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Hypocrisy - If you attack Ceaser on Legal grounds than you should attack Brutus and Cassius for murdering Caesar without a trial , Sulla for his attack on Rome , the Senate of 133 for killing Gracchus in a linch , the Senate of 120 for killing his brother in another linch and on - Such Liberty ! Killing the People's Tribune !

 

The thread pertains to Caesar, and the legality of his march on Rome. As has been stated, marching an army from your province against Rome was illegal. No one is saying that illegal actions had not happened before in the Republic.

 

Thank you, Germanicus. As a Caesarian myself, Caesar 137, no matter how we dress it up, and no matter how much hindsight we may employ, Julius' march on Rome in 49BC was illegal. It was illegal for a Roman general to cross the pomerium and enter the city in arms. There is no disputing this. Yes, Caesar's murder was also illegal, as was the murder of Gracchus, but you started the thread about Caesar's march alone. But even the diehard Caesarians among us cannot offer the argument that Julius was acting for the People. He may have used the popularis ticket but he was acting largely for himself. I cannot accept - and will never accept - that any Roman of this period had the same social philosophy as a 20th/21st century politician. I just do not believe that it was in the Roman make-up. Others may disagree, but to imbue Julius or Augustus, say, with altruistic motives for their illegal actions is somewhat spurious.

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Hypocrisy - If you attack Ceaser on Legal grounds than you should attack Brutus and Cassius for murdering Caesar without a trial , Sulla for his attack on Rome , the Senate of 133 for killing Gracchus in a linch , the Senate of 120 for killing his brother in another linch and on - Such Liberty ! Killing the People's Tribune !

 

The thread pertains to Caesar, and the legality of his march on Rome. As has been stated, marching an army from your province against Rome was illegal. No one is saying that illegal actions had not happened before in the Republic.

 

No , Germanicus , the thread is about the "Republicans" use of the term Illegal to attack Caesar . And if you accept my argument (and you did) that Illegal acrions were used before caesar (and by the legal government) than there is nothing in such an attack . this is my argument . Anybody here knows about the army and the Pumerium but since others , including the legal government itself , were using Illegal acts , the "Republicans" argument on that matter becomes worthless .

 

Law - If one's ignores it one's should not used it against othres and say "you are an outlaw" .

Again I say - Caesar march on Rome was Illegal or not , it does not matter when his enemies were outlaws by themselvs . That is the point that Barnes reffered to when he comment on cicero's comment (above) .

The old Jewish Law said that you can't kill a human being , pure and simple , no matters what . So if you killed someone you are an outlaw , pure and simple . But , according to the same Jewish law , you can kill a Man when you feel that he is going to kill you , Now is this man became an outlaw ? It does not matter anymore , the whole issue becomes subjective and irrelevant .

 

But I feel that we are walking on parallel lines here .

Edited by Caesar CXXXVII

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No , Germanicus , the thread is about the "Republicans" use of the term Illegal to attack Caesar

 

Okay Caesar137, so it's really a thread about the nature of Roman Law, and yes, people throughout the republican period sometimes acted outside of that law and violated it. That's my only point, that there was a law, and they broke it, hence their actions were "illegal". It's not a matter of perspective in my opinion. The US Government commits murder by executing convicted murderers, just because they too commit the act of murder, does not make the law against homocide invalid. It's still a law.

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No , Germanicus , the thread is about the "Republicans" use of the term Illegal to attack Caesar

 

Okay Caesar137, so it's really a thread about the nature of Roman Law, and yes, people throughout the republican period sometimes acted outside of that law and violated it. That's my only point, that there was a law, and they broke it, hence their actions were "illegal". It's not a matter of perspective in my opinion. The US Government commits murder by executing convicted murderers, just because they too commit the act of murder, does not make the law against homocide invalid. It's still a law.

 

Would you say , Germanicus , that the Law is above anything ? To take it again Ab Absurdum - What about the Nazi law ? Who cares what they had to say about their outlaws . And you know that many thinks that the Americans are war criminals (in Iraq) , surely Bush is acting under the law . Caesar crossed the Rubicon with soldiers , a crime by Roman law but by the same Roman law that was violated by the "keepers of the law" . But you have said it - They too broke the law and I say - Caesar was no saint (as Pompey was not and dearest Marcellus was not) . That should be our perspective .

