Why was Julius Caesar Assassinated

Julius Caesar was fatally stabbed in Rome, Italy, on March 15, 44 B.C.E. He was the Roman Republic’s dictator, and his murderers were Roman magistrates.

These political supporters contributed to the creation of Roman politics and government.

Julius Caesar was a massive success with the citizens of Rome. He was a brilliant military leader who stretched the Republic into what is now Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium. 

Caesar was also a well-known writer who published works about his travels, philosophies, and political beliefs.

Many Senate members, a body of appointed (rather than elected) political leaders, despised Caesar’s popularity and arrogance.

After Caesar was elevated to the rank of dictator for life in 44 B.C.E., these authorities determined to deal the final blow to Caesar’s reign. 

At the Senate meeting on March 15, the ides of March, a group of up to 60 conspirators resolved to assassinate Caesar. 

The group reportedly stabbed Caesar 23 times, murdering the Roman leader. Julius Caesar’s assassination had the opposite effect that his assassins had intended for. 

The senators were reviled by a large portion of the Roman populace as a result of the killing, and a series of civil wars occurred. 

In the end, Octavian, Caesar’s grandnephew, and adoptive son emerged as Rome’s leader. He changed his name to Augustus Caesar.

Augustus’ reign signaled the demise of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

Why did his fellow citizens assassinate Caesar? Caesar was assassinated for three reasons: First, the conspirators wished to stifle his rise to prominence.

Second, they attempted to keep him from becoming king and therefore ruining the Roman Republic

Finally, others were driven by simple human sentiments such as personal revenge. The execution of Julius Caesar triggered a civil war that resulted in the demise of the Roman Republic.

Let us take a look at what circumstances led to the assassination of Caesar. 

Why is Julius Caesar so well-known?

Julius Caesar elevated Rome from a republic to an empire by enacting bold political measures.

Julius Caesar was well-known not only for his military and administrative achievements but also for his passionate affair with Cleopatra.

Did Julius Caesar have a relationship with Cleopatra?

Caesar appointed her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as her co-ruler to safeguard her throne and then married Cleopatra in the Egyptian tradition.

The marriage was not recognized in Rome, though, as Caesar already had a Roman wife, and it was illegal for a Roman citizen to wed a foreigner.

Who reigned after Julius Caesar?

Augustus (also referred to as Octavian) was ancient Rome’s first emperor.

Augustus ascended to power following Julius Caesar’s murder in 44 B.C.E. Augustus “reinstated” the Roman Republic in 27 B.C.E., yet he kept all actual authority as princeps, or “first citizen,” of Rome.

The Rise of Julius Caesar 

Sculpture of Julius Caesar
Sculpture of Julius Caesar

Caesar was born into a patrician Roman family that was once quite powerful in the Republic. Their fortunes, however, had fallen by the time Caesar was born, and they were no longer extremely prominent. 

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We know almost little about Caesar’s childhood, although Rome was in turmoil during his adolescence. Furthermore, his father’s death left him reasonably vulnerable.

Caesar was compelled to choose sides in a brutal civil war between Marius and Sulla.

Caesar supported Marius, but when the conflict swung in Sulla’s favor, Caesar was obliged to abandon Rome and join the army in order to avoid punishment. 

Caesar quickly progressed through the military ranks and distinguished himself. After Sulla’s death, he traveled to Rome and became a leader of the popular party there.

He was a charismatic leader who rose to prominence on the Roman political landscape. Caesar formed the First Triumvirate, an informal political alliance with Crassus and Pompey. 

This arrangement enabled the three men to attain their political objectives and effectively become the Republic’s de-facto government. 

Caesar was able to obtain the election as consul and leadership of many Roman legions as a result of this arrangement.

Caesar led these armies into Gaul in order to bring peace to the country. Gaul encompassed the majority of France and Belgium at the time. 

Caesar then launched a ten-year campaign to capture this area eventually. He then employed his armies to raid the inhabitants of Germany and the United Kingdom.

