Who Killed Julius Caesar?
Julius Caesar, generally regarded as the greatest genius of ancient Rome, was murdered on March, 15, 44 B.C., by a band of aristocrats who were members of the Senate, or ruling assembly, and were opposed to his one-man system of government.
Caesar, who was 58, had reached a position of dominance in the republic of Rome after a brilliant career as soldier, writer, scholar and administrator. Throughout his life he had seen the state torn by revolution and civil war, and an outworn system of government made powerless by the quarrels of rival claimants to power.
In 49 B.C. he embarked on a series of campaigns to gain absolute control, succeeding five years later in being proclaimed dictator for life with the title of Imperator. This act, along with his continual effort to adorn himself with the trappings of power, turned many in the Senate against him. Members of the Senate concluded that the only resolution to the problem was to assassinate Caesar.
More than 60 members of the senatorial party, united by a mixture of selfish and patriotic motives conspired to kill him, Marcus Junius Brutus, who seems to have been a true patriot and had been forgiven by Caesar for fighting against him was persuaded to lead the conspiracy by the real instigator, Cassius Longinus.
Despite a number of attempts to warn him, Caesar took his place in the Senate House on the fateful day of March, 15 called by the Romans the Ides of March. Plutarch, the Greek historian, tells how the conspirators crowded about Caesar, pretending to make a petition. One of them Metillius Cimber, then gave the Signal for the attack and another, Casca, stabbed Caesar in the neck.
The others struck at him with their swords, but Caesar continued to struggle until he saw Brutus joining in the attack. Then he fell dying from 35 wounds at the foot of the monument to Pompey, his great military rival whom he had defeated on his way to power.
But assassins failed to save the Roman republic. Brutus and Casius committed suicide after being defeated in battle and in 31 B.C. the Roman Empire was founded under Augustus, Julius Caesar’s nephew. The ramifications of the assassination led to the Liberators’ civil war and, ultimately, to the Principate period of the Roman Empire.