Why was Caesar assassinated?

Essay by dainty12 September 2005

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Throughout history, a number of different historians have attempted to discern why it was that Julius Caesar, the sole dictator of Rome, and "champion of the people", was callously murdered by his contemporaries in 'Pompey's theatre' on the 'Ides of March' 44B.C. It was such a dramatic, calculated and ruthless murder that it has inspired many celebrated artistic impressions and a famous Shakespearean play.

Vicky Stevens believed that the primary reasons for Caesar's assassination were the petty rivalries and jealousies amongst his colleagues, stating that, "Rome had outdone itself, bestowing the most extravagant honours upon just one man", and that Caesar's supporters' "over-indulgence (of their much-loved hero) helped to create the resentment amongst his contemporaries that led to his murder". Although this does appear to be an extremely valid reason for Caesar's untimely demise, Hennessy believed Caesar's unequalled ambition worried his conspirers most. He had displayed contempt for the institutionalised values and traditions of the Republic.

This belief is echoed by A.J Koutoukis and Balsdon (author of 'Julius Caesar and Rome') who stated that "without Caesar's stifling autocratic grip on Rome, they (the Senators) believed, in the nobility of their simple hearts that the Republicanism could be saved".

Caesar's lack of political integrity, as he dismissed his fellow Senators was the catalyst for his death. Grant recalls in his biography; 'Julius Caesar' that Caesar caused his own death through his lack of insight, 'it is strange that Caesar did not discern that a perpetual dictator ruling by remote control was so frightful that it could not be endured."

By the time of his death, Caesar had held innumerable political offices, including the role of "dictator for life (or imperator)", (curiously, dictatorships, were only supposed to be held for a maximum of 6 months, in a time...