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G-Manicus

Would the Republic have survived had they served a 2nd course?

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It's said that Caesar's assassins also wished to kill Marc Antony on the Ides of March but that he was spared at the (looking back now) naive insistence of Brutus, who thought Antony could be brought around once Caesar was gone.

 

Hearkening back to Cicero's famous quote describing Caesar's assassination as "that superb banquet," what would the impact have been had they expanded the menu to include Antony? Would the Republic have survived? Or was the Empire inevitable? I find it hard to imagine Octavius rising to power without Antony's military might to do the heavy lifting. That aside, was the Republic already beyond saving? Was the damage inflicted upon it by the brothers Gracchus, Gaius Marius, Sulla, Caesar, etal, a mortal wound? Was it only a matter of time until somebody was able to come along and consolidate power and sweep away the last vestiges of he Republic ?

Edited by G-Manicus

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That superb banquet was indeed one course too short, but to save the republic from another Caesar or Sulla, there had to be centralized, civilian control of the armies. Without that, nothing could prevent a putsch, and as soon as Marius was able to take control of the armies from the senate, the potential for civil war was available for any unscrupulous traitor to exploit.

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That superb banquet was indeed one course too short, but to save the republic from another Caesar or Sulla, there had to be centralized, civilian control of the armies. Without that, nothing could prevent a putsch, and as soon as Marius was able to take control of the armies from the senate, the potential for civil war was available for any unscrupulous traitor to exploit.

Let me post this scenario to you. Caesar and Antony are assassinated and Rome returns to rule by the Consuls/Senate. No doubt it would have been on the minds of the "Liberators" to take action to prevent this from happening again, no? Could the likes of Cato and Cicero, two of the most respected thinkers of their time, crafted a Constitutional solution? Or more to the point, would they have been allowed to?

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The all idea behind the assasination of Caesar was that it's was an act of honor done by patriotic citizens who wish to slay the tyrant, if they would have purges members of his party it's wouldn't be an act of Tyrannicide but a political assasination of their personal rivals.

 

I think that the fact that Brutus and Cassius failed was due to the fact they lack a plan to take over the republic after Caesar death, instead they just hoped that after the tyrant death the republic would be restored on it's own.

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Let me post this scenario to you. Caesar and Antony are assassinated and Rome returns to rule by the Consuls/Senate. No doubt it would have been on the minds of the "Liberators" to take action to prevent this from happening again, no? Could the likes of Cato and Cicero, two of the most respected thinkers of their time, crafted a Constitutional solution? Or more to the point, would they have been allowed to?

 

Cato had been dead for two years in 44, so I doubt he could have contributed directly to the discussion of preventing another Caesar. But there was already discussion of what to do. First, there was Cicero's discussion of the ideal constitution in "On the Republic" and "On the Laws"--two enormously influential works in the history of political philosophy. These weren't purely abstract works either--he discusses practical as well as theoretical political matters. Second, there were concrete proposals coming from all sides. Even Antony had passed a law outlawing the dictatorship once and for all. So, Yes, I do think a constitutional solution would have evolved over time (probably not all at once, as Cicero's own vanity often got the better of his reason), and the enormous progress made in the previous centuries suggests that future solutions would have emerged as well.

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Even Antony had passed a law outlawing the dictatorship once and for all.

 

I assume this was done by Antonius to appease his critics, what intresting is that Augustus tell us that he was offered the dictatorship in 22 BC so it's seem that the office was restored, if so by whom and why?

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Cato had been dead for two years in 44

 

I believe the technical term for this is "Brain Fart."

Edited by G-Manicus

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The all idea behind the assasination of Caesar was that it's was an act of honor done by patriotic citizens who wish to slay the tyrant, if they would have purges members of his party it's wouldn't be an act of Tyrannicide but a political assasination of their personal rivals.

 

I think that the fact that Brutus and Cassius failed was due to the fact they lack a plan to take over the republic after Caesar death, instead they just hoped that after the tyrant death the republic would be restored on it's own.

