But what if Caesar wasn't killed on the Ides of March? What if Mark Antony, who heard of the plot the night before, was able to warn Caesar? (In our history, Antony was intercepted and prevented from warning Caesar.)
|Hey Caesar! I brought you that salad... oh, uh... you're busy. I'll come back.|
But Caesar, stunned into silence of the huge plot against him at first, eventually embraced Brutus, praising him for his courage to do what he believed right, even going so far as to kill him. "No matter the gifts and honors I have bestowed on you," Caesar was reported to have said, "you still are your own man, one that believes in all else freedom for all." They then talked into the early morning hours of philosophy, war, and the Republic.
On the Ides of March, despite the knowledge of the plot against him, traveled to the Senate, with Mark Antony, Marcus Brutus, and other supporters. But instead of proceeding to business as was originally planned, Caesar gave a short, impromptu speech. Announcing that he had learned of a plot on his life, in part raised due to the vast powers he had acquired and the hostility it had generated, Caesar announced that he would be stepping down from his position of Dictator for Life, renouncing the titles that the Senate had given him, and would subject himself to the will of the Senate to try him for whatever crimes he may have committed, and that he would respect whatever decision they made. He was also prepared to allow free elections of any eligible citizen to the posts, even those that he had already determined.
The senators sat stunned at the speech. Some of the conspirators, namely Gaius Cassius Longinus, wanted Caesar to be killed or at least exiled, but many of the senators, appointed by Caesar, instead praised him for his humility, and after a series of votes, pronounced him innocent of any crimes that he may have committed, agreed to allow Caesar the chance to continue his military operations against the Parthian Empire, and to allow the next year's offices to be taken by those Caesar had appointed, but then allowing free votes for 42 BC. These actions were announced to the people of Rome, who overwhelmingly approved. However, despite the renunciation of his offices, Caesar was still massively wealthy and influentially powerful, and he still held great sway among the crowds.
The 43 BC Consular elections had Brutus and Mark Antony elected, and, while they continued to clash (as Antony saw Brutus as a threat to both Caesar and himself, as the now aborted conspiracy had shown), Caesar did his best to soothe tensions on both sides, and they worked fairly well together. And while Cassius continued to speak and rail against Caesar, he was soon driven into obscurity.
|It also did nothing for the reviled senator Septus Marcus Flatuls.|
Unlike in Parthia, Caesar was more successful in Germania, defeating tribe after tribe. While the land wasn't as rich or developed as in Gaul that Caesar earlier conquered, Caesar believed that the land, with Roman citizens settling in colonies through the area, could make it "richer than Italy, Egypt and Hispania combined." Every tribe between the Rhine and the Elbe River's were conquered and made subservient, and Caesar began the process of reorganizing them into new provinces of Rome.
Julius Caesar, basking in the glory of this conquest, began to march south back to Rome. However, before he reached the frontier of Gaul, Caesar had a massive heart attack while riding his horse, and died before he fell to the ground. It was 39 BC, and Caesar was 61.
His troops brought Caesar's body back to Rome, which was in a period of mourning. Mark Antony, Brutus and Octavian, all of whom were publicly arguing and trying out maneuver the other, all united in sadness of Caesar's death. Octavian, who was named Casear's adopted son in his will and given a large percentage of Caesar's fortune, made public orations of the man called "The Greatest of the Great." His reforms, including a police and fire fighting service for Rome, the unification of the provinces to an equal status, and his generosity and charisma all endured him to the people of Rome for a long time to come, with statues, poems, plays, and even a religious cult all based on Caesar springing up all over.
|Birds all over Europe liked Caesar as well: they got a thousand new resting places.|
By 29 BC, with the people rioting for peace as war, inflation and poverty spread and both Antony and Brutus having exhausted their supplies of men and money, eventually the Peace of Rome was signed. In this, the Republic was to be divided in two: Brutus claimed the West, Antony retained the East, while Italy would remain a buffer state between the two. The Peace was marked with great celebrations, but little did people know that this was the end of the Roman Republic as people knew. The Senate in Rome was left in charge of Italia, but without a strong leader like Brutus or Mark Antony, they were unable to raise large numbers of legions or try to unify the republic, so both sides began to drift apart. By 24 BC, with the death of Cleopatra in childbirth (another son to Mark Antony), Mark Antony was crowned Pharaoh of Egypt, and he claimed the title of Consul of the East, and the new Eastern Roman Republic based in Alexandria.
|"Remind me again why I have to wear this blue and gold thing?"|
"I thought it was black and white!"
The two nations, increasingly distant but calling themselves Rome, would fight for the decades and centuries to come. The East would grow more Greek and Persian as Parthia was finally defeated time and again, while the West more Gaulish and German, until by 200 AD, few could tell that they had even been one single nation. Christianity, which started in Palestine, found a more welcoming home in the West than the East, where it was brutally repressed for threatening the stability of the Empire. Both halves had to deal with Barbarians, which the west handled with diplomacy and wealth, the East through brutal repression, until 259, when the last "Caesar of Rome," Marcus VII, was assassinated and his empire fell apart into several competing kingdoms, and the next several centuries featured wannabe dictators and kings trying to rebuild the Eastern Empire while facing each other, Persia and various barbarian assaults.
Italy, long a declining has-been center of the world, was easily reclaimed The Western Republic in 186 AD, and the Republic also claimed Britannia, Caledonia and Hibernia and began to travel across of the Atlantic Ocean. However, the problems of the old Roman Republic: the concentration of wealth in too few hands, the political machinations, the unchecked destruction of multiple families competing for power and prestige, lead to a declining and moribund state by 300 AD. The barbarians, pushed west by the Huns, took over the vast provinces of Germania, while northern seafarers raided Britannia and northern Gaul. Desert tribes in Africa also began to push north. While several great politicians and generals held the line and even managed temporary restorations and growth, more ineffectual and self-aggrandizing leaders continued to let the Western Republic crumble, until the occupation of Massilia in 404 AD lead to the final break of the Republic. While some of the nations that were born of the Western Republic, like the Republic of Britannia and the Kingdom of Hispania all claimed to be Roman afterwards, the true end of Rome came when the long depopulated and crumbling great city was destroyed by Barbarians in 439, and the city was never rebuilt to it's former glory and stature.
|And not a single mad Emperor with a fiddle nearby.|