"For Brutus is an honourable man"

"... they began to consider of Caesar's will, and the ordering of his funeral. Antony desired that the will might be read, and that the body should not have a private or dishonourable interment, lest that should further exasperate the people. This Cassius violently opposed, but Brutus yielded to it, and gave leave; in which he seems to have a second time committed a fault. For as before in sparing the life of Antony he could not be without some blame from his party, as thereby setting up against the conspiracy a dangerous and difficult enemy, so now, in suffering him to have the ordering of the funeral, he fell into a total and irrevocable error." (Plutarch, "Marcus Brutus", translated by John Dryden)

20 March 44 BCE: Today, 2057 years ago and five days after the murder of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, the funeral rites for the dictator began and Marc Antony gave his famous speech that Shakespeare immortalised as one of the most gripping orations in history.

Marlon Brando as marc Antony in MGM's film adaption of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" from 1953, giving the famous speech from Act III Scene II

Marc Antony had brought the Plebs of Rome already to his side when the crowd gathered on the forum around a miniature replica of Venus Genetrix' (allegedly Caesar's ancestor) temple wherein the dictator's bloodied toga had been laid out. As Plutarch records, Marc Antony first read Caesar's will and let the crowd know about the 75 Drachma to be paid to every man jack and his gardens to be left to the people, than, as Caesar's body was carried to the forum, Caesar's old general who turned master orator held up the blood-stained garment and pointed out "the many places in which it had been pierced and Caesar wounded"- the gathered crowd went riot.

The crowd seized the body, plundered the surrounding shops and staked their self-made funeral pyre on the forum from the debris. Then, half-burned brands were grabbed and the plebs marched to burn the homes of the conspirators. The Wars of the Second Triumvirate had begun.

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