A Roman senator heard a rumor of an assassination attempt against Julius Caesar. There were two things in his mind: 1) if the assassination succeeded, should be declared legitimate by the Roman senate, and 2) assuming Julius Caesar is a power hungry tyrant, should the assassination a matter of public policy be endorsed by the Roman Senate.
Now this senator approached the Great Forum to explain his views of Julius Caesar. In his mind, Caesar is a tyrant inclined to destroy the Roman aristocracy. Although Caesar conquered lands for Rome, it does not suffice to declare him “dictator for life.” In his thoughts, if Caesar was a true leader of the Roman world, he must learn to relinquish power when required by the state.
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The Roman senator approached one of the benches of the Roman Senate, and began to talk. He concealed his thoughts about Caesar in metaphors and ironies, offering the Senate both the opportunity to criticize Caesar (in the form of satire) and the chance not to be killed by Caesar. Now came the Ides of March: the day of Caesar’s assassination. A senator born from a noble Roman family, this senator decided to join Brutus and Cassius.
Before the assassination, he argued that “killing Caesar should be thought off as an honorable duty to the state.” Only an assassination can save the Roman Republic from the sting of a new “kingship.” Then appeared flashes of Pompey in his mind: the true champion of the Roman Republic. The Ides of March to him was his greatest achievement; that is, the means to liberate the Roman world from the bonds of a tyrant.
- Gibbon, Edward. The Roman Republic. Ed. By Nero A. Saunders. London: London Publishing House, 1790/1967.
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