Tuesday, March 15, 2011



The name Julius Caesar is one of the most recognizable names in the history of the world.

A survey was conducted after the Millennium in China, India, the Middle East, North and South America, the European Community and Africa. Ceasar is the most recognized name worldwide. Schoolboys in primary and secondary education and in Universities knew more details about Caesar than about many of their own past leaders and rulers.

In other words Caesar ranked higher than Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Gandhi, Churchill and Washington.

Why is this so?

For one thing, the ancient Latin pronunciation of the C sounded like a hard K. Thus he was known to his Legions, his enemies, and more importantly to the masses of Romans who loved him as Kesar. It is easy to see how the Teutonic tribes who wished to join the ranks of his legions and those who fiercely fought him to the death would call him Kaiser. This is still in usage today. The Russians, then known as Thracians feared him yet they opposed him almost to the last man, woman and child. They referred to him as Czar, which is still very much in the Russian lexicon.

Caesar was endowed with incredible magnetism. He led his armies into battle – always. He could be seen for miles. A tall, slim warrior attired in a voluminous scarlet cloak, astride a white horse caparisoned in gold and silver. He rode a few meters ahead of his armies.

“Here I am. You can follow the battle by concentrating on me and on my position. Kill me if you can.”

His centurions also wore red, a darker crimson red. As the Latin name implies Centu - Cento, they commanded a hundred men. Caesar loved them all. He trusted and relied on them. They constituted the energy, which flowed from his matrix. He rewarded his centurions generously. His legions belonged to him personally because he paid for their salaries, their pensions and rewarded them with land to cultivate after they mustered out of his service. If any of them died while in his service, their widows and their families were looked after “vita natural Durante.” For as long as they lived.

He rarely lost a battle, what’s more he hated to lose his men and therefore devised strategies and tactics, which would reduce the risk of serious and permanent injury or worse, cause their premature deaths. At the end of each battle he stood before them and wept, if the losses had been particularly high.

In this way he ensured the devotion and the respect of his armies. Historians remark on his sobriety. Caesar drank wine diluted with water during moments of relaxation. In those days the fermentation of grapes rendered a stronger and also a purer wine. Therefore the alcoholic content was much higher than the wine we are used to imbibing today.

On military campaigns, Caesar drank vinegar made from grapes also heavily diluted with water. He wrote the Commentaries on his military campaigns in Gaul, Britain and Egypt with such lucidity, sense of adventure and suspense that to this day it makes for fascinating stuff.

Churchill does not even come close. To be sure he was verbose and thanks to his Roman studies he could be pompously oratorical. But the man was never in the middle of any war, not even a melee. He was someone with bombast who bamboozled the masses by keeping himself far, far away from danger. In World War ll, he made sure he only gave peremptory orders from the safety of his bunker/air-raid shelter in Saint James Park.

Eisenhower was even worse. He was so far from the battlefield the sound of cannon and gunfire could not be heard. And Bush … not only does he not know where countries are located (he thinks Andorra is in Africa) he didn't even show up for his military training … and even though he was more than a thousand miles away he went into hiding on 9/11 and of course. Definitely, not Ceasar-like. I think Putin may be endowed with the necessary bravery if ever he were faced with would be malefactors. King Bhumiphon of Thailand is so loved by his people that his military escorts are non-existent. President Obama seems to be rather cool about the supposed threats against his life. He is part African after all - they have a sense of what the Arabs eloquently call Makhtoum. The will of God, Destiny, the Cosmic Forces and the Heavenly Masters.

As a politician Caesar was magnificent. He represented what today we would define as working class/proletarian and an emerging middle class. He was against the accumulation of wealth for wealth’s sake and considered it indecorous and distasteful.

He did not inherit a fortune. Indeed one might say that aside from his military genius, political mastery, an uncanny ability to read the minds of friends and foes alike, stunning good looks, a gift for languages, and most importantly, an almost magical and seemingly never ending strokes of good fortune (I am fortune’s child, he used to say) Caesar was liquid poor. Given his unending talent for finance and for opportunities to make money his financial penury did not last long.

But Caesar ‘s lineage was superbly blue. His descended from the Kings of Rome which had been deposed 400 hundred years ago, when the Roman Republic had been set up replacing the monarchical rule. There was talk that he also had Etruscan genes in him, which might explain his blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes.

