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Why was Caesar murdered at the hands of his fellow citizens? Caesar was killed for three reasons: First, the conspirators wanted to halt his power growth. Second, they tried to prevent him from becoming king and destroying the Roman Republic. Finally, some were motivated by basic human emotions - personal vengeance. The assassination of Julius Caesar ultimately started a civil war that ended with the destruction of the Roman republic.
Caesar was born to a patrician Roman family who had once been very influential in the Republic. However, by the time of Caesar’s birth, their fortunes had declined, and they were no longer particularly prominent.<ref> Freeman, Philip. [https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743289544/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0743289544&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=04b3744690637472a5e2eb2eb8dc57c6 Julius Caesar]. (Simon and Schuster, 2008), p. 16</ref> We know little about Caesar's childhood, but Rome was unstable during his teenage years. Additionally, the death of his father left him somewhat unprotected.
[[File: Ass 2.jpg|200px|thumb|left|A bust of Brutus]]
By March 44 BCE, members of the Roman elite conspired to remove Caesar from power. The members of the conspiracy were all prominent Romans who knew Caesar.<ref>Syme, Ronald, <i>The Roman Revolution</i> (Oxford, Oxford University, 2002), p 218</ref> The sources on the assassination and the conspiracy could be best described as imperfect. None of the sources are contemporary, and they often contradict each other.
On the Ides of March (the 15th of March), the gladiatorial games were staged. Caesar was expected to come, and he was the guest of honor. On the day, he was late, which alarmed the conspirators. The nominal leader of the conspirators, Brutus, agreed to bring Caesar to the theatre. Brutus and Caesar were well acquainted. Caesar and Brutus's mother were alleged to have been lovers. Brutus had also fought against Caesar at Pharsalus, but Caesar had pardoned him. Despite this long history, Brutus agreed to lure Caesar to the theatre to help their plan to place. Brutus ultimately convinced Caesar to attend the games.
As soon as Caesar entered the theatre, one of the conspirators approached him. The conspirator pretended to hand a petition to Caesar. At this time, not only did Caesar not have any guards, but her servants had also fallen behind him. The group had also successfully delayed Mark Anthony, one of Caesar's staunchest allies. This delay prevented Anthony from being by Caesar's side. Caesar was left alone and virtually defenseless.
It was later revealed that Caesar had been stabbed over thirty times and died from blood loss. While historical sources somewhat dispute it, some sources claimed that Caesar's last words were ‘Et Tu Bruti,’ meaning you too Brutus. Brutus's betrayal would have been especially shocking because Caesar viewed Brutus almost as a son.<ref>Plutarch, <i>Life of Julius Caesar</i>, xxv </ref> Several of the sources also state that Caesar died at the foot of a statue of his hated rival and enemy - Pompey.
[[File: Ass 3.jpg|200px|thumb|left|coins celebrating Brutus and Casca, two of the leading assassins]]
Why did the conspirators want to kill Caesar? One of the most commonly cited reasons for the assassination was the fact they believed that Caesar wanted to be the king of Rome. Many ordinary Romans did not have a monarchy, and Caesar was popular with this class. However, the idea of a monarch was one that was unacceptable to the Roman aristocracy. They believed monarchs were a threat to ‘liberty’ and were ultimately tyrants. They believed that if Caesar became king, they would lose their freedom to participate in public life and protect their property.<ref>Goldworthy, p 134</ref>
Many of those who took part in Caesar's assassination was formerly ardent supporters of Pompey and had fought with him at Pharsalus.<ref> Jiménez, Ramon L. <i>Caesar Against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War</i> (New York, Praeger, 2006), p. 117</ref> However, the fear of the emperor was so powerful that overwhelmed than gratitude or even personal affection for Caesar. Cassius, the prime mover of the conspiracy, presented the assassination of the victor of Pharsalus as tyrannicide, the killing of a tyrant. This persuaded many, including Brutus, to join the plot as they saw it as their duty as Romans. However, the evidence that Caesar wanted a return to the monarchy is scanty and inconclusive. Whatever his intentions, it is clear that the conspirators believed that he was determined to rule as king.<ref> Holland, Tom, <i>Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic</i> (London, Anchor Books, 2003), p 189</ref>
While Caesar's apparent pretensions angered many of the conspirators, others were angered over his apparent lack of respect for Roman senators. Several conspirators were linked to senators, and the plotters believed that they were acting in the Senate's name. Senators were technically the lawmakers and the ultimate source of authority in the Republic.<ref>Holland, p. 197</ref> However, Caesar treated that body in a high-handed manner and often with contempt. He did not act respectfully towards the Senate, and this alienated many of them.
Moreover, many senators who had conferred honorific titles and powers on the general were shocked when he used these largely symbolic powers to cement his position in Rome.<ref>Holland, p. 199</ref> The senators believed that the conqueror of Gaul was engaged in illegally gathering more personal power at the expense of the traditional elite and was subverting the constitution. The strained relationship between Caesar and the Senate was one factor that persuaded many that Caesar had to be assassinated.<ref>Plutarch xxi</ref>.
==Were Roman Senators motivated by vengence against Casesar? ====
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