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Caesar broke the law, regardless of right, wrong or indifference. It doesn't matter what the Nazis did, or Revolutionary Americans, or modern Americans, or even Caesar's contemporaries. The law was the law regardless of how many people may or may not have broken it.

 

I'm really having difficulty understanding the complexity. If the argument is that Caesar was justified in breaking the law, that's fine (even though many will still disagree), but arguing that he did not break the existing laws is just simply incorrect. Caesar marched on Rome and broke the law because of the affront to his own dignitas. This should never be confused with a righteous cause, regardless of the uncompromising and sometimes foolish positions of some of the optimates.

 

Frankly, this has to be the strangest argument I have yet to see grace our forum.

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Hypocrisy - If you attack Ceaser on Legal grounds than you should attack Brutus and Cassius for murdering Caesar without a trial , Sulla for his attack on Rome , the Senate of 133 for killing Gracchus in a linch , the Senate of 120 for killing his brother in another linch and on - Such Liberty ! Killing the People's Tribune !

 

As I have said before - It is all in one's point of view . We are not talking about black and white situation .

 

The situation is black and white--Caesar's crossing the Rubicon was illegal, and your attempt to blur the difference between black and white can only benefit the black: the white have nothing to gain from pretending that they are black, whereas the black have everything to gain by pretending that they are white.

 

And whose hypocrisy are you talking about? This optimate hypocrite you've conjured is a complete straw man. No Roman simultaneously praised Brutus, Sulla, and the killers of the Gracchi.

 

Moreover, in your criticism of the Liberators, you seem to forget that Romans were legally obligated to kill tyrants, a law that dates back to Poplicola, the first advocate of popular rights and a real advocate, not a sham advocate like Caesar. And do I even need to remind you how Caesar treated the tribunes? Not only did he strip them of their powers, he threatened one with murder--not for any great popular cause, mind you, but because the tribune forbade Caesar from looting the treasury! I'd also point out the ludicrous irony in your argument that Brutus and Cassius should have put Caesar on trial--the very reason that Caesar crossed the Rubicon and had himself declared DICTATOR FOR LIFE was to avoid trial.

 

In my opinion, your allegiance to Caesar either blinds you to the populist cause that you claim to endorse or your advocacy of the populist cause is simply a cover for your true love--dictatorship.

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99 % of the Fasti were composed from less than c. 30 families

 

I'm pretty sure this statistic is incomplete or a complete fabrication. Source?

 

BTW, even if it were true that 30 families were contributing the majority of magistracies, it doesn't hold that this inequality is symptomatic of a lack of liberty. Consider a paragon of free speech like UNRV, where the top 30 posters (of around 2000 registered users) have contributed almost 2/3 of the posts to the forum. Obviously, there is nothing about equal rights that ensures equal contributions: some families cultivated politicians, whereas the vast majority did not.

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The US Government commits murder by executing convicted murderers, just because they too commit the act of murder, does not make the law against homocide invalid. It's still a law.

True, but to be clear the US Government only does this when the case is Federal. Usually executions are carried out under State law (which are all different in regards to capital punishment)... :hammer:

 

EDIT: And since we are a representative democracy, it's actually the PEOPLE who are executing the convict, the Federal and State Governments are only carrying it out on our behalf..." :D

 

Sorry, a bit off topic

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Now if Law had nothing to do with moral (as you said ?) so what is the point to call Caesar an outlaw ? If Law and moral are the same , surely the "legal government" of Rome had had no moral ! and to call Ceasar an outlaw on that basis does not mean anything .

 

I'm not entirely sure what point you're attempting to get across. If laws have nothing to do with morality, then why bother making laws at all? More pertinently - if no one in your society has qualms about commiting murder, then surely there is no need to outlaw it.

 

But as laws are generally based on the moral consensus of the general populace, anything outlawed ought to be harmful to the commonwealth of the people. For Caesar's assault to be morally justified, he would have had to liberate the people from conditions that were harmful to the commonwealth as a whole.