To judge by the unquestioned esteem, admiration and love he expressed for his mother Aurelia, we must presume that not only was she a devoted mother; she was also his Chief inspiration. Historians of the time refer to Aurelia as the wisest counselor of Caesar. She never left him in the care of wet nurses or nannies. She was his first tutor and mentor. The hand that rocks the cradle is a powerful hand indeed. She was ambitious for Caesar but not if he had to step over the corpses of his friends. She saw to it that they did not live in a wealthy area of Rome. With the name of Julii they could have found the necessary patronage. Instead, Aurelia and her son owned an apartment in the Suburra, the area of the proletariat and the working class. That is where young Caesar grew up. His father spent most of his time in military campaigns in Switzerland and in Northern Italy. By all accounts he was nurtured in a harmonious and loving atmosphere. I have observed that the historians of the period tend to heap praise and lauds on Aurelia.

The Romans we know, became master builders and engineers. Their apartments from the Latin ”apartare” to be a part of but to remain in your own space easily comprised seven to eight floors. Aurelia rented most of the apartments and from the age of four she taught her son how to keep track of money and to spend it wisely. At her son’s suggestion, the Julian family’s apartment had a fire escape, which was revolutionary for those days. It is still innovative in the 21st century; I have seen many modern buildings in the West without fire escapes. Note that the Suburra still exists today, as do most of Rome’s neighborhoods, which existed in the time of the Roman Republic.

The character of Caesar showed its solid steel and granite when he defied his uncle Cornelius Silla or Sulla. He was a seventeen-year-old youth if that. Silla, dictator of Rome had ordered Caesar to repudiate his young wife Cornelia, daughter of Cinna. Cinna was the leader of what we might define as democrats – with tongue in cheek. During the Roman Republic the Democrats fought for the well-being of the have-nots in the Roman Senate. Cornelius Silla was an aristocratic Republican, as were most of his backers, including Caesar’s family – the Jullii. The teen-ager swam against the current.

“Dearest Uncle, with all due respect, I am constrained to refuse your order to put away my good and chaste wife only because you do not agree with her father’s political tendencies. However, if you command me publicly before the Roman Senate I will do so.”

Shamat. Checkmate. Silla pondered a fate worse than death for the young Caesar but his cool and practical advisors prevailed. No! It would not be a good show for the people of Rome to see aristocrats murdering their fellow caste members. Reluctantly, Silla set aside his fury. Aurelia, whose sister Julilla had been Silla’s wife until her mysterious suicide, suggested a change of climate for her son. Caesar cleverly saw her point and left for Rhodes. He traveled to as many Greek cities and islands as he could, all the while perfecting his knowledge of Greek and of the sea.

In one of these voyages to Athens, pirates attacked his ship. They slaughtered the crew and all the passengers except Caesar. One of the pirates had recognized him. At the age of fourteen, Caesar had been appointed Pontifex Maximus – Supreme Pontiff. Silla had thought up this stratagem in order to keep the rising star of Caesar out of politics for as long as he could.

The pirates kept him alive in the hope of asking for a ransom. Caesar told the leaders that he would escape from their ship, and no one could stop him because he was the Goddess Fortuna’s favorite. He would then hunt them down and hang each and every one of them without mercy.

“It’s not personal. You are disrupting trade between Rome and the East and that is an impediment to the economic growth of Rome.”

It is a pity that historians are unable to tell us how Caesar freed himself and ran away. We haven’t a clue as to how he then procured himself a ship and followed the pirates, caught up with them, won a raging skirmish at sea and calmly proceeded to execute all the ringleaders. He took the precaution of hanging them in the presence of witnesses. He also took pains not to punish the members of the crew.

Caesar conquered Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany Vritain and parts of EasternEurope. In his day those countries were known as Cisalpine, Transalpine Gaul and Germania and Britania. His Commentaries are still the best reference books. He wrote volumes, which are not only well written, but filled with acute observations regarding his adversary’s customs and traditions are still important today.

He changed the history and the map of Europe forever. I often ask myself what would have happened if the Barbarians had not overrun Italy and the Iberian Peninsula? In the end they became Latinized and Romanized even ore so than the average Roman citizen. Perhaps more good resulted in the incursions than bad.

