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Nicolaus of Damascus wrote about his times

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Portrait of Julius Caesar, Mark James Miller
Portrait of Julius Caesar, Mark James Miller

Nicolaus of Damascus was one of the few ancient historians that wrote about his times. His works have survived in a small part. He left accounts of the preparations for the murder of Caesar and the rumors that circulated at that time.

The conspirators never met each other openly – only in the house of one of them. According to Nicolaus, the plans were varied.

They considered how and where to hit. Some suggested to hit Caesar when he would move on the via Sacra, as he often went that way. Others proposed the time of the commissions because he had to cross the bridge and it was planned to push Caesar off the bridge. Still others proposed to attack him during the Games with the participation of gladiators who were always at hand, because then the view of armed people would not arouse any suspicion. Most, however, were inclined to think that he should be killed at the Senate session, because then he would probably be alone without a guard. They were not allowed to enter Senate meetings and many senators were part of the conspiracy and had hidden swords under the togas. This plan was fulfilled. Caesar personally set a day for the Senate meeting.

Various rumors circulated after the murder. There were those who thought that the whole Senate was involved in a conspiracy, and the army was waiting in advance. Someone has spread the rumor that the Senate has been massacred by gladiators, others that Caesar has been murdered, and his army began to plunder the city. As Nicolaus says: “There was nothing clear to be heard, for there was a continuous tumult until the people saw the assassins and Marcus Brutus trying to stop the outcry and exhorting the people to be of good courage, for that no evil had taken place”. Brutus claimed that they had slain the tyrant.

  • Nicolaus of Damascus, Life of Augustus, 23-25

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