Most recent update:4/1/2004; 5:06:30 AM

 Saturday, March 13, 2004

CHATTER: Roman Names

Japan Times has a thing on naming practices and, inter alia, mentions the Roman style:

On the other side of the world, the prominent families of Ancient Rome went by imperious names of three, and sometimes four components. The first of these was the praenomen, followed by the nomen, which was hereditary and shared by families in a clan. (Praenomina, it should be noted, were only for use by close friends; even the most plebeian pleb knew better than to address Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) merely as "Gaius.")

As the stock of permitted praenomina and nomina was limited, though, the Romans also tacked on hereditary cognomina derived from the nicknames of their forebears. Examples of these that resonate to this day include Cicero, meaning "bean," and Tacitus, "silent."

Not content even with such an array of nominal definitions, Romans sometimes threw in something called an agnomen as well.

This name was generally used to commemorate some major exploit in life -- as in the case of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (236-184/183 B.C.), the general who, in 202 B.C., conquered Hannibal's capital, Carthage, on the coast of present-day Tunisia.

With the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D., hereditary surnames fell out of fashion, too, as Europe plunged into its Dark Ages. Later, as the strifetorn continent emerged into its medieval period, when people again began to feel a need to identify someone with some degree of specificity, they would attach a patronymic -- a surname adapted from a father's name.

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NUNTII: Acropolis Museum Halted

This is big news from the Telegraph:

The new Greek government has stopped work on a £700 million museum being built to house the Elgin Marbles and legal action has begun against those who authorised the project.

A month after its surprise election victory, the centre-Right New Democracy Party has reversed the project in Athens that it tried to block while in opposition.

Petros Tatoulis, an MP who has recently been appointed to the new government, argued that the museum would cause irreparable damage to the remains of ancient buildings on the site, including mosaics.

The former socialist government, however, was committed to building the Acropolis Museum, which it hoped would accommodate the Elgin Marbles if - and it is a big if - Britain agreed to return them.

The marbles - 2,500-year-old sculptures which were removed from the Parthenon in Athens by Lord Elgin at the end of the 18th century - are on display at the British Museum. The Greek socialists, who were in power for more than a decade, were determined to go ahead with the project although the country's Supreme Court ruled that the building was illegal last year. The government passed a law making the museum "legal" again.

Work started on it more than four years ago after approval was given to a building 115ft tall on a 10-acre site. As work halted last week, the Supreme Court began proceedings to prosecute the committee members who awarded the design contract to the architects, Bernard Tschumi and Michael Photiades, for breach of duty.

The Supreme Court's prosecutor said he would also bring criminal charges against the Central Archaeological Council, which approved the plans and gave permission for the building work to start.

The museum - like the Elgin Marbles - has been a focus of controversy. Mr Tschumi designed a modern, glass building which he hoped would also be a leisure complex with restaurants and cafes. He insisted that once completed, the British Governement would not be able to resist pressure to return the marbles.

After the New Democracy Party came to power last month, however, Mr Tatoulis, an arch-opponent of the museum, was appointed deputy minister of culture. He said that he was determined to hold to account those who took the decision to build it.

Mr Tatoulis is only one of many people who objected to the new museum. In 1999, Ismini Trianti, the Acropolis's head archaeologist, warned that its construction presupposed the destruction of the archaeological finds beneath it.

An international coalition of archaeologists, art historians, artists and architects also resisted. Spiros Kalogeropoulos, a sculptor, said it would have been a catastrophe. "The building work which has already been undertaken in digging the foundations has destoyed mosaics, walls, floors, casts, and possibly an ancient sculpture factory," he said. [much more]

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CHATTER: It's Just Divine ...

... the way the media and society mess with languages. First we saw the gradual transition of actresses being given the appellation actor. Right now as I've been fiddling with assorted things, Access Hollywood has a theme show called "Totally Diva" in which they're counting down the top ten divas in Hollywood (note to self: don't leave the remote control unattended again). Along the way, they've been asking whether it's possible for a male to be a diva (and on the authority of Boy George, Elton John fits the category). Having established that it is (despite the linguistic incongruity), we're not surprised, perhaps, to see the gang from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy come up after that ... but then we come to number four on the countdown: Donald Trump -- dives perhaps, but diva?

