What is the point of Caesar turning away the coronet three times in the first act? He did so reluctantly and begged forgiveness when the crowd feigned upset, but Antony was the one who offered it to him? Did he offer the crown in stead for the Roman people? Or was this a publicity plot by Caesar? Thoughts?
Caesar had long wielded the long sword, just as Antony had wielded the short sword.
This is true even rhetorically speaking, when Antony comes out to speak to the Romans after Caesar had been slain, the curtness of his speech is meant to send alarm bells ringing, although it doesn't manage to do this among the crowd, the canaille. They lap it up willingly, because the points are made succinctly. The true intention and ambition of Antony is hid from them.
Previously, when Caesar had been offered the crown, he was choosing to downplay his role with an equally pointed gesture.
I always assumed that the standard interpretation was that he was trying to get people to see him as unambitious and benevolent but that he would eventually accept. But he overdid it and it somewhat backfired on him.
The standard historical interpretation of this (real) event is that he was gauging the crowd. Antony was offering it to him as a servitor of the Republic and a supposedly representing the people and government. If Antony gave the crown, and it was boo'ed to shit, Caesar could claim it was Antony's brashness and love of him that blinded his judgment.
The three reactions of the crowd, as it held its breath to see what he would do, keeping in mind that regicide was a virtue in Rome and "king" or "kingly" was a political insult, are very tense moments as Caesar decides how to play his hand. He wanted them to beg him to take it. Instead they fell completely silent and waited to see what he would do. He didn't take it, but he wanted it.
Antony bringing it up later is acting as if Caesar had never intended to take it. "You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, and thrice did he refuse." He's kind of lamely and cynically (to the reader) saying that Caesar was a popularis, a man of the people, but the crowd eats it up.
It was propaganda by Caesar, but moreso he was hoping they'd cheer him to take it. Bringing it up was definitely propaganda by Antony to turn the rabble against Brutus, who had just turned them against Caesar just as easily.
Augustus' grace (depending on your perspective, since maybe people were just sick of civil wars), and one which Antony lacked as much as Caesar given all his oriental god-despot roleplaying, is that he knew how to brand himself as a primus inter pares, "first among equals." Caesar had wanted a crown, but Augustus knew how to get the power of one without taking the bad PR. Of course that also bequeathed the succession problem to Rome for 400 years, so there you go.
The senators hated caesar beforehand, didn't they? Even if he had been offered it only once and he refused they would still have looked at him with contempt.
It was the people's reaction to his refusal that might have truly done him in-every time he turns down the laurels the crowd reacts in a greater and greater uproar, and when the senators see that the mob, the people of Rome, want Caesar as emperor, He could turn it down 100 times, and they would still offer it to him once more., and at this the senate might have gotten worried.
Yeah, that's along the lines of what I was thinking. I think it's also worth noting that Casca also said that it wasn't a even a crown but, from my understanding, some sort of laurel cornet. I'm sure he was a little pissed at that, too.
I THINK coronets were actually "crowns" to them and big fancy European crowns came later. I think. When they talked about fancy royal headgear they meant diadems and shit.
I know what coronas and diadems are because of Diablo 2. Would you like to buy a shako?
Someone's been reading too much McCullough. Cicero was very much a man in the arena - without him, Rome would have fallen to Catiline and his supporters if it weren't for Cicero. And he returned from his exile to denounce Anthony when Rome needed him to. And even besides his political contributions, his contributions to spreading philosophy to the Romans and to the Latin language are unsurpassed.
This is an interesting perspective. We might say that the Roman political fate had been decided by the Slave Wars and through Sulla...
I think Cicero had a lock on his business, and he's worth reading, but Catiline was championing ideas which in many respects had turned to dust at that point.
It's like asking yourself if we're more likely to abandon our republic for the sake of a Trump or a Sanders. The threat posed by a Sanders seems pretty mild. Wouldn't you expect to find militant industrialists wearing the crown? Especially with ongoing wars in the east?
>This is an interesting perspective. We might say that the Roman political fate had been decided by the Slave Wars and through Sulla...
>I think Cicero had a lock on his business, and he's worth reading, but Catiline was championing ideas which in many respects had turned to dust at that point.
To an extent I agree that Catiline was, to an extent, a man out of his time. But he did have real support, and I believe he presented a very real, and very immediate, threat to the republican system of government that was in place in Rome at the time.
Of course, Cicero was able to put Catiline down, but was unable to do the same to Caesar, and was done in by the forming of the Triumvirate before he would have had an opportunity to attempt to do the same to Augustus.
>It's like asking yourself if we're more likely to abandon our republic for the sake of a Trump or a Sanders. The threat posed by a Sanders seems pretty mild. Wouldn't you expect to find militant industrialists wearing the crown? Especially with ongoing wars in the east?
I don't know that either threat is more likely or (not) mild than the other. Bernie ultimately represents a rather Rousseauian idea of the 'popular will' (however that's defined) being able to enforce some kind of progress on everyone. Trump is closer to a pure autocrat, or perhaps an oligarch who cloaks himself in the wrappings of populism. Both represent a turn away from the classical liberalism that was such a huge part of the USA's makeup up through the 1960s or so, though I admit that it's not a *new* turn.
>not understanding the historical significance of such a frequently cited moment
This is what happens when you fail to read nonfiction, i.e., start with the Greeks.
>not understanding Rome's hatred of the monarchy since the formation of the republic in 509BC
>not understanding Rome's tumultuous political scene in the 1st century BC
>not understanding Caesar's wariness to associate himself with the image of Sulla, Rome's first true dictator for life
Read Livy and Polybius and Appian and then you can try reading Shakespeare again.
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