This blog, written by Thomas E. Rutledge, focuses primarily on business entity law in Kentucky. Postings on contract law, contractual and statutory construction, and the entity law of other jurisdictions appear as well. There may as well be some random discussions of classical, medieval and renaissance history.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Beware the Ides of March
the Ides of March
Et tu, Brute?
The above was not said by Julius
Today, the Ides of March, marks the
anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Caesar was
famously assassinated at a meeting of the Roman Senate after having (almost
certainly apocryphally) been warned to “Beware the Ides of March.” He was
presented with a written warning of the conspiracy against him as he was taken
to the Senate meeting, but seems to have never read the warning. Although
stabbed twenty-three times by the various conspirators, only one wound was
Caesar’s death unleashed upon the
tottering Roman Republic the Second Civil War of Caesar’s heir Octavian (later
to be Caesar Augustus) and his compatriot Marc Antony (Lepidus, the third
member of the Second Triumvirate, was a place holder) against the assassins and
their various supporters. Assassins Brutus and Cassius (Gaius Cassius Longinus)
would each commit suicide after losing a phase of the Battle of Philippi
(notwithstanding the presentation in the HBO series "Rome," they
actually died on different days), and Cicero (who was not himself part of the
conspiracy) would be assassinated as part of the proscriptions after the
victory of the Second Triumvirate. Still later Octavian and Antony would turn
on one another, Antony’s forces being routed at Actium.
But back to Caesar’s dying words. “Et tu Brute” is not
recorded by any classical historian – it is a quote from Shakespeare. Plutarch,
who was born exactly 100 years after the assassination, reports that Caesar
said nothing after the attack began in earnest. Suetonius wrote that others
reported his last words to be “καὶ σύ, τέκνον” (Greek still being the lingua
franca of the Romans), transliterated as “Kai su, teknon” or “You also child,”
addressed to Brutus (that is Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger, not to be
confused with Decimus Junius Brutus, another party to the assignation). There
were rumors, later reported by Plutarch (Suetonius is silent on the topic) that
Caesar was in fact Brutus’ father – it was known that Brutus’ mother Servilia
was Caesar’s mistress.Still that would
appear to be something of a stretch; Caesar was 16 at the time of Brutus'
conception; Servilla was at that time 28.
For anyone watching the "Spartacus" series, while
the sources do not exclude Caesar's participation in the war against Spartacus
(i.e., the "Third Servile War"), they provide no details of that
participation.Ergo, the details of
Caesar's actions as recounted are pure fiction.