Julius Caesar and Rome Essay
How Julius Caesar came into conflict with his political opponents in Rome
Caesar was an ambitious army general who commanded fifty thousand soldiers. It was through their support that he managed to conquer new territories for Rome. Certain members of the political system interpreted this as a ruthless endeavor. They believed that Caesar was driven by his personal ambitions and not any noble sentiments.
Consequently, a number of political leaders such as Pompey began opposing him. In fact, Pompey spearheaded firm opposition against Caesar through the Optimate group. This was a faction that had predominant support from aristocrats. They were a conservative lot and wanted to preserve the status quo.
To them, Julius Caesar’s policies were too radical; he needed to be ousted as soon as possible. Julius also lost support from the Senate because he was perceived as a leader of the masses rather than the aristocrats. Caesar therefore came into conflict with his political opponents because he belonged to a rival political group which undermined their influence. Pompey had also conquered vast territories and his leadership was incompatible with Caesar’s (Plutarch, 45).
Extent to which Caesar was personally responsible for the civil war
Julius Caesar was partly responsible for the civil war. He had been pushed to the edge by Pompey and his group. The Optimates had started threatening him with persecution if he came back to Rome as a private citizen. At the same time, they wanted him to relinquish his position as governor of Gaul.
Caesar had devoted a lot of time and resources to the acquisition of vast territories. It would have been immensely dishonorable if he yielded to his opponents. Because of excessive pressure from Pompey’s supporters, Caesar decided to attack another province by marching across River Rubicon and this immediately became a civil war. In ancient Rome, a governor was never supposed to supersede his own borders.
One can therefore assert that Caesar was partly responsible for the Civil war because he wanted to safeguard his political interests. He did not want to lose what he had worked so hard to get. On the other hand, he was pushed into this position by his political enemies. He would never have started the civil war if they had not threatened him with persecution.
Their political ambitiousness forced Caesar to engage in it. It can be said that Caesar and Pompey were in a deadlock and none of them could progress unless they confronted one another through a civil war (Suetonius, 23).
Extent to which Caesar was responsible for the fall of the Republic
Caesar was just a small piece of the Roman Republic puzzle. The eventual collapse of this institution was brought on by several social and political factors that Caesar has little control over. First of all, Rome had initially started as a city and grew rapidly to a state as seen during Caesar’s reign. Because of this vast expansion, the political structures became insufficient to rule these vast territories. Additionally, the Senate which was considered as a supreme organ in the republic’s political system became really weak.
This institution was not flexible enough to accommodate the ever changing aspects of Roman life. The Senate largely propagated an aristocratic agenda and therefore perpetuated class based inequality. Consequently, partisan politics was rife in this Republic. Some legions supported the conservative elites i.e. Optimates while other groups supported the Populares which propagated the interests of the lower classes (Plutarh, 45).
Julius Caesar contributed slightly to these problems by supporting one faction. He did not bother reconciling these two groups and therefore intensified the weaknesses in this political system. The Republic collapsed because it lacked someone who could control the unruly Senate, the legions and the masses. Romans urgently needed someone who could stabilize a corrupt and ineffective system and Julius Caesar failed to implement these changes.
Rome was pervaded by immense anarchy and for the Republic to survive, it was necessary to tame all these forces. Caesar removed members of the Senate who opposed him but failed to suppress them completely. Instead of taking away their wealth, he let them enjoy it and this eventually led to his death. Had Julius Caesar effectively tamed these contravening forces, then there may have been hope for the Republic.
Julius Cesar’s plan for the Republic
Julius Caesar had very ambitious and noble intentions for the Roman Republic. It was unfortunate that he did not have time to accomplish all these plans. First, he wanted to resolve the debt crisis. He was also concerned about the plight of the soldiers who had settled abroad after rendering service to the nation. He wanted them to settle down but did not want to displace persons in those conquered lands as well.
Julius Caesar therefore demonstrated that he was concerned about the needs of his populace. He also wanted to establish peace in Italy and the provinces. He therefore understood that unless he could calm down political unrest among the masses then there was no chance of survival for the Roman Empire. He wanted to strengthen the middle classes. Caesar knew that class inequality was a problem in the Roman state so the only way he could deal with that challenge was to facilitate the rise of the lower classes to the middle classes.
He wanted to enlarge the senate to 900. The major problem with this last objective was that Caesar rarely solicited the Senate’s support during decision making processes. Since he did not give them a chance to vote and debate about major policy issues, then it was completely useless to increase their numbers. Enlarging the senate was not going to help Caesar because it was not in line with his leadership style (Suetonius, 151).
Caesar’s leadership as king or god
Caesar claimed that he did not wish to be king when Antony offered him a diadem. In those times, such ornaments were only won by monarchs. He politely declined the offer and explained that only Jupiter was King of the Romans. Nonetheless, Caesar’s actions contradicted these words.
He often surrounded himself with objects that portrayed monarchical status. For instance, he wore a purple gab, adorned his seat with special decorations and even engraved coins with his image. Also, his failure to involve the Senate in decisions made him appear like a King.
He also saw himself as a god when he ordered inscriptions of the statement ‘unconquerable god’ on public commodities. He even placed statutes of himself around various provinces. When he prepared for a battle against the Parthians, he was warned about certain dangers but he stubbornly refused to leave with a body guard. He was therefore playing god by assuming that he was beyond reprimand.
Statesman versus ruthlessly selfish politician
To some extent, Caesar was a statesman because he cared about the needs of the lower classes. He often inspired his soldiers to do more than they thought possible. For instance when they were tired of their journey to Brundusium, “they came thither, and found Caesar gone off before them, their feelings changed, and they blamed themselves as traitors to their general.” (Plutarch, 33).
His plans for the country are also indicative of his statesmanship. However, he may also be seen as power hungry leader because he continued to expand territories regardless of the repercussions. Caesar’s political enemies became aggressive when they realized that his thirst for power had spiraled out of control.
Nonetheless, this distinction is not helpful because he was a villain to certain people and a hero to others; Caesar’s selfish leadership style isolated the Senate and this put Rome at his mercy. On the other hand, he was also a reformer and a champion of the masses. So this distinction cannot be helpful because these classifications were not universal. Others saw him as a statesman while others thought of him as an overambitious and rebellious danger.
Suetonius, Tranquillus. On the life of the Caesars. London: Loeb classical Library AD 121
Plutarch. Caesar. 75 AC. Internet classics. Web. Retrieved
Personality of Julius Caesar and His Effect on Rome Report
Julius Caesar is an ancient Roman personality and an influential political figure. Moreover, conspirators, led by a personality called Brutus, assassinated him. Caesar’s role in the play is not immense, though he dominates the play, even after his demise in the third act of the play.
He is enigmatic and represents the focal theme of the play, the moral haziness surrounding his assassination (Shakespeare, 2011). The assassinating leader is an influential political figure and coveted leader who is a brutal and sadistic tyrant. Therefore, the conspiracy against him appears to be dignified and similarly malevolent.
Caesar is undoubtedly domineering. His first appearance depicts scores of admiring followers behind him. He is accustomed to dominion. Caesar depicts his dominance by dismissing the soothsayer when they warn him (Loos & Bloom, 2008). Sooner, Caesar’s undoubted and profound self-confidence disappears.
Additionally, Caesar’s smug feeling of power and dominion against other forces is conspicuously apparent in the way he converses or delivers his speeches to the people. He refers to himself as the royal ‘we’ and shows off his intentions of going to the senate and deferring unwelcome omens.
Alternatively, Caesar presents himself as the foremost man of the entire whole world. This clearly depicts itself when Brutus refers to him as a profound leader with influence and strength to lead. He only has few physical defects and disabilities including some epilepsy and mild deafness.
He is less susceptible to illness as Cassius complains. This, however, shows that Cassius is rather envious of Caesar. As Brutus notes, Caesar does not let his emotions rule his judgment capabilities (H.S.C). We depict his apt judgment quality; by the way, he portrays Cassius. Antony and Brutus did orate in funeral regarding Caesar’s profound virtues. All other characters always depict Caesar’s virtues in their dispositions.
It is odd that the central figure of the play demises before the play is half. Caesar’s spirit, however, continues dominating the play, even after his demise. Antony’s revenge for Caesar’s assassination forms a plot for the second half of the play as Brutus and Cassius contemplate upon Caesars’s thoughts.
This brings him to life throughout the entire play. Notably, both his conspirators speak about him on his death. They depict his ingenious and apt capabilities, his leadership and dominating spirit (Loos & Bloom, 2008). Brutus deviously demonstrates the psychology of influence by taking up Caesar’s arrogances, showing Caesar’s thirst for power and utter influence.
Caesar’s character revolves around a leader with various defects: manifested physically. Caesar has deafness, mild epilepsy and poor swimming. During his last days, Caesar takes up and believes in superstitions. This stresses and intellectual corruption that power can trigger which makes the audiences of the play sympathize with the assassins as they plot to murder Caesar.
Shakespeare softens Caesar’s guilt and conviction when he applies accusations against Caesar. Moreover, they would elicit the guilt in him and leave minimal room of doubt against his murder. He is responsible for looting a temple and dishonoring his wife to ease divorce procedures. Historians have established that Caesar’s policies and stipulations were not for creating a monarchy but were event-driven.
Caesar had various conquests in Britain and Gaul. In the due course of the play, he had won a war against Pompey. He headed a faction that would admit people into the new group that composed of the ruling class. He had fought several conservatives, depicting republican qualities that Brutus depicted in his personality.