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... and CONFERENCE listings have been updated in the Classical Events section of the Bulletin Board

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whoops ... again ... and again ... and once more
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NUNTII: Olympic Preparations

Some details on what's being done at Olympia ... in medias res:

The Olympics were born in Olympia in 776 B.C. and held every four years until 393, when the Roman Emperor Theodosius abolished them after Christianity took root and he deemed the games pagan. They were revived in Athens in 1896 by a group led by a French baron, Pierre de Coubertin.

Greece's culture ministry has embarked on an ambitious plan to change the face of Ancient Olympia, which every two years host lighting ceremonies for the Winter and Summer Olympics.

Plans include two new museums, an archaeological park that will for the first time unite all its sites, and a new highway eliminating a busy road that has for decades polluted the town's ancient monuments.

"In a few weeks in this area the ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic flame will take place. You can understand that for Greece, for Greeks, this has particular meaning," Lena Mendoni, the culture ministry's general secretary, said as she stood among the ruins.

Mendoni said the facelift for Olympia -- dedicated in antiquity to Olympian Zeus -- will be ready for the torch lighting ceremony and completely done in time for the Olympics.

This month, visitors will be able to see a newly refurbished archaeological museum. Its collection of ancient statuary includes the statue of Hermes by Praxitelis, considered one of the masterpieces of ancient Greek art.

By the time the Olympics begin, the entire ancient site will be a giant archaeological park connected by footpaths and pedestrian bridges spanning one of the two rivers that run into the valley, planners say.

The area of the sanctuary -- which includes the remains of temples, workshops, the gymnasium, palestra and stadium -- has been meticulously cleaned, Mendoni said.  [more from the San Francisco Chronicle]

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CHATTER: More Passion Stuff

The Kansas City Star has a rather decent piece on what we know about Pontius Pilate (compared, of course, to his portrayal in the Passion). Here's a longish excerpt:

Several factors, though, suggest we should not be too quick to diminish Pilate's role. The different Gospel scenes need to be interpreted in the light of historical information about Roman governors. This information suggests the governor Pilate was a powerful figure who played a central role in Jesus' death.

Apart from his association with Jesus recorded in the Gospels, very little is known about Pilate. Two first-century Jewish writers, Philo of Alexandria and Josephus of Rome, mention him briefly, as does the Roman historian Tacitus. An inscription discovered in Caesarea in 1961 and some coins from the first century also refer to him.

This very limited data focus on Pilate's role as governor of Judea for the years 26-37C.E. His appointment as governor indicates he came from a wealthy, powerful, elite Roman family. He was probably well-connected with the emperor Tiberius. He also took funds from the Jerusalem temple and used them to build an aqueduct. So Pilate shared typical elite Roman prejudices toward provincials.

Roman governors exercised considerable power as representatives of Rome's oppressive rule. Five often-neglected factors shed light on Pilate's role in Jesus' death.

Religion is politics

The Roman world did not separate politics and religion. Priests and temples had religious and sociopolitical roles. The chief priestly families and their allies in Jerusalem were political leaders in Judea. Pilate represented a Roman system that claimed to originate with Jupiter and to manifest Jupiter's and the gods' blessings. Politics is religion, and religion is politics.

The lack of separation of politics and religion means that Pilate did not view Jesus as an isolated religious problem. Jesus claimed to represent God's rule and challenged the Jerusalem temple with a different vision of societal order. He presented a nonviolent challenge to the extensive power of Rome and the Jerusalem leadership.


Roman governors had enormous power as representatives of Rome. They enforced Roman interests and defended the hierarchical social order. They exercised military, political, social, judicial and economic control, often in exploitative and harsh ways, for the benefit of the elite.

As governor, Pilate's enormous “life and death” power should shape how we read the Gospel narratives of Jesus' crucifixion. In this context, Pilate is not a neutral or weak or minor character. He is not forced to crucify Jesus by the Jerusalem leaders against his will; he crucifies Jesus because it is in Rome's interests to do so.


Jesus dies by a distinctly Roman form of execution. Rome did not usually delegate the right to impose the death penalty to provincial leaders. It was Pilate's decision.

Crucifixion was reserved for low-status defendants, not for Roman citizens and members of the elite. It made an example of those who threatened the Roman social order: runaway slaves, those who attacked the property of the powerful rich, those who committed treason by claiming power and rule not authorized by Rome. Jesus' crucifixion indicates Pilate decided Jesus was a threat to Rome's system.


Pilate and the Jerusalem leaders are allies. Making alliances with local leaders was a common strategy Rome used to rule its empire. Along with taxes and military power, it was an effective way of establishing control. Mutual interests of wealth, power and status held these alliances together under Roman control.