A group of engineers from Oxford and Cambridge attempted in 2000 to build Caesar’s bridge over the Rhine using materials and calculations of his epoch. It spanned a 100 meters and his engineers had finished it in less than ten days. Even with today’s technology, satellites, super sensitive instruments and so many experts, they gave up because they had only gotten as far as ten meters. It was clear that they could not only equal his feat, they could not duplicate it.

Caesar may have been the first in recorded history to deliberately destroy the environment. He describes it in his Commentaries. A million hectares of wheat and oat fields as well as oak trees burnt to the ground on his orders. This was solely to starve the Gauls and to render them vulnerable since they had no place to hide.

"As Consul of Gaul I am not going to allow the sacrifice of human beings to your sacred oak trees. Fornicating under the oak trees while your Druids slaughter their victims in order to appease the spirits dwelling in the woodlands and forests is barbaric. You are going to be dragged kicking and screaming into a civil world of Roman Law," he told the religious leaders whom he called Druids.

Vercingetorix, the tragic King of Gaul which today is France fought Caesar with guile, force, human sacrifice and courage. Superior technology, intelligence and a sort of enlightened ruthlessness won the day for Caesar.

“Veni, Vidi, Vinci.” I came, I saw, I conquered is ascribed to Caesar. He may have said it with sarcasm and irony. It took him ten long years to secure Gaul for Rome. Those acts may have cost him his life, as we shall see. His wars on Gaul can be considered a World War of sorts. The Roman Senate had no idea just how vast Gaul was. Western Europe today, with the exception of Spain and Portugal and Italy was the Gaul Caesar and his legions had conquered.

As more and more land was taken the Senate trembled and took back its word.

“You have devastated a world without out permission. We authorized you to go into a very small area. You are now an Outlaw. You are denied entry into Roman territory and into the city of Rome itself,” voted a bribed Senate.

His famous phrase ”Iacta Alea Est.” Let the Dice Fly and not as has wrongly been translated The Die Is Cast: came about because the Roman Senate led by Pompey Magnus, Cicero, Cassius, Catiline and Cato lobbied vigorously against his return to Rome. They had good reason to be terrified. The corruption had spread like fungi. It was now intolerable. The poor became poorer. Food was scarce and money even more so. The homeless and beggars abounded. Only the artisans, workers, craftsmen,small merchants and soldiers paid taxes. Caesar and his supporters in the Senate ferociously opposed this taxes.

Caesar was filled with such a cold fury he decided to march on Rome. His uncle Cornelius Silla had also been refused entry 25 years ago and he retaliated by killing nearly one third of the Roman population.

Caesar took only one legion. Today the River Rubicon, which is near Emilia-Romagna, is but a rivulet. Even in Caesar’s time it was more of a stream. The Rubicon marked the frontier between Rome and the outside world of the Barbarians, the foreigners, the others. Caesar stopped his horse, turned around on his saddle, stood up on his stirrups and declared loudly.

“Centurions and Legionnaires of Rome. Iacta Alea Est!”

What it really meant was that it did not matter which way the dice flew. It was onwards to Rome and never look back. Thus, Gaius Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and ignited a civil war.

His instincts had proven him right. As he marched toward Rome, towns, cities, provinces and regions acclaimed him “Ave Kesar, Ave Kesar.” He had no need for his four legions, which had encamped a few miles outside the frontier of the Roman Republic. By the time Caesar reached Rome, the people of Rome had swelled his army to thousands.

To restore order, food supplies, commercial routes and stave off starvation and hence - a revolution, Caesar declared himself DICTATOR. There were legal precedents for this. Cincinnatus had done it. So had Marius and Cornelius Silla. It was always implicit that as soon as law and order and civil unrest were restored, the Dictator would relinquish all power and retire back to his estates.

Caesar was a man who inspired total dedication from his legions and admiration from the masses. He could also arouse hatred and envy on the part of his own class – the oligarchs who had run the Roman Republic for hundreds of years. Some of his colleagues in the Senate envied his success in war and in love.

In the civil war that ensued as a result of Caesar’s return, Catilene plotted against Caesar. He went over to the side of General Pompey Magnus. Cicero became aware of the plot but remained silent. Brutus, Cassius, and Cato all backed Pompey and participate actively.

