Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Barry Strauss

Barry Strauss's books include The Death of Caesar: The Story of History's Most Famous Assassination.

From the transcript of his interview with Fareed Zakaria:

ZAKARIA: What was Caesar like as a person, from what you can tell?

STRAUSS: As a person, he was absolutely fascinating and absolutely maddening. He was brilliant. He was a genius. He was smarter than just about anyone else and more talented than anyone else. The trouble is he knew it. He's a rare person in history who's a great general and a great politician and also a great author. We don't see that very often.

ZAKARIA: The Shakespearean version is that Caesar is betrayed and assassinated by a group of people eventually led by his closest friend, the man he considers his son, Brutus. And there is that famous line in Shakespeare, "Et tu Brute" -- you know, "You, too, Brutus? Then fall Caesar."


ZAKARIA: Is any of this true?


STRAUSS: It's true that Caesar was betrayed by his friends. In fact, the majority of the conspirators were his friends and not his enemies. It's also true that Brutus was one of the chief conspirators. It's not true that he was Caesar's greatest friend. In fact, he had fought against Caesar originally in the civil war and Caesar then makes peace with him and brings him over to his side. He had a very strange relationship with Caesar because Brutus's mother was Caesar's ex- mistress, Servilia.

ZAKARIA: Why does it succeed, simply?

STRAUSS: It succeeds in part because...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue