The Assassination of Julius Caesar blows away the so called truth proffered to us by the gentlemen historians who peddle a genre biased towards an upper-class ideological perspective. Parenti is an eloquent Caesarian historian who displays an astonishing amount of research finely organized and presented in this Pulitzer Prize nominated work; which will no doubt have the Ciceronians scrambling to put together a rebuttal.
The Assassination of Julius Caesar points out how numerous popularis fell victim to the optimates death squads, Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Gracchus, Drusus, Clodius and Rufus all sealed their fates by taking up the populist cause. Along with Caesar each of them lobbied and passed such policies as land reform, debt forgiveness, expansion of the franchise, giving the craft guilds more power, and greater food allotments.
Parenti makes for especially fascinating reading when he documents the reign of Sulla; the fascist autocrat whose policies weren’t rolled back until Caesar’s First Triumvirate was able to abolish some his more regressive laws. Also Dr. Parenti’s sections on Cicero, the Machiavellian statesman who served autocratic interests, are sensational. He exposes Cicero’s fomenting of the witch-hunt like Cataline Conspiracy. Egalitarian reforms and attempts to democratize decision making were treated as outright subversion by the optimates. Cicero upheld these values by constantly propagandizing against Cataline and his tepid reforms. We discover that Cicero was an odious creature who sold-out to power at every opportunity by often being quite an effective mouthpiece for the priveleged of ancient Rome.
... as fast as it occurred with the death of Caesar (Parenti, p. 48). Julius Caesar’s assassination ended his good work as a ... discussion on what would probably have happened if Caesar was not assassinated. If Caesar had not been assassinated the chaos that emanated ... the roman republic. As a powerful political and military figure, Caesar established the Roman Republic as one of the greatest civilization ...
The Assassination of Julius Caesar shows how Caesar was not a revolutionary but rather a reformer who worked to break the stranglehold of the senatorial autocrats. While not being perfect, Caesar dedicated himself to the popular cause and was well liked by the masses. Unlike Cicero, Sulla, Brutus, Cassius and Cato of whom none have flowers left at their graves like Caesar’s tomb does to the present day. Parenti documents how Caesar was committed to rolling back the worst class abuses perpetrated by the wealthy and was fondly remembered for it.
One prevarication Parenti studiously attacks is Caesar’s supposed burning of the Serapeum library in Alexandria. It was the Christ worshippers in the fourth century who carried out the deed, Caesar and his forces burned not a single page.
The assassination itself is portrayed in vivid detail, including a surprising and accurate quote from Major General Fuller’s biography that sums up the entire affair: “the plotters were well aware that under Caesar their opportunities for financial gain and political power would vanish.” Perhaps not vanish but greatly diminish would have been totally accurate.
A consistent theme runs throughout the book and that is Parenti’s analysis and evidence of the bias many latter day gentlemen historians have against the “mob” or “rabble” and Caesar. He notes that these historians pay little attention to how the optimates swindled land from small farmers, plundered the provinces like pirates, over taxed colonized people, rent gouged, and lifted not a finger towards debt relief. It should be remembered that the common people had scant opportunity to leave a written record of their views and struggles. In fact these people derisively referred to as the “criminal mob” and “rabble” by Cicero and some other present day historians were in actuality masons, carpenters, shopkeepers, scribes, butchers and other working class people.
... the perspective of the elite classes, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar showed readers different. Parenti outlined the social and ... day working class. This is an example of how Parenti examined the death of Caesar in term of social and people history. Parenti’s people ... to the modern world. Work Cited Parenti, Michael. The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome. ...
The reader can’t help but draw the obvious parallel to the Kennedy assassination. Another example of a group of reactionary plutocrats rubbing out a potential threat to their wealth and way of life. As stated, Parenti makes reference to the fact that Caesar was a reformer and not a revolutionary. Of course that did not matter to the autocratic optimates of ancient Rome nor to a certain segment of the ruling class in the 1960s.
The Assassination of Julius Caesar is a major scholarly work and will surely be read and discussed for generations. It is history and historical analysis of the highest order and should not be missed by anyone with an inkling of historical curiosity.