The Roman governor appointed the high priests in Judea. The chief priest, Caiaphas, was a political appointment who held power at the pleasure of his Roman masters. Of course, there were tensions and struggles within these alliances. Together they sought to maintain a system in which 3 percent of the population ruled for their own benefit at the expense of the rest.

Maintaining this alliance required good political skills. If the Jerusalem leaders viewed Jesus as a threat to their power, Pilate knew to take their concern very seriously. Their interests are Pilate's interests.

But there are other political games to play. On one hand, Pilate needs to keep them happy by granting their request to remove Jesus. On the other hand, he needs to show them that as the Roman governor he is their superior and they are dependent on him. [more]

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JOURNAL: Leeds International Classical Studies

A couple of items were posted in February from the LICS (not sure what volume we're into now). Full text is available in pdf:

Colin Austin and S. Douglas Olson, On the date and plot of Aristophanes' lost Thesmophoriazusae II.

Adele C. Scafuro, The rigmarole of the parasite’s contract for a prostitute in Asinaria: legal documents in Plautus and his predecessors.

... I've always liked the word "rigamarole" for some reason (along with fooferaw, hullaballu, and numerous other)

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JOURNAL: American Journal of Archaeology 108.1

The January edition of AJA has several  items of interest to us:

Erwin Cook, Near Eastern Prototypes of the Palace of Alkinoos

abstract | full text pdf

Elizabeth Bartman, The New Galleries of Ancient Art at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

abstract | full text pdf

Robin Osborne, Greek Archaeology: A Survey of Recent Work

abstract | full text pdf

plus reviews of:

Galaty, Nestor’s Wine Cups: Investigating Ceramic Manufacture and Exchange in a Late Bronze Age “Mycenaean” State (P.M. Thomas)

Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (S.W. Crawford)

Karageorghis, The Cyprus Collections in the Medelhavsmuseet (D.B. Counts)

Reusser. Vasen für Etrurien: Verbreitung und Funktionen attischer Keramik im Etrurien des 6. und 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. (D. Paleothodoros)

Drew-Bear, Taslialan, and Thomas, eds.,Actes du 1er Congrès international sur Antioche de Pisidie (A.L. Goldman)

Harrison,Mountain and Plain: From the Lycian Coast to the Phrygian Plateau in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Period (D.W. Roller)

Rathje, Nielson, and Rasmussen, eds. Pots for the Living, Pots for the Dead (M.J. Becker)

Kirsch, Antike Lampen im Landesmuseum Mainz (E.C. Lapp)

Hatzopoulos, L’Organisation de l’armée sous les Antigonids: Problèmes anciens et documents nouveaux (E.L. Wheeler)

Haselberger, Mapping Augustan Rome (D. Favro)

Blackman and Hodge, eds. Frontinus’ Legacy: Essays on Frontinus’ De aquibus urbis Romae (A.O. Koloski-Ostrow)

Jashemski and Meyer, eds.The Natural History of Pompeii (K. Flinthamilton)

Konrad Der spätrömische Limes in Syrien: Archäologische Untersuchungen an den Grenzkastellen von Sura, Terapyrgium, Cholle und in Resafa (S. Lieu)

Arce, Memoria de los antepasados: Puesta en escena y desarrollo del elogio fúnebre romano, and Edmonson, Basarrate, and Trillmich, Imagen y memoria: Monumentos funerarios con retratos en la Colonia Augusta Emerita (M.T. Boatwright)

Koch and Kirchhainer, eds. Akten des Symposiums “Frühchristliche Sarkophage,” Marburg, 30. 6.–4. 7. 1999 (D. Kinney)

Bowersock, Brown, and Grabar, eds. Interpreting Late Antiquity: Essays on the Postclassical World (H. Sivan)

all AJA reviews (pdf)


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I've just posted a pile of jobs to the Bulletin Board ... I'll be posting the 'headings' in this main page of rogueclassicism tomorrow (Sunday's our busiest day), but you can browse them now. Later today (before 8.00 p.m.), the Classical Events and Miscellaneous Announcements will also be available ...