A Roman matron, perhaps seeking to ingratiate herself with Caesar, or perhaps in revenge against a former lover decided to reveal all the details to Caesar. Five of the ringleaders were thrown to their deaths off the Tarpeian cliffs. The rest had fled Rome. Caesar sent word to Brutus, Cassius, Cato and Cicero that for the good of Rome there would be no further blood spilt.

He forgave them all. This act of generosity and chivalry cost him his life. His heir and great-nephew Octavian would heed this when the time came to be merciless. I have often wondered if Stalin, an avid student of history kept this in mind during the great purges.

“As Dictator, Caesar tried to deal with the problems that had brought unrest and civil war to Rome for some sixty years. He felt that the rich were indecently rich. Why should a man own 200,000 hectares of land? Indeed, why should his legions die to sustain an unsustainable way of life? The government, suitable for a small city was outdated and unable to handle the global metropolis that Rome had turned into. Rome had conquered so many lands that like it or not it had become an empire. Running an empire required different abilities and talents. It needed honest and skilled bureaucrats to administer it. Yet those in power in the Roman Senate clung to the old and outmoded republican forms. Kings had been driven out of Rome 400 years ago, and the suspicion, only a suspicion, which had no tangible proof, that Caesar, might want to be King, began the Conspiracy against him.” Quoted and translated from Suetonius, Divus Julius. XLIV, X.

In February of 44 B.C. the Senate voted Caesar Dictator for life. So long as it was Pro Tempore, (for a period of time) the oligarchs swallowed their poison, Once they realized that Caesar intended to govern for a very long time they considered it the worst provocation. The Kings had been driven away. The oligarchs ruled by collegiality and by consensus. In truth life had turned into a daily bloodbath. They objected to breaking up their ”Latifundi” so that the retired soldiers, the landless and the working classes could share in the wealth.

Caesar’s days were numbered on that fateful February.

In the meantime Caesar proceeded at maximum speed to replace the old administrators with the new. Efficient and bright young men replaced decrepit and entrenched administrators who had enriched themselves beyond a quantum of tolerance. Well-informed and new tax collectors begun implementing Caesar's new laws on taxation. Horror and terror permeated the ranks of the oligarchic classes.

“By the end of March or, at the latest the first week of April, I shall be leaving Rome for my campaign against the Parthians,” announced Caesar to a stunned Assembly of Senators and Deputies.

The legend has remained that Caesar fully intended to retrace Alexander the Great’s steps towards Persia and India by going through Russia. Quite a few historians like Pliny the Elder, talk about this campaign. I don’t think that it can be discounted as a mere legend. Caesar had demonstrated to himself and to the world that he was a superior Conqueror and Leader than Alexander. He did not believe in killing for the sake of killing. He was interested in new lands for economic and commercial exchanges. He wanted Rome to grow as a world/global power.

That was the principal reason for the alliance with Cleopatra, Pharaoh and Queen of Egypt. Her country had wheat and other commodities and minerals that Rome needed badly for her expansion into other lands Caesar was aware that the Egyptian sacerdotal class, including the Pharaoh had arcane otherwordly knowledge so powerful that it beggared Rome's in spite of her militay might.

I think the sex was simply the sugar, which was added to the transaction. Caesar was strongly attracted to women, and they found him irresistible not only because he was powerful. Even in his sixties he had retained his lithe body and good looks. From all accounts, his sexual prowess delighted and satisfied their every fantasy.

The conspirators had little time to prepare their murder plot. Sixty-three people knew about the conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar. Of these 23 would take part in the killing. That made for too many people to keep a secret. Secrecy was the key to the successful fruition of a murder plot, particularly one involving the greatest military Conqueror of their time. As well, most of the sixty-three with murder in their hearts and on their minds were his friends and acquaintances. Caesar was a practical and pragmatic political animal. The Senate and the Lower Chamber needed dissenters. They compelled him to be ever more creative. In his later years Caesar became somewhat of a Stoic.

“Beware the Ides of March,” repeated the Soothsayer Spurinna several times a day as Caesar walked to the Roman Forum on his way to the Senate. It is important to note that Caesar was a very approachable man inside the perimeters of the Roman Forum. Any richly or poorly dressed individual could stop and talk to him even if he did not know Caesar. He always listened attentively. His villa was easily identifiable because mile long lines of men, women and children waited their turn for an audience with Caesar. The people of Rome loved Caesar. They believed his promises because he had always honored them.

