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March 15, 2011

The Ides: Death of an Alpha Male.

First, when the pirates demanded a ransom of twenty talents, Caesar burst out laughing. They did not know, he said, who it was that they had captured, and he volunteered to pay fifty...

--Plutarch, on young Caesar

Today is the Ides of March, death date of Gaius Julius Caesar (July 13, 100 BC-March 15, 44 BC), general, politician, schemer, explorer, writer, alpha male, womanizer, patrician and, as we begin to observe St. Patrick's day, no friend of Gaelic peoples. Grandiose, flawed, and truly great, he made Rome an empire. Caesar conquered what is now France and Belgium--and got Rome more interested in taking on an assortment of Celtic tribes in Britain after his death.

An egomaniac, he was both charming vain dandy, and a skilled military leader, with a surprising compassionate streak. A century after his death, the Greek historian Plutarch wrote an enduring bio. Plutarch even mixed it up with armchair psychoanalysis, treating Caesar's life in "parallel" with that of Alexander the Great, another wildly self-assured fellow. The term Ides of March ("March 15") has nothing to do with our hero; "ides" means middle in the earliest Roman calendar, which some say was devised by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome.


20080925184151Julius_Caesar_Coustou.png
Nicolas Coustou, 1713, Louvre: You talking to me?

Posted by JD Hull at March 15, 2011 11:59 PM

Comments

JD

It could be argued that it is unlawful to be an alpha male in the United States: Title 18 ยง 960 makes ambition a crime.

Section 960, captioned, Expedition against friendly nation, reads:

Whoever, within the United States, knowingly begins or sets on foot or provides or prepares a means for or furnishes the money for, or takes part in, any military or naval expedition or enterprise to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominion of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States is at peace, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Posted by: Moe Levine at March 14, 2011 06:04 PM

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