History : May-Jun 2016
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 59 Antony first ordered a herald to shout out the honors that the senators had granted Caesar, as well as the oath they had all made to protect his life. He then gave a speech designed as much to move his listeners to sympathy for Caesar and to stir up feelings against the murderers. Picking up the cloth covering the casket, he revealed it as the toga Caesar had been wearing when he was struck down. The garment was ripped where the killers’ knives had pierced it and stained with blood. “Fellow citizens have brought death to a man no outside enemy could kill,” he cried to the now restive crowd. Inciting the Masses Julius Caesar had written his will just six months earlier. In an act of shrewd demagoguery, Mark Antony revealed its contents as part of his ora- tion: The dictator had left the city his splendid gardens on the banks of the Tiber and gave every citizen a gift of 300 sesterces. Sorrow swept the crowd, followed by indignation when they heard that the heirs named in Caesar’s will included one of the conspirators. Later, on the lighting of the pyre, the people tore down the magistrates’ benches and used them as firewood. The collective sorrow soon turned to blind anger. The mob marched on the conspirators’homes, crying“Kill the murderers,” bearing brands taken from the funeral pyre itself, and forcing the killers to flee Rome. The conspiracy against Caesar had not only failed but spectacularly backfired. Mark Antony’s ambitions would ultimately compel him toward a devastating conflict with Octavian, Caesar’s heir and great-nephew who would defeat Antony and go on to establish the Roman Empire. Caesar’s power and system of government lived on in Octavian, known after 27 b.c . as the emperor Augustus. Through a mixture of statesmanship, ruthlessness, and political genius, Augustus would build an empire stretching from Portugal to Babylon and usher in the Pax Romana, an era of peace and prosperity lasting for almost two centuries. JUAN PABLO SÁNCHEZ AN EXPERT ON GREECE IN THE ROMAN PERIOD, SÁNCHEZ IS VISITING PROFESSOR AT THE NORTHEAST NORMAL UNIVERSITY, CHANGCHUN, CHINA. LUISPADILLA/VISIVALAB FROM GENERAL TOAGOD Dedicated by Octavian in 29 b.c. on the site of Caesar’s cremation in the Forum, the Temple of Caesar further consolidated Octavian’s image as a ruler from a powerful, now divine, dynasty.