Anniversary Post: Casca and Cassius Don’t Kill Mark Antony

Mark AntonyOn this day in 44 BCE, Casca and Cassius were making their final plans for the assassination of Julius Caesar, which would occur the following day. And you might ask, why didn’t I just wait until tomorrow to talk about the assassination? For one thing, I don’t care about the assassination. I’m much more interested in the plays about it than the actual event. That’s the thing about power: there always other powerful people who want to kill you. This is why I like my quiet little life.

But Casca and Cassius made a fateful decision on that day. They decided that Mark Antony should be kept alive. Okay people, here is the lesson of the day: do not keep people alive who will hunt you down and kill you. Certainly, that is what Mark Antony did. So it was really important that he was alive. Oh, I’m just kidding! It made no difference whatsoever. But it is interesting what they were thinking. Their idea was that the Roman Republic was on its way out and they were trying to save it. So they didn’t want to turn it into a blood bath. They just wanted to get rid of Julius Caesar.

But it just goes to show that history isn’t about people. The Roman Republic was on its way toward the Roman Empire, and there were a lot of reasons that had to do with that. Julius Caesar’s being dictator perpetuo was not the problem. The problem was that the Senate felt the need to make him dictator perpetuo. And if it hadn’t been Julius Caesar, it would have been someone else. I don’t blame Casca and Cassius for thinking this.

Actually, most people today believe the Great Men theory of history, even if they don’t know that the theory exists. And I’ll admit: personalities do play some role. The fact that Hitler was alive meant something different to Germany than if he hadn’t been alive. Just the same, something bad was going to happen in Germany in the 1930s. And today: Trump doesn’t bother me. The fact that we have a good chunk of the population that is just begging for an authoritarian like him is what bothers me. And don’t fool yourself: the same authoritarian tendency that drives Trump supporters also drives Cruz supporters, so the Republicans are an authoritarian party.

But within two decades of the assassination of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony would be dead, and so would the Roman Republic. On the other hand, we never would have had I, Claudius.

13 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: Casca and Cassius Don’t Kill Mark Antony

  1. I personally think it was bad because murdering people is bad. But it did result in Rome which was a great series cut too short.

    The fact that we have a group that wants to have fascism in the US is really upsetting though and it is not going to result in great made for TV drama. It is just going to result in a protester being killed.

    • I saw the first season of that. I was very good. I was surprised.

      If a protester is killed, the mainstream media will cover it like this. “The Trump campaign says the victim was a suicide bomber. A representative from Black Lives Matter said this is nonsense. We can’t be bothered to take a stand.”

      • I was happy to see it and depressed when it was canceled but then it was so much better than The Tudors.

        There is a graph running around Twitter about the unearned media and it shows that Trump has triple the media that Clinton has and she has the most out of the rest of the field. If someone is killed at one of his rallies, I hope it is someone like me instead of the media’s usual narrative.

        Yes, I am considering going to the counter protest this week.

        • I watched the first episode of The Tudors. It didn’t grab me.

          I don’t think the media that Trump gets really helps. As it is, political science shows that media beyond a certain level doesn’t do much. The first million dollar ad buy is huge; the 100th isn’t. We saw that very much in the 2010 governor’s race here in California.

            • This is part of the problem with a society based on the idea that all that matters is making money. The news as a public good? Ha! Whatever the people want to see! Of course, the media often create what the people want to see. They show Trump all the time so the people decide he is something worth covering. More important is not covering things because they claim people don’t care: like labor movements.

        • The show never recovered from the death of Ceasar. Although I was more interested in the grunt soldiers, as a TV series it needed both the elitist politics and the grunt-class life. When the fine actor playing Ceasar was gone, everything about the upper-class politics bored me.

          • Well that and we already have an excellent series with Augustus’s family-I, Claudius. They should have gone a hundred years into the future.

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