 

But as it is, all Caesar "liberated" the people from was their liberty.

 

 

Are you talking about the Roman Republic of 49 BCE ? I am realy amazed to see that you think that the Roman people had "Liberty" . As I have said to you before - less than 1 % of Roman citizens had the majority in the Comitia Centuriata !!! , a Consul/Praetor could kill his soldiers without a trial ! Rome was based on slavery , 99 % of the Fasti were composed from less than c. 30 families ! The provincials had no say in government , Sulla , the pride of the nobility and in the name of Liberty and restoration acted as a terrorist against Roman citizens , Marcellus ignored the Senate decision of 12/50 in the name of whose Liberty ? What Liberty are you talking about ? Rome was not a Democracy , it was ruled by an Oligarchy since its foundation .

 

For Caesar's assault to be morally justified, he would have had to liberate the people from conditions that were harmful to the commonwealth as a whole. - Yes ! And because of that he won the war . Who were his soldiers ? mercenaries ? No . They were ten of thousands of Roman citizens , the people .

 

Caesar did not liberate the people from a harmful, corrupt system - he simply inaugurated another decade of furious blood-letting and the destruction of any form of representative government in Rome. He did not win the war because he was morally or legally justified - he won because he was an admittedly capable general, and was in command of an experienced, battle-hardened army. To say that the path of the Roman political system towards more wide representation was simply nonexistant is not only naive - it's simply a blind ignorance of the facts. Instead of being amazed at my belief in Roman liberty during the Republic, you might try finding another contemporaneous government with half as much governmental protection of civilian liberties and freedoms. You won't find one.

 

A consul and/or praetor could kill his soldiers without trial because they had willingly enlisted and were from there on subject to martial and not civil law. Similar laws were in effect for European armies until the early 20th century, and are still in effect in some nations.

 

Why The Gracchi started the revolution ? Why the italians started their war ? Who gave them Rights ? A Caesar , A Popularis ! Why Sertorius Fought in Spain ? Why Marius , the savior of rome was outlaw ? Why Sulla's march was a Legal ? I can give you tons of Examples for "liberty" in Rome . To say that Caesar ,march was Illegal is to say nothing with regard to the situation in 49 . To say that Pompey or Marcellus or Cato or Shmato had more moral than Caesar is to give a subjective opinion , no more and no less . To say that Caesar was bad and Pompey was good is childish .

 

The Gracchi started no "revolution". Their attempts to enfranchise the Italian Socii were eventually successful, much as American attempts to enfranchise the African-American population were eventually successful. The sole difference is that the Socii picked up their swords to gain their rights, where African-Americans laid theirs down.

 

Who gave the Socii their enfranchisement? Why, certainly not the Senate that passed the law enfranchising them. Certainly not the Popular Assembly that ratified it - no, it simply must be the work of a popularis, because it is fair and just.

 

Sertorius fought in Spain for a multitude of reasons, including his personal emnity of Sulla and his fear of betrayal and execution at the hands of Sullan officials - his hatred of dictatorship was there, but leavened by his tacit acceptance of the Marius/Cinna/Sertorius "triumvirate" before the return of Sulla to Italy. As you said, it was not all black and white.

 

Marius was an outlaw because he overturned a Senatorial directive in order to assuage his own personal hunger for glory - would there have been a civil war if Marius had not forced his bid for the Asian command through the Assembly and then attempted a wholesale massacre of his political enemies?

 

And finally, Caesar's march on Rome was illegal because it was against the law. You can debate its morality all you want, but you'll find justification for its morality similarly lacking.

Edited by L. Quintus Sertorius

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Caesar did not need to cross the Rubicon at any point. Had he stood and waited for Pompey to come to him the matter would be different (though others will dispute your interpretation of events, I am still trying to prove that Caesar was guilty of violating the law on this single point... the crossing of the Rubicon). Despite charges against him for other actions while in Gaul, Germania, Britannia, etc., Caesar could've claimed complete legality until he willingly crossed the Rubicon in violation of the law. Even his own consternation before doing so implies the understanding of the calamity of the event.