He was not a revolutionary but was associated with dictatorship, where the system of awarding chief military commandants in times of war (H.S.C). He held a legitimate office in the Roman government, which he used to dispense his powers and protect his gains from the civil wars.
Apparently, Caesar was to get the crown and move the capital of Rome to Ilium, from where he would deliver his leadership to the entire nation. These came as rumors to Caesar, and he used his indispensable tactics to fend off the rumors. He refuted the crown as Casca reported (Shakespeare, 2011).
This shows that Caesar was extremely conservative than the nobility dreaded. He was aware of the assassination threats, instilling his extraordinary powers to give him an upper hand in dealing with his fears. Caesar required dictatorial powers to suppress and counter fight his foes in order to retain the Roman government. He resisted drastic reforms from his enemies and preserved the ancient Rome to a notable degree.
Apparently, various people purport that Caesar anticipated his end and demise, as it would progressively result into the elimination of aristocracy and dictatorship in the Roman history. He purportedly believed that his demise would bring grave repercussions to Rome. After his death, Rome experienced much greater tyranny and civil unrest.
Caesar’s Effect on Rome
Caesar, being the first ruler of the Roman Empire, was an instrumental figure in transforming Rome from a republic to an empire. He achieved this by meeting with various influential leaders at Triumvirate. Caesar formed an alliance with Pompey and Crassus, which lasted for some time (Riggsby, 2006).
This alliance made the Roman republic transform entirely into an empire. His negotiations and deliberations with Pompey through Crassus gave Caesar profound political influence and mettle, which subsequently eliminated civil war in Rome and made him the overall ruler of the empire. Additionally, it elicited better relationships between the leaders and pacified the Roman territories at that epoch.
The Gallic wars brought an advantage to the Roman Empire, through initiatives by Caesar to annex numerous territories and acquired more territory for Rome. He initiated various military crusades against the rival Gallic tribes, who lived in the present France (Riggsby, 2006). These crusades and operations were Gallic wars, where the Roman military, under Caesar’s influence, fought and annexed their territories.
Caesar’s profound tactics with his leadership brought about undisputed and immense victory for the Roman Empire. The victory against the Gallic tribes also augmented the Roman Empire’s territory coverage principally, under the sole leadership of Caesar. Because of the victory, Caesar made various constitutional reforms and became the ultimate ruler of Rome. Further campaigns expanded Roman territories.
Cesar inculcated a civil scuffle that lasted for a long period. He fought the civil wars with mettle and obtained the victory against his foes. In conjunction with the victory from the Gallic wars, Caesar solidified his role as the sole and influential leader of the Roman Empire. He was fighting the conservative Optimates from the Roman senate with ample reinforcement from his numerous followers.
The Optimates had an alliance with Pompey, one of the stakeholders in the first Triumvirate (Loos & Bloom, 2008). His sun disputed victory ensured that he retained his power against his foes, making Rome a dictatorship. This eased its ability to pursue more territories and win in future conquests amid political interference.
Kevin Rudd Compared to Caesar
Kevin Rudd currently serves as Australia’s Prime since 2007. He refers to himself as an acutely determined bastard, which sounds determined. There are several uncanny similarities between the Rudd and Caesar. First, both grew up in the wrong tracks, with a conception that they have to prove themselves more powerful, influential and superior to other aristocrats.
Both possess the sense of pride and self-determination, without dread for any circumstances in their way. They have the mettle to deal with their opponents with a profound magnitude of determination and esteem.
In terms of foreign policy, both Rudd and Caesar appear as expansionists and outward looking personalities. For instance, Rudd pursued an intense crusade for a chair on the Security board on the Libyan territory. Similarly, Caesar had to conquer in the Gallic wars. He dedicated his ample time and effort to secure more territories for Rome without limit and fought the Optimates and his foes without mercy. He promoted internal civil strife to satisfy his greedy desires of power and influence over his opponents and subjects.
Additionally, both had not established their political reform advances when their political rivals opposed them for various parochial or individual reasons. In Caesar’s case, he delegated his obligatory responsibilities of saving the Roman Empire from bankruptcy by fighting his foes and offering legal prerogatives and land to the poor folk. As for Rudd, he saved Australia from a grave financial disaster it had lagged in for a century. Notably, neither feat both practiced saved them from extermination by their hideous rivals.
If Caesar existed in today’s world, I suppose that he would still be dictatorial and egocentric. Despite his determination to dispense power and profound belief in autonomy, he would be inculcating numerous crusades to expand Roman territories. That would bring affluence to Rome, but still scuffles would comprise a humongous deal of adverse ties that come with his leadership.
Additionally, he would be a tyrant and a ruthless dictator who would bring affluence to his empire but inconvenience other nations. He would bring more demerits than benefits.
H.S.C. (n.d). Character Directory. Retrieved from http://hudsonshakespeare.org/Shakespeare%20Library/Character%20Directory/CD_julius_caesar.htm
Loos, P. & Bloom, H. (2008). Julius Caesar. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.
Riggsby, A. M. (2006). Caesar in Gaul and Rome: war in words. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Shakespeare, W. (2011). Julius Caesar. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Political impacts of Julius Caesar Essay
Julius Caesar Roman general, statesman and consul who defers all odds to get a king’s crown. Despite losing his father at the age of sixteen, nothing sets him back. He forcefully leaves his social life and homeland. He shows determination to get what he considers best for his people, despite being away from home.
Consequently, he gets an opportunity to deal with pirates in Cilicia (Canfora, page 4). While in Asia, he performs his duties well and wins trusts of Roman commanders. This gives him a considerable ground, for the task that awaits him back home. As much as Caesar spends his life in Asia, his wish to return home holds strong. A fact which shows in consequent political activities during his reign (Canfora, page 5).
After his father’s demise, he faces a lot of death threats by Sulla who sees him as a potential enemy. He is a threat to power thus, Sulla forcefully sends him away.
This is because of his undying wish to defend the opposition party. A tragedy that makes him realize the importance of fighting for his peoples’ benefit. His determination makes him run for his life while changing hiding places every night. Sulla’s supporters know about Caesars hideouts, but fail to take action. This makes Sulla a failure, as he faces resistance in his urge to kill Julius Caesar (Canfora, page 3).
The return of Julius Caesar to Rome upon Sulla’s death brings a sigh of relief to his people. This is because; honored magistrates trust him and make it possible for Caesar to survive and prosper (Canfora, page 4). His behavior and confidence shows the leadership in him, thus Caesar get honor from Lepidus.
Caesar has the ability to make decisions and determine who among his seniors stands a chance of initiating success. In Lepidus, he sees an adventurer who fails to provide reasonable offers that march his belief. He rejects Lepidus proposals upon his arrival in Rome. This enables Lepidus to see the leadership potential in Caesar and makes his wish to work with him in the government (Canfora, page 5).
Caesar knows the needs of his people, thus he does not allow leaders of bad characters to dominate Roman rule. He fails to fall prey of Lepidus bad initiatives and refuses his proposals. His move ends Lepidus political career, which involves benefiting from strong leaders.
As a result, Caesar’s opposite behavior shows his ability to change the politics of the Roman rule. He makes tough decisions that not only favor him, but also benefits other people. His decision to stay married to the Cinna’s daughter at a younger age and to oppose Lepidus form a strong base in his political move (Canfora, page 5).
His wish to move to the Roman political throne has Caesar align himself with leaders such as Pompey and Crassus (Nardo, page 28). This is because; Pompey does not support the Sullan constitution, a factor that is common between the two. Pompey then introduces Crassus to Caesar with whom together they share Roman leadership.
As a result, they form the first triumvirate in Rome. During their rule, Caesar prosecutes extortionists from the Sullan rule. He intends to clear crimes the Romans face during Sullas reign. This gives him more trust from his people as he deals with previous injustices (Canfora, page 6).
Caesar rises to the position of a military tribune, because of his knowledge in winning electoral campaigns. While in the position of a military tribune, he strives to defend the politics of populares and restore authority in the tribunes. In addition, he directs his efforts to secure return of Lepidus followers from Italy.
This reunites his people and increase his popularity among the Romans. Moreover, Caesar supports the election of Crassus into the position of a consular (Canfora, page 14). Caesar overlooks the misunderstanding between them and ensures that Crassus wins the elections. Thus, Caesar takes advantage in Crassus’s political position to achieve his dream for the Romans.
In addition to his mission of destroying the Sullan constitution together with Pompey and Crassus, Caesar makes good use of his position. In his new position as a quaestor, Caesar restores political honor to Marian faction. A gesture that makes him acceptable to the Romans, this shows during her aunt’s funeral (Canfora, page 15).
Consequently, Caesar reaches out to the people by showing a gesture full of feelings and gentleness. This is unusual of political leaders in Rome. He gives equal opportunities to women and supports their contribution. Thus, he is one politician with a difference to the people (Canfora, page 16).
Caesar has the ability to dominate and conquer, he is able to win the trust of the Romans and build his political position. During his political career, he achieves a lifelong dream of controlling a province in Further Spain. A move he starts by building connections with the province and developing a network of clients (Canfora, page 16).
This he considers important for stabilizing his political position just as Pompey, in whom he invests for political superiority does. His belief in justice enhances his acceptance by people from the province. He offers his services to them during his visit, a gesture that continues his work for the benefit of the province (Canfora, page 17).
