Why was Caesar assassinated? What events led to his assassination? If you don’t have complete knowledge of that, you miss the major historical event. Read this article to know what you have missed!
History possesses massive secrets of eminent leaders, kings, or rulers. From the Greek era to colonialism, every leader who died had some mysteries. For instance, the Egyptian pyramids are still a closed book. No matter the period, you will always be accompanied by some hidden treasures.
Among many great leaders in history, you might have come across the name of Julius Caesar. Yes, you heard me right! Julius Caesar is not a character only from literature, but he was one of the most eminent leaders of the Roman Empire. He called himself the dictator of the Roman Republic, but unfortunately, his reign lasted for one year before his political rivals assassinated him.
The question which might arise sometimes is why Caesar was assassinated. It might not be hard to answer that question; however, before that, it is necessary to know who Julius Caesar was and what led to his assassination.
Who was Julius Caesar?
Before knowing why Caesar was assassinated, it is essential to understand who he was and why Julius Caesar deserved to die. Julius Caesar was a Roman general and politician who led the Gallic Wars. As a member of the first triumvirate, he defeated his political rival Pompey or Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus in a civil war which led to Caesar becoming a dictator of the Roman Republic from 49 to 44 B.C. His significant participation in civil and other wars was an excellent reason for the crumbling of the Roman Republic.
Julius was born on July 13, 100 B.C., to a patrician Roman family. His father, Gaius Julius Caesar, governed an Asian province, and he was the nephew of eminent Roman general Gaius Marius. Julius’s mother belonged to an influential family, and his aunt married Gaius Marius. He is said to be the descendant of Goddess Venus through trojan princes Aeneas and lulu.
Although not many traces of Caesar’s childhood are found, we know that his father died when he was 16. This incident made him the head of the family, and he had to bear the family’s burden at a young age. Caesar was a politically active teenager. Therefore, he became a solid political personality later in his life.
Julius Caesar studied the Greek language and had a keen interest in reading the works of Greek philosophers. He also attended lectures on philosophy and rhetoric in his early teens, symbolizing his preparation to become a public speaker. All the skills he was learning were highly respected in Rome.
At that time, the Roman forum was the center of political and intellectual debate from where he learned about the political side of Rome. After his father’s death, he got the leadership and was appointed the head of the family. It was the time when the civil wars were at their peak between his uncle Gaius Marius and his political rival Sulla.
At that time, marriages were a solid political factor. Caesar married his second wife, Cornelia, who was also the mother of his daughter, but Sulla demanded to divorce her. Caesar refused, and as a result, he was put on the list of people about to be executed. To save his life, he went into exile.
He started his military career and was awarded the civic crown for saving a life. Later, he was sent to an embassy with the king of Bithynia to get a fleet of ships. But soon after, Sulla died, which opened the way for caesar. He returned and began his career as a lawyer and gained quite a reputation.
He sailed to Greece for further study but was hijacked by the Cilician pirates for a ransom of 20 talents. He insisted that he was worth more than 20 talents, so his ransom was raised to 50 talents. He maintained a friendly relationship with the pirates, but Caesar warned them that he would track them down and crucify them. As soon as he was released, he did what he promised. Along with some volunteers, he tracked and crucified them.
In 45 BCE., he issued a coin with his portrait and allowed his statues to be stood at the major sights. In 44 BCE, Julius was named a “dictator perpetuus.” He planned to lead a military campaign against the Parthians because they had killed Crassus by betraying him and taking the legionary eagles.
Before he departed for the campaign, he was invited to a senate meeting. It was held in the theater built by Pompey the Great. The session was led by Marcus Brutus, Gaius Longinus, Decimus Brutus, and several others. They all came with daggers in their togas and stabbed Julius 23 times, leaving him dead. Until now, you might have gotten a better hold of why Caesar was assassinated.
Certain significant events led to the assassination of Julius Caesar. So if you want to know why he was caesar assassinated, it is crucial to understand his historical achievements and enemies.
100 BCE – Aurelia Cotta gave birth to Gaius Julius Caesar
75 BCE– Got kidnapped by the pirates in the Aegean Sea
69 BCE– Married Cornelia Cinna
65 BCE – Julius Caesar is elected as aedile curule in Rome.
63 BCE– Julius became a priest of Jupiter
60 BCE – 53 BCE – Creation of the First Triumvirate’ among Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus.
58 BCE – Attack on Helvetii and defeat by Caesar
58 BCE – Invasion of the city of Gaul and beginning of Roman’s influence on European tribes.
57 BCE – Defeat of the army of Nervii, Atrebates, and Viromandui by Caesar’s troops.
55 BCE – 54 BCE – Invasion of Britain twice- success on the second attempt- later withdraws to Gaul.
54 BCE – 53 BCE – The destruction of 9000 Roman soldiers in modern-day Belgium(previously known as Atuatuca) by Ambiorix of the Eburones tribe.
