Concept by Carolyn Komatsoulis
Julius Caesar was allegedly stabbed multiple times by friends and colleagues in the Roman Senate on Thursday morning, including in the back by close associate Marcus Brutus.
“Et tu, Brute?” said Caesar before he died. Police called the death a “conspired homicide” and an autopsy determined that Caesar died from his stab wounds.
Experts tweeted that his assassination signals the demise of the Roman Republic.
Police said Caesar’s colleague and close friend, Marcus Brutus, was one of several Roman politicians who conspired to assassinate him because they believed that Caesar would abuse his power. Other conspirators included Cassius, Casca, and Metellus Cimber.
Recently, a soothsayer had warned Caesar to beware “the Ides of March.” His wife Calpurnia had also warned him not to go to the Senate that evening, fearing the worst. Caesar ignored both of them.
“I dreamed that I saw a statue of him with a hundred holes in it, like a fountain with pure blood flowing from it, and many happy Romans smiling and washing their hands on it,” his wife said. “On my knees, I begged him to stay home that night. His confidence got the better of his wisdom…”
At Caesar’s funeral, which took place hours after his death, Brutus delivered a speech to the public defending his actions.
“Would you rather that Caesar were living and we would all go to our graves as slaves, or that Caesar were dead and we all lived as free men?” asked Brutus. “I rejoice in his good fortune. I honor him for being brave. But his ambition—for that, I killed him.”
The cheers of the crowd were overwhelming. However, Caesar’s most devoted supporter, Mark Antony, delivered a speech to the public just after Brutus. The crowd grew silent.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. We remember the evil that men do after their deaths, but we often bury the good with them,” he said.
The crowd murmured in agreement and moved closer to Antony.
“He was my friend. He was faithful and fair to me,” Antony said. “You all loved him once, and not without reason. Then what holds you back from mourning him now? Bear with me. My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar. I must pause until it returns to me.”
He paused. The crowd remained still.
“I think that Antony made a lot of sense. If you really think about it, then it’s clear that Caesar has suffered a great wrong,” said a Roman plebeian who attended Caesar’s funeral.
The plebeian said Antony showed Caesar’s corpse to him and the rest of the plebeians and said that not even he could stop himself from weeping. Antony also read Caesar’s will to the public; it specified that every Roman citizen would receive 75 drachmas.
“Most noble Caesar! We’ll avenge his death!” yelled the crowd after Antony’s speech.
Recently, Caesar had returned from defeating the sons of his military rival Pompey, which the commoners of Rome celebrated. There was at least one incident of Roman tribunes still loyal to Pompey who attempted to break up these celebrations.
The Quad obtained letters of support from the Roman people that the conspirators forged to tempt Brutus into joining them.
Brutus’ servants confirmed that Brutus read these letters and decided to join the conspiracy after much moral debate. He believed that they should assassinate Caesar to prevent him from doing anything against the Roman people if Antony ever crowned him.
When Caesar arrived at the Senate, the conspirators approached him with a fake petition that pleaded on the behalf of Metellus Cimber’s banished brother, according to Brutus’ servants. As Caesar rejected the petition, the conspirators stabbed him.
Brutus refused to respond to requests for comment. He was last seen leaving for a battle against Antony and Caesar’s adopted son, Octavius.
Feature image from N.S. Gill on ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ides-of-march-julius-caesars-fate-117542