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Cassius(kăsh`əs), ancient Roman family. There were a number of well-known members. Spurius Cassius Viscellinus, d. c.485 B.C., seems to have been consul several times. In 493 B.C. he negotiated a treaty establishing equal military assistance between Rome and the Latin cities. In 486 he proposed that land be distributed equally among the Roman and the Latin poor (see agrarian lawsagrarian laws,
in ancient Rome, the laws regulating the disposition of public lands (ager publicus).
It was the practice of Rome to confiscate part of the land of conquered cities and states, and this was made public land.
..... Click the link for more information. ). It is said that the patricians, outraged at the suggestion, accused Cassius of royal aspirations and had him executed. A descendant, Quintus Cassius Longinus, d. 45 B.C., won a reputation for greed and corruption when he was a quaestor in Spain (54 B.C.). He and AntonyAntony
or Marc Antony,
Lat. Marcus Antonius, c.83 B.C.–30 B.C., Roman politican and soldier. He was of a distinguished family; his mother was a relative of Julius Caesar.
..... Click the link for more information. , as tribunes in 49 B.C., vetoed the attempts of the senate to deprive Julius CaesarCaesar, Julius
(Caius Julius Caesar), 100? B.C.–44 B.C., Roman statesman and general. Rise to Power
Although he was born into the Julian gens, one of the oldest patrician families in Rome, Caesar was always a member of the democratic or popular party.
..... Click the link for more information. of his army. When the senate overrode the tribunes on Jan. 7, 49 B.C., Cassius and Antony fled to Caesar, who crossed the Rubicon and began the civil war. After Caesar's triumph, Cassius was given (47 B.C.) a post in Farther Spain. There was a rebellion against him, and Caesar had to come from Italy to put it down. Cassius died in a shipwreck. Best known of all was Caius Cassius Longinus, d. 42 B.C., leader in the successful conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar. He fought as a quaestor under Marcus Licinius Crassus (see under CrassusCrassus
, ancient Roman family, of the plebeian Licinian gens. It produced men who achieved great note in the 2d cent. and 1st cent. B.C.
One of the well-known members was Lucius Licinius Crassus, d. 91 B.C., a noted orator and lawyer (much admired by Cicero).
..... Click the link for more information. , family) at CarrhaeCarrhae
, Roman name for the ancient Mesopotamian city of Haran. The name Carrhae is best known because of the battle of Carrhae in 53 B.C. M. Licinius Crassus (see Crassus, family) was defeated by the Parthians, who by their archery routed the Roman force.
..... Click the link for more information. in 53 B.C. and saved what was left of the army after the battle. He supported Pompey against Caesar but was pardoned after the battle of PharsalusPharsalus
, ancient city, Thessaly, Greece. Near there in 48 B.C., Julius Caesar decisively defeated Pompey, who had a much larger force. Lucan's Bellum Civile (often called Pharsalia) is an epic of the civil war.
..... Click the link for more information. . He was made (44 B.C.) peregrine praetor and Caesar promised to make him governor of Syria. Before the promise could be fulfilled, Cassius had become ringleader in the plot to kill Caesar. The plot involved more than 60 men (including Marcus Junius Brutus, Publius Servilius Casca, and Lucius Tillius Cimber) and was successfully accomplished in the senate on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. When the people were aroused by Antony against the conspirators, Cassius went to Syria. He managed to capture DolabellaDolabella
(Publius Cornelius Dolabella) , c.70 B.C.–43 B.C., Roman general, notorious for his unscrupulousness. He divorced his wife Fabia and married (50 B.C.) Tullia, daughter of Cicero, to gain the support of that statesman.
..... Click the link for more information. at Laodicea and coordinated his own movements with those of Brutus. Antony and Octavian (later AugustusAugustus
, 63 B.C.–A.D. 14, first Roman emperor, a grandson of the sister of Julius Caesar. Named at first Caius Octavius, he became on adoption by the Julian gens (44 B.C.) Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian); Augustus was a title of honor granted (27 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. ) met them in battle at Philippi. In the first engagement Cassius, thinking the battle lost, committed suicide. Another of the conspirators was Caius Cassius Parmensis, d. 30 B.C. He fought at Philippi and later with Sextus Pompeius. He later sided with Antony in the naval battle off Actium and was killed by order of Octavian.
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intriguer and accomplice in plot against Caesar. [Br. Lit.: Julius Caesar]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.