Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Look out! Ides!

"Pizza, Pizza..."
-Gaius Julius Caesar, 48 B.C.
Today is (sort of) the 2,055th anniversary of Julius Caesar's assassination. He was a lot of things: conqueror, leader, salad. He's even got a month named after him (let's say November). But he's probably most famous for saying 'Et tu Bruté!' in stunned betrayal just before his closest friend shanked him Oz-style. What I want to know is why isn't he remembered for being a tremendous dipshit who ignored every possible sign, took no precautions and got spectacularly murdered by people he was stupid enough to trust?


"On second thought,
someone else is Spartacus..."

Look, this guy declared himself dictator for life thus wresting power out of the hands of a rich ruling elite and concentrating it solely under his receding hairline. Didn't he realize that this might piss a few people off, namely the aforementioned rich ruling elite? This is a culture that enjoyed blood sports and would go on to invent the mafia. Why was violent retribution not on this guy's radar? Were Romans really known for their even-tempered and measured responses to people who upset the status quo?

Spencer's Gifts could have
seen this coming.
Ok, so let's say he was incapable of seeing that his naked power grab might rub a few people the wrong way. Fine. But then there was not one, but two prophecies: a creepy dream his wife had, and then some nutty crone told him to beware the Ides of March (thanks, Plutarch...just kidding: Wikipedia). To us, ignoring this sort of thing is considered rational and is what separates us from those who give John Edward money. Ancient Romans however, really believed in this crap. All except Julius 'What Could Possibly Go Wrong?' Caesar. Nice move, Jules.

ancient Roman filibuster 

The cherry on this sundae of stupid has to be the fact that there was like, no security at the temporary Senate house (The real Senate house was being rebuilt, so they worked out of a theatre, but still, ushers?). Granted, this was before the invention of metal detectors in government buildings, so back then the security check point consisted of some dude asking everyone: "Got a knife?" To which 62 disgruntled senators cunningly answered 'nope' and were admitted despite packing the 1st century B.C. equivalent of serious heat. Diabolical. So then, like an idiot Caesar ignored every god damned warning and strolled casually into his own slaughter. Political genius. Maybe he should have saved everyone the trouble and stabbed himself.

Perhaps the most obvious warning was the coverage of the Senate vote to murder him.

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