The murder by assassination of Julius Caesar. Caesar was warned he would be assassinated, but he didn’t listen.
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The perils of arrogance, and of "Telling the truth".
Julius Caesar was warned about his assassination.
How many times have you told somebody something important and then lived to regret it. We are all familiar with the situation where you knew that your friend's lover was a cheating scumbag, but when you passed on the information, it only resulted in a black eye for you, courtesy of your irate, and now ex, friend who refused to believe a word against the "love of their lives". The phrase "shoot the messenger" readily comes to mind.
In Ancient Rome, especially if you were a slave, the consequences of being truthful could be rather more serious. To illustrate that point, I will now relate to you the serious consequences that ensued for one slave who tried to warn Julius Caesar of his impending assassination.
You all have heard, I'm sure, of the famous roman Julius Caesar, and most people are familiar with the facts surrounding his gruesome end; how he was surrounded by conspiritors in the Senate House in Rome, and then assassinated with a multitude of stab wounds. Not exactly the best way to go, if you think about it.
Now the thing that a lot of people don't know, because it is only in the secret histories, is that the late roman had been given a warning about the people that surrounded him, but because of his arrogance, and the excessive belief in his own charisma he chose to ignore it. Julius Caesar was as vain as Paris Hilton, but he lacked that young ladies charm.
The Murder of Julius Caesar, and the unfortunate consequences for Alexander.
There was in his houshold a slave by the name of Alexander. This man had been captured in one of the roman campaigns in Anatolia. He was of Greek origin, and had been from an early age a practicioner of the ancient and respected art of predicting the future. It was not unusual in those days for educated captives to be kept as household slaves in the homes of rich romans. Alexander was employed to read to Calpurnia, Caesar's wife. He also wrote letters, and was considered a generally useful sort of servant to have about the place. Now slaves and their mistresses could sometimes become quite friendly, and Calpurnia came to be very close to Alexander. When she came to be aware, that in Anatolia he had been a renowned seer, she asked him if he would do a reading for her husband. Of course the slave said yes. Julius, who considered himself to be a practical sort of fellow, was a scoffer when it came to that kind of thing. In fact, he believed it was all a load of nonsense. But to satisfy his wife he condecended to have the omens read by the servitor.
The examination of the entrails of a chicken showed from the colour of the liver, and the length of the intestines, that the roman general was an extremely ambitious man. But there were also indications that he had a lot of enemies. The wise soothsayer warned him to be always careful, and to never go in public without a strong bodyguard.
But Julius Caesar, being as I said before an arrogant man, and a sceptic where predicting the future was concerned, dismissed the warnings.
This was one week before The Ides of March.
The rest you most probably know.
As for the slave, Alexander. It was remembered, later, that Caesar had been given a warning by a teller of fortunes from his household, and Alexander was questioned. Unfortunately for him, roman law dictated that a slave must always be tortured during interrogation, so that, for him, was a less than pleasant experience. As he lay in agony, while his sinews were being stretched on the rack, he must have said to himself, "why did I bother".