 

If I am fraudulently accused of a crime that I did not commit (a crime in itself... fraud, conspiracy, etc.), but decide to kill my accuser in order to preserve my freedom/innocence, I am guilty of murder despite being innocent of the original crime.

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I don't know what's left to prove, PP. The lex Cornelia Maiestatis forbade Roman generals from entering Italy with their armies. The northern boundary of Italy was the Rubicon, and Caesar crossed the Rubicon into Italy with his army. Therefore, Caesar broke the law. QED.

 

To my knowledge, no historian --including T. D. Barnes-- has ever denied that Caesar broke the law by crossing the Rubicon. Moreover, the ancient historian Pollio was actually with Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon, and though Pollio's account has been lost, several historians based their narratives on his account. These writers attest that Caesar himself was well aware that crossing the Rubicon was illegal, remarking "To refrain from crossing will bring me misfortune; but to cross will bring misfortune to all men." And then he commenced to "bring misfortune to all men."

 

If this isn't black and white, nothing in history is, and I don't see the point in debating the legality any further.

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Affcourse leading an army to Rome was illegal and i think there is no other viev possible.

The real question is - was the senatus consultum ultimum - which was directed against Caesar - legal or not.

In his book Caesar called it illegal and considered as overreaction.

 

 

""Recourse is had to that extreme and final decree of the senate(which was never resorted to even by daring proposers except when the city was in danger of being set on fire, or when the public safety was despaired of)"That the consuls, praetors, tribunes of the people, and proconsuls in the city should take care that the state received no injury."

 

G. Julius Cesar, ""Comentarii de bello civili""

 

Caesar has never claimed himself that his march to Rome was legal. He only justifeid his action by the fact that in his opinion the bill of Senate was illegal and that the rights of tribunes of plebs were broken. Therefore he decided to march on Rome to protect mos maiorum and to save the republic. He sacrified one "lesser good" to protect "greater good".

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What makes you think the SCU was illegal? Caesar himself never made such a charge. He claimed only that it had been reserved for grave threats, which apparently he liked to believe wouldn't include himself (though the Gauls would probably have disagreed).

 

Moreover, at the time that Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he never claimed that he was doing so for any "greater good"--he said, "To refrain from crossing will bring me misfortune; but to cross will bring misfortune to all men". Are you really claiming that the personal well-being of Caesar was a greater good than that of "all men"?

 

Caesar's "larger agenda" was perfectly described by Cicero: "This cause lacks nothing but a cause."

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What makes you think the SCU was illegal? Caesar himself never made such a charge. He claimed only that it had been reserved for grave threats, which apparently he liked to believe wouldn't include himself (though the Gauls would probably have disagreed).

 

Moreover, at the time that Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he never claimed that he was doing so for any "greater good"--he said, "To refrain from crossing will bring me misfortune; but to cross will bring misfortune to all men". Are you really claiming that the personal well-being of Caesar was a greater good than that of "all men"?

 

Caesar's "larger agenda" was perfectly described by Cicero: "This cause lacks nothing but a cause."

 

 

I dont think that quoting Cicero who was maybe a great orator but also an arselicker of Caesar who changed the sides when opportunity was given can play in this discussion the role of "unbiased comment".

 

Veto of Antonius supported by veto of another tribune Quintus Cassius Longinus was ignored. Antonius himself - what was against the law - was in fact banished from senate and Cassius joined him. Treating tribune of plebs in this way was violation of mos maiorum. Big part of senators was against voting SCU. Many of them were simply forced by Pompey, Cato & company.

 

By the way i belive that the institution of SCU was illegal. If i remember well it was first used against Gaius Gracchus. By voting SCU senate was usurping power to kill Roman citisens, power which was reserved for comittia. And people who were declared as enemies of state by SCU had no chance to appeal to the People of Rome. Basing on the power of SCU senate was murdering thousands of people.

 

M. Porcius Cato - and I just belive that it wasnt and couldnt be legal to declare people enemies of state and to give them death sentences only because some party had one day majority in the senate. SCU was nothing more but death sentence directed against person listed in this SCU and all the people who follow or support him.

 

Remember Catiline case? Yes, Cicero did it, but later he had to pay for it as it was found illegal.

Edited by Mosquito

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