The exciting, dramatic story of one of history's most famous events-the death of Julius Caesar-now placed in full context of Rome's civil wars by eminent historian Barry Strauss.
Thanks to William Shakespeare, the death of Julius Caesar is the most famous assassination in history. But what actually happened on March 15, 44 BC is even more gripping than Shakespeare's play. In this thrilling new book, Barry Strauss tells the real story.
Shakespeare shows Caesar's assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. The real killing, however, was a carefully planned paramilitary operation, a generals' plot, put together by Caesar's disaffected officers and designed with precision. There were even gladiators on hand to protect the assassins from vengeance by Caesar's friends. Brutus and Cassius were indeed key players, as Shakespeare has it, but they had the help of a third man-Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar's entourage, one of Caesar's leading generals, and a lifelong friend. It was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar.
Caesar's assassins saw him as a military dictator who wanted to be king. He threatened a permanent change in the Roman way of life and in the power of senators. The assassins rallied support among the common people, but they underestimated Caesar's soldiers, who flooded Rome. The assassins were vanquished; their beloved Republic became the Roman Empire.
An original, fresh perspective on an event that seems well known, Barry Strauss's book sheds new light on this fascinating, pivotal moment in world history.
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Barry Strauss is Professor of History and Classics, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies at Cornell University, and a military and naval historian and consultant. As the Series Editor of the Princeton History of the Ancient World and author of seven books on ancient history, Professor Strauss is a recognized authority on the subject of leadership and the lessons that can be learned from the experiences of the greatest political and military leaders of the ancient world (Caesar, Hannibal, Alexander among many others). These lessons apply to the corporate leaders of today who are faced with complex issues that are both challenging and often defy easy solutions.
Professor Strauss has spent years of researching and studying the leaders of the ancient world and has written and spoken widely of their mistakes and successes. He is also a widely acclaimed military and naval historian whose analyses of the strategies and campaigns of some of history’s great commanders reveal the successful rules of engagement that were true on the battlefield and resonate in today’s boardrooms and executive suites.
He is a former director of Cornell’s Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, where he studied modern engagements from Bosnia to Iraq and from Afghanistan to the streets of Europe. Professor Strauss is an expert on geopolitics including the Middle East, terrorism, Europe, the Mediterranean and US alliances. He is currently director as well as a founder of Cornell’s Program on Freedom and Free Societies, which investigates challenges to constitutional liberty at home and abroad. He holds fellowships from the American Academy at Rome, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the German Academic Exchange Program, the Korea Foundation, the MacDowell Colony and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others, and is the recipient of Cornell’s Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching.
He is the author of seven books on ancient history, including “The Death of Caesar” (now available in paperback) “The Battle of Salamis”, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Washington Post, and “The Trojan War: A New History” (2006). Writing in the Washington Post, Tom Holland hailed his “The Spartacus War” (2009) for having “all the excitement of a thriller.” Books & Culture named it one of its favorite books of 2009. His books have been translated into ten foreign languages, from French to Korean. Professor Strauss holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.