However, times change and Caesar realizes his failure to achieve the best in life. He compares himself to Alexander who at his age is a king, ruling a big number of people (Edwards, page 7). He decides to make use of his political position and give himself the desired victory.
As a result, Caesar leaves the province before his term ends and returns to Rome (Nardo, page 30). His arrival marks the beginning of a change in his political career. He makes rules that favor his political wish and demands attention in complex politics. Similarly, Caesar maintains his political allies even though he wants to attain individual agendas (Canfora, page 19).
Caesar prepares for war while at the center of his political career. This he does due to the trust and support of Pompey and Crassus. He gets the right to maneuver and achieve personal advancements, an advantage he uses to assemble the best gladiators.
In choosing his gladiators, he uses his intelligence team to choose those who fight without favor and failure. In addition, Caesar trains his gladiators using Roman knights and senators who have skills in arms. This enables him to get into warfare as well as win, he manages to restore monuments to Marius military (Edwards, page 10).
Having his soldiers get the best training gives Caesar an opportunity to rival and conquer numerous states. His conquering of Gaul makes him a remarkable leader in Roman history. He builds a wall to prevent passage of the Helvetii through his province. He is reluctant to help the Helvetii and feels unsafe in having them get access to Santones. This is because the Helvetii have an equally strong army as the Romans (Caesar, page 5).
Caesar uses his army to fight the Helvetii in their attempt to conquer the Aedui territory. In addition, territories adjacent to the Aedui, seek help from Caesar to help protect themselves from the Helvetii. Caesar despite having a close relation to Dumnorix through his brother, he ensures control of the Helvetii (Caesar, page 11). He eventually manages to conquer adjacent territories and expand his Roman territories despite all challenges.
Obviously, Caesar gets activities made his way, he uses his position to initiate and win wars. In addition he spends a lot of government money in his political initiatives thus indebting his country. Consequently, his attempts to get money from other provinces fail making him desperate.
His last solution to resolving financial constraints is civil war. This he does to help deal with situation of Romans attacking him when in need of money. He allies Lucceius during political elections to enable them us his money in bribing people. This helps him win elections as he has no finances to maintain his political career (Canfora, page 27).
Caesar takes Rome through bloody wars that enable him to gain more wealth to offset his debts. He conquers Britain and gets their gold and palm for his use in barter trade (Canfora, page 29). He fights and conquers other territories belonging to powerful leaders. This makes a stronger political leader than his ally Pompey. As a result, their relationship is weakened and Pompey leaves for war Italy. In addition, he fights against Pompey who later dies in war after defeat by Caesar (Edwards page 34).
Because of his fear of attack after Pompey’s death, Caesar fights against King Ptolemy. His win enables him to conquer Egypt but he fails to make it a province. This is because; Egypt has chances of conquering Rome in the future. In addition, Caesar crosses into Syria and engages in war, he eventually defeats Pompey’s sons in Spain (Edwards, page 35).
However, as much as he wins many wars Caesar face challenges in two occasions, when Pompey attempts to overturn him in war. He also faces challenges while fighting his final battle in Spain. Moreover, he loses his close allies while battling in different parts of the world (Edwards, pg 36).
In conclusion, Caesar is a man of great abilities; he uses his authority to get every territory for his people. His eloquence in speech makes it possible for him to win the trust of different people. To date, not only does his work catch people’s attention but his pieces of writing remain memorable.
He earns glory and admiration from people over an art that enables him prospers in his political career (Edwards, page 56). In addition, Caesar demonstrates his skills in conquering territories and destroying his enemies using horses and arms. This he does at a speed that gives his enemies minimal chances of studying his moves (Edwards, page 57).
Caesar, Julius. Caesara Commentaries:On the Gallic and on the Civil War. Texas: El Parso Norte Press, 2005. Print.
Canfora, Luciano. Julius Caesar: The Life’s and Times of the People’s Dictator. Calfornia: University of California Press, 2007. Print.
Edwards, Catherine. Lives of the Caesars. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.
Nardo, Don. Julius Caesar: Roman General and Statesman. Minnesota: Capstone, 2008. Print.
Why Julius Caesar Was Assassinated Essay
Gaius Julius Caesar remains one of the most important figures for his prolific conquests that he made during his life as an emperor and probably his untimely-preplanned death. This was a genius in making, combating with not only the minute Egypt but also with world giants like Germany, Gaul, and Britain (Appian 1949, 115).
Nevertheless, his ingenuity did not save him from death in the hands of his enemies in disguise as friends, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinu, when they descended on him on Ides of March. These two men, in company of a pack of others, carefully designed the death of Caesar behind his back. However, why would they want to kill their friend?
It is important to note that, Caesar’s leadership or tyrannical rule policies had nothing to do with his death. Despite his leadership skills, all seemed to be well with Romans. All the indicators of a thriving economy were prevalent in Rome.
From creation of thousands of employment opportunities to economic stimulation through export and import, confidence levels amongst Romans were rising by the day and every one seemed to be happy save for some leadership flaws here and there, which are common in any leadership. These leadership flaws could not move anyone to rebel against and plot assassination of the emperor.
Even though there are many schools of thought giving different reasons as to why Caesar was assassinated, the most compelling school of thought is the one stating that, Caesar was assassinated because his assassins wanted power. All other malicious claims directed to Caesar were only to cover the truth. Brutus and Cassius were formerly enemies to Caesar and after he defeated Pompey, they swore allegiance to him but their initial rebellion did not go away and this is evident from the assassination they carried out.
The fact that the men that assassinated Caesar wanted some grounds to accuse him and justify their assassination, implies that they had to plot how to win other people’s hearts and allegiance. Unfortunately, Caesar made many gullible mistakes exposing him to the wiles of these assassins. Many a times he failed to read signs that would signify impeding danger. In the opinion of the writer of this paper, nothing Caesar would say or do that would avert his inevitable death.
Brutus and Cicero were very much aware of the damage they would cause to Caesar once they managed to brand him a tyrant (Yavetz 1983, 186). Therefore, the only thing that these two men needed was to come up with a strategy that would subject Caesar to public ridicule and then attack him after gaining enough support. To do this, they had to convince other senators to get into their scheme; fortunately, they got huge backing from senators, who joined them for different reasons.
According to Nicholas of Damascus (1964), the chief principals of this plot were men who knew for sure that if Caesar were dead, then they would gain power to run the nation. This persuaded many senators to consent to the plot of killing their emperor. Other people agreed to the plot because they were still angry because of losing their relatives and friends in the civil war. Therefore, to end such impunity, they wanted to be led through democracy, not despotism.
However, Nicholas of Damascus (1964) notes that these were mere cover-ups, the fact is that these people were hypnotized by the promise of ascending to power and they would find any excuse to assent to the plot. Moreover, some people joined the plot not because they had anything against Caesar, but because they loved the pioneers of the plot. Interestingly, men who had been genuine friends to Caesar also took part in the plot. How did this happen?
After Caesar forgave the likes of Brutus and Cassius who had been his enemies and gave them powers in his authority, the men who had remained loyal felt betrayed. They could not understand this form of kindness. When Cassius approached them to take part in the plot, they gave in easily for they wanted to revenge what Caesar had done to them.
It is unfortunate that these loyal Caesar friends could not enjoy the good reaps from the war and by joining the plot; they knew they would access power and finally enjoy what they had labored for all that long. Finally, after spurring people from all lifestyles into rebellion, Brutus and Cassius had to fool Caesar into stupid acts that would leave him exposed (Taylor 1949, 173). This opens up the next element of this conspiracy; that is, the plot.
In the Greek culture, no man was to become a king as long as he lived (Yavetz 1983, 193). Wittingly, these assassins painted Caesar as a king by offering him several honors. Unfortunately, Caesar gave in to the ill plans of these brutes and as time went on, he started acting against the law, something that would cost him life.
The disregard for the law would give the assassins a foothold to censure him. The conspirators started by voting on how Caesar would appear in public. According to the vote passed, Caesar was to appear in all public places wearing exultant attire and sit in the chair of state. The aim of this vote was to make bring him close to people who would easily fault him as he mingled with them often.
Additionally, they bestowed on him the power and right to “offer the so-called spolia opima at the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, as if he had slain some hostile general with his own hand. To have lectors that always carried the laurel and after the Feriae Latinae, to ride from Albanum to the city mounted on a charger” (Cassius Dio 1949, 12). This meant that his status was elevated almost to a state of a king. This was just but the beginning of the honors Caesar received.
To hypnotize Caesar completely, the conspirators named him the father of the nation. This was followed by inscribing his image in all the coins used in Rome around that time. Additionally, they passed a vote that Caesar’s birthday was to be celebrated by offering public sacrifice and his statue was to stand in all cities.
Two of Caesar’s statues were to stand in all temples one signifying him as a savior of people and the other as a savoir of the city under siege. A temple was to be built in his honor to symbolize peace. To cap it all, they appointed him the high priest and conferred powers to censure life to him alone.
Mistakenly, Caesar accepted all these accolades with unfathomed gullibility. This saw the passing of the law that required prayers be made to him and he accepted the garbs worn by kings. Finally, after a series of honors that Caesar accepted readily, they “addressed him outright as Julian Jupiter and ordered a temple to be consecrated to him and to his Clemency” (Cassius Dio 1949, 16).
The motive behind all these awards was to paint Caesar as a king or a god, something that would attract disapproval readily, hence justifying their assassination.
