The Assassination of Julius Caesar - Success, Leadership and
The Assassination of Julius Caesar (44 BC)
1. Julius Caesar (100-44 BC)
Julius Caesar (often called Caesar, pictured
right) was a great Roman leader and general, who conquered:
2. Caesar’s dying words
Caesar said to Brutus (one of his assassins) in Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar: “Et tu,
Brute?” (“And you, Brutus?).
But his last words are more likely to have been:
“You, too, my son?” (on seeing his son attack him).
3. The Ides of March
A soothsayer warned Caesar to beware the Ides of March (March 15th).
Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, also foresaw his death in a nightmare the night before but couldn’t
persuade him to stay at home.
4. Carry On Cleo
In the 1964 British comedy film, Carry On Cleo, the English actor, Kenneth Williams, played
Julius Caesar (pictured right).
He says on seeing his assassins:
“Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!”
Roman leader (see above).
Brutus and Cassius
Roman senators and leaders of the plot to assassinate Caesar.
Caesar's loyal supporter who gave a great funeral speech attacking the assassins.
In Shakespeare’s (pictured right) play, Julius Caesar, this famously begins:
“Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears”.
Octavian (later Emperor Augustus)
Caesar's nephew and adopted son.
Lessons for success, leadership and ethics
1. Ideals are important
Despite being Caesar’s friend, Brutus (pictured right) was prepared to kill him to preserve
democracy and freedom in Rome, because Caesar wanted to be emperor and dictator.
2. Don’t deceive yourself
Brutus let his ideals disguise the evil of killing a good friend. The murder destroyed him, leading to his
3. Think through the consequences of your actions
Caesar’s murder didn’t achieve what Brutus and Cassius had hoped.
It didn’t preserve democracy but instead replaced one dictator (Caesar) with another (Octavian, later Emperor
Augustus, pictured right).
4. Share power with the people
If he had kept democracy, Caesar wouldn’t have been killed.
5. Power corrupts
Caesar’s lust for dictatorial (or absolute) power destroyed him.
6. Change isn’t easy
People felt threatened by Caesar’s dictatorship and the loss of democracy.
But most people put up with it, because the alternative (civil war) was far worse.
Cicero, the Roman writer and
philosopher (pictured right), was sympathetic to Caesar, because his actions had been partly driven by
“We are his slaves, but he is the slave of the times”, Cicero said.
7. Betrayal is shameful
Caesar’s assassins included his friends and son.
8. Integrity inspires
Despite murdering Caesar, Brutus was still greatly respected by Mark Antony , who wrapped his body in his
most expensive cloak.
In Shakespeare’s play, Julius
Caesar, Mark Antony describes Brutus as “the noblest Roman of them all”.
You, too, my son?, Caesar (his likely dying
The Ides of March are come, Caesar (just before
the murder) to the soothsayer, who replied: “Aye, Caesar, but not gone”.
Thus, always, to tyrants!, Brutus (on Caesar’s death).
What happened after Caesar’s death?
Mark Antony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral leads to civil war.
The Battle of Philippi in which Mark Antony (pictured right) and Octavian defeat Brutus
and Cassius (who both commit suicide).
Octavian defeats Mark Antony at the naval Battle of Actium.
Mark Antony and his wife, Cleopatra (the queen of Egypt and Caesar’s ex-lover,
pictured right) commit suicide.
Octavian becomes Augustus, the Roman Empire’s first emperor and
Adrian Goldsworthy, Caesar (2006).