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Cicero's Involvement in Caesar's Assassination

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Why wasn't Cicero included, involved, or informed of the plot to assassinate Caesar? Would he have participated if asked? It would seem one would want a man as powerful and influential as him to be an initial supporter in order to foster more support from the plebians as well as the patricians.

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Would he have participated if asked?

 

His behavior afterwards suggests so. In a letter to Trebonius (one of those friends of Caesar who were so disgusted by the dictator's behavior that they joined the assassination), Cicero expressed regret that he hadn't been "invited to that superb banquet." Moreover, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the liberators, convincing the Senate to defend Decimus Brutus at Mutina, lobbying to get the Roman senate to recall Brutus and Cassius to Rome after they had left for Greece, and denouncing his son-in-law Dolabella for the murder of Trebonius.

 

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to talk about tyrannicide than to actually risk your life committing it. Yes, Cicero was as disgusted by Caesar as any other sane and decent human being, but he nonetheless showed very little actual fortitude when Caesar was waging his war on Rome. While Cato was tearing his guts out lest he share the same air as that bald darling of Venus, Cicero was at home fretting over how his ex-wife and current one were getting along.

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On the other hand, it's a lot easier to talk about tyrannicide than to actually risk your life committing it.

 

Agreed, but then careless talk costs lives to borrow a catchphrase, and events show that a persons conversations (or those purported to have taken place) were enough to have him hauled away to some nasty fate. The personality cult of emperors, and their own self-importance, wasn't going to sit well with criticism, never mind outright dissent. There's a totalitarian edge to roman society emerging in the late republic and certainly something we see going on in Tiberius' reign.

 

That seems to be balanced before imperial times by a certain amount of commonsense and love of free speech, in that a free man should be able to speak his mind and that criticism was nothing unusual nor grounds for harsh punishment.

 

This sense of freedom erodes in the late republic with Sulla using any excuse to enforce his 'new order', but interestingly, I don't read of Caesar being overly prone to this sort of activity, or have I missed something?

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While Cato was tearing his guts out lest he share the same air as that bald darling of Venus, Cicero was at home fretting over how his ex-wife and current one were getting along.

 

Cicero showed lots of guts standing against Marcus Antonius and paid the price in a very honorable manner.

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Cicero showed lots of guts standing against Marcus Antonius and paid the price in a very honorable manner.

 

Absolutely. But immediately before the Ides, Cicero seems to have retired from politics to philosophy. From the standpoint of the Liberators, this retirement doesn't suggest that Cicero would have been the ideal guest for "that glorious banquet".

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Caesar wasn't a tyrant. Cicero was a coward.

 

 

 

Would he have participated if asked?

 

His behavior afterwards suggests so. In a letter to Trebonius (one of those friends of Caesar who were so disgusted by the dictator's behavior that they joined the assassination), Cicero expressed regret that he hadn't been "invited to that superb banquet." Moreover, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the liberators, convincing the Senate to defend Decimus Brutus at Mutina, lobbying to get the Roman senate to recall Brutus and Cassius to Rome after they had left for Greece, and denouncing his son-in-law Dolabella for the murder of Trebonius.

 

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to talk about tyrannicide than to actually risk your life committing it. Yes, Cicero was as disgusted by Caesar as any other sane and decent human being, but he nonetheless showed very little actual fortitude when Caesar was waging his war on Rome. While Cato was tearing his guts out lest he share the same air as that bald darling of Venus, Cicero was at home fretting over how his ex-wife and current one were getting along.

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Caesar wasn't a tyrant. Cicero was a coward.

 

 

 

Would he have participated if asked?

 

His behavior afterwards suggests so. In a letter to Trebonius (one of those friends of Caesar who were so disgusted by the dictator's behavior that they joined the assassination), Cicero expressed regret that he hadn't been "invited to that superb banquet." Moreover, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the liberators, convincing the Senate to defend Decimus Brutus at Mutina, lobbying to get the Roman senate to recall Brutus and Cassius to Rome after they had left for Greece, and denouncing his son-in-law Dolabella for the murder of Trebonius.

 

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to talk about tyrannicide than to actually risk your life committing it. Yes, Cicero was as disgusted by Caesar as any other sane and decent human being, but he nonetheless showed very little actual fortitude when Caesar was waging his war on Rome. While Cato was tearing his guts out lest he share the same air as that bald darling of Venus, Cicero was at home fretting over how his ex-wife and current one were getting along.

Whether Caesar was a tyrant or not is a subject for debate. However, I fail to understand how Cicero can be described as a coward so unequivocally!

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Caesar wasn't a tyrant. Cicero was a coward.

 

 

 

Would he have participated if asked?

 

His behavior afterwards suggests so. In a letter to Trebonius (one of those friends of Caesar who were so disgusted by the dictator's behavior that they joined the assassination), Cicero expressed regret that he hadn't been "invited to that superb banquet." Moreover, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the liberators, convincing the Senate to defend Decimus Brutus at Mutina, lobbying to get the Roman senate to recall Brutus and Cassius to Rome after they had left for Greece, and denouncing his son-in-law Dolabella for the murder of Trebonius.

 

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to talk about tyrannicide than to actually risk your life committing it. Yes, Cicero was as disgusted by Caesar as any other sane and decent human being, but he nonetheless showed very little actual fortitude when Caesar was waging his war on Rome. While Cato was tearing his guts out lest he share the same air as that bald darling of Venus, Cicero was at home fretting over how his ex-wife and current one were getting along.

Whether Caesar was a tyrant or not is a subject for debate. However, I fail to understand how Cicero can be described as a coward so unequivocally!

Can't agree more; if facing a Catilina or a Clodius were not risky enough, Cicero's fiery Philippics were given against the most powerful Roman general of the time; guts were definitively needed for that.

