PROFILES IN HISTORY
Cover: Et Tu, Brute?: A Short History of Political Murder, from Harvard University PressCover: Et Tu, Brute? in HARDCOVER

Et Tu, Brute?

A Short History of Political Murder

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$19.95 • £15.95 • €18.00

ISBN 9780674026841

Publication Date: 10/15/2007

Short

224 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

24 halftones

Profiles in History

North America only

Why did Caesar have to die—and why did his death solve nothing? The plot was confused, the execution bungled, and within hours different versions of the event were circulating. It was the end of republican Rome and the beginning of the Roman Empire—and yet everything about it remains somewhat mysterious.

Beginning with this legendary political assassination, immortalized in art and literature through the ages, Greg Woolf delivers a remarkable meditation on Caesar’s murder as it echoes down the corridors of history, affecting notions and acts of political violence to our day.

Assassins Brutus and Cassius dined with their fiercest enemies within days of the murder—and were then hunted down and killed. After the murder neither conspirators nor Caesar’s partisans knew how to react. From these beginnings this book follows the normalization of assassination at Rome, cataloguing the murder of Caesar after Caesar and recording the means, methods, and motives of the perpetrators. How was the Roman Empire so untouched by these events? And how had the Republic contained such violence between friends for so long? Woolf shows how Caesar’s death—and the puzzled reactions to it—points back to older ethics of tyrannicide.

When is it justified to kill a head of state? Does extra-judicial execution provide answers worth the cost of the ensuing chaos? Ranging among texts by Cicero, Suetonius, and Seneca, plays by Shakespeare and Corneille, and the ideas of Michel Foucault and Francis Fukuyama, Woolf pursues these questions through the ages. His book tells us not only how, but why, Caesar’s Vast Ghost still holds us spellbound.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: Our Universe: An Astronomer’s Guide, by Jo Dunkley, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Jo Dunkley, author of Our Universe: An Astronomer’s Guide

Jo Dunkley combines her expertise as an astrophysicist with her talents as a teacher and writer in Our Universe: An Astronomer’s Guide, a lively and exceptionally clear introduction to the structure and history of the universe and its enduring mysteries. We spoke with her about the book and her seemingly limitless topic.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.