Julius Caesar: A Generous Leader Unjustly Assassinated on the Ides of March
Julius Caesar’s Unwillingness to be King
After twenty-three stab wounds, Caesar was assassinated by men he trusted and died an unjustified death looking into the eyes of his friend Brutus. These men justified his death on his arrogance. Therefore, the death of Julius Caesar was hardly justified for three main reasons. Caesar never wanted to be king. Rather, he refused the crown three times. Secondly, Caesar will leave his newly planted orchards and arbors to the people, including 75 drachmas to every man. Lastly, Caesar was a fair and kind ruler. Because of the actions of the conspirators, March 15 will forever be known as the Ides Of March, the day Caesar’s life was unjustly cut short.
Suppose Caesar was an arrogant man whose goal was to become a dictator. Why did he refuse the crown not once, not twice, but three times? He knew that Romans had a history of disliking kings, and because of this, he did not want to be one. Shakespeare writes, “And then he offered it the third time. He put it the third time. And still, as he refused it.” Caesar was offered the crown three times, and all of these times he refused. Caesar wanted what was best for his people, and he knew that accepting the crown was not the best thing to do.
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Julius Caesar’s Generosity in His Will
The next way that Caesar’s death was unjust was the contents of his will. Antony read Caesar’s will, which contained the following, “Here is the will, and under Caesar’s seal To every Roman citizen he gives — To every several men — seventy-five drachmas… Moreover, he hath left you all his walks, His private arbors, and new-planted orchards…” A man who wants to become a dictator would leave nothing to his people. However, Caesar left his own money to all of the men in Rome. Not only did he give away his own money, he gave away his own orchards and arbors. Caesars was willing to give up his life for what he loved most, the people of Rome, and in the end, he paid the ultimate price.
Julius Caesar’s Achievements for Rome
The third and final reason is that Caesar was not as bad a man as the conspirators made him seem. On the contrary, he helped Rome recover from the civil war of Pompy and helped Rome to prosper into a nation of power and wealth. When Caesar took control after the Civil War, he had problems such as debt and widespread employment to deal with. He dealt with the debt in a way that made the debtors happy, but also the creditors. In response to the employment, he ordered numerous construction projects of public buildings, keeping unemployment low. Caesar was killed for political gain by his rivals instead of any moral compulsion.
There may be some people who argue that Caesar’s assassination was just due to the fact that he was too arrogant, comparing himself to the Northern Star. Saying, “I could be well moved if I were as you. If I could pray to move, prayers would move me. But I am constant as the northern star…” This was just Caesar letting it be known that he was not a shallow man who could be bribed, forced, or intimidated into doing something that he didn’t believe was right for the people of Rome. This quality does not make a man qualify to be killed. On the contrary, this makes him a stronger ruler.
Julius Caesar: The Unjust Betrayal by Trusted Allies
In conclusion, justice is not a line set in stone. However, in this scenario, Brutus and the other conspirators were in the wrong. Caesar had not done anything wrong yet. All he had done was show that he was willing to do anything for his country and anything for the people of Rome. Justice is what happens when someone has wronged you. But Brutus was never wronged by Caesar.
In fact, Caesar spared his life, trusted him with his friendship, and was repaid with that by being murdered by Brutus, the one man he trusted above everyone else. Seltzer writes, “Justice.. Isn’t really about “getting even” or experiencing a spiteful joy in retaliation. Instead, it’s about righting a wrong…” Dr. Seltzer says that justice is righting a wrong. However, there was no wrong for Brutus to the right. The death of Julius Caesar was unjust because of the fact that Caesar didn’t want to be king, his will, and his contributions to Rome and Rome’s people.
- Abbott, F. (1901). A History and Description of Roman Political Institutions. Elibron Classics.
- Canfora, L. (2007). Julius Caesar: The life and times of the people’s dictator. University of California Press.
- Shakespeare, W. (1599). Julius Caesar.
- Meier, C. (1996). Caesar: A biography. Basic Books.
- Seltzer, L. F. Concepts of Justice.
- Syme, R. (1939). The Roman Revolution. Oxford University Press.