Julius Caesar's second listed heir would be Brutus his murderer

Julius Caesar’s second listed heir would be Brutus his murderer

Did you know that according to Julius Caesar’s will, if Octavian had died or refused his inheritance, his second listed heir would be Brutus, the man who murdered him.

 

How after the murder of Julius Caesar (15th of March, 44 B.C.) Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), his friend, and, in virtue of the consulship, chief magistrate, roused the Roman multitude against the assassins by his famous funeral oration is known mainly through the incomparable version given by Shakespeare [Julius Caesar: Act II, Scene 2]. The account by Appian differs in some particulars from its great imitation. For this reason, as well as for its inherent historic value, the narrative of Appian possesses high interest. It is, of course, far less dramatic, but it is more nearly history.

 

Caesar’s will was now produced and the people ordered that it be read at once. In it, Octavian, his sister’s grand-son, was adopted by Caesar. His gardens were given to the people as a place of recreation, and to every Roman living in the city, he gave 75 Attic drachmas [Arkenberg: about $186 in 1998 dollars]. The people too were stirred to anger when they saw the will of this lover of his country, whom they had before heard accused of tyranny. Most of all did it seem pitiful to them that Decimus Brutus, one of the murderers, should have been named by him for adoption in the second degree; for it was usual for the Romans to name alternate heirs in case of the failure of the first.

 

When Piso brought Caesar’s body into the Forum a countless multitude ran together with arms to guard it, and with acclamations and magnificent display placed it on the rostra. Wailing and lamentation were renewed for a long time; the armed men clashed their shields. Antony, seeing how things were going, did not abandon his purpose, but having been chosen to deliver the funeral oration, as a consul for a consul, as a friend for a friend, a relative for a relative (he was kin to Caesar on the mother’s side), resumed his artful design, and spoke thus: “It is not fitting, fellow citizens, that the funeral oration of so great a man should be pronounced by me alone, but rather by his whole country. The decrees which all of us, in equal admiration for his merit, voted to him while he was alive—Senate and People acting together—I will read, so that I may voice your sentiments rather than merely mine.”

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