54 BCE – 29 BCE – The Forum of Caesar in Rome was constructed by Julius Caesar to carry out judicial business.
52 BCE – Defeat of Julius by Vercingetorix at Gergovia.
52 BCE – Surrender of Vercingetorix to Caesar’s armies.
51 BCE – End of the Gallic War with Caesar’s capture of Uxellodunum.
49 BCE – Civil war between Caesar and Pompey led to the crossing of the Rubicon Caesar.
49 BCE – Siege of Massilia.
49 BCE – Capture of Brundisium in the south of Italy.
48 BCE – Defeat of Pompey by Caesar in the battle of Pharsalus;
48 BCE – Pompey flees to Egypt and is killed by the courtiers of Ptolemy XIII.
48 BCE – Breaking out of the war in Egypt between Caesar and Ptolemy XIII because Ptolemy XIII refused to disband armies
47 BCE – Birth of Caesarion. Cleopatra’s son, whose father was claimed to be Caesar.
46 BCE – Gold coins secured by Caesar. It was the most significant quantity ever seen in Rome.
46 BCE – Celebration of the triple triumph in Rome by Julius Caesar.
44 BCE – Murder of Caesar by his 60 rebels in a senator meeting.
Julius Caesar’s books
Julius Caesar was not only a leader and fighter. He was also an author. Furthermore, he wrote remarkable books highlighting the circumstances of Rome and his life ventures. As he had a good hold on his speech, he converted it into writing so that people of his era after him could know what he saw. Although most of his work was lost, we still got some precious gems from Julius Caesar.
We only received his memoir about the Gallic Wars and other commentaries like De Bello Gallico and De Bello civil. He talked about the events leading to the Gallic and civil wars in both books. In addition, the text was based on all events from the war and thus included many books.
Was Julius Caesar a good leader?
Most of the time, it is asked whether Julius Caesar was a good leader. The answer is both yes and no. It is such a controversial thing to say exactly. However, he had both positive and negative impressions on people. Those in his support considered him a good leader, whereas his rivals had opposite opinions.
His actions were attributed to the characteristics of successful leaders. Many things made him a remarkable leader. However, on the contrary, some of his actions were questionable and objected to by Romans. Julius was the bearer of a charismatic personality that influenced a large population, and as a result, he became the center of attention in Greece, Rome, and Egypt.
He knew there would be potential risks in deciding to move on, but he still worked steadily. He had a potent work ethic and was ready to take all the risks he could. That’s what gave him high success in his military career as well. He was always generous with his soldiers as he slept and ate, and at such a young age, he built his army.
Despite the lack of wealth and influence, Julius set himself apart as an exceptional individual who gained everything —from wealth to reputation— on his own. He was also able to secure a significant position in government. By 60 BCE, he was elected as a consul — in charge of leading Rome. During this time, he passed substantial reforms, including land for military veterans, a law for extortion, and land for the poor. His rule changed the way people saw Rome.
The people of Rome praised him because he cared for people and had fair policies for all. As a result, he and Rome gained worldwide respect. He marched with his army to Rome to take over the government of Pompey. It led to the breaking of the civil war between him and his rivals which resulted in his win.
He not only became the leader through marches and wars but his powerful words and speeches also influenced the people of the Republic. First, he spoke fiery words as a lawyer and became a government official. He became the author of numerous books. Thus, he is also categorized as an accomplished author and historian. He delivered flawless and attractive speeches in the senate, leaving everyone in awe. He was the person who never rested his horses.
Julius Caesar never backed off the risks and always stood out as a courageous leader. A good leader never lets fear come his way, just like Julius did. He set an example for the upcoming leaders to be brave enough to look directly into the eyes of death.
Facts about Julius Caesar
There are some lesser-known facts about Julius caesar which might pique your interest in his life and the events leading to his assassination.
- Julius Caesar was believed to be the descendant of the family of the goddess venus.
- Cilician pirates once kidnaped Julius.
- He had two sisters, and both were named Julia.
- He had an affair with Cleopatra, and they both allegedly had a son together.
- Julius Caesar invented the concept of leap year.
- He was the first Roman politician to have his portrait on the coin.
- He initiated a violent civil war that lasted even after his death.
- He was given the civil crown during the siege
- He is a known lawyer because of his exceptional speaking skills and high-pitched voice.
- He fought his first fight with the Helvetii.
- Over 60 people were involved in his assassination.
- He was stabbed 23 times.
- First Roman leader to be revered.
- The month of July was named after Julius’s name.
- Julius had three wives but only first had a daughter.
- He had only one biological child at the time of his death which was his daughter.
