To what extent were the motives of Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longius conspiring against Julius Caesar political rather than personal?
2011-2013 Candidate number: 001386- 041 Gabvin Raphaël Branglidor Word count: 1997
The aim of this essay is to discuss whether the death of Julius Caesar by acquaintances Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longius was due to political or personal motives. The focus will lay in understanding Rome’s political situation at the time, evaluating Caesar’s policies and the possible explanations resulting in Caesar’s assassination. The essay will begin by explaining the political situation in Rome at the time in order to understand the tensions between Caesar and the Senate. The concluding part of the investigation will discuss Caesar’s policies and relationship with his assassinators in order to evaluate their motives. The time period looked at will range from Rome in 49 BC to the death of Caesar in 44BC. Suetonius’s “The Twelve Caesar’s” and Adrian Goldsworthy’s “Life of a Colossus” will be used as main references to answering the question with additional primary and secondary accounts and sources from the internet. Part B:
Emerging victorious in Spain, Caesar began being heaped with numerous honours from the Senate. Instantaneously, Caesar was honoured with the right to wear clothing similar to the kings. Dressed with the title of Imperator for his life, Caesar acquired comparable powers to that of the magistracy and consuls though Caesar could still be vetoed. Shortly afterwards, a first of three ivory statues in Caesar’s honour were sought to be carried during all public religious processions. A second statue was placed in the sacrosanct temple of Quirinus ; inscribed on it, ‘To the Invincible God.’ According to Suetonius, “Cassius grew to loathe Caesar” after the emergence of his third statue alongside the former seven Roman Kings and Lucius Junius Brutus. Brutus due to his families’ history with tyranny grew wary of Caesar believing that according to Goldsworthy “was trying to learn to fly too quickly.” More outrageous, Caesar printed his image on coins “marking the first time that an incarnate Roman was featured on a coin” according to Goldsworthy. Undoubtedly, this placed Caesar above both the Roman “state and tradition.” In 45 BC, the Senate began sharing Cassius’s and Brutus’s irritation as Caesar gave up his 4th Consulship promoting Quintus Fabius Maximus and Gaius Trebonius as suffect consuls in his stead. Giving up the title was not a problem, however disregarding the Republican system of election was. In spite of their annoyance, the Senate continued appointing Caesar with more titles. Next Caesar was appointed Consul for the next ten consecutive years and was permitted to hold onto any office he desired inclusive of the Tribune. Subsequent, Caesar made changes to the title of ‘Imperium.’ Whereas Caesar could be vetoed before, the modifications Caesar made made him ‘immune from legal prosecution’. The honours continued as Caesar gained the right to appoint half the Senatorial magistrates which previously were elected positions. With this, Caesar increased the Senate number to 900 filling half of it with loyal partisans to further consolidate his supremacy. Plutarch states that Cassius at this stage in time began plotting Caesar’s murder with two accomplices. Suetonius discredits Plutarch’s claims testifying that such events never took place. At the commencement of 44BC, the consequential rift between Caesar and his fellow aristocrats deepened after having been titled ‘Father of the Country’ and ‘Dictator for Life.’ A Senatorial delegation at Venus was scheduled to consult with Caesar where he refused to ‘stand to honour upon their arrival.’ In Roman tradition, this was seen as an insult. According to Plutarch, Caesar tried to remedy the situation by uncovering his neck to Cassius and...
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