His wife Calpurnia, to whom he was devoted often chided him for his lack of sleep. “You never sleep more than four hours, dearest Gaius Julius.”

“You know dear Spouse that since my twenties four hours of sleep are more than sufficient for me to feel rested.”

She too had come to learn of the Conspiracy to kill her husband. And her concern increased as the Ides of March approached inexorably. Surely Caesar knew the entire Conspiracy in all its gruesome details? He had used spies long before Cornelius Silla nominated him Pontifex Maximus at the age of fourteen. The Suburra, where Caesar had spent his childhood and adolescent years pullulated with every conceivable kind of information. Some of his most trusted centurions came from the Suburra.

Lest we forget, Cleopatra was living in an opulent villa in Rome as Caesar’s mistress. She had a son by him - Caesarion He neither denied nor confirmed his paternity. As with most upper class Italians to this day, he lived with his wife Calpurnia. There are no records of Caesar and Cleopatra ever being seen in public together. The call of the wild penis can be hard to disregard but Caesar’s head ruled over his genitals. It would have been unconscionable for him to disrespect Calpurnia in any way.

Did he tryst with Cleopatra in her villa? She had political ambitions for Egypt. It follows therefore that she would have her own spies, probably Greek who kept her informed of every leaf and stone that dropped in Rome. She traveled to Rome with hundreds of courtiers and experts in her entourage. We presume she brought her own astrologers, The Egyptians possessed the oldest science of the stars and the planets, and they cast astrological charts long before the Babylonians. The Ides of March must have alarmed them. After all, it taxes our credibility to believe that the sixty three people involved in the Conspiracy did not confide in at least one person, who in turn passed the “secret” to yet more persons.

Hollywood luxuriates in its ignorance and arrogance. They have consistently attempted to rewrite history. Allow me to set the record straight. Notwithstanding the 100 million dollar motion picture “Cleopatra”, the Queen of Egypt did NOT make a triumphal entry into Rome. She was accorded the honors which Rulers and VIP’s received when in Rome. Given the fact that Egypt was vital to the economic and financial survival of Rome: she might have received more pomp and ceremony than most.

On his return from Egypt, Gaius Julius Caesar entered Rome in glorious triumph, accompanied only by his legions. He brought good news for the people. Roman ships anchored off the port of Ostia, Civitavecchia, Brindisium (Brindisi) and Genova (Genoa) had arrived from Egypt laden with wheat, oats, beans and fruits. They cheered themselves hoarse.

In the Roman calendar the Ides always fell on the fifteenth day of the month. Caesar was the greatest gambler the world had ever seen. Many of us still remember and often quote him in his famous “Iacta Alea Est” Let The Dice Fly. It is difficult to consider that Caesar was not aware of the Conspiracy. Surely his spies would have informed him. I think he decided to witness the events which would unfold on the Ides of March. He would play out the drama until Death, if everything pointed to the inevitability of his murder. He would go with grace and dignity.

Escape was not for Caesar, the Conqueror, the First Man of Rome, and the foremost Politico, the Patriot and Dictator for Life. Escape was never an option for one such as him. Fortune’s child would become immortal. His life and his many conquests would be the subject of endless plays, dramas, histories, discussions and motion pictures forever. His assassins' names would be obliterated from the Roman lexicon. No one would name his or her son Cicero, Cato, Brutus and Cassius ever again.

He was pleased that he had adopted his great-nephew Octavian, then seventeen years old as his lawful son and heir. Octavian was the son of his affectionate niece Athia, the daughter of Guilia, sister of his beloved mother Aurelia. Caesar believed in bloodlines. Thus, only the line descended from his mother could he turn to in his hour of need. He had no legitimate male sons nor did he ever legitimize any. Again, because he was convinced that” The offspring of my sons carry my name, but the children of my daughters or maternal nieces have my blood.”

“Octavian Julius Caesar is brilliant, brave and highly intelligent. He will choose his administrators wisely. He has no political baggage because of his extreme youth. His streak of ruthlessness, which he masks well underneath a falsely delicate nature, will stand him and Rome in good stead. He will bear the name of Caesar splendidly and successfully. Long live Caesar,“ he pondered as thunder and lightning pelted Rome on the eve of the Ides of March.