The First Triumvirate disintegrated upon Crassus’ death. The Senate and Pompey sensed an opportunity to depose Caesar and confronted him with criminal charges.

In response, Caesar advanced on Rome in order to consolidate his political position. 

This ignited a rebellion between himself and the Roman council. Pompey the Great fought alongside the Senate to save Rome.

Caesar beat his adversaries at Pharsalus (Greece), but the battle was not over. In Rome and Italy, Mark Anthony reigned in Caesar’s name. For long years, the fight raged over the Mediterranean. 

Caesar emerged victoriously after his stunning triumph at the Battle of Mutina in 44 BC.

Caesar was the most critical person in Rome at the time. He had been chosen dictator by the Senate for a period of five years, but subsequently for life. 

This meant that he was given enormous abilities in addition to commanding an army. His position appeared to be unchangeable, but that altered on the Ides of March 44 B.C.E.

The Fall of Julius Caesar 

Possible bust of Julius Caesar, posthumous portrait
Possible bust of Julius Caesar, posthumous portrait

Representatives of the Roman elite plotted to depose Caesar by March 44 B.C.E. The conspirators were all famous Romans who met Caesar.

The records on the assassination and plot are, to put it mildly, imperfect. None of the references are current, and they frequently contradict one another.

However, many of the assassination’s details have been proven with a high degree of accuracy. Cassius, a powerful Roman senator, was the mastermind behind the plot.

The plot’s members dubbed themselves “liberators.” They aimed to free Rome from Caesar’s control.

The plan was to lure Caesar to Pompey’s theatre, where gladiatorial sports were being conducted in his honor. When it came to his defense, Caesar was infamously careless. 

He refused guards and stated that living surrounded by security was not his desired life. Caesar was escorted around by only a few personal attendants.

The gladiatorial games were conducted on the Ides of March (March 15). Caesar was the honored attendee, and he was due to come. He was late that day, which disturbed the conspirators.

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Brutus, the nominal head of the conspirators, consented to accompany Caesar to the theater. 

Brutus and Caesar were old friends. Moreover, Caesar and Brutus’ mother were even said to be lovers. Brutus had also battled Caesar at Pharsalus, but Caesar had acquitted him.

Despite this extensive history, Brutus decided to entice Caesar to the theatre in order to assist their plan come to fruition. Brutus eventually persuaded Caesar to attend the games.

The Death of Julius Caesar 

The Death of Caesar, Jean Léon Gérôme, 1867
The Death of Caesar, Jean Léon Gérôme, 1867

One of the assassins confronted Caesar as soon as he arrived at the theatre. The conspirator claimed to offer Caesar a petition. 

Not only did Caesar lack guards at this point, but his servants had also deserted him. The alliance had also delayed Mark Anthony, one of Caesar’s most ardent supporters.

Because of the delay, Anthony could not be by Caesar’s side. Caesar had been left alone and vulnerable.

Plutarch, the Greek historian, claims that one of the assassins, presumably Casca, grabbed Caesar’s toga. Caesar was taken aback and astonished by his actions. 

The conspirators then grabbed knives from their togas and brutally stabbed Caesar. It is reported that up to fifty men, all members of the Roman SenateSenate, struck him.

Not all of them were allowed to approach the man they despised and saw as a peril to Rome. Caesar had been stabbed almost thirty times and succumbed to blood loss.

While historical sources differ, some think Caesar’s final words were ‘Et Tu Bruti,’ which translates as “You, too, Brutus.” 

Brutus’ betrayal would have been notably stunning given Caesar’s close relationship with Brutus.

According to several versions, Caesar perished at the foot of a monument of his despised rival and opponent, Pompey.

The Reasons for Caesar’s Assassination  

The assassination of Julius Caesar
The assassination of Julius Caesar

What motivated the conspirators to assassinate Caesar? One of the most frequently claimed motives for the killing was the belief that Caesar desired to be King of Rome.

Many common Romans did not have royalty, and Caesar was well-liked by this group. 