Actions of these people spoke loudly and it was evident that they did not have any good faith in what they were doing. “Others, and the majority, followed the courses mentioned because they wished to make him envied and disliked as quickly as possible, that he might the sooner perish” (Renard 1987, 568). This explains clearly the motive behind these accolades. However, this was not the only reason why these senators gave Caesar all these honors.
Going back to Caesar’s life as an emperor, he was always under the watch of a guard. This meant that the senators could not meet him whatsoever; hence, they would not get chance to carry out the assassination. After receiving many honors, Caesar was convinced that these people would never try to eliminate him (Taylor 1949, 175).
Therefore, he let his guard leave for he was now comfortable in the presence of the senators, who had apparently become his friends. As time went by, he dismissed all other guards and now he would remain under the watch of knights and senators. Caesar’s gullibility continued to portray itself as he consistently became mesmerized by the “kindness” of his subjects. However, it did not take long for these power-hungry assassinators to find a loophole in what they would easily exploit at the expense of this gullible emperor.
One evening these conspirators approached Caesar to explain why they would carry some of the house businesses in his absence to show that they worked involuntarily as opposed to compulsory duty (Suetonius 1913, 77). However, Caesar did not wake up from his seat and this dismayed many of them. Sympathizers of Caesar tried to explain that he could not walk because he had a bout of diarrhea; nevertheless, they could not justify these claims because he eventually stood up and walked without support.
These assassins pretended to be dismayed by this act of pride; however, this is all they wanted from the beginning; a foothold to accuse Caesar. Well, they got it fully later when Caesar accepted to be made a dictator for life. Nevertheless, the end was yet to come. Some of the people still supported Caesar and the conspirators had to look for a way to embitter them. The next course of action was well plotted.
As aforementioned, among the Romans, there could not be a king for this was outright scorn to the tribunes. Then the time came, and the senators tried to brand Caesar a king but he refused vehemently. However, after scrutinizing the events, it appears that Caesar wanted the title. Firstly, it would be expected of him to rebuke such people, put them into prison, or worse kill them (Adcock 1951, 693). However, he did not do anything to them.
This showed that he was pleased by the title; something that caused many people to disdain him. To cover up his behavior, Caesar told people that he was not a king but only a Caesar. Even though he took some actions against the first people to call him a king, the measures were not severe as expected for he only relieved them of their duties as tribunes and banned them from public speaking. He went ahead to rub their names from tribune-ship; however, this did not quell the mounting disapproval among citizens. Did he really dissent the title?
The answer to this question is no! If Caesar were totally, against the title, he would come out clearly and refuse it. However;
Antony with his fellow priests saluted him as king and surrounding his brows with a diadem said: “The people give this to you through my hands.” He answered that Jupiter alone was king of the Romans and sent the diadem to him to the Capitol, yet he was not angry and caused it to be inscribed in the records that the royalty presented to him by the people through the consul he had refused to receive.
It was accordingly suspected that this had been done by some prearranged plan and that he was anxious for the name but wished to be somehow compelled to take it, and the consequent hatred against him was intense (Cassius Dio 1949, 17).
This shows that he somehow accepted the title “king”; hence, making him a tyrant. Thus, the assassination would not be branded as such, but it would be called tyrannicide. However, Caesar was still popular amongst middle and lower classes and they vowed to fight Brutus and his team. The fact that Brutus went to organize troops in Greece to topple Antony is a clear indication that all he wanted was power.
Despite his ingenuity in conquering his enemies, Caesar could not deal with his closest enemies who disguised as friends. They led him into believing that they liked and honored him by awarding him with several accolades until they won his trust. First, they had to win his trust to a point of him letting go of his guards.
This would ensure that the senators gained access to Caesar and have the opportunity to kill him. Luckily, this worked well for them as they accomplished it. Secondly, they had to paint Caesar as a tyrant in the eyes of the citizens to justify their assassination, which in effect it would be termed as tyrannicide. They also accomplished this by branding him a ‘king”, a title that he was not supposed to hold. Their craftiness was aided in part by Caesar’s gullibility and failure to read the two sided of the coin.
There is clear indication that Caesar wanted to be called a king and this was the biggest mistake that he made. However, this assassination was inevitable and nothing he would have done to prevent it. It was a political attack where the assassinators were power hungry and the only way they could gain it was through assassination. However, they failed in their bid to rule Rome as opposition mounted against them leading to a series of wars.
Adcock, F. 1951. Caesar’s Dictatorship. Cook, S. & Charlesworth, P. Ed. The
Cambridge Ancient History, New York: Cambridge University Press 9(2): 691-740.
Appian. 1949. The Civil Wars. 111-117
Cassius Dio. 1944. “The Accounts of Dio.” 1-11
Nicolaus of Damascus. 1984. Life of Augustus. Bellemore, Jane. Bristol Classical Press, 26-50.
Renard, Marcel. 1987. Caesar’s Personal Enemies on the Ides of March. 568-573
Suetonius, Tranquillus. 1913. Life of Caesar. New York: Loeb Classical Library, 76-79.
Taylor, Lily R. 1949. Party Politics in the Age of Caesar. Berkeley: University of California Press. 172-179.
Yavetz, Z. 1983. Julius Caesar and his Public Image. London: Thames and Hudson.
Julius Caesar’ Desire for Power Essay
Throughout the annals of time there have been men that have quite literally steered the course of human history, their impact, influence and subsequent contributions to the shaping of mankind have helped bring about the current society that people now enjoy today; one such man who has forever left an indelible mark in humanity’s collective past is Julius Caesar.
General, statesman and politician; Caesar in his lifetime accumulate a plethora of important titles however he is best known today as the instigator of change within Rome wherein the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire.
While various historians and critics may disparage Caesar over the change he wrought over a previously democratic society into a sudden dictatorship the fact remains that it was through his actions that Rome was not only able to expand territorially but economically as well.
What must be understood is that all of Caesar’s actions in one way or another can be set under a particular structural behavioral model which focuses on Caesar’s inherent desire for power and control. His actions such as beginning the Roman civil war, creating the Roman Empire and increasingly placing his own people into important bureaucratic positions all fit the standard actions of most dictatorial rulers whose desire for power is only eclipsed by their desire to maintain control over the system that they currently preside over.
In fact a comparison between the actions of Julius Caesar and former Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos show distinct similarities wherein both attempted to control their respective systems through the placement of controlled individuals within government positions, instigating change within the system of government and finally implementing strict control over both the government and the population.
Explaining Caesar’s actions from divorcing his wife, forming a political alliance with Pompey and Crassus to further solidifying his power through significant political control can actually be traced back to his humble origins which fermented his desire for power and created the necessary impetus to begin his desire for a dictatorship.
Examining the Origins of Caesar’s Desire for Power
An examination of Caesar’s early life reveals that he was born into the “gens Julia”, a relatively minor patrician family who claim decent from the Trojan prince Aeneas. Despite their ancestry Caesar’s family had relatively minor political clout or wealth and such throughout much of his early life Caesar had to work his way up from relatively minor political positions all the way to his appoint has the new high priest of Jupiter, a position he was able to obtain only through his marriage to the daughter of Lucius Cinna.
It must be noted that throughout Caesar’s early childhood (91 B.C. to 82 BC) Rome was undergoing significant turmoil due to the actions of the Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. At this particular point in time it must be noted that when Sulla came to power he had many of his political enemies either killed or exiled from Rome.
Due to Caesar’s marriage to the daughter of Lucius Cornelius he was implicated in this apparent purge which resulted in him being stripped of his inheritance, wealth and even his job. It was only through the intervention of his mother’s family which was politically well connected as well as the Vestal Virgins from the temple of Jupiter that Caesar was able to avoid possible death or exile.
It can be assumed that the chaotic political environment Caesar grew up in combined with the early death of his father, as well as his subsequent lost of wealth and entitlement under Sulla gave rise to his future predisposition to want power, not only as a means of control over a chaotic political and social landscape but also as a means of ensuring that he himself would never have to suffer actions similar to what was done to him at the hands of Sulla.
Caesar’s Rise to Power
As mentioned earlier Julius Caesar was seemingly defined by his desire for power. In 60 BC Caesar, Crassus and Pompey entered into an alliance that dominate the political arena of Rome for many years. Their attempt at gaining power was fueled by political strategies similar to today’s populist tactics resulting in development of enmity between them and the Roman Senate due to the presence of the conservative elite who wanted Rome to retain its current method of leadership.
It was only through his conquest of areas such as Gaul and the invasion of Britain using the Roman army that Caesar was able to gain enough political and military to actually politically spar against the Senate. Unfortunately with the death of Crassus by 53 BC and Caesar’s subsequent rise to power this as a result eclipsed the political standing of Pompey resulting in a distinct shift in the balance of power wherein Pompey began to side against Caesar with the other members of the Roman Senate backing him up.
This in turn resulted in various charges being brought against Caesar for his supposed “treasonous” actions against the Roman Senate. With the might of the several Legions behind him Caesar travelled from Gaul to Italy which resulted in a subsequent civil war which Caesar won resulting in him becoming the uncontested leader of the Roman Republic which was to become the Roman Empire.
Throughout his political career Caesar established numerous reforms aimed at creating a stronger central government and making sure that the Roman Republic became a cohesive whole (Caesar, 1996). While Caesar’s subsequent assassination by several members of the Roman Senate is a well known fact it must be established that it was not in fact directly connected to his relationship with Cleopatra.
While it may be true that the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra was looked down upon by various member of the Senate this was not actually enough impetus to actually cause the assassination of Caesar (Caesar, 1996). Rather it was Caesar’s strong handed reforms as well as his continued personal appointments to the Senate and various members to several vital offices that precipitated his assassination.
