Ides: Caesar's Murder and the War for Rome

( 6 )

Overview

Unraveling the many mysteries surrounding the murder of Julius Caesar

The assassination of Julius Caesar is one of the most notorious murders in history. Two thousand years after it occurred, many compelling questions remain about his death: Was Brutus the hero and Caesar the villain? Did Caesar bring death on himself by planning to make himself king of Rome? Was Mark Antony aware of the plot, and let it go forward? Who wrote Antony's script after Caesar's death? Using ...

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Overview

Unraveling the many mysteries surrounding the murder of Julius Caesar

The assassination of Julius Caesar is one of the most notorious murders in history. Two thousand years after it occurred, many compelling questions remain about his death: Was Brutus the hero and Caesar the villain? Did Caesar bring death on himself by planning to make himself king of Rome? Was Mark Antony aware of the plot, and let it go forward? Who wrote Antony's script after Caesar's death? Using historical evidence to sort out these and other puzzling issues, historian and award-winning author Stephen Dando-Collins takes you to the world of ancient Rome and recaptures the drama of Caesar's demise and the chaotic aftermath as the vicious struggle for power between Antony and Octavian unfolded. For the first time, he shows how the religious festivals and customs of the day impacted on the way the assassination plot unfolded. He shows, too, how the murder was almost avoided at the last moment.

A compelling history that is packed with intrigue and written with the pacing of a first-rate mystery, The Ides will challenge what you think you know about Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* Trying to clear away the "twaddle" that surrounds Julius Caesar, Dando-Collins (Caesar's Legion) provides a page-turner of a history describing step-by-step the events leading to the assassination of Julius Caesar and the impact of his removal on the collapse of the Roman Republic. Caesar's rise to power and his limitless ambition posed an immediate threat to the survival of the Republic, which caused fear and consternation in those, such as Marcus Brutus, who nobly wished to defend Roman democracy. Brutus and his fellow senator Cassius planned the assassination and, with the help of yet other senators, carried it out on March 15, 44 B.C.E. Public sentiment originally favored the Liberators, as the assassins were known, but, thanks to the scheming of Marc Antony and the fickleness of the crowds, Brutus, Cassius, and others were forced to flee the city. In the months that followed, Antony and his sometime ally, Caesar's heir, Octavian, destroyed the Liberators only to later wage war against each other. Antony's ultimate defeat led to Octavian's installation as the first emperor, Augustus Caesar. The dramatic story examines the roles of soldiers, politicians, philosophers, wives, and mistresses with perhaps too much emphasis placed on the ever-popular Cleopatra. 2 maps. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, December 21, 2009)
Publishers Weekly
Trying to clear away the “twaddle” that surrounds Julius Caesar, Dando-Collins (Caesar's Legion) provides a page-turner of a history describing step-by-step the events leading to the assassination of Julius Caesar and the impact of his removal on the collapse of the Roman Republic. Caesar's rise to power and his limitless ambitionposed an immediate threat to the survival of the Republic, which caused fear and consternation in those, such as Marcus Brutus, who nobly wished to defend Roman democracy. Brutus and his fellow senator Cassius planned the assassination and, with the help of yet other senators, carried it out on March 15, 44 B.C.E. Public sentiment originally favored the Liberators, as the assassins were known, but, thanks to the scheming of Marc Antony and the fickleness of the crowds, Brutus, Cassius, and others were forced to flee the city. In the months that followed, Antony and his sometime ally, Caesar's heir, Octavian, destroyed the Liberatorsonly to later wage war against each other. Antony's ultimate defeat led to Octavian's installation as the first emperor, Augustus Caesar. The dramatic story examines the roles of soldiers, politicians, philosophers, wives, and mistresses with perhaps too much emphasis placed on the ever-popular Cleopatra. 2 maps. (Feb.)
Library Journal
A remarkably well-documented conspiracy led up to the assassination of Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar at a meeting of the Senate in Pompey's Theater in Rome on March 15, 44 B.C.E. Starting his narrative in January and setting the stages of conspiracy in the context of the seasonal religious festivals of the Roman calendar, Roman military historian Dando-Collins (Blood of the Caesars: How the Murder of Germanicus Led to the Fall of Rome) combs the historical record to narrate day by day the development of the plot to kill the dictator and restore republican government under the leadership of Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Instead of returning Rome to republican government, the bloody stabbing unleashed a bitter civil war in which sometime allies Mark Antony and Augustus Caesar eventually overwhelmed the conspirators, permanently ending democratic government in Rome. VERDICT Dando-Collins's day-by-day approach suits the events leading up to Caesar's death but works less well in detailing the unhappy aftermath of the conspirators over the course of many years and into farflung regions. Despite a flagging second half, this work is recommended for all readers seeking a lively introduction to a turning point in Roman history.—Stewart Desmond, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470425237
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/8/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 269
  • Sales rank: 703,295
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Dando-Collins is an Australian-born historian and award-winning author who has spent more than three decades studying the individual legions of the Roman army of the late Republic and the empire of the Caesars. He is the author of Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome, Nero's Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome's Remarkable Fourteenth Legion, Cleopatra's Kidnappers: How Caesar's Sixth Legion Gave Egypt to Rome and Rome to Caesar, Mark Antony's Heroes: How the Third Gallica Legion Saved an Apostle and Created an Emperor, and Blood of the Caesars: How the Murder of Germanicus Led to the Fall of Rome.

