In this story of the most famous assassination in history, " the last bloody day of the [Roman] Republic has never been painted so brilliantly" (The Wall Street Journal). Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate on March 15, 44 BC the Ides of March according to the Roman calendar. He was, says author Barry Strauss, the last casualty of one civil war and the first casualty of the next civil war, which would end the Roman Republic and inaugurate the Roman Empire. " The Death of Caesar provides a fresh look at a well-trodden event, with superb storytelling sure to inspire awe" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Why was Caesar killed? For political reasons, mainly. The conspirators wanted to return Rome to the days when the Senate ruled, but Caesar hoped to pass along his new powers to his family, especially Octavian. The principal plotters were Brutus, Cassius (both former allies of Pompey), and Decimus. The last was a leading general and close friend of Caesar's who felt betrayed by the great man: He was the mole in Caesar's camp. But after the assassination everything went wrong. The killers left the body in the Senate and Caesar's allies held a public funeral. Mark Antony made a brilliant speech not " Friends, Romans, Countrymen" as Shakespeare had it, but something inflammatory that caused a riot. The conspirators fled Rome. Brutus and Cassius raised an army in Greece but Antony and Octavian defeated them. An original, new perspective on an event that seems well known, The Death of Caesar is " one of the most riveting hour-by-hour accounts of Caesar's final day I have read....An absolutely marvelous read" (The Times, London).
Despised and hailed, Julius Caesar emerges as a central figure of antiquity, attracting the interest of notable authors and numerous researchers.Yet, although there might be at least as many publications on Caesar’s violent death as on his lifetime achievements, the famous assassination is still shrouded in misconception and controversy.
In his latest book The Death of Caesar, Barry Strauss, a professor of history and classics at Cornell, approaches various sources from the point of view of a military historian, focusing in great detail on the strategic moves and key moments that surrounded one of history’s pivotal acts – the brutal stabbing of Julius Caesar by a band of conspiring senators on the Ides of March.
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.
“[A] page-turner. . . . Detail after detail clothes the familiar facts of Caesar’s seemingly inevitable murder with fresh images. . . . The last bloody day of the Republic has never been painted so brilliantly."
“Strauss’ account of the world’s most famous assassination is as thrilling as any novel.”
"A fresh, accessible account of the archetypal assassination. . . .Strauss underscores [the conspirators'] dilemma with an urgency that makes each page crackle with suspense. . . . The Death of Caesar serves us both as an entertaining, vital act of preservation for those details and figures glossed over by other historians and as a reminder of a plot so daring it would be unthinkable today.”"