Republic vs. Monarchy
Rome had been stridently anti-monarchy since 509 BC, when Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was overthrown, and he took great pride in his freedom.
To be accused of coveting a throne was a heinous affront. Opponents worried that Caesar wanted to restore the monarchy, with himself in control.
Although he had publicly refused a symbolic gold crown offered to him at the Lupercalia pastoral festival by his cousin and close ally Mark Antony, his behavior seemed to corroborate this thought.
He had installed his friends in positions of power, placed their statues in temples, and reacted furiously when a diadem placed on one of them was removed..
He also wore the high red boots of Italian kings and used to wear a triumphal dress, which symbolized martial victory.
Even his habit of granting clemency to his opponents could be seen as a reflection of sovereign thought: to show mercy, one had to be in a position to have power over another person, one had to be a king.
Such was the situation in 44 BC After his impressive victories at the battles of Pharsalia, Thaso and Munda, between 48 and 45 BC, Caesar had acted in a way that was unprecedented among the victors of civil wars: he let the losers live, because he hoped to unite his power with his.
It was in this way that Stupidwho had fought Caesar under Pompey, and Cassiuswho had commanded Pompey’s fleet against Caesar at Pharsalia, were forgiven instead of being executed.
Caesar appointed both men to the office of praetor in 44 BC, a benevolence that angered many. They saw the dictator’s clemency as humiliating and arbitrarygoing against the principles of the law: the imprint of a tyrant.
why kill caesar
Once Caesar became dictator for life (magistracy that put the highest civil and military powers in their hands), the political career of every Roman fell to him.
It was a bitter affront to the Optimates who had been spared by Caesar, but now found themselves dependent on his whims.
These officials decided to deal the final blow against his power. All the murderers on the Ides of March belonged to Caesar’s inner circleenemies he had forgiven and friends he had promoted.
What united these “liberators” was the fear that the concentration of absolute power in one man would threaten the democratic institutions of the republic.