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- HOI Secondary Essay
- Were the conspirators right to murder Julius Caesar?
- In 44 BC, Julius Caesar was killed by a group of Senators leading by Brutus, a person that Caesar in particular trusted. This incident resulted in the disorder of Rome society, numerous innocents were killed by the slaughters in the chaos on that day. In 42 BC these conspirators were defeated by Octavian who later became the first emperor of Roman. (re) In this essay, I will argue that the rebel group of senators should not have assassinated Julius Caesar because they wanted to maintain the old and inefficient republic system which Caesar, in fact, have the new ideology to reform and establish a better system for the Roman empire. Moreover, Caesar, as a man who had the autocratic power, attempted to put Rome back into order and strengthen Roman by a number of policies.
- Senate, the political institution in ancient Rome, used to have dominant power in ruling the country. During 133 BC to 31 BC, Senate was gradually losing its dominant status since Caesar was taking over the power via gaining the support of Roman citizens. Thus, Senators murdered Caesar on the 15th of March in 44 BC in order to get their authority back. (re) (Idea). In fact, the Senate was inefficient and useless in dealing with Roman’s problems, once when Rome’s Italian allies who had to provide the “manpower” which was important for Senate in order to “conquer the empire”. But the Senate “refused to make a concession” (re), this later became the cause of Social War, a war waged between the Roman Republic and Italy. In this case, It was obvious to see the shortsightedness of Senate which they were satisfied with the temporal situation but lacked foresight. Since the Senate was too powerless to govern the Roman empire, people start to follow Caesar as they “acknowledged Caesar’s good fortune and accepted the situation”. They appointed Caesar “dictator for life” which gave Caesar “distinguished power” to reform the Roman empire. (re)
- Casar began to defeat his enemies and collect more authority, this created a new form of system which can be described as Centralized Principate.
- The Principate which emperor control the majority of power, was more suitable for the Rome during that time. It can simplified administrative system since the emperor can evaluate Senate’s ideas and provide practical solutions quickly. There was not much dispute under the Principate which means problems can be solved more efficiently. In addition, the Principate is more Stable because the emperor has the dominant power and is accountable for everything, it is hardly having different factions. The Ruler will create a central administrative institution for supervising and assign power to people who they trust.
- However, the feature of the principate require a strong and enlightened emperor, and Caesar was the man who met the requirements. Caesar’s outstanding personalities can be shown from his life experience. After he defeated Pompey(his political opponent) in the civil war, he not only “forgave many men who against him”, but also provide “honors” and “political office” for them. For example, Brutus and Cassius used to be Pompey’s subordinates, but Caesar still spared them and appointed them praetors in that very year. (re) From this case, It is noticeable that Caesar knew how to make proper use of personnel, although Brutus and Cassius used to be his enemies, he understood what they were capable of and had faith in their ability to contribute to the Roman empire. Caesar also cared about his people, his testament had announced after he died and people realized that he left “considerable money” to every Roman citizen. (re) A man who had such supreme power could still concern with people’s well-being, it must be his love for the people was true and intense. This testament had touched Roman’s people so that they started to avenge Caesar.
- Caesar was a prominent politician as well, he tried to “rescue a dying Roman world by imposing strong rules”. On the fiscal side, Caesar lowered the taxes in order to appease the discontent of the provincial subjects, making restriction of Roman businessmen so they could not drain the provinces’ wealth casually. He also extended Roman citizenship to more Italians in order to win greater support. To help Roman’s lower class, he established a public works program, which offered more employment opportunities and beautified the Roman city. On the administrative side, Caesar “reorganized town governments in Italy, reformed the courts, and planned to codify the law”. (re) All of these policies that been promulgated by Caesar greatly strengthened the centralization of power. His political success was recognized by all Roman people and proved that he had the ability to rule the whole country very well under the principate system.
- In conclusion, Caesar, as one of the greatest men in the Roman history, should not be killed. Because republican was corrupt and inefficient, Rome was too vast to be ruled by the shortsightedness political institutions. In contrast, Caesar’s political ideas were better suited to Rome at that time. He had all the personalities that a wise emperor need to have such as concerns about the suffering of people, know. paved the way for the transition from republican system to Principate.
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