• The Death of Caesar

  • The Story of History's Most Famous Assassination
  • By: Barry Strauss
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (203 ratings)

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The Death of Caesar

By: Barry Strauss
Narrated by: Robertson Dean
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Publisher's Summary

William Shakespeare's gripping play showed Caesar's assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. The real killing, however, was a carefully planned paramilitary operation, a generals' plot put together by Caesar's disaffected officers and designed with precision. Brutus and Cassius were indeed key players, but they had the help of a third man - Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar's entourage, one of Caesar's leading generals, and a lifelong friend. It was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar.

Caesar's assassins saw him as a military dictator who wanted to be king. He threatened a permanent change in the Roman way of life and in the power of senators. The assassins rallied support among the common people, but they underestimated Caesar's soldiers, who flooded Rome. The assassins were vanquished; their beloved Republic became the Roman Empire.

©2015 Barry Strauss (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Strauss takes us deep into the psyche of ancient history in an exciting, twisted tale that is sure to please." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about The Death of Caesar

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Absorbing

On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar fell to the knives of Brutus, Cassius and perhaps 21 other senators. Strauss’s book covers only a three year span of time. Starting the year before the ides of March to the battle of Philippi two years later, when Brutus, defeated by pro-Caesar forces, took his own life.

The author of this historical study tries to capture the tension of an unfolding crisis but also runs into strong headwinds when it comes to questions of character and motive.
The author points out that thanks to William Shakespeare, the death of Julius Caesar is the most famous assassination in history. Shakespeare shows Caesar’s assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. Strauss points out that the real killing was a carefully planned paramilitary operation; a general’s plot put together by Caesar’s disaffected officers and designed with precision.

The author tells of a key person, Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar’s entourage, one of Caesar’s leading generals and a lifelong friend. According to Strauss it was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar. Strauss sheds new light on this fascinating pivotal moment in Roman history.

The book is superbly researched and well written. The author paints clear portraits of all the main characters such as Mark Antony, Decimus, Brutus, and Octavian. The book raises as many questions as it tries to answer. Robertson Dean narrated the book.

6 people found this helpful

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Splendid account of a story I thought I already knew

I thought I knew all about Caesar's death, thanks to Shakespeare. How wrong I was!

2 people found this helpful

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Gasping for air

The narrator's mediocre vocal presence, often straining to complete his sentences on depleted air, makes not attempt to invest his listeners with the high dramatic values inherent in this history. Monotone drones on and on till, thank god, the drone is done. Pity.

2 people found this helpful

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One of the best books about Julius Caesar

It focus in the last months before Julius Caesar was assassinate. Describe each character who was involved in the plot. There is also opinions of possible outcomes based on research done by the author. Truly a gem.

1 person found this helpful

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Just . . . Great!

Great history lesson. If all history was so well written, history would be the most popular major in colleges across the land.

1 person found this helpful

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Another great one

I’ve read several Barry Strauss books. They never let me down. He makes the stories so compelling and interesting. This one is no exception. Details on the men who conspired to kill Caesar, their rational, their methods, and what happened after. Fantastic read.

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Farewell Caesar! Hail Strauss!

Great story telling with good discussion of wider historical context. Narrator was good too.

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A thorough description

An abundance of information requires full attention so as not to miss any parts. Read sentence by sentence, with little inflection... The pace is quick.... But still informative and interesting. Well worth a listen.

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Great retelling

A thorough and well presented depiction of the topic. Covers the events immediately preceding the assassination and the political fallout afterwards. The later details of the civil war are skimped on a bit bit still enough to give you an idea of what happened.

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Excellent History, Brilliantly Told

This is an excellent book with detailed history regarding Caesar’s assassination on the floor of the Senate House. Much discussion is dedicated to the motivations of the killers, many of whom rode with Caesar during his crossing of the Rubicon. In particular, the discussion of Decimus Brutus (not the infamous Marcus Brutus) who was, by all rational accounts, the worst traitor of all, betraying his friend for cold ambition rather than any high-minded ideas over the dying republic. He has become the forgotten assassin, which is odd considering his pivotal role in the plot.

The book is also a remarkably quick read considering the wealth of information within. It’s never overly verbose; rather, it is eloquently told. The discussion of Caesar’s funeral is especially interesting and must have been quite a thing to see. Politics today is truly boring by comparison.