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Table of Contents

Atlas.

Author's Note.

Introduction'

PART ONE THE CONSPIRACY.

I January 26, 44 b.c.: Seven Weeks before the Assassination.

II February 15, 44 b.c.: The Lupercalia.

III February 22, 44 b.c.: The Caristia Reconciliation.

IV February 24, 44 b.c.: Pressuring Brutus.

V March 1, 44 b.c., The Kalends of March: Dictator for Life.

VI March 2, 44 b.c.: Recruiting Fellow Assassins.

VII March 7, 44 b.c.: A Visit from One of Caesar's Generals.

VIII March 9, 44 b.c.: Porcia's Secret.

IX March 14, 44 b.c., Afternoon: Cleopatra and the Equirria.

X March 14, 44 b.c., Evening: The Best Sort of Death.

PART TWO THE MURDER.

XI March 15, 44 b.c.: The Ides of March: Caesar Awakens.

XII March 15, 44 b.c.: The Ides of March: In the Dark before Dawn.

XIII March 15, 44 b.c., The Ides of March: Caesar Must Suffer Caesar's Fate.

XIV March 15, 44 b.c., The Ides of March: The Crime.

XV March 15, 44 b.c.: The Gathering Storm.

PART THREE AFTERMATH AND RETRIBUTION.

XVI March 16, 44 b.c.: Pleading for the Republic.

XVII March 17, 44 b.c.: The Jostle for Control.

XVIII March 18, 44 b.c.: The Liberators Gain the Advantage.

XIX March 19, 44 b.c.: Caesar's Will.

XX March 20, 44 b.c.: Caesar's Funeral.

XXI March 21, 44 b.c.: Antony Consolidates His Grip.

XXII March 24, 44 b.c.: Enter Octavius.

XXIII March 27, 44 b.c.: The Name of Caesar.

XXIV April 7, 44 b.c.: Wise Oppius.

XXV April 10, 44 b.c.: Caesar's Heir.

XXVI April 11, 44 b.c.: Octavian Meets with Antony.

XXVII April 14, 44 b.c.: The Aedile's Refusal.

XXVIII April 22, 44 b.c.: Octavian Seeks Cicero's Support.

XXIX May 11, 44 b.c.: I Don't Trust Him a Yard.

XXX May 18, 44 b.c.: Undermining Antony.

XXXI May 31, 44 b.c.: Reforming the Praetorian Cohorts.

XXXII June 2, 44 b.c.: Antony Outsmarts the Senate.

XXXIII June 7, 44 b.c.: No Plan, No Thought, No Method.

XXXIV July 13, 44 b.c.: The Last Day of Brutus's Games.

XXXV July 20, 44 b.c.: The Liberators' Manifesto.

XXXVI July 28, 44 b.c.: Cicero's Departure.

XXXVII August 16, 44 b.c.: Like Hector the Hero.

XXXVIII August 30, 44 b.c.: Cicero Returns to Rome.

XXXIX September 15, 44 b.c.: The Liberators Reach Greece.

XL September 23, 44 b.c.: Octavian's Nineteenth Birthday.

XLI September 28, 44 b.c.: The Plot to Assassinate Antony.

XLII October 9, 44 b.c.: A Dreadful State of Affairs.

XLIII October 18, 44 b.c.: Antony Joins His Legions.

XLIV November 4, 44 b.c.: Octavian Recruits an Army.

XLV November 18, 44 b.c.: The Road to War.

