The lesson of Julius Caesar as learned by Octavian
Octavian was the great nephew and adopted son of Caesar. Essentially Octavian was able to rise to power at the bequest granted to him by Julius Caesar. The main learning point from Julius Caesar for Octavian was his death after the development of a conspiracy to have him murdered. This was with an aim of halting his ascent to the throne to become king. The main conspirators lay among Caesar’s confidants who were namely Cassius and Brutus. Caesar’s death was marked by the presence of numerous warnings of a possible conspiracy that sought to have him murdered to stop his ascent to the throne. Julius Caesar was murdered because of a power struggle that was in existence in Rome, given the privileges associated with assuming the throne as king of the Roman Empire. Some were driven by the fear that the increasing power of Julius Caesar would pose a threat to their existence and political as well as economic interests.
It is evident that Julius Caesar was a man driven by pride in order to assume power vested in the crown as a king. He sought to gain this power without the thought of the possibility of opposition, even after the constant remainders and warnings from people around him of the imminent conspiracy to kill him to deter him from assuming the position as king. Individuals such as Cassius and Brutus are also driven by their greed and hunger for power as well as the need to preserve their individual pride associated with their noble positions in the society (Langguth 31).
Octavian drew numerous lessons from the presence of Julius Caesar in his respective position of power. This was paramount as it enabled him to make claim to the throne as the rightful heir, thereby defeating the conspirators who had managed to kill his father Julius Caesar. A predominant lesson learnt from the leadership of Julius Caesar was the presence of an insatiable hunger for power exhibited by various individuals such as Caesar, Brutus and Cassius. They are all driven by the need to ensure that they make relevant claim to the throne and assume such positions to ensure that they are able to fulfill their individual agendas (Langguth 37).
Several issues were expressly evident from the life Julius Caesar as well as the lessons about society. Such include the presence of a strong mob mentality, respect among people irrespective of their societal statures, wealth, and power that is expressly a principal driver of discord among people in the society. Octavian was able to learn about the presence of strong mob mentality and the possible effect of such pressure son an individual. Brutus was driven by the presence of influence from Cassius. This was despite Brutus’ inward reluctance of accepting such an offer to form a conspiracy against Julius Caesar who was supposedly looking forward to assuming the throne.
Power and wealth are expressly two elements, which are intertwined in that they rely on each other for relevance. Power is exclusively associable with wealth in that a respectable position of power enables individuals to use the provided position for self-gains to amass wealth at the expense of the community or society. Individuals usually behave differently when they are in the presence of mobs. Cassius could be described as conniving in his ability to sway individuals such as Brutus who was among the loyal confidants of Julius Caesar towards betrayal of the leader with the aim of providing an avenue for Cassius to assume the throne for his individual gain (Anderson 26).
Brutus was easily manipulated by Cassius with an aim of actualizing the goals and intentions of Cassius together with other conspirators. This was to ensure that Julius Caesar was not crowned as the king of the Roman Empire because of the power vested in the position in Rome. The mob effect is negative in that it leads to the death of Cinna, a poet, despite the lack of any wrongdoing by the poet. Hence, the mob was driven by a mere hunger for vengeance given the presence of social evils that were propagated against the community. Hence, Octavian learns of the dire need of respecting the will of the citizens by ensuring that they access adequate social amenities and services.
Honor is essential for Octavian in that he seeks to restore the honor which belonged to Julius Caesar and the position he held in the empire. This is indicated by Brutus committing suicide in the realization that he played a significant role in the murder of an important figure in the Roman society. The guilt of conspiring to murder Julius Caesar weighs heavily on his conscience, necessitating him to commit suicide with an aim of ensuring that he is rid off the guilt, thereby dying as a noble man with respect and honor (Freeman 31).
Octavian is also able to learn of the consequences and responsibilities associated with immense power and wealth similar to such vested in his father Julius Caesar. Caesar seemingly put a relatively high amount of trust in the senate, which was responsible for a conspiracy with the aim of ensuring that he was to meet his demise and subsequently lose his chance of assuming the throne as the king. The high level of power and the quest for the same was the main cause for the demise of Julius Caesar. This is an indication that any high level of power that Octavian sought to assume would be met by high levels of resistance such as betrayal and conspiracies. Octavian assumed the throne as the rightful son of Julius Caesar (Freeman 36).
Power is essentially the motivator for the conspirators to kill Julius Caesar. They were not driven by the presence of evil necessitating them to kill Julius Caesar, but were instead threatened by the increased level of power, wealth and influence to which Julius Caesar has amassed in the public domain. Hence, this brings about the conclusion that power and wealth are two elements, which are inherently evil and associable with the evils in the society. Octavian is also able to understand that a lower level of power usually leads to a subsequent hunger for higher power and authority, given that power requires more power to satisfy the needs of an individual growing in the hierarchal levels of power. The conspirators are also engaged in a power fight with Caesar in that they are seeking to ensure that they remain all powerful and retain their levels of security associated with their respective power levels (Anderson 33).
Additionally, an increase in the level of wealth and power automatically translates to an increase in the number of individuals seeking to halt the rise to power by an individual. This is evidenced by the large number of individuals who sought to halt Julius Caesar’s ascent to power to assume kingship. This is an express indication that an increased power level usually results in increased power struggles as people are driven by individual or collective needs in order to ensure that they accrue the gains from a collective or individual perspective (Freeman 41).
Anthony was also a significant figure in the life Julius Caesar as he was considered as a close associate of Julius Caesar. Anthony praised Brutus for his noble nature and joins Octavian to ensure that he regains his rightful opportunity to the throne. Anthony sparks off a revolt against the conspirators during the funeral of Julius Caesar by castigating the conspirators for the death of Caesar and indicating that he was merely a man who was right in his ways and was driven to ensure that the citizens could access their rights and social privileges (Anderson 39).
Conclusively, Octavian was able to understand of the inherent human nature toward weakness to earthly pleasures such as wealth and power, which were the main drivers of the intentions of conspirators who sought to make sure that they preserved and amassed power and wealth. In addition, he was able to tread with caution in his social relations given that he was unable to trust those around him as such close relations were the source of the power struggle as individuals
Anderson, M T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation: Taken from Accounts by His Own Hand and Other Sundry Sources. Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2008. Print.
Freeman, Philip. Julius Caesar. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. Print.
Langguth, A J. A Noise of War: Caesar, Pompey, Octavian, and the Struggle for Rome. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.