I think the Conspiracy to kill Caesar was led by vindictive and jealous men. Cassius, one of its leaders nurtured a rancor, which turned into hatred because Caesar named Brutus Praetor of Rome. He felt and he may have been right that Brutus, whose main occupation was usury, was not the best choice.

“Caesar has passed me over only because Brutus is the son of his long time mistress Servilia,“ he thought.

Something else rankled in Cassius’s heart. His wife Tertullia had once had a passionate affair with Caesar. Gossip ascribed this to Servilia’s controlling nature. Caesar had severed their long relationship before his departure for Gaul. Servilia never stopped loving and hating him. So she ordered her daughter Tertullia to come to Caesar’s bed as a sort of gift.

An objective observation of the principal actors in this conspiracy lead me to conclude that most had been at one time or another, cuckolded by Caesar.

Shakespeare might have portrayed Portia, wife of Brutus as the epitome of fidelity. Perhaps by the time she was married to him she had become a good wife. However, she had nursed an impossible infatuation for Caesar. He was the sort of man who loved women, pleasured them, covered them with gifts and then left them. Indeed, he spent more time in conquest of foreign lands than he ever spent in Rome.

The years had made Portia bitter. She was out for blood. As Cato’s daughter, she wanted nothing more. There is a gamut of motives behind the Conspiracy ranging from the noble (but duped) sentiments of a few to envy, hatred and opportunism. Brutus was not a man who was easily swayed, but if any person or persons could do it, that would have been Cassius first and Portia a very close second.

“Please don’t attend the session at the Senate today. I had a nightmare wherein I saw you covered in blood,” pleaded Calpurnia gazing into her husband’s eyes as they drank freshly squeezed blood red oranges from North Africa.

Caesar reassured his wife that he would not stay long and they would enjoy an enchanting spring luncheon together.

As he strode inside the Forum, Spurinna the Soothsayer stepped in front of him. "Great Caesar. Beware the Ides of March.”

“They are upon us and nothing has taken place,” replied Caesar brusquely.

“They have only just begun,’’ retorted the Soothsayer walking away.

Caesar continued on his way wordlessly. Of course, he was alone. He knew Marc Anthony; his second cousin was away on a mission.

“Iacta Alea Est.”

It was eight o’clock in the morning of the 15th of March 44 B.C. Caesar entered the chambers of the Senate. He noticed a couple of elderly Senators; his allies had already taken their seats. Brutus, Cassius, Decimus and Casca stood in the area where Caesar always sat. They stepped aside so that he could ascend towards his usual place. When he was seated, he noticed that more solons had joined the quartet and that they were on their way up to him.

“They seem to be pushing Tullio Cimbrus forward. They must want favors as usual, he whispered mostly to himself.

Caesar had sent Tullio’s brother into exile in Sicily.

“Look here Cimbrus, thank the Gods and the Goddesses that all I did was send your vicious and treasonous brother away. Other men like the dead Silla or Marius would surely have executed him,” his voice was now sharp.

They were about to reach his seat. He rose swiftly and continued. ‘What do you Brutus, Decimus, and Cassius have in common with that horrid man who is unworthy of being called by his name by me?”

A tense and dangerous silence surrounded him.

Undeterred Caesar went on. "You share nothing with that person or his brother Cimbrus here present. You have no blood ties. Your studies, culture, ideals or way of life are different."

Caesar turned his torso to walk away. Cimbrus suddenly grabbed his toga bordered in purple and pulled at it so violently that the toga came undone, exposing his back. At the same time as this occurred he felt an acute pain between his shoulder and his neck. Casca had stabbed him! Caesar gripped Cascas’s wrists and yelled.

“Curse you Casca, what are you doing?”

He heard Casca call out for help to his brother who was part of the group, which now completely encircled him. Caesar looked for an opening among the men. One unarmed man among twenty-three killers brandishing well sharpened daggers. It was forbidden for legislators in the Senate to carry swords, daggers or knives. Caesar had unfailingly observed this rule.

