It is 101 BC, the Roman Empire is at its zenith, and a man named Julius Caesar has the power of it within his grasp. Unwanted till now, he soon realizes the influence he now holds over so many lives. Perhaps he is naïve. However, if choosing who out of Marcus Brutus, Marcus Antonius, Cassius, and Julius Caesar; I choose whom the people chose. Julius Caesar would have been an extraordinary leader of Rome.
As a revered general for the empire, he conquered many with an iron fist of trepidity including the dreaded Pompey, whose statue later, in a twisted sense of irony, Caesar meets his untimely fate upon. Caesar was a person the people of Rome could look up to, relate to, and follow. He was born and raised in Rome, joined the army at a young age and showed an almost predilectory understanding of warfare. He rose through the ranks to become the greatest general that Rome had ever known. Caesar was a remarkable man, with many kingly qualities such as his luminosity, endurance, perceptiveness, love for the people, any many, many more. He very well might have been the greatest leader that Rome would even know if not for the inequitable ideas of one man, Cassius.
It was only after his return from conquering the mighty Pompey that the glory of Rome became to apparent to Julius Caesar. He wanted the crown; he wanted it like a child wants candy. With his advanced knowledge of subliminal tactics, he devised a plan that would force the citizens to beg him to take the crown. His beloved servant and yes-man, Marcus Antonius, offered him the crown three times with thousands there to witness the event; and each time Caesar refused the crown. Not because he did not want it, for he craved the crown; but because it was part of his brilliant plan. Mark Antonius speaks with anger and passion as he recounts the event of Caesar’s murder at his funeral, asking the people if Caesar’s death was truly justifiable: “You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him with a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?” III: II: 102-4.
At the time the event-which Anotnius gave as evidence that Caesar was not an ambitious man, which was Brutus’s only given reason for partaking in the atrocious manslaughter-Caesar showed such restraint that he had some sort of seizure on stage and was carried away by Antonius and several other men. He showed great power over himself by refusing his craving; a quality that I believe would have made him an excellent leader. Perhaps Antonius did not know of Caesar’s plan, which is why he spoke so highly of him. Antonius later pleaded with the people of Rome to see the “truth”, what truth can lie within a dishonest man such as Caesar? A man whom lied in order to persuade the citizens of Rome to make him their king. However dishonest Caesar’s actions might have been, he showed brilliance and patience on the Lupercal, qualities which are required for a leader, which is quite possibly why the people of Rome chose him over any other men.
What ultimately led Caesar to his demise can be construed as either a positive or negative trait when put before one in different contexts. What led him to his death were both his love for Rome, and more importantly his greed. He was a man for the people, believing that he was God’s gift to them; Caesar wanted more then anything to make Rome the greatest Empire the world would ever know, yet he would stop at nothing to accomplish this. His greed would have possibly led the people of Rome into chains, forcing them to work their entire lives in order to better the empire, which is why several members of the Senate felt the need to end his plan before it began. Just after he had killed Caesar, Brutus spoke to the people attempting to explain why he had done what he felt must be done: “If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen?” III: II: 21-5. Brutus was right in the fact that his predictions could have very well come true, but he was wrong in assuming Caesar would not have bettered the empire for the next generation. I believe that Brutus was thinking in the “right now” sense, instead of tomorrow. Yes, Caesar was ambitious, and yes he was greedy, both of which are necessary qualities for a leader.
Many would say that Julius Caesar would have made a horrible leader; that he was naïve, paltry, inconsiderate, pretentious, and that he had a serious inadequacy of experience when it came to political affairs. Most would not look further then the fact that he had little experience with politics, and only see his influence to the people as a threat; a very good quality for a man in an authorial position to have, influence. I am almost certain though, that if either Brutus or Cassius had actually sat down and discussed with Caesar what his plans for the future of Rome were, they would have had a serious change of heart and mind. Caesar was a good man who had many ideas as to what an eminent empire requires. His slaughter was untimely and a grievous event which sparked a war within Rome; an event that, ironically, the conspirators had worked so hard to prevent. Caesar would have been an excellent leader of Rome because he not only refrained from making impetuous and misguided decisions about the other characters, but he displayed selfless loyalty to the citizens of Rome and to those he loved. It is striking and shocking to think what may have happened to the world as we know it if Julius Caesar had lived, lead, and loved.