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Sunday, December 11, 2005

This One's Slightly More Stale 

Since I seem to be writing about murderers today, here are a couple of others.

Gaius Cassius Longinus

In 44 BC he became Praetor Peregrinus with the promise of the Syrian province for the ensuing year. The appointment of his junior, Marcus Junius Brutus, as praetor urbanus deeply offended him, and only deepened the hatred and resentment Cassius felt for the dictator....He was one of the busiest conspirators against Caesar, winning over the chief assassins to the cause of murder. On the Ides of March, 44 BC, Cassius urged on his fellow assassins, and struck Caesar in the face. He and his fellow conspirators refered to themselves as the "Liberators." The celebration was short-lived, as Antony seized power and turned the public against them.

In April, Cassius fled Rome for the countryside, hoping that Antony would be overthrown. In June, the Senate assigned Cassius the province of Cyrene in order to give him clearance to leave Italy while retaining his office as praetor. Cassius balked at being given such a small province and resigned his office....He left for his previously assigned province of Syria, which had been reassigned to P. Cornelius Dolabella at Antony's behest, hoping to take control of it before Dolabella arrived....By this point the Senate had split with Antony and cast its lot with Cassius, confirming him as governor of the province....[After some time Cassius and Brutus] crossed the Hellespont, marched through Thrace, and encamped near Philippi in Macedon. Octavian and Antony soon arrived, and Cassius planned to starve them out through the use of their superior position in the country. However, they were forced into a battle by Antony. Brutus was successful against Octavian, and took his camp. Unfortunately, Cassius was defeated and overrun by Mark Antony. Cassius, unaware of Brutus' victory, gave up all for lost, and ordered his freedman Pindarus to slay him....

Which leads us to Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio:

Brutus, like many other senators, was not satisfied with the state of the Republic. Caesar had been made dictator for life and approved legislation to concentrate power in his own hands. Together with his friend and brother-in-law Cassius and other men, Brutus started to conspire against Caesar. On the Ides of March...of 44 BC, a group of senators including Brutus murdered Caesar on the steps of Pompey's Theater....

However, the city itself was against them, because most of the population loved Caesar dearly. Mark Antony decided to make use of the circumstances and, on March 20 spoke angrily against the assassins during Caesar's funeral eulogy. Since Rome no longer saw them as saviors of the Republic and they faced treason charges, Brutus and his fellow conspirators fled to the East. In Athens, Brutus dedicated himself to the study of philosophy and, no less importantly, to the raising of funds to support an army in the coming war for power.

Octavian and Antony marched their army toward Brutus and Cassius. After two engagements at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, during the first of which Cassius committed suicide, Brutus fled with his remaining forces. Seeing that defeat and capture was imminent, he committed suicide by falling on his sword. Antony honored his fallen enemy and spoke over Brutus’s body, calling him the noblest Roman of all. While the other conspirators acted out of envy and ambition, he observed, Brutus genuinely believed that he acted for the benefit of Rome....

And here's some information about the murder itself, courtesy Nicolaus of Damascus (who was apparently a friend of Herod the Great):

"The Senate rose in respect for his position when they saw him entering. Those who were to have part in the plot stood near him. Right next to him went Tillius Cimber, whose brother had been exiled by Caesar. Under pretext of a humble request on behalf of this brother, Cimber approached and grasped the mantle of his toga, seeming to want to make a more positive move with his hands upon Caesar. Caesar wanted to get up and use his hands, but was prevented by Cimber and became exceedingly annoyed.

That was the moment for the men to set to work. All quickly unsheathed their daggers and rushed at him. First Servilius Casca struck him with the point of the blade on the left shoulder a little above the collar-bone. He had been aiming for that, but in the excitement he missed. Caesar rose to defend himself, and in the uproar Casca shouted out in Greek to his brother. The latter heard him and drove his sword into the ribs. After a moment, Cassius made a slash at his face, and Decimus Brutus pierced him in the side. While Cassius Longinus was trying to give him another blow he missed and struck Marcus Brutus on the hand. Minucius also hit out at Caesar and hit Rubrius in the thigh. They were just like men doing battle against him.

Under the mass of wounds, he fell at the foot of Pompey's statue. Everyone wanted to seem to have had some part in the murder, and there was not one of them who failed to strike his body as it lay there, until, wounded thirty-five times, he breathed his last."

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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