Ingsoc:

 

I tend to think the aftermath played out like it did, not because they didn't have a plan, but rather they underestimated Antony (and later Octavian). Caesar's death created a power vacuum which Antony (and Octavian) sought to fill. As Gaius' link points out, with no Antony there really weren't any individuals with the desire, cajones, and will to try and grab the brass ring. Maybe like the "Liberators" I'm underestimating Octavian, but post "Liberation Day" I don't see him having the stones or experience to take on the Republic. Well, maybe the stones. But he was forced to rely on Antony's military experience to carry the ball in the early stages and I suspect whatever army he could have scraped together would have met with disaster. Again, maybe I'm underestimating him, and Agrippa too I suppose. God knows I wouldn't have been the first.

 

G

Edited by G-Manicus

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We can't be certain of anything that deals with the hypothetical. While the death of Antonius might seemingly allow a peaceable return to Republican government, we can't be certain that another ambitious general wouldn't have seized an opportunity to fill the power void. Perhaps a Lepidus, Decimus Brutus, Aulus Hirtius, Sex. Pompeius, etc. would've made a tangible bid for power. Some may be more likely candidates, others perhaps would've surprised us, but different circumstances can create different behavior. Consider too that without Antonius, perhaps a great many more of Caesar's veterans would've joined the young Octavius. I don't see any reason to believe that he wouldn't have come to Rome and asserted his rights as heir. The absence of Antonius creates an interesting dynamic in this regard, but I certainly don't think it changes the young man's ambition.

 

Of course, with that said, the death of Antonius would've made a return to Republicanism much more likely, but there are always potential variables.

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But he was forced to rely on Antony's military experience to carry the ball in the early stages and I suspect whatever army he could have scraped together would have met with disaster.

 

No need for the hypothetical--at Philippi, Octavian and Agrippa were so soundly whipped by Brutus that Octavian was left hiding in a swamp, waiting for Antony to save him. Without Antony, there would have been no Augustus.

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No need for the hypothetical--at Philippi, Octavian and Agrippa were so soundly whipped by Brutus that Octavian was left hiding in a swamp, waiting for Antony to save him. Without Antony, there would have been no Augustus.

Thus the basis for my hypothesis. :-)

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Ingsoc:

 

I tend to think the aftermath played out like it did, not because they didn't have a plan, but rather they underestimated Antony (and later Octavian). Caesar's death created a power vacuum which Antony (and Octavian) sought to fill. As Gaius' link points out, with no Antony there really weren't any individuals with the desire, cajones, and will to try and grab the brass ring. Maybe like the "Liberators" I'm underestimating Octavian, but post "Liberation Day" I don't see him having the stones or experience to take on the Republic. Well, maybe the stones. But he was forced to rely on Antony's military experience to carry the ball in the early stages and I suspect whatever army he could have scraped together would have met with disaster. Again, maybe I'm underestimating him, and Agrippa too I suppose. God knows I wouldn't have been the first.

 

G

 

I don't agree, after the murder of Caesar his supporters fled in fear:

 

"All citizens closed their doors and prepared for defence on their roofs. Antonius fortified his house, apprehending that conspiracy was against him as well as Caesar. Lepidus, the master of the horse, being in the forum at the time, learned what had been done and ran to the island in the river where he had a legion of soldiers, which he transferred to the Field of Mars in order to be in greater readiness to execute Antonius' orders; for he yielded to Antony as a closer friend of Caesar and also as consul. While pondering over the matter they were strongly moved to avenge the death of Caesar, but they feared lest the Senate should espouse the side of the murderers and so they concluded to await events." (Appian, The Civil Wars, 2.118)

 

Obiviously Brutus and Cassius should have acted now to take over the state, rally the senate behind them, try to get the support of the people and the troops. instead theri inaction allowed Antonius to take the matter into his own hands.

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Obiviously Brutus and Cassius should have acted now to take over the state, rally the senate behind them, try to get the support of the people and the troops. instead theri inaction allowed Antonius to take the matter into his own hands.

Ah, gotcha. I thought you meant long term (Constitutional) plans. Yes, in terms of the short term I would agree with you. They really needed better Spin Control too.

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It seems that the fate of the Republic is being left up to personalities. One person, or group, would have taken 'power'? Isn't that anti-republican? (Whatever 'republic' means, it certainly doesn't equate with 'democracy'.) In my opinion, the Empire began to crumble when the 'people' gave up caring about being Roman. They lost their stake in the Empire. I feel that much the same thing happened with the Republic, save for the 'people' giving up being Roman.

 

No amount of obfuscation will obviate the obvious that 95% (99%?) of the 'people' were anything more than cannon fodder, and a source of riches for the ruling elites.

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