By Ida Östenberg
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” Antony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral is generally considered to be a rhetorical masterpiece, not least so due to the influence of Shakespeare (Julius Caesar Act III, Scene II). Ancient sources confirm that the speech made a profound impact on the audience and contributed to turning Rome against the assassins (Cic. Phil. 2.90–1, Att. 14.10.1; Nic. Dam. 17; App. BCiv. 2.143–7, 3.2).
By Josiah Osgood
The assassination of Caesar and events immediately following have largely been treated by historians as an all-male affair. I argue that Caesar’s wife Calpurnia played an important role in the aftermath of the Ides, defending her dead husband’s memory. Extant ancient accounts downplay this. Their emphasis is on Calpurnia’s futile warning to Caesar the morning of his death, which does confirm her concern for him but has skewed modern perceptions of her.
By Richard Westall
There survives more abundant and detailed documentation for the assassination of Julius Caesar than for any other event in the history of the Graeco-Roman world. This particular moment in history resonated for contemporaries in a manner akin to that of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Typically scholars are interested in a political reading and in reconstructing the course of action that resulted in the fatal moment.
By Penelope Davies
On the Ides of March, 44 BCE, a group of senators swarmed Pompey’s Senate House in Rome with daggers concealed in their togas. At a given signal, they lunged at the man they had appointed dictator for life, and brought his term to an end. That their action was the result of a conspiracy seems beyond doubt, and literary sources concur that the plot was long in the making. Masked as a philosophical necessity, the assassination was based in a crisis of senatorial identity and competition.