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March 08, 2009


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John M.

Very interesting episode, as always. One has to wonder, what would history have been like if Caesar had been allowed to continue his career? Would he have been able to conque Parthia and Germany? I think probably Parthia, but Germany would have been a much bigger gamble. And I'm not sure Rome would have been able to hold onto them after his death.

That being said, I imagine his assasination was kind of inevitable in a way. It doesn't sound like his popularity was so great, or feelings for the republic so weak at that point, that Rome could have been transformed to an empire during the life of a single man. And he would have never tolerated exile.


I just discovered that you are podcasting again, I'm so glad, I've missed your podcast so much. I've been listening ever since I came across your christmas episode last august, you present a clear, concise and insightful narration of a fascinating period of human history, and you make my long hours alone on the grave yard shift fly by.


Wow awesome podcast this week I was getting really caught up in it on my drive home from the gym and was sitting in my car for almost 10minutes until it finished... even though I knew how it would end I was left a little downcast at its resolution. Definately one of your best so far.


i love your podcasts! i listen to them over and over again as i go to sleep (dont take that the wrong way..). I really like your style - detailed but amusing


I have to disagree with John M. I don't think that Caesar's assassination was inevitable nor do I think that Caesar's popularity was very low. I believe, and I think Mike will back me up in the next episode, that his popularity was great enough not only to allow Antony to orchestrate a backlash against the assassins but also to allow Octavian's rise to power, which was predicated on the strength of Caesar's name.
Discontent, even continued military resistance were both probably inevitable but outright assassination? That was over the line.


Great podcast, Mike, and keep up the good work!

I've wondered why we don't call Julius Caesar the first Emperor of Rome? Didn't he sort of satisfy the requirements of the genre, and in fact, define the genre? Is it only because his success was so short-lived?


@ John M and Jim,

Yes, I will back Jim up on this- I think "inevitable" is too strong a word (though I do think an attempt at some point was likely). Despite the hatred Caesar had fostered within the old nobility, he remained very popular with the lower and middle classes. When the Liberators announced that they had freed the city from Caesar's tyranny they were basically greeted with blank stares from the masses. Brutus et al had completely miscalculated the desire of the average Roman to go back to the old ways. I will go into this more this week for sure.

@ James,

While Caesar was *basically* an Emperor, we don't call him the "First Emperor of Rome" because there was still a lot of power out there he had not yet gobbled up (I think the big piece of fruit left hanging on the tree was the power of the Tribunate, which Augustus co-opted when he became the first true "Emperor"). I think, yes, if he had lived longer he probably would have gotten there, but when you look at the power Caesar had vs the power Augustus had, there is really no comparison. Caesar was a Dictator. Augustus was an EMPEROR.


Ian Perkins

I just discovered your podcast a couple of days ago. What a jewel! I have managed to listen to the entire series up to now in just a couple of days (my coworkers have been wondering what is so engrossing) and cannot wait for more. My hat is off to you, sir, for your excellent narration.


Seems to me too that for Caesar, "Emperor" is a cute little dress-up costume when compared to Augustus. Is it too bold to say that no one since (and very few before) led a 'civilized' nation with as much direct authority as Augustus?

Great podcast and excellent insights. You're the subject of my blog today; both of my readers who also happen to not be my dog will probably be stopping by!


Should've skipped a week and posted this episode today.



Totally. C'est la vie...



You mixed Mithridates IV and Mithridates VI up again. During the part where you're correcting the error.



Let me explain the Mithridates to those people who might be confused.

At the beginning (about 30 seconds in) of episode 33 (Marius and Sulla) Mike referred to Mithridates IV (4) when he should have referred to Mithridates VI (6), who is also known as Mithridates the Great.

But when he corrected the error during this episode he said that he referred to Mithridates the Great as Mithridates VI rather then Mithridates IV, which, to me, sounds like an incorrect recounting of the error. (?)

If people want to read abit more about Mithridates VI I'll post a link below.



ep thorn

Wonder if anyone watched the Rome series on HBO, particularly the assassination. It's mostly inaccurate, including the location and some of the plotting (Marcus is shown being distracted away from Caesar outside, rather than trying to get to the place) but the assassination itself seemed pretty realistic to me... hard to watch, though.

aion kinah

I imagine his assasination was kind of inevitable in a way.


Just a quick question, (discovered the podcast a month ago and really enjoying it). Either in this episode or the one before you mentioned Cesar conducted a census in Rome and reallocated land in the provinces, cut grain quotas as a result. I was just wondering if anyone had a reference to the source material for this, it's something I hadn't heard of before. Regards and thanks, Will


broken link :[


A very late aside: in an earlier episode, you mentioned that since the curia had been burned down by the mobs and the new one was being built, the Senate was meeting elsewhere. (In the Theater of Pompey, in fact.) This is therefore where Caesar was assassinated. All true. But you also said that people, sadly, cannot see the spot where this happened. Not true! The location where Caesar was assassinated has been excavated. It's in the Largo Argentina in Rome, in the middle of a busy intersection (more or less). The area is about 20 feet below street level today, so you can look down at remains of temples and other buildings. And cats. Lots and lots of cats. Seriously, there's a cat rescue down there. There's something about a cat napping on a Roman ruin that says more about the human greatness and time than Shelley ever did.

Anyway, I recommend it as a must-see on any visit to Rome.

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