By meshorer ya'akov
Exam of the cash of old Israel from forty B.C.E. via four B.C.E.
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Extra resources for Ancient Jewish Coinage Vol. 2: Herod the Great through Bar Cochba
Senators gave the most, so everyone agreed. Consequently, they got the most. Hence they could describe themselves as boni, good men, or optimates, really good men. Still, it was obligatory for them to give the people their due. The rights of the people and the sovereignty of the assemblies were essential, if frequently contested, principles, and no aristocrat could neglect them. There was even a responsibility to observe these rights and to go so far as to attend to the necessities of the ordinary populace.
Caesar was too much in Crassus’s debt not to have a certain hold over the man. Their relationship, born of opportunism, was a lasting one, and their alliance remained a constant of republican politics until Crassus’ death in 53 bc. Having alienated the traditionalists in the senate who found his election as pontifex maximus hard to stomach, Caesar wanted to establish strong political connections with powerful but less hostile figures. In addition to Crassus, he cultivated the absent but overshadowing Pompey the Great.
This was plainly not, however, the view of men whose sensibilities were less assured or more prone to jealousy – like the spirits of Marcus Porcius Cato or Cassius Longinus – to whom Caesar could only appear sardonic, contemptuous – and gloating. Which in turn left them feeling despised and despicable. Which is why they hated him, struggled against him and, ultimately, knifed him to death. The face itself will not give us the means to judge between these competing perceptions. Indeed, the ambiguity of this Caesar’s visage, like the controversies attending his reputation, is provoking, and it remains sufficiently perplexing to induce a good deal of squirming in the soul of any modern student of the late Roman republic and the age of Caesar.