Saturday, March 15, 2014

Julius Caesar was Assassinated - 44 B.C.

On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting hall next to the Pompey’s theatre by 60 conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Caesar was scheduled to leave Rome on March 18 and had appointed loyal members of his army to rule the Empire in his absence. The Republican senators, already chafing at having to abide by Caesar's decrees, were particularly angry about the prospect of taking orders from Caesar's subordinates. Cassius Longinus initiated the plot against the dictator, quickly getting his brother-in-law Marcus Brutus to join. 

Caesar should have been well aware that many of the senators hated him, but he dismissed his security force not long before his assassination. Reportedly, Caesar was handed a warning note as he entered the senate meeting that day but did not read it. After he entered the hall, Caesar was surrounded by senators holding daggers. Servilius Casca struck the first blow, striking Caesar in the neck and drawing blood. The other senators joined in, stabbing him repeatedly about the head. Marcus Brutus wounded Caesar in the groin and Caesar is said to have remarked in Greek, "You, too, my child?" In the aftermath of the assassination, Mark Antony attempted to carry out Caesar's legacy. However, Caesar's will left his adopted son, Octavian in charge. Cassius and Brutus tried to rally a Republican army and Brutus even issued coins celebrating the assassination, known as the Ides of March. Octavian vowed revenge against the assassins, two years later Cassius and Brutus committed suicide after their armies were defeated by Octavian's forces. Antony took his armies east, where he joined forces with Caesar's mistress, Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Octavian and Antony fought for many years until Octavian prevailed. In 30 B.C., Antony committed suicide. Octavian, later known as Augustus, ruled the Roman Empire from 27 B.C. until 14 A.D.
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for and is the author of numerous books that include Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949. The book can be purchased at Amazon through the following link:        

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