Reforms Precipitated by Caesar
Caesar, by and large, accommodated the needs and wants of Rome’s more common citizens rather than that of the rich, this is reflected in the various reforms he instituted which this paper will now discuss. One of the first reforms instituted by Caesar was the grain dole allotted to each Roman citizen (grain dole acted as a form of welfare rolls at the time of the Roman Empire).
The previous administration set the count at 320,000 however Caesar slashed this to 150,000. This particular action was not done due to cost saving measures or in an attempt to starve people but was in fact one of the first attempts at population control of a major metropolitan center.
As Rome became more popular more and more people flocked to it in order to gain jobs, start businesses etc. Unfortunately, just like any modern city, the resulting flood of people into Rome not only caused problems for the local food supply but problems related to unemployment were further exacerbated by the sheer amount of people in the city.
The halving of the grain dole was in fact a means of encouraging the people who had come to Rome to go back to their various homelands. In fact it was these generous handouts by the Rome itself that had attracted people to come to it in the first place.
It must be noted though that the amount of rations allotted to families with children was actually increased in order to prevent possible occurrences of malnutrition. Another reform that Caesar enacted was that he freed nearly 1/3 of all slave workers in Rome and in its surrounding large estates.
While this granted him the gratitude of thousands of freed slave workers the fact of the matter is this particular reform was aimed at resolving the increased rate of unemployment within the Roman capital. At the time Rome actually had a rather high unemployment rate due to the fact that a majority of jobs done at the time were done by slaves since they were a form of free labor. This resulted in more jobs going to slaves than to Roman citizens; by freeing thousands of slaves this in effect created thousands of new jobs for the citizens of Rome.
One particular reform that granted him the gratitude of nearly every single citizen in Rome was a restructuring of the process of debt wherein through the lowering of interest rates and other similar procedures this resulted in nearly 1/4 of all debt owed by Roman citizens to be effectively canceled.
This reduction in debt was also combined with an increase in the amount of currency circulated in the market which helped to spark greater economic activity which in turn promoted the creation of more jobs resulting in lowering the unemployment rate even further.
In terms of visible reforms to Rome Caesar in effect sparked enormous public works projects such as rebuilding the senate, the forum and various commercial buildings wherein the construction of various Roman facades was changed from brick to its now characteristic marble.
This particular aesthetic reform greatly endeared him to ordinary Roman citizens of the capital since it made them take greater pride in their city. One reform that Caesar enacted, which even today is being utilized, was the reform of the Roman calendar year.
Previously the Roman calendar was calculated using various phases of the moon with certain deficits in the calculations being fixed by adding in leap days. Unfortunately such a method of organization resulted in a new calendar being implemented each year with the New Year sometimes being implemented on Autumn or in Spring of the next year.
Inspired by the method of date keeping used in Alexandria, Caesar changed the number of days within a year to 365 making every 4th year a leap year. The very calendar created by Caesar is still in use today with a few minor changes implemented to take into account slight errors.
Examining the Reforms
An examination of the reforms reveals that most of them positively affected ordinary Roman citizens and the middle class but in effect alienated members of the upper class. It must be noted that one common theme in the actions of Caesar was that despite his lust for power his actions often resulted in positive effects for the middle or lower classes of Roman society.
It must be noted that based on various historical perspectives it has always been the upper class that has been the stumbling block for most economic and social reforms since changes to these particular aspects of society, while beneficial to lower classes, was actually detrimental towards the continued accumulation of wealth and prestige by the upper class.
It can be said that Caesar could have only instituted such reforms because of the power he accumulated since utilizing any other method would have resulted in either a far longer period of time before the reforms could have been enacted to even the reforms not pushing through at all.
As such, though historical records cannot say for certain, perhaps it can be assumed that Caesar took on the role of a dictator and tried to seize as much power as he could since he realized early on that this was the only effective method of actually instituting change within Rome at the time.
Examining the Relationship between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
First and foremost it must be stated that the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra was doomed to failure since the beginning. The reason behind this lies in the differences behind their origin and Caesar’s desire to rule Rome (Bergquist, 1- 3). An examination of Ancient Roman customs at the time reveals that marriage, for it to be acceptable within the public domain of Rome, must be conducted only between two Romans.
While it is acceptable to have relations with members of other races a Roman cannot marry them rather such liaisons can be done extra-martially since there is no law that forbids a Roman from having extra-marital affairs.
The reason behind this particular social practice which doomed the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra could be described as being similar to a form of xenophobia but not as severe since it allows liaisons to exist. While there are obscure references to this apparent practice one modern day definition is to describe it as Humanocentric speciesism.
Humanocentric speciesism is based off two distinct concepts the first being Humanocentrism which is described as a tendency for human beings to view the natural environment and other species from the standpoint of a distinctly human majority (Brennan, 274 – 302). Its premise is that anything that is outside the concept of being human is immediately classified as non-human or in extreme cases “alien” (Brennan, 276).
For the Romans, their belief in Rome being the epitome of civilization caused them to believe that all other races are inherently inferior. This is reflected in their various actions such as their subjugation of other races as well as laws and social practices forbidding marriages to occur between Romans and non-Romans. Speciesism on the other hand is based on the belief that the species a particular individual or group belongs to is inherently superior to all other species (Brooks, 32).
One notable historical example of such a belief was the concept of the Übermensch developed by the German philosopher Nietzche in 1883 and taken to its extremes by the Nazi regime. This particular brand of speciesism consisted of considering all other races inferior to Germans as the Übermensch or master race of humanity, a philosophy that helped to contribute to genocide of the Jewish population in Europe (Brooks, 32).
A similar concept was applied by the Romans in which their continued expansion into Gaul obliterated many of the native populations under the banner of Roman expansionism which is similar to the concept of Hitler involving “lebenstraum” (living space).
The reason such concepts are mentioned is due to the fact that they address important issues in the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra. It must be mentioned that at the time of their relationship Cleopatra did bear a son for Julius Caesar which she named Caessarian which can be interpreted as “little Caesar” (Feller, 1).
It must be noted that upon his assassination his will specifically stated that his nephew, Octavian, would inherit his title and wealth and not the son he bore through Cleopatra. Such a concept would be considered rather confusing to most people since fathers would usually place in their will that their son would inherit a majority of the father’s accumulated wealth.
The reason behind this is once more directly attributable to the concept of humanocentric speciesism, the reason why Caesar’s will never even indicated that his own son would get anything is directly attributed to the fact that even he recognized that Roman society would never accept a son born from a non-Roman citizen.
It can be stated that Caesar’s desire for power dictated nearly all his actions in life resulting in his rise and eventual fall as a result of this apparent need for power and control. Though he is remembered as a dictator it must be noted that his reforms within Roman society as well as his actions which created the impetus for the creation of the Roman empire affected present day society in such a profound way that should Caesar never have existed the present could possibly not have become what it is today.
Bergquist, Gordon N. “Caesar and Cleopatra.” Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web.
Brennan, Andrew. “HUMANISM, RACISM AND SPECIESISM.” Worldviews: Environment Culture Religion 7.3 (2003): 274-302. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web.
Brooks, David. “SUPERIORITY COMPLEX.” Atlantic Monthly (10727825) 290.4 (2002): 32. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web.
Caesar, Julius. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia. (1996): 159-160. EBSCO. Web.
Feller, Thomas R. “Caesar and Cleopatra.” Cyclopedia of Literary Places (2003): 1. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web.
Julius Caesar an Iconic Roman Essay
Based on my personal opinion, Julius Caesar was a highly influential Roman, as a leader and as an ordinary person. He is a person who greatly influenced the then Roman people, as well as the recent generations, including Western culture affiliates. He lived between July 100 BC and March 44 BC. Caesar was a statesman, Roman General, and a renowned writer of Latin literature.
He was a major actor in bringing about the gradual revolution of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Among the milestones of his life, in 60 BC, together with Pompey, he formed the political alliance, an establishment created to dominate Roman politics for a number of years.
However, their attempts to converge power through populist movements, were greatly opposed by the conservative elite class within the Roman senate. These included Cato the younger, and Cicero. Caesar’s conquest over Gaul was accomplished by 51 BC, leading to the expansion of Rome’s coverage to the English Channel and the Rhine area.
Caesar recorded the accomplishment of becoming the first Roman Empire, to cross both boundaries, after building a bridge across the Rhine and leading the first invasion into the British territory (Thorne, 2003).
The accomplishments which Caesar achieved, marked him as an unmatched military leader, who would command massive military power, which led to his eclipsing of Pompey’s standing. The division of power among the two was further threatened by the death of Crassus in 53 BC.
Later, the political realignments taking place in Roman rule led to confrontation between Caesar and Pompey, with Pompey assuming the course of the senate. Through the demands of the senate, Caesar was required to face a trial in Rome, over a number of charges.
Instead, Caesar accompanied by one legion, marched from Gaul to Italy, during which, he crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC. The march sparked a civil war, which left Caesar, the unopposed leader of the Roman Republic.
After taking up leadership over the government, he started widespread reforms of the Roman society and the government system. Further, he centralized the bureaucracy of the Roman Republic, thus was declared a dictator in precedence.
Later on, a number of senators led by Marcus Brutus, ordered the assassination of Caesar in 44 BC, hoping that his death would help revert the system to the constitutional republic government system.
