The organizers of the great conspiracy against the dictator [Caesar], republican fanatics and disgruntled nobles, excluded Cicero as too old and timid. But he welcomed the fatal Ides of March and hailed the assassins as liberators. Later he was to lament that the “deed was done with the courage of men but the blind policy of a child.” — that though Rome was rid of the tyrant, the tyranny remained.
Or that the tyranny had always been there. Rome, from its inception as monarchy and into its hallowed republic, had always situated itself in the lot of Mediterranean oligarchies. Those first old men (senex, ‘old’) advisers to the kings, would keep their hold on their elite societal position and would cut down anyone who smacked of populism, especially if this populism came from within their own, say the Brothers Gracchus and Caius Julius Caesar. Cicero, though he was a new man, novus homo, his policy still bestrode the colossus that was ancient oligarchy and elitism.
This post is a part of the Cicero series, reading This Was Cicero, by H.J. Haskell.