Everyone knows Julius Caesar. The most famous of emperors and, most importantly, arch-villain extraordinaire in the Asterix comics. He was also an orator and a general, an invader, a high priest and the first man in the Republic to aspire to being King of Rome. Julius Caesar is the layman’s ‘perfect Roman’. Many people think of him as being the greatest ruler Rome had (personally, I think it’s Augustus, but let’s not be picky), and he is famed for having an affair with Cleopatra, invading Britain (twice) and taking his soldiers into the Senate.
What he Is most famous for, though, is being murdered.
Julius Caesar was born to a rich family, groomed to be a senator, maybe even consul one day. His oratory and political skills won him status and promotions through the rigid political system. Also placed in charge of several legions, he conquered Gaul and is well-known for dragging the chieftain Vercingetorix through Rome behind his chariot. It was these achievements that began his rise to power.
He became consul young, helped by the fact that his legions were fiercely loyal to him and the senators were presented with little choice but to raise the hero of Rome to a position more suited to him. It was when he began to claim more and more power for himself that problems arose. The final straw came when he attended the Senate dressed in purple – the colour of kings. The last king of Rome, Tarquin, had been thrown out by the people for his cruelty and there was no way the Roman Republic intended to bow to another ruler like him.
On the 15th of March, Caesar was hailed by a soothsayer as he made his way through to the Theatre of Pompey, and was told that harm would come to him no later than the Ides of March – that very day. Though he laughed this off and continued on his way, Caesar could not avoid the fate awaiting him. A group of senators, led by his protegé Brutus, stabbed him to death in the theatre.
Caesar’s bloody death is undoubtedly one of the best known events in March – one that definitely marks this month as a month of violence. As a general, he was a violent man, leading legions against the ill-trained and ill-equipped people of first Gaul, then Britain. Perhaps we can take some solace in the memory that the British tribes defeated him not once, but twice. However, this does not change the number of lives that were lost at the behest of this man.
Whatever arguments are made about Caesar – most notably the claim that the evidence of his existence is less than that proving the life of Jesus – no one can deny the fact that he is, and will probably always be a key figure in the history of the Western world.
You don’t believe me? Well, I suppose that someone who has lived under a rock their entire life might not know who he is. But I only have one more thing to say about my argument. Something that everyone knows. Something that I feel proves my point that Julius Caesar is a fundamental figure in our history.
‘Veni, vidi, vici’
(W.U Team Note: we would like to thank you our collaborators Rubén (rubyces) and ‘Josema’ for the production of this awesome art work!!)