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Western Civilization - Essay Example

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After all, in the civil wars that followed the emperor’s death eventually led to the destruction of the empire itself; not to mention…
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Western Civilization
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Was Caesar’s Assassination Justified? Jane Jones Introduction Few would argue that the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 BC was definitely history changing for the Roman Empire. After all, in the civil wars that followed the emperor’s death eventually led to the destruction of the empire itself; not to mention the thousands of people also killed as an indirect result. But was it justified? Perhaps and then again maybe it wasn’t. Brutus, Cassius, and some five dozen other noted figures seemed to think so; after all they all participated in his stabbing death. Both Cicero and Cassius gave their opinions justifying the assassination but were they right. Only by examining the facts can one make a decision on right or wrong.
Discussion
Although not one of the actual assassins, Cicero makes the argument that some members of the conspiracy had brought up what he referred to as “petty crimes” (one of the instances was fraudulent buying and selling). His viewpoint was that made little sense when the emperor’s real crime was the simple fact that he declared himself king and that in itself justified the Emperor’s death. Indeed, Cicero goes so far to state that such views are that of an insane person (and “immoral”) and those that followed him were just as mad as Caesar. In his case, he states that the Empire was once a free state with free people and that removing somebody like Caesar (either by force or peaceful means) was not only reasonable but in fact warranted.
Cassius Dio on the other hand, makes an entirely different viewpoint in that killing Caesar was perhaps not totally justified and only brought unnecessary war and sedition to Rome. Granted, it could be argued that unlike Cicero, Cassius lived close to three hundred years after the event and was writing history as based upon the documents available to him. Yet historians such as Cassius often provide valuable insight many years after the fact, maybe unprejudiced, whereas those like Cicero were inflamed and caught up in the moment.
Cassius does make a valid point in that the senators and other leaders courted Caesar like he was a king, such as riding into the city on horseback in full regalia and naming him Father of His Country. True Caesar’s ego made him giddily accept such “honors” and the man truly believed he was deserving of those favors. So why then use this as a later excuse to later kill him? Cassius points out that they hoped to convince Caesar that he was a mere mortal and when that failed (the Emperor actually believd himself otherwise!), the conspiracy took hold and one of his relatives (Brutus) was convinced to carry it out (Thayer).
This theory seemed to manifest itself in more recent times as well. In the 1980’s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was courted by the West (especially the United States and the United Kingdom) before and during his lengthy war with the Iranian Islamic Regime, being given weapons and intelligence. Yet after his disastrous invasion of Kuwait in
1990, Saddam became a somewhat hated name in the First World, which culminated in his death by hanging in 2006. The United States has even been using covert operatives inside its military bases in Iraq to carry out operations designed to topple Iran (Fadel). Granted that is external coups but still uses violence to bring about changes in an unpopular regime, either internally or externally.
References
Thayer, Bill, Cassius Dio: Roman History, (Book 44) Loeb Classical Library, 9 volumes, Greek texts and facing English translation: Harvard University Press, 1914 thru 1927. Translation by Earnest Cary, Web, accessed 15 April 2012, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/44*.html.
Fadel, Leila Cult-like Iranian militant group worries about its future in Iraq, McClatchy Newspapers. December 31, 2008, Web, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/12/31/58809/cult-like-iranian-militant-group.html#storylink=cpy Read More
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