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JOURNAL: Dictynna: revue de poetique Latine

Dictynna is a new online journal from the Universite Charles de Gaulle, Lille (apologies for lack of accents; I've never had much luck reproducing them in Radio) and the contents of the first issue are as follows:

Tradition, vraisemblance et autorité fictionnelle - Alain DEREMETZ

Vergil’s on nature : Georgics 2, 458-542 and Empedocles - Damien NELIS

Nyctegresiae Romanae’ Exégèse homérique et retractatio de la Dolonie chez Virgile et Ovide - Jean-Christophe JOLIVET

Tibulle1,4 : l’élégie et la tradition de la poésie didactique - Jacqueline FABRE-SERRIS

Quelques réflexions sur un vers des Héroïdes (Hér., XXI, 123) - Catherine FRECHET

Approximatives Similes in Ovid. Incest and Doubling - Philip HARDIE

Tradizione bucolica e programma poetico in Calpurnio Siculo - Enrico MAGNELLI

Blinde Mimesis. Über Ordo und Kontingenz in der Literaturgeschichtlichen Traditionsbildung (Horaz und Petron) - Jürgen Paul SCHWINDT

Martial, Pline le Jeune et l’identité du genre de l’épigramme - Mario CITRONI

La strategia del ragno, ovvero la rivincita di Aracne. Fortuna tardo-epica (Sidonio Apollinare, Claudiano) di un mito ovidiano  - Gianpiero ROSATI

To get to the full text of the articles, visit Dictynna's home page ... the articles are pdf.

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ARTICLE: from Ancient Narrative

I can't remember whether I mentioned this one, from Ancient Narrative 4 (2004):

Meriel Jones, "The Wisdom of Egypt: Base and Heavenly Magic in Heliodoros' Aithiopika."

Here's the abstract ... here's the full article (pdf) ...

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just fiddling ...
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NUNTII: Mithraism in the News

The Rosicrucian Museum is reopening its planetarium with a show illuminating David Ulansey's theories on Mithraism:

Closed for six years, the planetarium at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum reopens Friday with a show on the skies of 2020 B.C., the cusp of a celestial shift that spawned one of the major competitors of early Christianity.

The star show ``The Mithraic Mysteries'' explores a secretive ancient religion that has been a particular enigma for archaeologists and historians. It takes viewers through the steps that led a San Francisco scholar of ancient religions to theorize that changes in the night sky formed the basis for Mithraism, practiced throughout the Roman Empire in the first centuries A.D.

The reinauguration of the planetarium at the popular San Jose tourist attraction -- with its Egyptian revival buildings and gardens and mummy- and artifact-filled museum -- is the first of many renovations this year at the 77-year-old Rosicrucian Park complex.

The planetarium program is a high-tech version of one first presented in the 1980s at the Chabot Planetarium in Oakland by David Ulansey, a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and Norm Sperling, a planetarium expert who created the star show. Both will be on hand to moderate the Friday show, a fundraiser for the museum.

Ulansey's theory is the most widely accepted for the rise of Mithraism, whose exploration could provide insights on the cultural backdrop of early Christianity.

Both religions ``represent responses to the same underlying cultural forces and dynamics and the way people were forming ultimate questions about the nature of reality and the universe,'' Ulansey said.

In the millenniums before the birth of Jesus, people saw the Earth as the center of the universe and the stars as their gods. But in the year 128 B.C., a Greek astronomer comparing descriptions of skies dating back to 2020 B.C. noticed the positions of the constellations had been shifting. Ulansey argues in his 1989 book, ``The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries,'' that this revelation suggested a new god, one powerful enough to move the old ones.

Most of what is known about Mithraism, followed largely by Roman soldiers but also by some merchants and bureaucrats, is from carved reliefs, statues and paintings found in 400 surviving underground temples in outposts of the Roman Empire from England to Palestine. Of special interest to scholars is a prominent scene found at the back of each: the god Mithras stabbing a bull to death.

To Ulansey, it represents their recognition of what is now common science: the slow westward movement of the equinoxes, the sun's crossing of the equator around March 21 and Sept. 23 signalling the beginning of spring and winter. A wobble in the Earth's axis causes the Zodiac's celestial shift. Until about 2000 B.C., the constellation Taurus was in the sky on the spring equinox. Then it was replaced by Aries. Since the time of Christ, Pisces has dominated, and Aquarius is due to assume that position around A.D. 2200.

For followers of Mithraism, it was an apocalyptic revelation: Time had reached a turning point, Ulansey said, and the followers of Mithra sought salvation through a special connection with their god.