 

BTW, from Merriam-Webster (SIC) Tyrant:

"1 a : an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution

b : a usurper of sovereignty

2 a : a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally."

 

Even if CJ Caesar may not have fulfilled 2a criteria, he most definitively qualified under either 1a or 1b.

Edited by sylla

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Caesar wasn't a tyrant. Cicero was a coward.

 

 

 

Would he have participated if asked?

 

His behavior afterwards suggests so. In a letter to Trebonius (one of those friends of Caesar who were so disgusted by the dictator's behavior that they joined the assassination), Cicero expressed regret that he hadn't been "invited to that superb banquet." Moreover, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the liberators, convincing the Senate to defend Decimus Brutus at Mutina, lobbying to get the Roman senate to recall Brutus and Cassius to Rome after they had left for Greece, and denouncing his son-in-law Dolabella for the murder of Trebonius.

 

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to talk about tyrannicide than to actually risk your life committing it. Yes, Cicero was as disgusted by Caesar as any other sane and decent human being, but he nonetheless showed very little actual fortitude when Caesar was waging his war on Rome. While Cato was tearing his guts out lest he share the same air as that bald darling of Venus, Cicero was at home fretting over how his ex-wife and current one were getting along.

Whether Caesar was a tyrant or not is a subject for debate. However, I fail to understand how Cicero can be described as a coward so unequivocally!

Can't agree more; if facing a Catilina or a Clodius were not risky enough, Cicero's fiery Philippics were given against the most powerful Roman general of the time; guts were definitively needed for that.

 

And, the manner in which he died according to all sources, was overwhelmingly brave!

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Whether Caesar was a tyrant or not is a subject for debate. However, I fail to understand how Cicero can be described as a coward so unequivocally!
Can't agree more; if facing a Catilina or a Clodius were not risky enough, Cicero's fiery Philippics were given against the most powerful Roman general of the time; guts were definitively needed for that.
And, the manner in which he died according to all sources, was overwhelmingly brave!
Now, such account might be admittedly suspicious, because it came mostly from pro-Augustan sources abusing Anthony; Octavius must be held at least as responsible as his fellow triumvires.

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There's no doubt that Cicero had some form of bravery. I was merely commenting on another users comment that said that Cicero didn't act because he only spoke against Caesar, not acted against him. Personally, I find it hard to utter any positives about Cicero or the other conspirators. I am a loyal Ceasarion.

 

 

 

Caesar wasn't a tyrant. Cicero was a coward.

 

 

 

Would he have participated if asked?

 

His behavior afterwards suggests so. In a letter to Trebonius (one of those friends of Caesar who were so disgusted by the dictator's behavior that they joined the assassination), Cicero expressed regret that he hadn't been "invited to that superb banquet." Moreover, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the liberators, convincing the Senate to defend Decimus Brutus at Mutina, lobbying to get the Roman senate to recall Brutus and Cassius to Rome after they had left for Greece, and denouncing his son-in-law Dolabella for the murder of Trebonius.

 

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to talk about tyrannicide than to actually risk your life committing it. Yes, Cicero was as disgusted by Caesar as any other sane and decent human being, but he nonetheless showed very little actual fortitude when Caesar was waging his war on Rome. While Cato was tearing his guts out lest he share the same air as that bald darling of Venus, Cicero was at home fretting over how his ex-wife and current one were getting along.

Whether Caesar was a tyrant or not is a subject for debate. However, I fail to understand how Cicero can be described as a coward so unequivocally!

Can't agree more; if facing a Catilina or a Clodius were not risky enough, Cicero's fiery Philippics were given against the most powerful Roman general of the time; guts were definitively needed for that.

 

And, the manner in which he died according to all sources, was overwhelmingly brave!

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There's no doubt that Cicero had some form of bravery. I was merely commenting on another users comment that said that Cicero didn't act because he only spoke against Caesar, not acted against him. Personally, I find it hard to utter any positives about Cicero or the other conspirators. I am a loyal Ceasarion.
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The points above are correct: Cicero was no coward. But he was a pacifist. He was willing to risk his life for his country, but he didn't care much for being directly involved in violence. I don't think anyone knows why they didn't involve Cicero. My guess is that he was too emotional, indecisive and chatty and could not be trusted. Actually even Brutus was not well fit for the task. Cassius (the actual ringleader) wanted Brutus along simply because of his name and the hope it would inspire memories of his ancestor driving out the last tyrant. In reality, however, they may not have thought about the issue of Cicero as much as we might think. It is widely agreed that the assassins did not think things through well. They planned the assassination, but nothing else. They thought Caesar was the cause of the problem, despite the last century of similar trouble (the Gracchi, Marius, Sulla, Pompey, ect). So they thought that, with Caesar gone, everything would snap back into place as though there was never any trouble. They expected the people to act as they were told the Roman people acted 500 years earlier when Tarquin was driven out.

 

Perhaps nothing more signified their unpreparedness than their refusal to kill Mark Antony along with Caesar. Ironically, Cicero realized this mistake immediately. Had be been a part of the conspiracy, he might have convinced them to take out Antony. Antony was the one who chased the assassins out of the city, who began the civil war by taking an army to fight Decimus Brutus, and who united with Octavian to make an unstoppable force. It was Antony's close association with Caesar (many thought Antony would have been made his heir) that won him over so many soldiers. The senate sent the aristocrat Lepidus to fight Antony after his heavy losses at Mutina, and the army (mostly of Caesar's veterans) deserted their hapless commander for Antony. If they had killed Antony with Caesar, there would have been no Battle of Mutina, the legitimate consuls (and pro-Caesarians) would not have been killed, and Octavian's rise might have been prevented.

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