The Life of Julius Caesar

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Part 5: Death of Caesar

Caesar was scheduled to leave March 18 for an expedition against the Parthians, who had killed Crassus. He went to the Senate on March 15 to meet with the Senate one last time before his departure.

The Senate at that time was meeting in the theater built by Pompey because the regular meeting house had been burned and was being rebuilt. So it was that when the 60 conspirators attacked Caesar and killed him with daggers that they had concealed under their togas, it was at the base of a statue of Pompey himself.

One of the conspirators was Marcus Brutus, whom Caesar had pardoned at Pharsalus and who had been Caesar's trusted adviser. Other Senators in the conspiracy were Gaius Cassius Longinus and Decimus Brutus Albinus.

Though known for their long-range planning and attention to detail, these Senators didn't have a plan beyond ending Caesar's life. Once they had killed him, they fled, leaving the control of Rome to Marc Antony, Caesar's most trusted lieutenant and by this time head of an entire legion of soldiers.

Antony it was who delivered the famous oration at Caesar's funeral, naming and blaming the chief assassins. Antony it was who then became consul in his own right, part of the Second Triumvirate, which also contained Caesar's nephew, Octavian. And it was this young man, following in the footsteps of his uncle, who took the reins of power and became what Julius Caesar had dreamed of becoming: emperor of Rome.

First page > The Early Years > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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David White