Museum officials hope the planetarium show, which tracks the creeping Zodiac, will intrigue those interested in the ancients as well as astronomy. [more]

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CHATTER: April is Venus' Month

A piece intended for getting folks in the mood for gardening is making the rounds and tells all about Venus' connections with gardens:

A wine jar excavated in a garden of Pompeii reads in Latin: Presta mi sincerum: sic te amet quae custodit hotorum Venus.

The translation: Allow me pure wine: then may Venus who guards the garden love you.

This great goddess of the Romans is the embodiment of new life and a fruitful earth.

She is honored in April as new life springs out of the earth. At this time of year, the resurrection of what has slept through winter becomes manifest in gardens today as well as those of ancient times. It is the magical transformation. Humanity feels it long before we recognize the compulsion to plant anything and everything despite the frost. Although it still may be too cold to plant, our desires are nevertheless a legacy of the primitive and undeniable quickening of spring.

In 79 B.C., when Vesuvius erupted to bury the city of Pompeii in lava, Venus was the undeniable queen of its gardens. We know this because Roman homes captured in a precise time capsule were revealed by excavation. These houses were built around a central open courtyard. There resided a household altar, typically an arched masonry niche in the architecture or freestanding within the garden. Some courtyards were dominated by elaborate marble altars.

Upon the altar were Roman household gods, chosen from a pantheon to protect the family. [more]

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CHATTER: Another Ides of March Piece

This one comes from Snitch, which I've never heard of before, and even though it has some problems, I like the way it is written for some reason:

To praise him. Sixty noble Romans, all honorable men, had picked March 15 for their bloody coup. Smiling and scraping, they bootlicked their dictator-for-life to his chair, only to turn on him with sudden snarls and daggers. Their back-stabbing bacchanalia left Julius Caesar weltering in the gore of 23 gasping wounds.

The man whose very name would become a title for royal Czars and Kaisers had usurped the great republic. After nearly five king-free centuries, Rome had given the upstart Caesar near-absolute rule. He declared himself “Imperator,” translating the former top army rank into the civilian arena.

Born to proud but poor patricians in 100 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar climbed the ladder of ambition through a series of cheesy bureaucratic and military appointments. At first glance a geek, he was weeny, weedy and weak-looking. He suffered from then-untreatable epilepsy. By his 30s, he was sporting the original classic comb-over.

Despite his dorky appearance, though, Julie continually inspired his troops. He stoically endured every muddy, bloody campaign’s hardships equal to the lowliest soldier’s lot. No armchair general, he “always led his army, more often on foot than in the saddle ... If he reached an unfordable river, he would either swim or propel himself across it.”

Having worked himself up to governor of Spain, at 40 he seized de facto control of the republic along with pal Gen. Pompey and the millionaire Crassus. Over the next decade, he conquered barbarous Gaul to the Rhine, nearly doubling Rome’s territory.

Then, with Crassus murdered by eastern foes, his former comrade Pompey challenged him to a showdown. High-rolling Caesar invaded Pompey’s turf by crossing the narrow Rubicon river on Jan. 10, 49 B.C., with the flip phrase, “Iacta alia est!” (roughly, “Throw them bones!”). [more]

Actually, as written, of course, iacta alia est would better be translated as "Another woman is tossed", which probably also works for Julie ...


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REVIEW: From Scholia

A. J. Boyle, Ovid and the Monuments: A Poet's Rome.

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Rush Rehm, Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World.

Menachem Mor, Aharon Oppenheimer, Jack Pastor, Daniel R. Schwartz (edd.), Jews and Gentiles in the Holy Land in the Days of the Second Temple, the Mishna and the Talmud.

Maureen Carroll, Earthly Paradises. Ancient Gardens in History and Archaeology.

Biagio Virgilio (ed.), Studi Ellenistici XV.

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REVIEW: Historical Fiction

From the Guardian comes a review of Duncan Sprott, The House of the Eagle:

The House of the Eagle is the first instalment in what its author has predictively titled "The Ptolemies Quartet", a sequence of historical novels that will follow the arc of the Pharaohs through 12 generations from the death of Alexander the Great to the fall of Cleopatra. Sprott's publishers are talking him up as the natural successor to Robert Graves and Mary Renault, both prose magicians who were able to feel their way into cultures which, from the outside, seemed pretty much unreadable: a scattering of signs, surfaces and hot sand. On the evidence of The House of the Eagle, Sprott has that same wondrous ability to shape-shift, merging his authorial voice with that of Thoth, the ibis-headed Egyptian god of writing and wisdom, who watches from a distance as the rough-and-ready warriors of the ruling Ptolemy dynasty set about turning themselves into living gods.

