by Al Bloomfield
Thursday March 15, 2018
POLITICS – On the Ides of March, the 2,062nd anniversary of the assassination of Roman leader Gaius Julius Caesar on the Senate floor by over 60 homicidal senators led by his best friend Marcus Junius Brutus, one may reflect upon Caesar as a Man of the People.
Gaius Julius Caesar did a lot of things that still have practical application today. Caesar became dangerous because he was from a famous family like the Kennedys and Clintons, had lots of money like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, great speech making abilities like the infamous Hitler, and was a successful military commander like Napoleon and Shaka, who was openly generous to the poor, starving and unemployed like a one-man welfare state. Such men are dangerous to the liberties extolled by republics, especially republics governed by greedy and selfish men.
During the final years of the Republic, slaves had taken most of the jobs held by poor people leaving many citizens jobless. Caesar decreed that in every Roman province of Italy 1/3rd of those working with cattle or in agriculture must be citizens and freedmen. He created more jobs by establishing a large public works program that included repairing old aqueducts and building new ones. The need for clean water was an issue that he resolved that way. Much of Caesar’s support among the People depended upon his ability to provide them with free grain welfare which came to the Roman Republic as tribute from Egypt.
These reforms excited the anger and envy of those who sat in the Senate who were all wealthy landowners who worked there vast estates with the free labor that comes from so many slaves. To counteract their opposition, Caesar flooded the Senate with his personal appointees. Caesar created 100 new senators to make sure that these people would be his creatures and not his secret enemies.
Caesar also forgave his enemies in order to restore peace and stability to the Republic. Unfortunately, many of his enemies did not forgive him (for destroying their grip on the Republic). For example, Marcus Junius Brutus was made by Caesar praetor (like a judge) and governor of Cisalpine Gaul – a very lucrative assignment, before he murdered his best friend Caesar.
Source of information for this report included the works of Plutarch.
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