XLVI November 27–30, 44 b.c.: Anthony's Legions Rebel.

XLVII Early December 44 b.c.: The Rise of the Liberators.

XLVIII Second Half of December 44 b.c.: Antony Makes His Move.

XLIX January 1–4, 43 b.c.: Debating Antony's Fate.

L Late December 44 b.c.–Early January 43 b.c.: The First Assassin to Fall.

LI February 4, 43 b.c.: State of Emergency.

LII April 14–26, 43 b.c.: The Mutina Battles.

LIII May 7, 43 b.c.: Cassius Overruns Syria.

LIV May 30, 43 b.c.: Lepidus’s Betrayal.

LV August 19, 43 b.c.: Octavian Charges Caesar's Murderers.

LVI Early November 43 b.c.: The Triumvirate and the Proscription.

LVII December 7, 43 b.c.: Killing Cicero.

LVIII October 1–21, 42 b.c.: The Battles of Philippi.

LIX Judging the Assassins and the Victim.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 12, 2010

    Good book, but has major flaws

    First the good points, this is a easy to read book. Mr. Dando-Collins does a good job of showing what the liberators/assassins do before the assassination. He also does a good job of showing what happens after the deed.

    Now for the flaws. What Caesar does and does not do before the assassination is clearly missing. Caesar is a military and a political genius. But the author does not explain how Caesar does not know what is going on. The author admits that there are 60 assassins, who are Senators. He admits that people are asked who are friends of Caesars, Dolabella and Albinus. Dolabella does not participate, but does not tell Caesar. Albinus, does not tell Caesar, and particpates. Albinus even has dinner with Caesar the night before. Why do these two individuals, who have ridden Caesar's coattails to fame and wealth, turn on Caesar? Caesar dissmisses his bodygaurd, the author offers a feeble explanation. How could Caesar not know of this plot, his friends are being asked, and there is huge number of people who know of the plot. One ancient historian, Suetonius, offers a explanation. That Caesar wanted to die, because of his declining health. The author acknowledges this, but dismisses it. The author says that Caesar does not know because of declining mental health. But his generals are willing to follow and fight for him in Parthia.

    The next point that I have an issue with is that Octavian is 18 when Caesar is assassinated. His parents, fearing for his safety, does not want him to take Caesar's offer of being an adopted son. The author then describes how Octavian spends money like it is water, but never explains where he gets the money. He does say that Anthony stops Octavian getting money from Caesars will. He states that other establshed senators, don't have money to spend on troops, but Octavian does. Where does this money come from?

    My final issue is in his conclusions. He states "The most striking thing about the sixty assassins is that in putting their lives on the line to join the conspiracy, none asked for anything". But Cassius is the one who starts the plot to assassinate Caesar, according to the author. But on the next page, after the above quote, the author states that "had Cassius and Brutus defeated Octavian and Anthony, he may have rid imself of Brutus, taken sole power for himself, and been just as oppressive a ruler as Caesar, Anthony, and Octavian". To me, that means that Cassius who started the ball rolling, probably wanted to take Caesar's power. The author does not give a fair evaluation of the assassins and their motives, and does not give fair representation of Caesar.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Stephen Dando Collins has written a brisk account of Julius Caes

    Stephen Dando Collins has written a brisk account of Julius Caesar’s assassination and the events that followed it. Most writers-Tom Holland is an example-insert the events of 44-42 BC into the larger context of the fall of the Roman republic. Collins instead places the drama into a time frame similar to Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. He uses his knowledge of the classical sources and Roman customs to create a narrative that reads like a political thriller. Caesar, Octavian, Antony, Cassius, Brutus, Cicero, and their wives and mistresses all appear in the drama. My only complaint is that Collins gave very little detail of the military campaigns that ended the contest for power. He does write a short epilogue giving his analysis of the might have beens of the Ides of March. I highly recommend this book to ancient history scholars and Shakespeare analysts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2010

    Masterfully insightful, dynamic and engaging!

    The Ides is a masterfully insightful, dynamic and engaging book that breathes new life into the people and places it covers. It is a captivating interjection into a conversation too long dominated by worn out academic reflections. An attention to detail and emphasis on the most basic of routines of life throughout lend a type of driving momentum more often found in best-selling blockbusters than historical texts.
    Tom Tiballi, 'Philadelphia City Paper'

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    Posted February 19, 2013

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    Posted May 7, 2010

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    Posted September 3, 2010

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