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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thanks to the writings of Nicolaus of Damacus who was privy to the details of Caesar's assassination, though not witness to it, we know the following historical details.

"In January of 49 BC, Julius Caesar led his army across the Rubicon River in Northern Italy and plunged the Roman Republic into civil war. Caesar's rival, Pompey, fled to Greece." Caesar pursued him and followed him into Egypt.  There Caesar crushed Pompey's army.  Caesar was presented the head of Pompey as a token of friendship from the Egyptian pharaoh.

Caesar's next pursuit led him into Spain where he defeated the sons of Pompey.  In 47 B.C., Caesar followed the rest of his enemies into North Africa where again he crushed the opposing forces. 

After more campaigns against foreign states in the east and the remnants of Pompey’s supporters, Caesar returned to Rome in 46 b.c. to celebrate four triumphs: over Gaul, Egypt, Pontus, and Africa

Caesar returned to Rome in triumph.  In February of 44 B.C., he named himself dictator for life. "This act, along with his continual effort to adorn himself with the trappings of power, turned many in the Senate against him."

After much dissatisfaction, sixty senators decided that the only way to take care of the problem was to assassinate Caesar. There was no real plot.  A few meetings were held to discuss how to go about the murder.  Several locations were suggested including the parks, a gladiator contest, with the final decision resting in the senate. 

"The majority opinion favored killing him while he sat in the Senate, where he would be by himself since non-Senators would not be admitted, and where the many conspirators could hide their daggers beneath their togas."

In Shakespeare's play, on the Ides of March, Caesar is woken by his wife Calpurnia who tells him about a dream which made her fearful.  She asks Caesar not to go to the Senate on this day.  He agrees.

Brutus comes to accompany Caesar to the Capitol. Brutus forces Caesar to go to the Senate by telling him that it would be womanish for him not to go. 

When Caesar arrives at the Senate, the conspirators move toward him. The assassination begins and when it is over, Caesar has over thirty-five stab wounds.

Ironically, Caesar falls at the foot of Pompey's statue.  The death of Pompey created many problems for Caesar since Pompey himself had many followers in Rome. That was one thing at the root of Caesar's assassination, among many.

dthompson38 | Student

He was trying to be the next Sulla. This was kind of hilarious because Sulla had spent his dictatorship trying to stop people from following in his footsteps. A bunch of Senators didn't like this, so they stabbed him to death, Brutusly.

fact-finder | Student

Roman leader Julius Caesar (100–44 B.C.) was murdered because he was viewed as a tyrant (a person who rules in a harsh and cruel manner) and a threat to the future of the Roman Republic. He was stabbed on March 15, 44 B.C., by a group of men in the senate house in Rome. After Caesar's death, Rome was ruled by a triumvirate (group of three) of leaders: Lepidus (?–c. 77 B.C.), Octavian (64 B.C.–A.D. 14; who would become Augustus, the first ruler of the Roman Empire), and Marc Antony (c. 83–30 B.C.).

Historians disagree about Julius Caesar. While some view him as a schemer who forced his way into power, others consider him a defender of the rights of the common man in a state controlled by the elite. He made positive contributions to Rome, particularly through military victories that added the provinces of Italy to the Roman Republic. He pardoned his enemies, improved housing for the poor, and allowed outsiders to become Roman citizens. He created the Julian calendar, from which evolved the modern-day Gregorian calendar. He increased the number of members in the Roman Senate so that it more accurately reflected the Roman population. The year he was murdered, Julius Caesar had been named dictator (an absolute ruler) for life by the Roman Senate.

Further Information: Green, Robert. Julius Caesar. New York: Franklin Watts, 1996; Halsall, Paul, ed. Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. [Online] Available, October 26, 2000; Moulton, Carroll. Anceint Greece and Rome: An Encyclopedia for Students.New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998; Nardo, Don. The Collapse of the Roman Republic. San Diego: Lucent, 1998; Nardo, Don. Julius Caesar. San Diego: Lucent, 1996.

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