The point - and Thoth is very clear on this - is that the Ptolemies are Greeks from Macedon, and entirely alien in outlook, habit and custom to the Egyptians over whom they rule. Boy love, for instance, is their norm, to the point where sex between a man and woman starts to seem slightly seedy, a self-serving way of building dynasties through the production of heirs, spares and marriageable girls. When anyone from this odd, rotten family does try to follow their heterosexual hearts it nearly always ends in tears, not to mention banishment and bloody murder. As teen-agers, Ptolemy Keraunos and his half-sister Arsinoë Beta do the deed, are sent in punishment to opposite corners of the Mediterranean, but still manage to end up 20 years later as husband and wife, with ghastly consequences (both Aristotle and Sophocles hover over Sprott's text like gloomy godfathers. [more]

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CHATTER: Ides of March

We'll begin our busy weekend (bulletin board updates are in the queue) with a piece from the National Geographic on the Ides of March and its significance. Here's a lengthy middle bit:

Josiah Osgood, an assistant professor of classics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said: "You can read in Cicero's letters from the months after the Ides of March. … He even says, 'The Ides changed everything.'"

By the time of Caesar, Rome had a long-established republican government headed by two consuls with joint powers. Praetors were one step below consuls in the power chain and handled judicial matters. A body of citizens forming the Senate proposed legislation, which general people's assemblies then approved by vote. A special temporary office, that of dictator, was established for use only during times of extreme civil unrest.

The Romans had no love for kings. According to legend, they expelled their last one in 509 B.C. While Caesar had made pointed and public displays of turning down offers of kingship, he showed no reluctance to accept the office of "dictator for life" in February 44 B.C. According to Osgood, this action may have sealed his fate in the minds of his enemies. "We can see [now] that that was enough to get him killed," Osgood said.

Caesar had pushed the envelope for some time before his death. "Caesar was the first living Roman ever to appear on the coinage," Osgood said. Normally, the honor was reserved for deities. He notes that some historians suspect that Caesar might have been attempting to establish a cult in his honor in a move towards deification.

It is unclear if Caesar was aware of the plot to kill him on March 15 in 44 B.C. But Caesar was not oblivious to the mounting danger of a backlash, noted Charles McNelis, an assistant professor of classics and Osgood's colleague at Georgetown University.

The plot's conspirators, who termed themselves "the liberators," had to move quickly. "Caesar had plans to leave Rome on March 18th for a military campaign in Parthia, the region around modern-day Iraq. So the conspirators did not have much time," McNelis said. Whether or not Caesar was a true tyrant is debated still to this day. It is safe to say, however, that in the mind of Marcus Brutus, who helped mastermind the attack, the threat Caesar posed to the republican system was clear.

Brutus's involvement in the murder is made tragic given his close affiliations with Caesar. His mother, Servilia, was one of Caesar's lovers. And although Brutus had fought against Caesar during Rome's recent civil war, he was spared from death and later promoted by Caesar to the office of praetor.

"Caesar had always … tried to cultivate talent that he saw in younger people," Osgood said. "And Brutus was no exception."

Brutus, however, was torn in his allegiance to Caesar, Osgood noted. Brutus's family had a tradition of rejecting authoritarian powers. Ancestor Junius Brutus was credited with throwing out the last king of Rome, Tarquin Superbus, in 509 B.C. Ahala, An ancestor of Marcus Brutus's mother, had killed another tyrant, Spurius Maelius. This lineage, coupled with a strong interest in the Greek idea of tyranicide, disposed Brutus to have little patience with perceived power grabbers.

The final blow came when his uncle Cato, a father figure to Brutus, killed himself after losing in a battle against Caesar in 46 B.C. Brutus may have felt shame over accepting Caesar's clemency and obligation to do Cato honor by continuing his quest to "save" the republic from Caesar, Osgood speculated. [more]


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AWOTV: On TV Today

3.00 p.m. |DTC| Vesuvius: Deadly Fury
In 79 AD, eruptions from Mount Vesuvius buried the city of Pompeii.
A burning wave of gas shot out from the side of Vesuvius killing the
inhabitants of neighboring Herculaneum in just four minutes.
Archaeologists look to these bodies for historical clues.

DTC = Discovery Times Channel

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