His well-disciplined mind took over. He felt the stabs and the slashes from a distance. Pain seemed far away. He quivered at the sight of his torn toga now in tatters. I think at that moment Caesar knew that he was going to die. He stopped defending himself. He did not ask for mercy. He never cried out for help. As he stumbled from the loss of blood, his assassins took advantage of this weakness to pass him as if he were a ball. Near death his sense of DIGNITAS, which in ancient Rome meant self-esteem and self respect and pride in doing one’s duty - all rolled into one - became more acute than ever. His dismembered toga exposed his private parts and his abdomen. He used all the strength he had left to fall on his knees and gather the remnants of his toga around his lower torso. Then slowly he lay on his side. The voices and cries diminished in volume. He no longer cared what the voices said around him. He found the force to put himself in a fetal position before abandoning himself into a profound sleep.

According to the medical examiner Antiseo, of the twenty-three stab wounds, only one proved fatal to Caesar - the stab wound to his throat by Cassius.

Of the many unprecedented actions one of them adds even more luster to this glorious human being. His last will and testament provided for every citizen of Rome with 300 sesterces in gold. At the time of his assassination Rome was a city of a million people, perhaps more.

I think he may be the first and last Leader of this magnitude to ever provide for the people of his country. He left millions of ducats for his war against the Parthians. He wished to ensure his Legions would be provided for. Octavian received millions as did Marc Antony. He even remembered the friends who all turned out to be his assassins with thousands of gold ducats.

I can think of no other leader then as now who has ever remembered the people . If any of my readers know any examples please enlighten us.

In conclusion, these words come to mind. "December 7th, 1941, is a day that will live in infamy," pronounced by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We now know that the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy was known by the Pentagon and by the White House. At least three months before the attack, cryptographers working for the US Navy had cracked the Japanese military communiques emanating from one of their bases in the Marshall Islands.

The only authentic day of infamy for much of the ancient and modern world took place on the Ides of March. Two examples will suffice.

In the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo, I was invited to visit a high school on the Ides of March. I entered the classroom with General Veloso. Classes had just resumed after a horrendous civil war. The peace had been brokered in Rome by the Vatican and the United Nations A drawing of Julius Caesar on the day of his assassination covered the entire length of the blackboard.

I was impressed and complimented the entire class. It had been a collective endeavor. Then I asked if they knew what the 7th of December 1941 meant. I was met with blank stares. The class president said they had no idea.

I thought Manila would be different. The Japanese bombed Manila, declared an open city by General Douglas MacArthur on the 9th of December 1941. Surely, the children at the elite school would know? I mean, there was the Battle of Bataan, Corregidor, Lingayen Gulf and the infamous Bataan Death March.

Well my dear readers, the children were not aware of the attack on Pearl Harbor," the day that will live in infamy" but one 10 year old boy volunteered this piece of information.

"We are familiar with the Ides of March because one of the greatest men in history, Julius Caesar was murdered on that day 44 years before the birth of Christ."

That says it all.

Iacta Alea Est.


  1. "In other words Caesar ranked higher than Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Gandhi, Churchill and Washington.

    Why is this so?"

    Proximity in time and the continuing existence of those persons' states are among the reasons. Mao, Churchill and Washington remain national icons for their respective great powers; Gandhi considerably so for the state he fathered; and Hitler remains an icon for creepy White nationalists all over the world, many of whom would like to rehabilitate his reputation. (Napoleon's reputation is now ambivalent.) Too much current propaganda is invested in the reputations of all those men for their long term reputations yet to become established.

    A slight correction on FDR and Pearl Harbor: it's true that he knew an attack was coming, but the story that he knew exactly when and where is not supported by available evidence. I lose patience with a certain subspecies of American Nationalists (who overlap with antisemites and White Nationalists)
    who blame the war on FDR and Churchill (and "the Jews") instead of principally on Hitler and secondarily Hitler's semi-ally Stalin.

    As for your solicitation for names of other leaders who REALLY "supported the troops" and the People in the way Julius Caesar did, at the moment I can't think of any. You seem to be unchallengeable on that one!
    The way America treats its veterans reminds me of the lines by Kipling:

    " You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
    We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot..."

  2. Isabel,

    Thank you for this wonderful portrait of Julius Caesar, which surpasses any I have read in establishing Caesar's background and character, and brings out incidents in his life that few people are aware of. I seem to recall you posted a similar piece (with same picture) in 2008, but this year have expanded last year's Ides of March entry?


  3. A most fabulous read... It is, as I remember, reading a book written so well, as compared to today, from another century, another time!

  4. A fabulous read...It is like a great book I have read, written from another century, another time. I was captivated.


Isabel Van Fechtmann

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