March 15, the eids of March. On this date in 44 BC (2060 years ago) 5 centuries of republican rule in Rome came to an end to be followed by chaos, civil war, and then Empire. Augustus, Claudius, Nero. That was not the aim of the senators and colleagues of Julius Caesar when they took to assassinate Julius Caesar, first citizen of Rome. They acted out of excessive republican purity, and excessive fear. Their aim was for a pure republicanism where there would be no first citizen, and their fear was that Julius might become the emperor – the emperor that Augustus, Claudius, and Nero became.
Shakespeare considers Brutus to be the noblest Roman of them all, but Dante considers him among the worst of the worst. Dante’s Devine Comedy consigns Brutus to the very center of Hell along with Cassius and Judas. What do you think? BTW, why it’s this a comedy?
The difference between a republican government and a democracy is that a democracy can elect a dictator (as Germany did and Iran has) or can choose to execute a citizen for being annoying to the majority, as democratic Athens did to Socrates. In a republic, even the majority is bound by a set of constitutional limitation providing some-measure of inviolable rights, generally that life, liberty, and property can not be taken without due process or the violation of a more-or-less clear law. All other systems are, to a greater or less extent a rule of whim. When the founders of the US picked a model for government, they picked republican Rome, not democratic Athens nor a limited monarchy as existed in England. Their motivation was the observation that power corrupts, and that inequality under the law attracts the worst elements to the position of least check on their power.
The death of Caesar set forces in motion that would install Octavius (Augustus) Caesar and Anthony to take over as co-emperors. Here is a coin showing Mark Anthony with his wife, Octavius’s sister. already, neither look as lean as Brutus or Julius Caesar. Shortly thereafter, Octavius would have Mark Anthony killed to cement his power and republican rule would be over until 1776.
Robert E. (beware), March 14, 2016. I suspect this same drive for purity and fear is driving the Republican party today. Don’t fear the Rino, just make sure there is a balance of power.