Today in History... The first Roman Emperor is assassinated


2015-06-26 11:55:10


Today in History... The first Roman Emperor is assassinated

March 15, 44 BC: 'Beware the Ides of March' - Julius Caesar is stabbed to death in the Senate

Gaius Julius Caesar was a gifted military leader and political figure who consolidated power against the usual restrictions of the Roman Senate.

Having essentially bypassed the Senate's rule by forming a Triumvirate with Crassus and the famous general Pompey, Caesar went on to gain immense military power in the course of his conquest of Gaul (France) and Britain. He returned from these exploits to defeat ex-ally Pompey.

The moment when Caesar 'crossed the Rubicon', bringing his troops illegally into Rome to serve this purpose changed the course of history as it led to the creation of the role of Emperor - notionally first amongst equals in the Senate by in reality much more.

Caesar was assassinated by Senators in 44 BC, just five years later. He had been warned to beware the Ides of March, the day of a festival to celebrate the god of war Mars (after whom March is named). The Roman's used 'Ides' to refer to the fifteenth day of various months.

Just two years later he was sanctified by the Senate, as his adopted son Octavius - better known as Augustus - took power, and became the first official Roman Emperor.

Needless to say, some fantastic collectibles were created around the time of Caesar, and as a result of the establishing of the role of a Roman Emperor.

Roman Cameo Vase BonhamsBonhams' Roman Cameo Vase

For example, a few months back, Bonhams announced the discovery of a Roman vase, quite possibly created during Caesar's lifetime, which shows spectacular cameos. It was by placing a layer of white glass onto cobalt blue glass and cutting back the top layer to produce images in relief.

Contemporary busts of Roman Emperors and their kin are naturally very valuable. A statue of cruel Emperor Caligula's brother brought $722,500 at Christie's, whilst enormous excitement was provoked when a section of a rare bust of Nero (aged 14) showed up in Sussex, UK.

Nero was the last Emperor with a link to Julius Caesar's dynasty.

Of course the most obvious relics of the Roman Emperors are the coins bearing their faces. By no means are all rare, but there are some very unusual examples which could interest a collector or investor.

Image: Bonhams

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