However, the unexpected came about, as a series of civil wars took place, which led to the ultimate permanent establishment of the Roman Empire by Caesar’s adopted heir, Octavius (Augustus Caesar). The larger part of Caesars life was marked by his military engagements (Thorne, 2003).
During his time and after his death, especially among the Romans and his present day admirers, Julius Caesar was well-liked and revered for a number of accomplishments and traits. These include the view that he was a defender of the rights of the people of his time, against the ruling oligarchy.
He is also revered as a highly ambitious person, who was able to push his way into dictatorial power, and bringing about the death of the republic, through his highly developed tactical leadership. Caesar is also revered for his gifted, versatile nature, which saw him amass great success in war, as an orator and a statesman in an effective manner (Thorne, 2003).
Another area that has touched and influenced succeeding generation till the present time, is the literary ability of Caesar. His literary creations are highly revered and used as military references. These include the civil war literature (three books), and commentaries on the Gallic wars, which are documented in seven books.
This literature lives on, and is cited as beautiful and clearly drawn from Latin classic works. In the field of poetry, the only one of Caesar’s works which is traceable to the present, is a poem about Terrence. This piece has also received usage and reverence as a concise Latin piece, depicting the literal constructions of the then Roman society.
In tracing his influence on the Western culture up to date, Caesars death, served to trigger his power and influence, which grew to the level of installing him as a central symbol of western culture and a mythic emblem.
In contributing to the Western culture, the figure of Caesar has been adopted by historical figures like Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Madison Avenue, and George Shaw. For instance, Mussolini and Napoleon have given tribute to Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon in the protection of the dictatorial course they supported.
Caesar has received credit as a one of a kind political leader. Credit is given to the social, economic, and political changes he caused on the Roman society and government. Caesar’s unique model is given credit and acknowledgement for the ability he showed in breaking the long-standing laws operating within the then Roman society.
This serves to show him as a historical model, who may be emulated by the leaders of today, to bring about the changes that are needed within the history of government systems. Some of the revolutionary changes of Caesar, include his bringing of an entire army into the city, mainly because, prior to his act of disobedience, the army had not set foot inside the city of Rome.
Caesar is seen as a proponent of changes, against the interests of the powerful system, proving the ability of changing socially constructed tolerance for undesired societal systems and structures. Some of the lines or key phrases used or related to his life, are used in real life situations, to explain the directly unrelated events or occurrences.
One phrase which has received such usage to a considerable level is, ‘Crosses the Rubicon,’ which is used as a figurative phrase to show the situation of going beyond the expected conventional levels. For instance, the phrase is used in explaining the cases, where an individual acts way beyond his entitlement, in terms of what he is allowed to do and what not to.
These constructions show that his lines of action, mark milestones in marking real life events, which has held value for many generations after his death (Elton, 1996).
After his death, instead of his legacy dying and things returning to the way they were before he had got into the picture of political leadership, they got even worse, with the possibility of a return to the republic status becoming impossible. Instead, what happened was that civil wars started taking place, which threatened the leadership of the very people who had gotten Caesar assassinated.
After all the civil wars and the deterioration in stability, the leadership fell into the hands of Caesars heir, Mr. Augustus Caesar, and not the rivals. The power of Augustus, further led to the permanent change to the empire status of the region, thus the hopes of reclaiming the republic status (Casson, 1998).
The death of Caesar was more of a motivation to the Romans, and not a loss of their highly esteemed leader. This can be traced to the dramatic entry into power, which had clearly portrayed to the Romans, the ability of working against the common current or established negative principles.
After his death, the Romans were again woken up to the fact that they would expect the leadership imbalances eliminated by Caesar to resurface. As a result, the fear that a power struggle would take place empowered the Romans, which led to the revolt against the leadership change, thus the civil wars witnessed.
This was highly unexpected, as Caesar, a declared dictator, had the support of all the people of Rome, and his death resulted in administrative imbalances. That helped serve the role of showing that he was more of a Roman’s leader, though a dictator. This trait has led to the long held prominence of this icon, thus the influence of Western leadership which comes along with it (Blackburn & Holford, 1999).
The key role played by Caesar in changing Rome and Europe in general, is socially, through the conquering of Gaul and the extension of the Roman culture into England, Belgium, and France. This was the unifying tie, between these varied lands of Celtic tribes into a unified common, in the fabric of the history of Western Europe as Romanic, and the Germanic Europe as a classic.
These major revisions of the cultural aspects of Europe and other societies, have played a great role, in shaping the current world, which has directed credit to him, even thousands of years after his death (Adkins & Adkins, 1998).
One highly revered figure in the history of the Western culture as well as the history of the globe as a whole is Caesar, a person who was authoritative in his time, and who grew more influential after his death.
The areas that give this figure immense influence, include his pattern of leadership against the odds, as well as the historical role played in creating the Western culture. Thousands of years later, his name is as influential as it was after his death, both in leadership lines as well as other areas.
Adkins, L., & Adkins, R. (1998). Handbook to life in ancient Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Blackburn, B., & Holford, S. L. (1999). The Oxford companion to the year. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Casson, L. (1998). Everyday life in ancient Rome. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Elton, H. (1996). Warfare in Roman Europe AD350-425. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thorne, J. (2003). Julius Caesar: conqueror and dictator. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.
Cleopatra’ and Caesar’ Relationship Research Paper
Throughout the annals of time, there have been relationships that have quite literally steered the course of human history, while such occurrences are rare and are fortunately few and far between this does not lessen their historical importance nor their need to be studied. Before beginning on an examination of one such relationship, it must first be noted that such relationships are comparable to that of Paris and Helen in ancient Greek mythology.
This is not to say that they brought disaster (though often they did) but rather they were the causes of great historical events and can even be considered an impetus of change within a distinct country or region which had a direct effect on the way historical events played out.
One such notable historical relationship, which has been rendered time and again in the annals of history and Hollywood films, is that of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. It must be noted that this particular relationship is unique among all others because not only are both individuals the heads of their respective states but they show similar character traits revolving around the ambition and the desire for power.
To better understand both individuals, this paper shall examine events detailing the lives of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, how they met and the events leading up to their eventual relationship and its subsequent unfortunate end. It must be noted though that based off historical accounts the relationship between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar was bound to fail even before it started due to the volatile combination of their personalities and the fact that both individuals were the heads of state of their respective countries.
An Examination of Cleopatra
Cleopatra is known historically for her great beauty yet few realize that it was because of this very beauty that resulted at an end of an age for Egypt whereon upon her death she became the very last pharaoh to have ever ruled the country. When examining the historical context of her relationship with Julius Caesar one question that comes to mind is how did Cleopatra and Julius Caesar even have anything in common let alone spoke the same language?
What must first be understood is that Cleopatra or Cleopatra VII Philopator was originally a member of Ptolemaic dynasty. This was a family which was originally from Greece that had ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. As such, due to her family origins and the fact that she spoke mainly Greek (but knew Egyptian).
This resulted in her being more attuned to the language and culture of the Mediterranean rather than that of Egypt (Bergquist, 2010). This would explain why two people from different cultures were actually able to find some semblance of common ground and were able to communicate.
The inherent problem with the various pop culture accounts of Cleopatra is that they always seem to indicate her beauty but neglect to mention her origins resulting in most people today believing that she initially had no connection whatsoever to Rome or that she was a pure blooded Egyptian (Bergquist, 2010).
An examination of the various historical accounts preceding the events before the meeting of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar shows that when Cleopatra’s father Ptolemy the 12th died by 51 BC, his will indicated that both Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy the 13th would rule as joint monarchs.
Unfortunately, such a decision proved to be rather ill-advised since Cleopatra’s beauty was only exceeded by her lust for power. This particular behavioral trait resulted in her having no intention whatsoever in sharing power with her brother.
It must be noted that at the time of their joint appointment Cleopatra was 18 while Ptolemy the 13th was actually only 10 years old, while it may be true Cleopatra did have a certain lust for power the fact remains that her younger sibling, who she subsequently married as per Egyptian tradition, was nothing more than a child at the time of his appointment which probably facilitated her notion that she should not share power with a mere child.
While such a notion is quite logical the fact remains that Egyptian society did not truly accept the notion of sole female rulers without male guidance. As a result, while Cleopatra did attempt to isolate Ptolemy the 13th from power by removing his name from all administrative documents and having her image placed on Egypt’s legal tender (coins) at the time the fact remains that her rule was on tenuous ground as a result of both the fact that she was a woman and that during the start of her rule widespread famine had occurred over numerous territories in Egypt (Bergquist, 2010).
It was a combination of these factors that resulted in her brother’s advisors, who wanted to rule Egypt themselves, to conspire against her resulting in her removal from power by 48 B.C. It was at this precise time that Julius Caesar had arrived in Egypt to capture his political enemy Pompey.
Unfortunately for Ptolemy but fortunately for Cleopatra, Ptolemy had the ill-advised decision to have Pompey beheaded and presented the head to Caesar when he arrived. By beheading Pompey, Ptolemy had in effect angered Caesar since not only had the Egyptian ruler murdered a citizen of Rome he had in effect killed a member of the Roman leadership.
What must be understood is that at time of Pompey’s murder Egypt was financing a large percentage of the Roman army through supplies and various resources. While both Rome and Egypt were regional powers at the time of this particular event Rome was the stronger of two and as such supplies and resources provided by Egypt to Rome could, in fact, be constituted as a bribe to prevent its total annexation by the Roman Empire.
