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Vesuvian

Did Julius Caesar deserve to die?

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Put simply, no human being deserves to die, unless nature or the individual dictates. That said, Caesar was the architect of his own demise.

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And what Plutarch is also making clear in the above passage is how easily the mob would still be swayed by a charismatic speaker. (Note, they harangued Cinna) Not five days went by when Antony swayed them again in the opposite direction and riots followed the funeral in which the assassins had to be hidden in friends' houses.

Both sides must have been tearing out their hair regarding the reactions of the 'mob'.

 

But if the "mob" were so easily swayed by charismatic speakers, why weren't they swayed by Cinna's rhetoric? If anything, the reaction to Cinna seems to show that the crowd attending contiones were not passive playthings of rhetoric, but active participants in an important political setting. Moreover, if the Liberators were not concerned about popular opinion and simply took it for granted that everyone would immediately acclaim them, why did they mount the Rostra in the first place?

 

Finally, isn't there a good reason to suspect that the audience to the Liberators differed from the audience to Antony? After all, why would Caesar's veterans be immediately on hand after Caesar was killed? Wouldn't it be more likely that they would attend his funeral? If this is right--that the audiences to Antony's speech and to Cinna's were not the same--then doesn't it suggest that the "mob" isn't some fickle, undifferentiated mass of lemmings but a group of citizens whose composition changes according to the purpose of the assembly?

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I think that the OP had an interesting question that came a little before the question everyone is addressing. I will word it diffrently, and to those who support Ceasar and what he was trying to do. What programs did he put in place exactly that bettered Roman society as a whole? What did he do that the Senate was unwilling/unable to do that would justify his take over of that body? I am not saying that these programs did not exist I am simply inclined to believe they have to be of almost heroic proportions to justify the destruction of a system that had proved so succesful.

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I will agree with Northern Neil that Caesar's actions deliberately provoked a response from jealous and alienated Senators. (And walking into the Senate without a full army of bodyguards was just stupid - truly the great man was slipping).

 

I also heartily agree with The Augusta that the Senatorial conspiracy did not seem to have a plan for Rome beyond Caesar's death - and thus whatever side of the debate you fall in, their "victory" over Caesar seems rather hollow. I think the lack of vision of Caesar's opponents is a damning enough commentary of republican forces by itself.

 

However, if Caesar himself had a vision for Rome beyond his moderate reforms, he did not seem to articulate it. Conquering Parthia was all well and good if he had managed to achieve it, but what we have done when he found himself like Alexander without more worlds to conquer? Rome needed a shrewd administrator more than a military hero. We have that in Augustus. On a socio-political level it was Augustus more than Caesar that ended the Republic by laying the groundwork for a new society (but one that was rooted nominally in the traditions of the previous generations).

 

Thus with perfect hindsight I think everything worked out for the best. Caesar became one of the world's most tragic figures, and to many of the people at the time a god as well. Caesar's politically more capable heir came to the fore and was father of the Empire as we have come to understand it. Thus the Darling of Venus had to fall to give rise to the Son of Apollo. And while Dante places Brutus and Cassius on the lowest levels of hell alongside Judas, perhaps Augustus owes a strange debt to the assassins.

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I will agree with Northern Neil that Caesar's actions deliberately provoked a response from jealous and alienated Senators. (And walking into the Senate without a full army of bodyguards was just stupid - truly the great man was slipping).

I think that this just goes to show how far above everybody else Caesar thought himself to be, the fact that he could alienate himself from some of the men who liked Rome the way it was and who he would surely need to help him to continue to make Rome flourish in which ever way he intended it, and also to think that he was so great, god like and untouchable that even after offending these men he could just walk freely around Rome with absolutely no threat to himself and that no man would dare to lay a finger on him let alone stab him to death. - Maybe the great man was not only slipping but delusional as well ?

 

perhaps Augustus owes a strange debt to the assassins.

Absolutely! Who knows what would have become of Octavian had Caesar's life not ended prematurely. He might have just been another name in the long list of Romans around at the time of Caesar.

But that questions for another thread......mmmmmm. :thumbsup:

Edited by Gaius Paulinus Maximus

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<<<<Me and a friend were debating this. I don't think so because he did so much for Rome. Expanded the empire, settled disputes. But my friend thinks he hurt Rome. He was becoming a dictator and the coins, statues and dictating style show it.

 

What do you think? >>>> I think Caesar did Not deserve to be murdered.

The Roman World that Julius Caesar conquered over was not the Old Roman Republic , but rather was an government of a tyrannical Oligarchy. A group of wealthy slave trading capitalist in Rome. Capitalist who used the ideas of Republican Patriotism to murder a true Patriot of the Roman world. The republic that the murderers said existed was in fact long ago faded away with the civil wars and the massive uses of slavery used throughout the Republic after the Punic Wars. The Greek and other internal influences of using slaves in collective farming and guilds was fundamental in destroying the republic while creating great wealth for the few land barons. 10,000 sold per-day. Julius Caesar only took from the treasonist oligarchy the peoples revenge.. he was a populist leader. The Oligarchy and it

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The Roman World that Julius Caesar conquered over was not the Old Roman Republic , but rather was an government of a tyrannical Oligarchy.

 

I agree that the late Republic was rotten oligarchy (I'm not sure I'd call it tyrannical) , but what I don't understand is why Caesar gets to be the savior of the people and martyr of some sort of proto-socialism. I am in sympathy with populares and cannot fault most of Caesar's programs even if they were meant to augment his power, but nothing that I see in his reform warrants the transition to autocracy that he single-handedly brought about. What exactly did people get from Caesar's rule (even if he lived) except the death of political discourse including the populares movement? (because everything in his actions seems to suggest that he was following footsteps of Alexander the Great than those of Gracchi.) In fact, it's not ironical at all that Senate and aristocrats survived Principate but not the populist tradition. Like his spiritual descendant Bonaparte, Caesar betrayed populares and served only himself with limited, selective reforms.

