The assassination of Caesar was a turning point in the history of Rome, not only did it end the career of one of the most powerful Romans, but it also initiated a chain of events that changed the very nature of Rome and its Empire. Among the consequences of the assassination were a brutal civil war and the rise of Mark Anthony and Octavian. The death of Caesar on the Ides of March sent the Roman Republic into a crisis that ultimately led to its abolition and the emergence of the Imperial system.
Caesar was a member of the Roman aristocracy, and he was a lifetime member of the popular faction. This was a party of nobles who claimed to be serving the interests of the common people. Caesar became one of the most powerful men in Rome when he joined the First Triumvirate. He used his new-found power to secure a consulship and the command of several legions which he used to wage war in Gaul. Following his conquest of Gaul, he was the most powerful man in Rome, and the Roman Senate feared him. To safeguard his position, Caesar marched on Rome, and this began a civil war. Caesar fought the Optimate army, initially led by Pompey the Great.
He defeated Pompey at Pharsalus and later in a series of battles across the Mediterranean defeated several armies opposed to his rule. By 43 BC Caesar was by far the most important man in Rome, and he had himself made dictator for life. This aroused the deep hatred of many in the Roman aristocracy. A conspiracy was formed by several leading Roman nobles, whose titular leader was Brutus, someone whom Caesar knew well. The Roman general had pardoned many of the conspirators and had even appointed some of them to high office. The members of the plot called themselves the liberators. The scheme involved luring Caesar to Pompey’s theatre where gladiatorial games were to be held in his honor. The Roman leader was notoriously reckless when it came to his security. He refused bodyguards, and he declared that to live surrounded by guards was not a life he wanted. Caesar had only a few personal attendants who escorted him everywhere.
Categories: Roman History