Through the death of Pompey Caesar seized the Egyptian capital to decide the fate of Egypt due to the actions of Ptolemy. Seeing an opportunity to take advantage of the situation yet unable to meet Caesar due to the guards posted outside the palace by Ptolemy Cleopatra has herself smuggled into the palace by having herself rolled into a carpet by a slave. When in the room of Caesar the slave then subsequently unrolled the carpet in front of Caesar thus initiating the romance between the two.
An Examination of Julius Caesar
Similar to the historical accounts of Cleopatra, Julius Caesar was also seemingly defined by his desire for power. In 60 BC Caesar, Crassus and Pompey entered into an alliance that dominates the political arena of Rome for many years.
Their attempt at gaining power was fueled by political strategies similar to today’s populist tactics resulting in the development of enmity between them and the Roman Senate due to the presence of the conservative elite who wanted Rome to retain its current method of leadership. It was only through his conquest of areas such as Gaul and the invasion of Britain using the Roman army that Caesar was able to gain enough political and military to politically spar against the Senate.
Unfortunately, with the death of Crassus by 53 BC and Caesar’s subsequent rise to power this, as a result, eclipsed the political standing of Pompey resulting in a distinct shift in the balance of power wherein Pompey began to side against Caesar with the other members of the Roman Senate backing him up.
This, in turn, resulted in various charges being brought against Caesar for his supposed “treasonous” actions against the Roman Senate. With the might of the several Legions behind him, Caesar traveled from Gaul to Italy which resulted in a subsequent civil war which Caesar won resulting in him becoming the uncontested leader of the Roman Republic which was to become the Roman Empire.
It must be noted that the contentions behind Caesar and Pompey also resulted from similar circumstances as that of Cleopatra and Ptolemy the 13th. Both Cleopatra and Caesar wished to rule without the interference, for Cleopatra this meant her brother while for Caesar this was Pompey and the Roman Senate (Feller, 2003).
In fact it can be argued that the case of both leaders are eerily similar, both used the Roman army in order to gain their power (in the case of Cleopatra the army was used by Caesar for her), and both refused to share power with someone far younger than them (Pompey was several years younger than Caesar at this point).
Throughout his political career, Caesar established numerous reforms aimed at creating a stronger central government and making sure that the Roman Republic became a cohesive whole (Caesar, 1996). While Caesar’s subsequent assassination by several members of the Roman Senate is a well-known fact, it must be established that it was not directly connected to his relationship with Cleopatra.
While it may be true that the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra was looked down upon by a various member of the Senate this was not enough impetus to cause the assassination of Caesar (Caesar, 1996). Rather it was Caesar’s strong-handed reforms as well as his continued personal appointments to the Senate and various members to several vital offices that precipitated his assassination.
Examining the Relationship Between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
First and foremost it must be stated that the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra was doomed to failure since the beginning. The reason behind this lies in the differences behind their origin and Caesar’s desire to rule Rome. AN examination of Ancient Roman customs at the time reveals that marriage, for it to be acceptable within the public domain of Rome, must be conducted only between two Romans.
While it is acceptable to have relations with members of other races a Roman cannot marry them rather such liaisons can be done extra-martially since there is no law that forbids a Roman from having extra-marital affairs. The reason behind this particular social practice which doomed the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra could be described as being similar to a form of xenophobia but not as severe since it allows liaisons to exist.
While there are obscure references to this apparent practice, one modern-day definition is to describe it as Humanocentric speciesism. Humanocentric speciesism is based off two distinct concepts the first being Humanocentrism which is described as a tendency for human beings to view the natural environment and other species from the standpoint of a distinctly human majority (Brennan, 2003).
Its premise is that anything that is outside the concept of being human is immediately classified as non-human or in extreme cases “alien” (Brennan, 2003). For the Romans, their belief in Rome is the epitome of civilization caused them to believe that all other races are inherently inferior. This is reflected in their various actions such as their subjugation of other races as well as laws and social practices forbidding marriages to occur between Romans and non-Romans.
Speciesism, on the other hand, is based on the belief that the species a particular individual or group belongs to is inherently superior to all other species (Brooks, 2002). One notable historical example of such a belief was the concept of the Übermensch developed by the German philosopher Nietzche in 1883 and taken to its extremes by the Nazi regime.
This particular brand of speciesism consisted of considering all other races inferior to Germans as the Übermensch or master race of humanity, a philosophy that helped to contribute to the genocide of the Jewish population in Europe (Brooks, 2002).
A similar concept was applied by the Romans in which their continued expansion into Gaul obliterated many of the native populations under the banner of Roman expansionism which is similar to the concept of Hitler involving “lebensraum” (living space). The reason such concepts are mentioned is that they address important issues in the relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra.
It must be mentioned that at the time of their relationship Cleopatra did bear a son for Julius Caesar which she named Caesarian which can be interpreted as “little Caesar.” It must be noted that upon his assassination his will specifically stated that his nephew, Octavian, would inherit his title and wealth and not the son he bore through Cleopatra.
Such a concept would be considered rather confusing to most people since fathers would usually place in their will that their son would inherit a majority of the father’s accumulated wealth (Feller, 2003). The reason behind this is once more directly attributable to the concept of humanocentric speciesism, the reason why Caesar’s will never even indicated that his son would get anything is directly attributed to the fact that even he recognized that Roman society would never accept a son born from a non-Roman citizen.
In the eyes of Cleopatra, her path to greater power than being the mere ruler of Egypt was through bearing a son to Caesar and using that son as a method of controlling the power of Rome (Feller, 2003). It has already been evidenced by numerous historical accounts that Cleopatra was not above using poison to achieve her ends and in fact, marrying within the family was considered a normal concept within Egyptian royalty.
It can be assumed that based on Cleopatra’s past behavior if Caesar had acknowledged his son born through Cleopatra as his heir his days would have been numbered (Lutz, 1993). Historical records show that Caesar was perhaps also aware of this potential event coming to pass since he never truly acknowledges the boy as his, states that the boy is his heir, or even changes his will to include Caesarian into proceeds should he die (Feller, 2003).
Taking this particular train of thought into account, the relationship of Caesar with Cleopatra might have been one where Cleopatra constantly schemed to have Caesar recognize Caesarian as his rightful heir while Caesar knowing full well of her true intentions merely strung her along with false promises (Lutz, 1993).
While such an assumption has no historical evidence to back it up the fact remains that Caesar was still married at the time of his various liaisons with Cleopatra and never divorced his wife even until the time of his death (Caesar, 1996).
Based on this fact alone shows that Caesar never truly wished to marry Cleopatra it could even be stated that Caesar was using Cleopatra to ensure that resources from Egypt continued to flow into Rome. As such it can be stated that both Caesar and Cleopatra were using each other to achieve their ends and this supposed “relationship” of theirs was nothing more than a farce.
Bergquist, G. N. (2010). Caesar and Cleopatra. Masterplots, Fourth Edition, 1-3. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Brennan, A. (2003).Humanism, Racism And Speciesism. Worldviews: Environment Culture Religion, 7(3), 274-302. doi:10.1163/156853503322709146
Brooks, D. (2002).Superiority Complex. Atlantic Monthly (10727825), 290(4), 32. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Caesar, Julius. (1996). Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, 159-160. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Feller, T. R. (2003). Caesar and Cleopatra. Cyclopedia of Literary Places, 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Lutz, R. C. (1993). Cleopatra’s Children. Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Biography Series, 1-2. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Julius Caesar’s and Czar Nicholas II’s Leadership Report
Leaders Julius Caesar and Czar Nicholas II
Many prominent leaders have been assassinated at the worst possible time. It happened because they had numerous enemies because of their political efforts. It is hard to tell how modern history would change if those murders did not occur. There are numerous similarities between Julius Caesar and Czar Nicholas II of Russia.
Many call the first one the greatest figure in the world’s history, and it is hard to disagree if all of his achievements are taken into consideration. He was born a hundred years before our era. During childhood, he was interested in subjects such as philosophy, strategy, and astronomy, and has got an exceptional education. He was determined to reach his goals during his early life (Canfora, 2007). He had to overcome numerous difficulties during his life that have led him to the path of becoming a leader. He had to leave his country because of the rivalry with a dictator Sulla. He has joined an army in Asia where he won numerous battles thanks to his skills. Julius Caesar was able to turn almost any situation in his favor (Nardo, Osgood, & Rosemary, 2009).
He was a great leader and was respected by the people for his incredible speeches (Canfora, 2007). One of the most interesting topics is his relationship with Cleopatra because it was one of the most powerful alliances at that time. His decisions as a general were often bold, but sometimes they were reckless depending on the situation (Ferrill n.d.). It is known that he had suffered 23 sword wounds during the assassination because attackers wanted to make sure that he dies. He was stabbed so many times because he instilled fear, and many believed that he was immortal.
Nicholas II was born in 1968, and most of his childhood was spent in the Gatchina Palace. His mentor has taught him how to speak English, and to pay attention to personal health. The adult life of Nicolas II has started after the assassination of his grandfather. He was incredibly calm and precise with his decisions (Thatcher, 2005). His reign was during the age of changes, and it was hard for him to accept. Tomaszewski states that “despite his reputation as a reactionary and weak-willed ruler, Nicholas II was consistent in his post-1905 foreign policy” (p. 43). In other words, he wanted to follow the steps of his father.
He had to face the first revolution in the history of Russia and has changed the form of government. He had numerous accomplishments. However, the participation of his country in World War I has destroyed his dynasty. Nicolas II has died as a martyr and was buried only 80 years later after the incident. Overall, he was not ready to become a Czar and has made numerous mistakes during his reign.
