Classics in the Classroom: Timeline 4 – Civil War, Dictatorships and More Civil War
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Classics in the Classroom: Timeline 4 – Civil War, Dictatorships and More Civil War


In this video we’re going to explore the period
of the Late Republic defined by civil war. Starting in 49BC when Caesar crossed the Rubicon. We saw another video entitled the Big Three,
how events led to civil war in 49. The civil war between Caesar and Pompey ranged between
49 and 48 across most of the Mediterranean. Also in 49BC we see Caesar becoming Dictator
for the first time, albeit only for ten days. But this nevertheless was the start of the
period when Caesar is Dictator for five times, culminating in 44BC when he is Dictator Perpetuo.
Dictator without interruption. As well as holding successive dictatorships
over the 40s, Caesar was still fighting civil wars against his Republican opponents. Pompey
may have died in Alexandria in 48, but Republicans still fought in Africa and Pompey’s sons in
Spain. Caesar would celebrate successive triumphs in 46 and 45 – a testament to his achievements
but also subtle allusions to the Roman opponents he had defeated. Caesar’s success however
was not to last. Infamously on the 15th of March – or the Ides of March as it is perhaps
best known – Caesar was assassinated by his fellow senators. They killed him because they
believed they were liberating the State from his tyranny. He had acquired too much power
and was in their eyes a threat to the very fabric of the Republic. In the wake of Julius
Caesar’s assassination, we see the formation of a new triumvirate for the restoration of
the State. A board of three comprising Mark Antony, Lepidus and Octavian – the young great
nephew of Caesar who was adopted in his will. This was a formal alliance with official power
to restore the State and like Sulla’s dictatorship before them, which was also designated to
restore the State, the triumvirs instituted proscriptions once again. And perhaps the
most famous victim of these was Cicero himself.

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