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The Feast of the Lupercalia

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The Feast of the Lupercalia

History is composed of an array of dates attached to descriptions and stories recorded over time from various sources. The truth only lies in fact, but in some cases there is no fact to work with. In which case we can only question and develop theories of what actually happened, what motivated movements, and why things worked out the way they did. In search of the truth we can only use logic to piece together these puzzles to create the most edcuated conclusions we can.

In regard to Plutarch's excerpt on the Feast of Lupercalia during Caesar's rule, we can only make assumptions on what actually did occur by reviewing the text thoroughly and piecing together what makes the most sense as a whole.

"He was carrying a diadem with a wreath of laurel tied round it, and he held this out to Caesar. His action was followed by some applause, but it was not much and it was not spontaneous. But when Caesar pushed the diadem away from him, there was a general shout of applause. Antony then offered him the diadem for the second time, and again only a few applauded, though, when Caesar again rejected it, there was applause from everyone."

Under the assumption that Caesar did not plan out this elaborate play to unveil how the public would react to the idea him being crowned king, I question the legitimacy of the act of Mark Antony, a supporter of Caesar, putting Caesar in the position which could have possibly caused a commotion amongst the general public if he had chosen to wear diadem with a wreath of laurel tied round it. Someone of high standing who did not favor the power that Caesar had would be more likely to put Caesar in such a position, perhaps motivated by concept of giving the public an opportunity to question Caesar's dictatorship. However, if this were indeed a planned out event that Caesar conjured in order to test the Romans, then the likelihood of Antony being the one to present the diadem is much more probable, making this aspect of the story believable. In addition, the setting of such a festival would present ideal conditions for preforming such a test, which leads us to favor the latter of the two assumptions.

Although, we are forced to question our faith in this one assumption when Plutarch states the following:

"It was then discovered that his statues had been decorated with royal diadems, and two of the tribunes, Flavius and Marullus, went round the statues and tore down the decorations. They then found out who had been the first to salute Caesar as king, and led them off to prison. The people followed the tribunes and were loud in their applause, calling them Brutuses. This made Caesar angry. He deprived Marullus and Flavius of their tribuneship and in speaking against them he insulted the people at the same time."

If Caesar intended to test the crowd's reaction, I don't believe he would act so irrationally in reaction to the actions of Marullus and Flavius, especially if he knew the general public would have such a negative reaction. Judging from the applause received when Caesar refused the diadem, the crowd in



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