These assassinated leaders may be compared because there are some similarities. Many believed that they were saints. Julius Caesar is still an idol of many. He made people tremble in his presence, and he has reached an unbelievable status for a man (Griffin, 2009). Czar and his family were also canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church after the assassination. They both made mistakes that have led to their demise because they trusted the people that they should not have, and both were viciously executed. The assassination of a Roman statesman was planned by senators that did not want to attack the Parthian Empire.
There were numerous attempts to murder Julius Caesar, but they were not successful. Nevertheless, he was assassinated in 44 BC by his allies. The association with Gregory Rasputin has led to the collapse of the government of Nicolas II (Whittemore, 2012). Both of them were murdered when they were in their 50s. Another similarity is that they both were military men and had spent a lot of time on the battlefield to sharpen their strategy-making skills. They both have created political alliances that consisted of three countries that were necessary at that time.
However, there are numerous differences between them. First of all, Julius Caesar has led his nation to glory when decisions of the Russian Czar have only caused chaos and ruin. Nicholas II was not as confident and outspoken as a Roman statesman, and many believe that he was not ready to accept his role as a ruler. He was not as brave and spiritual and was not capable of overcoming such difficulties that Julius Caesar had to face. The Roman general was mostly making his own decisions when Russian Czar was listening to the opinions of the ministers.
In conclusion, there are indeed many similarities between these assassinated leaders. They both are crucial figures in the world’s history. Both of them were not as perfect as many believed, but their leadership skills were impressive. They were ruling at different times, and there is no surprise that there are many differences between them. Both leaders had many enemies even among their people. Nevertheless, they will always be remembered and stay on the pages of history.
Canfora, L. (2007). Julius Caesar: The life and times of the people’s dictator. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Ferrill, A. (n.d.). Julius Caesar. Web.
Griffin, M. (2009). A companion to Julius Caesar. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
Nardo, D., Osgod J., & Palmer R. G. (2009). Julius Caesar: Roman general and statesman. Mankato, MN: Capstone.
Thatcher, I. D. (2005). Late Imperial Russia. Manchester, United Kingdom: Manchester University Press.
Tomaszewski, F. K. (2002). Great Russia: Russia and the Triple Entente, 1905-1914. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Whittemore, W. J. (2012). Untimely deaths by assassination. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse Inc.
Roman Virtues Notes
In Rome during them time of Julius Caesar, a persons uprightness was measured by how well he/she conformed to four basic virtues. Virtue- conformity to moral and ethical principals; moral excellence.
The four Roman Virtues
Pietas- duty, or dutiful conduct towards his parents, relatives, ancestors, Gods, and country. Gravitas- “Gravity” — A sense of the importance of the matter at hand, responsibility and earnestness. Gravitas is the most important of the Roman virtues because it encompasses all that a Roman was supposed to be.
It was a combination of physical, mental and emotional stability and duty that one should have or either the empire should have; first to the state and then to family.
Simplicitias- comes close to plainness or even bluntness in English. It suggests singleness of purpose and directness in achieving one’s ends. At its highest it stand for frankness and honesty. Almost as if you are pushing away “irrelevant”. Virtus- Originally meant manliness, but came to suggest physical courage and eventually virtues in our sense, though associated more with the battlefield than with the conical chamber.
Anachronism- an event or detail that is chronologically out of its paper time in history. Pun- humorous play on words, using either ( 1 two or more different meaning of the same word OR 2) two or more words that are spelled and pronounced somewhat the same but have different meanings. Example: Mrs. Carter pushes a cart…
There goes the carter. Apostrophe- addressing somewhat that/someone who is not present; dead as if living, absent as if present, inanimate as if animate. Pathetic Fallacy- attachment of human feelings and traits to nature. Example: as if nature was crying with man. Aside- private words that a character is a play speaks to the audience or to another character, which are not supposed to be overheard by others on stage. Soliloquy- a character who is alone of stage who express their feelings.
Virtue and Ambition in Julius Caesar
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a play which displays the contrasting themes of ambition and virtue. The background of this renowned play is set in republican Rome, where the importance of virtue is at its peak. Virtue embraces honour, nobility, love and responsibility for their nation. The Romans believe that truly virtuous men are consistent in their private and public political life. Ambition, on the other hand, has no place in Romans’ virtues. In the play, when Caesar begins to display signs of power-hungry, arrogance, increasing ambition and even the idea of tyranny, which clashes with the Roman republican virtues, the tension is built.
While Shakespeare shares his definition of virtue through Brutus, as a role model of republican virtue, he creates the tension in the story as Brutus conflicts with ambitious characters like Caesar, Cassius and Mark Antony. Shakespeare begs to question whether virtue or ambition makes a successful leader. In the following essay, I shall discuss the contrasting themes of virtue and ambition in the play.
At the play’s end, Antony concluded Brutus’s life honoring him as “the noblest Roman of them all”. Brutus stands firm on his set of virtuous principles.
Throughout the play, he struggles to maintain Rome as an idealistic republic. He makes all his decisions only based on what is best for his nation, striving to put aside all personal emotions and desires. Yet, every time he takes the virtuous path which he believes in, he ironically hurts the very idea he seeks to protect. We are put in doubts, of why such constant principles and true virtue can go wrong. Making use of Brutus’s nature, Cassius easily convinces him Caesar’s ambitious nature as a great threat to the republic and must be assassinated.
Cassius manipulates his “honorable mettle may be wrought From that it is disposed”, tactfully planting the seeds of Caesar’s ambition and tyranny in his mind, along with a forged letter from the plebeians to Brutus complaining of Caesar. Brutus enters into an internal conflict as to the nobility of this conspiracy and murder, and eventually comes to a conclusion that he is a “purger”, sacrificing for his nation, which is in line with his virtuous nature. Even among the conspirators, conflict between virtue and ambition is obvious.
Besides Brutus, the conspirators plan to murder Caesar derives from selfish desires, envy and ambition. Antony’s speech about Brutus that “He only in a general honest thought And common good to all made one of them”, draws a line between Brutus’s virtue and others’ ambition. Clearly, Metellus desires power to free his brother, and Cassius is jealous of and ambitious like Caesar.
In his conversation with Brutus, he considers himself better than Caesar as he challenges that “A man of such feeble temper should So get the start of the majestic world, And bear the palm alone. He continues to show his jealously by comparing Caesar with Colossus, where “we petty men Walk under his huge legs and peep about To find ourselves dishonorable graves” Finally, Brutus is unhappy about Cassius as he discovers that Cassius and others have been involved in bribery to gain money, further drawing a line between virtue and personal desires and ambition. Again, ambition and virtue clashes in the play upon the glory Caesar has ascended upon. As soon as Caesar was introduced in the play, we hear from Cassius that he started to behave like a god.
Even when he makes his appearance, Calphurnia and Antony addresses him as “my lord”. Caesar continues to display various signs of increasing ambition and arrogance, such as Casca’s amusing account of Caesar’s thrice refusal to the crown when it was obvious he wanted to accept it. His ambition and arrogance is at its peak in the play as he states that he is “constant as the Northern Star, Of whose true fixed and resting quality There is no fellow in the firmament. ” It is evident that he sees himself the greatest of all Romans and intends to rule the nation.
With his Roman principles and virtues, Brutus is against such ambition. He believes that murder and death is the only way to deal with it. As soon as Caesar dies, he rejoices “Ambition’s debt is paid”, and he convinces the pubic that even though he loved Caesar, “But as [Caesar] was ambitious, I slew him”. It is ironic as he tries hard to prevent any possibility of ambition in growing into tyranny, yet in the end, the Roman republic is destroyed in his hands, when virtue clashes with ambition.
Claiming that killing Antony is “Like wrath in death and envy afterwards”, Brutus strives to remain the most noble and virtuous man by separating the death of Caesar from a dishonorable violent deed. In his opinion, murder was righteous and virtuous upon his speech, “Let’s be sacrificers, but not butchers” to his fellow conspirators. Even after Caesar’s death, he continues to be motivated by his virtue that Antony would sympathize with him, which is proven to be a naive mistake.
Anthony on the other hand, is power-hungry and ambitious, making use of the opportunity of Caesar’s death to rise into power. Antony manipulates the crowd shrewdly by his rhetorical speech which questions the ‘ambitious’ nature of Caesar which has no true evidence. He moves and triggers a riotous crowd, and thus leads to revolution and bloodshed, where Rome will never be the same again, and he could rise in power to rule. As we compare Brutus’s speech in the square with Antony’s, we see that Brutus displays true virtue and only true love for his nation and people.
Though, he can win some support of the plebeians, the true meaning behind his actions and his virtuous principles, which is to preserve Rome as a republic, is totally lost. It is ironic as the public respond by glorifying “Caesar’s better parts Shall be crowned in Brutus”, which is exactly opposite to what Brutus hopes to see. While virtue is honoured and promoted in the society, Shakespeare questions the practicality of such virtue in reality of a government or head of nation.
To conclude, it is important to recognize that Brutus is doomed to die from the start as he continues to uphold his principles and virtues. As the perfect exemplar of a Roman, he made decisions by sacrificing and overcoming personal desires and emotions, only for the good of the nation. Yet, it is justified through the play through his actions that virtue does not make a good political leader, because it is too idealistic and neglects the emergence of ambition, which is the motivation and driving force of political leaders throughout history.