10 Traitors Who Were Proven Right

9. Caesar Had To Die For The Republic To Live - Marcus Brutus, Decimus Brutus And Gaius Cassius

HITLER Rudolf Hess
By UnknownTill Niermann (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

The exact number of conspirators involved in Caesar's death is unknown, with estimates varying between forty to sixty senators and noblemen.

However, out of all of those men, three names stand out: Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

Decimus and Marcus were distantly related, and Cassius was Marcus's brother-in-law. What connected these men beyond blood and the bonds of marriage was their hatred of Julius Caesar.

While all three men had once been close to Caesar (and rumours persist even to this day that Marcus was actually Caesar's secret son), they turned against him.

Caesar had been appointed dictator in 49 B.C., 48 B.C. and again in 46 B.C. In Ancient Rome, the position of dictator didn't mean the same as it does today. When someone was appointed dictator, it was a temporary measure taken during a crisis when it was felt the state needed to be lead by a single master. However, the conspirators felt Caesar had overstretched his remit and feared he would not relinquish his powers.

The conspirators became increasingly concerned that Caesar's rule would lead to the end of the Roman Republic. When Caesar accepted the title of dictator for life, they saw their worse fears realised.

Gathering together like-minded senators into a collective they called the Liberators, they assassinated Caesar on the 15 March 44 B.C., during a senate meeting.

Claiming that they had killed a tyrant, the Liberators soon saw any public support they might have hoped for evaporate.

Pursued by an alliance of Caesar's close friend Mark Antony, and adopted son Octavian, the Liberators were hunted down.

Decimus was killed while trying to link up with the Liberators' army. That army, led by Marcus Brutus and Cassius was defeated in battle in 42 B.C., and both men committed suicide.

Ironically, their actions may have hastened the demise of the Republic. Following Caesar's death, Antony and Octavian divided the Republic between them and then turned on each other.

When Octavian defeated Antony, he was granted many of the same powers that Caesar had been, and later became the first Roman Emperor, taking the name Augustus.

It's possible that had the conspirators left Caesar to his own devices, he may have been overthrown as a tyrant by the people, as many other autocratic rulers had been in Rome's past.

But in killing Caesar, the Liberators created a martyr and the ensuing chaos that followed his murder lead many Roman people to believe that only a single man could maintain order.

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