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Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Ides of March!

Ol’ Robbo was thinking earlier that Julius Caesar had one thing going for him: At least he wasn’t having to deal with the first Monday after Daylight Savings Time.

More kawfee…..

UPDATE: By the bye, I can’t recall where, but I’ve read one version of the story in which, when the assassins came for Caesar, being the experienced combat veteran that he was he picked up a tripod or a stool and started defending himself vigorously. It was only when he recognized Brutus and realized how deep the revolt had gone that he lowered his defenses and let himself be struck down. I rather like this idea.

UPDATE DEUX: Our Maximum Leader suggests that Plutarch might be the source of this story, so I went and looked it up. Sure enough, Plutarch reports:

“So it began, and those who were not in the conspiracy were so horror-struck and amazed at what was being done that they were afraid to run away and afraid to come to Caesar’s help; they were too afraid even to utter a word. But those who had come prepared for the murder all bared their daggers and hemmed Caesar in on every side. Whichever way he turned he met the blows of daggers and saw the cold steel aimed at his face and at his eyes. So he was driven this way and that…[snip]…Some say that Caesar fought back against all the rest, darting this way and that to avoid the blows and crying out for help, but when he saw that Brutus had drawn his dagger, he covered his head with his toga and sank to the ground.”

I also checked up on my Suetonius. He gives a slightly different account upon which our Dear Leader also touches:

“As soon as Caesar took his seat the conspirators crowded around him as if to pay their respects. Tillius Cimber, who had taken the lead, came up close, pretending to ask a question. Caesar made a gesture of postponement, but Cimber caught hold of his shoulders. ‘This is violence!’ Caesar cried, and at that moment, as he turned away, one of the Casca brothers with a sweep of his dagger stabbed him just below the throat. Caesar grasped Casca’s arm and ran it through with his stylus; he was leaping away when another dagger blow stopped him. Confronted by a ring of drawn daggers, he drew the top of his gown over his face….[snip]…Twenty-three dagger thrusts went home as he stood there. Caesar did not utter a sound after Casca’s blow had drawn a groan from him; though some say that when he saw Marcus Brutus about to deliver the second blow, he reproached him in Greek with: “You, too, my child?”

So there you have it. Except I haven’t dipped into either Plutarch or Suetonius for some time and am pretty sure I read the story somewhere in a more recent piece of fiction. Wracking my braims, the best I can come up with is that Stephen Maturin might make mention of it in one of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels. But it might have been somewhere else, too. Another possibility is Evelyn Waugh’s Helena. Ol’ Robbo went through all of Waugh’s works within the past month or two, whereas it’s been close to a year since I last read O’Brian, and the story seems fresh in my mind.


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