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Julius Caesar - Premonitorial Signs Announced His Death ?

Julius Caesar

March 15, 44 BC At 11 o'clock in the morning, Julius Caesar was assassinated. Twenty-three swordshots defeat the master of Rome. He covers his face with his toga so as not to be disfigured, then, before dying, in an ultimate gesture of decency, hides his legs under his clothes.

Unbelievable motives

The avowed motive of the murderers is to prevent Caesar from restoring the monarchy. They want to save the republic. Yet Caesar has always refused to take the title of king. What is it for him, since he exercises de facto royalty? Named dictator for life by the senate on February 14, 44 BC, he already has all the powers. In reality, most conspirators have less glorious motives: resentment and bitterness, disappointed ambition ... Far from restoring the republic, their act inaugurates a civil war in the empire.

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Disturbing signs

Long before the events, to believe the historian Suetonius, author of a Life of Caesar, omens which should have aroused the mistrust of the victim have multiplied. First, Spurinna, the haruspice (that is, the priest who reads the future in the bowels of sacrificed animals), warns Caesar that he will be in great danger on the day of the Ides of March.

Then, we discover in Capua the tomb of the founder of the city, Capys. The monument presents a curious bronze tablet bearing the following inscription: "When Capys' bones have been discovered, a descendant of Iule (whom Julius Caesar claims for his ancestor) will fall under the blows of his relatives, and soon Italy will expiate his death by terrible disasters."

To this is added the strange behavior of the horses that Caesar dedicated to the god of Rubicon, having crossed this river with his army and triggered the civil war of which he emerged victorious. In the days preceding the death of the dictator, these animals "stubbornly deprive themselves of food and shed abundant tears". Lastly, on the eve of Ides, a wren bearing a laurel branch is cut in pieces by other birds, in the room where the senate is to sit. As the fatal date approaches, the signs become more precise. During the last dinner of Julius Caesar, he discusses with guests the best way to die. He prefers "the least expected": it will soon be granted. In the hours that follow, his sleep and especially that of his wife, Calpurnia, are disturbed by nightmares.

Brutus the traitor

Highly frightened by her dreams, Calpurnia implores Julius Caesar to stay at home. He decides to give in: he asks his friend Marc Antoine to dismiss the Senate. But Brutus, the man whom Ceasar considers his son and who is one of the conspirators, attends the scene. Aware that the conspiracy is about to fail, he interferes immediately. Such behavior, he insists, is not worthy of Julius Caesar. Is he a man to be impressed by dreams and vain omens? These words finally convince the dictator to change nothing in his plans. Caesar climbs into his litter and goes to the senate. On his way, a man departs from the crowd, hands him a note and insists that he read it on the spot. But the attention of Julius Caesar is diverted. What does this so urgent note contain? Nothing less than the revelation of the plot. On the way, he also meets the priest Spurinna. He jokingly remarked, "Well, here are the Ides of March. "Yes," replied the diviner, "they have come, but they have not passed. "

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The crime

Julius Caesar goes on his way. When he reaches his destination, the priests offer sacrifices. They immolate victim after victim, without result. They only get bad omens. And when the disappointed dictator turns toward the setting sun, the priests see it as a more sinister sign. Finally Caesar enters the curia where the senators are gathered. Its golden seat is already surrounded by a group of twenty-three senators. One twenty-fourth stayed outside to prevent Marc Antoine from helping his friend. Not at all surprised by this gathering, Julius Caesar advances in confidence and sits down. A senator approaches immediately. He seeks the grace of his exiled brother. His twenty-two friends join him and support his request. Julius Caesar refuses. Senators are tightening it more closely. He gets up to push them away, but one of them pulls his toga. This is the expected signal. The conspirators seize the sword concealed in the folds of their clothes. All strike Caesar; one blow will be deadly. Surprised to count Brutus among his murderers, Julius Caesar would have launched his famous "You too, my son".

Omen, according to Suetonius

"The last days before his death, Julius Caesar learned that the troops of horses, that crossing the Rubicon they had consecrated to the god of the river and left without a guardian, stubbornly deprived of food and shed abundant tears. Moreover, while he was sacrificing, the Spurinna haruspice warned him "to beware of a peril that would not go back beyond the Ides of March." On the eve of these same Ides, a wren bearing a laurel branch was flying towards Pompey's curia, when birds of different species, leaving the neighboring trees, pursued it and shattered it in the very same room. During the night preceding the murder, Julius Caesar saw himself in a dream, flying over the clouds, sometimes shaking hands with Jupiter; for his part, his wife Calpurnia dreamed that the roof of their house was crumbling and that her husband was being beaten in her arms; then, suddenly, the door of their room opened by itself ... "

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