- His nephew was his sole heir.
- Shakespear claims that Julius was deaf in one year.
- He had a phobia of cats, i.e., ailurophobia.
- Julius belonged to a not-so-wealthy family but gained power through his military expertise.
- He was an exceptional writer with prolific skills in poetry.
- It is claimed that Caesar has epilepsy, tapeworms as well as malaria.
- He didn’t marry Cleopatra because polygamy was not allowed in Rome.
- First, every person has to have an autopsy.
- His last words were “Et Tu, Brute?” meaning “you too, Brutus” according to Shakespeare.
How did Julius Caesar come to power?
Julius began to gain power after he came back to Rome. It was in 60 BCE when Julius, along with Pompey and Crassus, initiated taking control of the Roman Republic. This was when he was appointed as the consul of Rome, which marked the beginning of his power gain.
Why was Caesar assassinated?
No one has ever thought that Caesar would be brutally killed by his rivals. When he was named the “dictator in perpetuity” of the Roman Republic, the appointed political leaders got furious and scared because they were worried that Caesar would rule as a tyrant in Rome. Thus to take away the title, they hit the ultimate below.
On March 15, 44 B.C, the senate held a meeting popularly known as the “ides of march” with 60 members at the Theatre of Pompey in Rome(Curia of Pompey). The session was led by two prominent members led by Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius. They all collectively stabbed Julius 23 times without giving him a chance to escape. An autopsy report later showed that The stabbing wound on his chest could have been fatal alone, but they stabbed him multiple times, ensuring he had no way to survive.
This event was somewhat tyrannical and left everyone in shock. Two days after the assassination, the senate members were summoned but were compromised and were not punished. Despite the death of Julius, the peace of the Roman Republic was not restored, and it further got stuck into civil wars.
Did Caesar deserve to die?
Certainly not! He died because of jealousy of his rivals. He brought Rome’s reputation to a great level by making other states recognize its importance. Opponents believed that civil wars and disturbances within the people would end after Julius’ death, but they were wrong; the situation got even worse. The conspirators made the wrong decision of killing Julius as he didn’t do anything wrong.
Julius never gave any reason to his people to get himself killed except for his opposition, who feared him becoming an influential person. Caesar was dead out of mere jealousy because of his companion, Brutus, who betrayed him. Julius was a good leader, and killing him was never the best choice by his enemies.
Caesar’s death led to significant problems that could have been avoided if he was not killed. Both the conspirators, Brutus and Cassius, wanted complete control of Rome. It resulted in a fight between them, leading to further complications. They never took these problems into account before killing Caesar. These problems were only recognized when they stood in their faces.
There are not many rational reasons for killing Caesar except greed for power. He never held personal grudges for his conspirators but what he did was for the good of Rome. However, Brutus fled to Greece and died by suicide a year later. Thus, we do not have a logical answer to why Caesar was assassinated.
Julius married three women in his life. Other than that, he had illegitimate relations with many other women. However, after marrying a young woman, Cornelia, his first wife, Julius, only had one child, his daughter Julia Caesaris. She is the only legitimate child of Caesar known. However, it is believed that he had an illegitimate son with Cleopatra, who was later killed at the age of 17 by the adoptive son of Octavian Caesar.
Julius’s two other wives never bore him a child, but it seems his mistress did that for him, but unfortunately, the ending of Caesar’s bloodline was decided by fate. He might have some illegitimate heirs but not any that we know of because he was a lady’s man in his youth. But his bloodline ended right when his alleged son Caesaris was killed.
Was caesar’s assassination justified?
Killing can never be justified. In the case of Julius Caesar, his assassination was not warranted. How can his assassination be justified when he never did anything wrong except for the state’s welfare? Julius was steady to face all kinds of consequences and fight with them no matter who the opposition was. He was the man who fought undefeated wars.
However, when his companion betrayed him, he felt defeated and ready to die. In Shakespeare’s novel, Julius Caesar covered his face with his hands when he saw Brutus among other senate members. Meanwhile, it is not sure whether he said “Et Tu, Brute” to Brutus, but this is what Shakespeare mentioned in his novel. If you are still asking why was caesar assassinated and was caesar’s assassination justified- the answer will be NO!
So why was Caesar assassinated? Did Caesar deserve to die? And whether caesar’s assassination was justified or not. All these are highly debatable questions, but his assassination was never justified. Julius was a great leader of Rome, and his leadership led to numerous advancements in almost all sectors. His compassion towards the poor was an incredibly remarkable act.
Though he did not get the chance to be Dictator perpetuo, he was brutally murdered by the senate members. He was killed because Romans or his rivals feared that he would take over the Republic and the government would lose all control over the area. His political reforms brought Rome to a new spotlight. Rome earned a respectable reputation that it never had before.