Those of you who know a bit about history know the “Ides of March” (March 15th) is the day Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was killed by members of the senate.
Caesar came to power in a whirlwind during the Roman Civil War, which was a war between the conservative order, the Optimates or Boni, and the Populares, or the common people.
From the moment Caesar took power, the Roman Republic was dead and in its place a dictatorship.
For years the Senate was corrupt and had ignored the needs of the people, many of whom were living in squalor. Many farmers had their land stolen by the Senate and felt the Roman system was giving them a raw deal.
So along comes Caesar who promises he is the only one who can fix this, because he knows the system. He promises he will root out the barbarians, and restore order. He promises that the true Romans will be heard.
Of course minutes after taking power, he turns out to be worse than the Senate he defeated. After this, he is followed by a number of supreme dictators, viewed as god-men by the Roman people, and dissent is all but dead.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it should. Many parallels can be made to our current President: elected in a whirlwind of false populism, promising only he knows the system and can restore order.
Of course the Senate made a last attempt to regain power, killing Caesar in a hail of stabbings. It is believed this is where the expression “Sic Semper Tyrannis (death always to tyrants)” came from.
But the damage had been done, and shortly after the conspirators were killed and Caesar Augustus took power and ruled the people like slaves.
Karl Marx said of Napoleon “History repeats, first as tragedy then as farce.”
Truer statements have never been said.