The death of Caesar by Barry Strauss
The assassination of Julius Caesar was one of those events that altered the course of history, though in reality the conspirators stabbed the dictator to death in a desperate attempt to keep history sailing in the same direction, their actions created a reaction that utterly changed their world.
The lead up, sequence and consequence of these events are carefully examined in this book by Barry Strauss. The format and tone of the work is as enjoyable and entertaining as a Christie murder mystery and a game of Cluedo (If only they’d produce Cluedo Death of Caesar!). However in the sense that you know “Who what where” it’s sort of viewed like a post-mortem, nevertheless not everyone knows “When, why, how” not least what happened after and how it affected the course of history. You get all the characters, the setting, motives, their past’s etc all revolving around the colossus that was Caesar on whom everyone’s ambition one way or another is focused on. Then we go into the actual murder.
The entertaining style is apt for the subject, and it presents the famous episode in an attractive and clear way, which is often hard when dealing with subjects like this. As in most ancient history, some conjecture is to be found, this is unavoidable when dealing with subjects thousands of years old and Strauss brings some thought provoking and interesting theories into many of the gaps left by contemporary chroniclers.
This is a good book for people who either know that Caesar was murdered but don’t know anything else, or perhaps read about the assassination but wanted more detail. It’s not a biography of Caesar or the plotters, it’s the story of a murder that changed history, but not in the way it was intended.