Friday, 15 March 2013

Beware the Ides of March

I've never really been a fan of Caesar, Gaius Julius Caesar.
I took the side of the Greeks at Troy.
I despise his ancestor Venus.
I wished he'd been the one killed by a pile of roof tiles.
I thought the pirates crazy for abducting him in the first place.
I loved Asterix and Obelix for ridiculing him and his army at every turn.

I identified with Gaius Cassius Longinus the brains behind the infamous assassination. 15 March 44 BC. Caesar was 56 and suffered 23 stab wounds, but attained the dignity of dying fully covered.
At a stretch I might identify with Brutus, but what's the point of just being the figurehead to such an epic plot?

And I don't feel I need to justify my position. Caesar was an arrogant sod who thought far too highly of his own self worth. I mean really, who argues for his own ransom to be increased just to increase his own sense of self-worth. He arranged to be elected dictator for life, a less politically restrictive version of the consuls who already governed Rome before proceeding to enhance it further with the trappings of Kings and Emperors.

In my eyes Caesar's assassination was justified, and I'm not just saying it. In Ancient History we studied the man in depth. To the extent that he took on a life of his own. Sitting in class absorbed in the history, one could almost feel his eyes boring into the back of one's head, his breathe on the nape of one's neck. An omnipresence in every lesson, grinning down from a superior height. He was a leader by popular vote, but rallied on by colleagues, I took an active dislike to him.

More recently I encountered him again, a different portrait, but of the same Caesar, and was reminded of my dislike. He was a support act in the life of Cleopatra. The man who won her a kingdom and lost her a library (it is believed that it was Caesar and his men who accidentally if not successfully burned down the library in Alexandria.) The man who wooed himself a woman more powerful than all of Rome and treated her as nothing more than his mistress.

A man who has been given far too much credit simply for standing on the shoulders of others and not acknowledging it. He destroyed one library but was going to create his own, one that belonged to him and Rome, not Egypt. He implemented a new calendar in Rome and history has credited him with it, the Egyptian calendar he encountered when carousing with Cleopatra.

Old Julius had become a familiar enemy. And in that memorable year, when the Ides of March rolled round it felt time to remind him of Suetonius' omen of his impending death.
Whenever the bones of Capys shall be moved it will come to pass that a descendent of his shall be slain at the hands of his kindred and presently avenged at heavy cost to Italy. (Suetonius, Life of Caesar, 81)
Thank you C .

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...