 

He was an author , orator , philosopher and of the best talent, do so in an age of great philosophers was just one of his many talents. He had his own college of priest , the Julian’s, founded in his honor after his defeat of the Pompeian’s by the senate.

So Caesar is not only the greatest orator ever (as he "surely" would have been) and "the greatest political visionary" with the most brilliant solution that no other Romans envisioned (whch just happened to be himself holding the absolute power), but now he is also the philosopher? This is new.

Also I'd hold self-deification against him, but that's just me.

 

If Julius Caesar had Not crossed the rubicon there would have never been a ‘Roman Empire’. Julius Caesar was possibly the greatest figure in world history.

 

Excuse me, but I think Roman Empire, which was already the sole superpower of the Mediterranean world, would have done okay without three series of extremely devastating civil wars.

 

I think the lack of vision of Caesar's opponents is a damning enough commentary of republican forces by itself.

I know it's hard to excuse the conspirators' lack of planning, but maybe we take hindsight for granted too much. After all, the death of republic was a long process in the making, and they thought it might get respite like when Sulla retired. By the time of his death, Caesar finally nailed the final nail to the coffin, but apparently this was not apparent to them. (sorry for using words twice). Even Cicero's criticism of their lack of planning did not seem to extend much beyond adding Antony to the list. He had doubts as to what kind of constitution the resulting state would have, but again this was all with hindsight after Ides of March did not bring the desired result.

Also that the soldiers would be more loyal to their generals than to the senate or some abstract republic is obvious to us and actually became obvious by the time of Mutina, but not necessarily so before that.

 

I don't find any easy answer for problems of late Repulican period even today, and when in foul mood :), I sometimes have a rather cynical view, but I never see any need to idolize either Caesar nor Octavian. In fact, in both of their cases, the results of their success seem to me to be one of worse possible outcomes rather than better ones, but this is for a different debate.

Edited by theilian

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Let's face it, if the Roman aristocraty would have continue to run wild they would have destroy the republic (who had serious problems a long time before Caesar), sure you clould call him a tyrant but just consider he was a benevolent tyrant and the alternative to the emperors rule would be much more worst.

Edited by Ingsoc

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if the Roman aristocraty would have continue to run wild they would have destroy the republic

What is this "aristocracy"? Are you referring to the elected magistrates of the Roman Republic or some equivalent to the House of Tudor? There's an important difference, you know?

 

And how exactly could these "aristocrats" "continue to run wild"? What on earth are you talking about? Was the clearance of the Cilician pirates running wild? Was the prosecution of Verres running wild? Was the foiling of the plot by Catiline running wild? What events would NOT be running wild? And which--of all the events that you would like to call "running wild"--did Julius Caesar do anything about bringing to an end? I can think of none.

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I would say :

If Julius Caesar had Not crossed the rubicon there would have never been a

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There's a lot of talk about Caesar deserving to be put on trial rather than killed yet Caesar had powerful friends and any trial would be subject to bribary.

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There's a lot of talk about Caesar deserving to be put on trial rather than killed yet Caesar had powerful friends and any trial would be subject to bribary.

 

True--look at how Clodius got off for the Bona Dea scandal.

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So the alternative is to circumvent the system twice or more in order to produce the desired result? Regardless of circumstances, such an act, in my opinon, would've been equal to the proscriptions of Sulla, Marius/Cinna and the second triumvirate, as well as the executions of the Gracchi and the Catalinarians without trial, etc. Caesar may have bribed his way out, and we touch on that potential in the Nobiles thread, but if the supporters of the Republic did not uphold the laws that they sought to preserve than they were no better than those who wished to destroy those same laws.

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Caesar may have bribed his way out, and we touch on that potential in the Nobiles thread, but if the supporters of the Republic did not uphold the laws that they sought to preserve than they were no better than those who wished to destroy those same laws.

 

Generally this is the right principle. But I would not include the case of the Catilinarian conspirators as an appropriate application of the principle--the conspirators could not have been turned loose while awaiting a trial lest they tear down the state and render all laws useless. Mind you, they were not railroaded--indeed, they were properly given a chance to speak in their own defense, and they confessed to their guilt.

 

Given that an army was already in the field to march on Rome and their guilt was beyond question, the conspirators absolutely should not have been treated as if they had committed merely a civil offense--because they had not. Thus, at best, they should have been given a military hearing.

 

Moreover, if Caesar had been captured at Pharsalus (or had been intercepted by Marcellus en route to Rome) or if Caesar continued to refuse to lay down his arms after the expiration of his legal term as proconsul, he should have met the same fate as Catiline's conspirators.

 

I'd also point out that all Romans were obligated by the most ancient laws of the Republic (the lex Valeria) to kill anyone declaring himself king. Caesar had already obtained a prophesy from the Sibylline Books that only a king could conquer Parthia, and he was to leave for Parthia shortly after the Ides, leading to widespread speculation (based on the events of the Lupercalia and previous incidents) that he did in fact intend to declare himself king. Had he made such a declaration, he also should have been given no trial, only daggers through his throat.

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Caesar may have bribed his way out, and we touch on that potential in the Nobiles thread, but if the supporters of the Republic did not uphold the laws that they sought to preserve than they were no better than those who wished to destroy those same laws.

 

And how many had died due to Caesar's greed, besides, Caesar tried (and succeeded) in destroy the republic, so why should he benefit from its laws on a fair trial. With rights come responsibilities, when you shirk those responsibilities (such as stepping down after one year as consul) you lose the rights as well. Caesar thought he was above the law, there

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