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Monday, November 13 2017
The Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar
"I came, I saw, I conquered"
In 49 B.C., the Roman general Julius Caesar "crossed the Rubicon," a small river in northeastern Italy that separated Cisalpine Gaul from Italy. Caesar's crossing violated a law of the Roman Senate (the Lex Cornelia Majestatis) that stated that a military commander was not permitted to lead a military force out of the province in which it has been assigned - a law that was intended to prevent imperialism or civil war by "ambitious" men. The rebellious and criminal act triggered a 3-year civil war that ended with Julius Caesar becoming the President of the Roman Republic as it was metastasizing into the Roman empire.
The ancient Roman republic is generally regarded to have begun around 500 BC, replacing the monarchy that existed by the conquering founders. The government was superficially democratic, term-limited, and based upon a principle that no individual or area of government could rule absolutely (a term that some have come to call "checks and balances").
Many of the Roman institutions and architecture from the time of Julius Caesar are found in national capitals today - in a deliberate effort to copy them. One of them from Julius Caesar is the U.S. "Statue of Liberty." While most are aware that it was a gift from the Roman-Catholic people and government of France, very few are aware that the Statue of Liberty was a deliberate, as stated by its builders, reproduction of the ancient Roman goddess Libertas, idol-worshipping Rome's "goddess of freedom." A 2,000 year-old Roman coin from 42 BC, when Julius Caesar ruled the Roman republic, is shown below - including the idol's name, the Latin Libertas, in English meaning "Lady Liberty" right on the coin. As stated by its builders, the face and the crown are identical to the Statue of Liberty.
Various offices of government were established by and for the Roman republic.
It was Julius Caesar's role of "dictator" that resulted in his assassination in 44 BC. The murder took place in the Roman Senate, by Roman senators, led by Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius, who resented that Caesar had taken their "democratic" authority from them - in effect, making himself a king.
The irony of Caesar's assassination, in supposed defense of the republic, was that it marked the end of the Roman republic and the establishment (or re-establishment if one goes back to 500 BC) of a Roman monarchy - Roman kings who, as the military power of Rome grew, became emperors. "Imperialism" is from the Latin word which means empire-ism.
Fact Finder: How did the famous Cleopatra involve herself with Julius Caesar?
This Day In History, November 13
1002: English king Ethelred II launched a purge of Danish settlers, known today as the St. Brice's Day massacre.
1093: Malcolm III of Scotland, son of King Duncan, died during his fifth attempt to invade England.
1160: King Louis VII of France married Adele of Champagne.
1460: Portuguese explorer Henry the Navigator died at age 66.
1474: During the Swiss-Burgundian Wars, Swiss forces defeated the army of Charles the Bold at Hericourt.
1642: The Battle of Turnham Green during First English Civil War. Royalist forces withdraw from the Parliamentarian army.
1715: The Battle of Sheriffmuir in Scotland.
1833: One of the greatest Leonid meteor storms dazzled people in eastern North America from midnight to dawn.
1835: Texas officially proclaimed independence from Mexico, and called itself the Lone Star Republic, until its admission to the U.S. Union 10 years later, in 1845 (before quitting the Union too at the time of the U.S. Civil War a few years later). A vast area of the U.S. today used to be Mexico (see also The Mexican Border Wall).
1843: Mount Rainier in Washington State erupted.
1851: A telegraph link was established between London and Paris.
1907: The first helicopter to achieve free flight carrying a man. Designed by French engineer Paul Cornu, it flew at Lisieux, France.
Another French engineer, Clement Ader, was the first to fly fixed-wing aircraft. Ader flew his aircraft long before the Wright brothers (they did not make their propagandized flight at Kitty Hawk until 1903, 13 years after Ader; see Who Was The First To Fly?). The Wright brothers were the first to fly in the U.S. - they were not the first to fly in the world. The word "aviation" itself originated from the name of Ader's aircraft, the Avion.
1942: During the Second World War (1939-1945), the British aircraft carrier Ark Royal was hit by a German torpedo off Gibraltar and sank the following day. The Ark Royal was one of many aircraft carriers sunk during the war i.e. Japan lost over 20 aircraft carriers (including those that were involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941), while the U.S. lost over 12 (including the Hornet, Langley, Lexington, Princeton, Wasp and Yorktown).
1945: Charles de Gaulle became the President of the French provisional government at the end of the Second World War.
1970: Hafez al-Assad seized power in Syria in a bloodless military coup.
1970: The Bhola cyclone (tropical cyclones are known in some parts of the world as a "cyclone" and a "hurricane" in other parts of the world; see The Origin Of Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoonss) struck the highly-populated Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing an estimated 500,000 people in one night. The Bhola cyclone is regarded as the 20th century's worst natural disaster.
1985: In Colombia, the Neva del Ruiz volcano erupted; an estimated 25,000 people died.
1994: Swedes voted by 52.2 percent in a referendum to join the European Union.
1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton agreed to pay Paula Jones $850,000.00 to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit against him. A New York businessman had earlier paid the woman another $1,000,000.00
1998: Michel Trudeau, 23, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, drowned during a ski trip in British Columbia after being swept into a lake by an avalanche. The body was never recovered.
2001: During the "War on Terrorism," U.S. President George W. Bush signed an executive order allowing secret military tribunals, "enhanced interrogation techniques" (e.g. water boarding) and life imprisonment without charge or trial of "all them foreigners that's out to get us." Many historians and political/military analysts believe that the policy actually created vastly more "terrorists" and enemies than would have otherwise existed if the long-established laws of war had been maintained. The policy also set a new unintended standard for how U.S. prisoners of war may be treated.