The concept of a monarch, on the other hand, was unpalatable to the Roman nobility. They saw monarchs as a menace to ‘liberty’ and, in the end, dictators. 

They were afraid that if Caesar became king, they would forsake their right to partake in public life and safeguard their property.

Dignitas (individual dignity and rank) for delegates of the Roman elite was unattainable without liberty.

Caesar’s conduct made it plain to them that he intended to keep power indefinitely, unlike Rome’s past tyrants. 

Public rallies outside the Senate house exacerbated their doubts about Caesar’s objectives by the Roman populace demanding that Caesar proclaim himself king. 

Many of the Roman nobility were frightened and convinced to join the conspiracy as a result of this. 

The Roman Senate vs. Julius Caesar  

The senators encircle Caesar, 19th century interpretation by Carl Theodor von Piloty
The senators encircle Caesar, 19th-century interpretation by Carl Theodor von Piloty

Many of the individuals who took involved in Caesar’s assassination had previously been staunch Pompey sympathizers and had fought alongside him at Pharsalus.

However, the emperor’s terror was so strong that it overpowered appreciation or even genuine fondness for Caesar. 

Cassius, the conspiracy’s chief mover, and shaker justified the death of Pharsalus’ victor as tyrannicide or the slaying of a tyrant.

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Many people, including Brutus, were convinced to join the scheme because they considered it their obligation as Romans. 

The indication that Caesar desired restoration to monarchy, on the other hand, is scarce and inconclusive. Whatever his goals were, the conspirators believed he was committed to rule as king. 

While many of the assassins were enraged by Caesar’s perceived pretensions, others were enraged by his seeming disrespect for Roman senators.

Several conspirators had ties to senators, and the coup leaders felt they were operating in the name of the Senate. 

Senators were the highest supreme authority in the Republic and officially the lawmakers. On the other hand, Caesar viewed that body with arrogance and even contempt.

He did not treat the Senate with respect, which estranged many of them. 

Many senators viewed his brusque attitude as disrespectful and suspected it was a hidden endeavor to undermine the Senate.

They interpreted his actions as an honest attempt to undermine the established form of government. 

Furthermore, during the insurgencies when Mark Anthony ruled Italy, the Senate was frightened into obedience.

Many senators wished for the days when the Senate was the primary ruling authority in the Republic. 

Many senators who had bestowed honorary designations and privileges on the general were also taken aback when he exploited these mostly symbolic powers to solidify his authority in Rome. 

The senators considered that the invader of Gaul was unjustly consolidating personal authority at the detriment of the established aristocracy and was thereby violating the constitution.  

One element that convinced many that Caesar had to be slain was his complicated relationship with the Senate.

The senatorial elite and their followers were wary of Caesar and despised him. He belonged to the famous party and was married to Marius, the ordinary people’s sweetheart. 

Furthermore, many people despised Caesar for selfish purposes, and retribution was probably certainly a motivating component in The Ides of March killing.

During the civil wars, he assassinated several senators and members of the Roman elite. 

Many of the elite’s acquaintances and family members perished on the battlefields opposing Caesar throughout the civil war.

Many essential and revered Romans, including Cato, had committed suicide in order to avoid having to live in a Rome governed by one single man. 

Conclusion 

In Rome, Caesar was a polarizing figure. Nonetheless, most Romans actually adored him, despite the fact that the City’s nobility reviled him. A narrow group of elite members conducted caesar’s assassination. 

They believed they were operating in the better values of the Republic and wanted it to continue.

The party that assassinated Caesar was motivated by a desire to prevent Caesar from becoming a permanent monarch. 

They truly believed he desired to be crowned King of Rome. Caesar’s strained relationship with the Senate was also a key aspect in the conspiracy’s emergence. 

His actions gave the impression that he was hell-bent on eliminating the existing constitution, contributing to the perception that he was a tyrant. 

All this, and then some, culminated into a frenzy, and resulted in his brutal assassin, sparking a catalyst for the eventual fall of the Roman Empire.  

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