Author Discussion: Barry Strauss on "The Death of Caesar"

Friday, March 13, 2015, 6:30 - 8pm

Add to Calendar

Barry Strauss, one of the world's leading experts on ancient history and Chairman of the History Department at Cornell will deliver a free, public talk about his new book, The Death of Caesar.

Strauss shows that the plot to murder Caesar was conceived and led by Caesar’s own generals – a plot that was masterfully organized down to the gladiators who provided backup to the assassins. There weren’t two heads of the conspiracy against Caesar but three: in addition to Brutus and Cassius there was Decimus, the mole in Caesar’s entourage and a crucial but forgotten player in the assassination and the wars that followed. And previous assumptions about why Caesar’s killers failed in the end are wrong: it wasn’t the Roman people but Caesar’s soldiers who turned on them. The biggest mistake that Caesar’s assassins made was not giving his soldiers a raise.

Bringing the figures of this era into sharp focus and takes us well beyond the usual explanations of republic vs. dictatorship, populists vs. oligarchs and liberty vs. friendship Barry Strauss shows what was at stake in history's most consequential assassination.

Barry Strauss is one of the world’s leading experts on ancient history. He has written or edited several other books (which have been translated into ten languages), including The Battle of Salamis (named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year), The Trojan War, Masters of Command and The Spartacus War (which is also being adapted into a children’s book). He is a frequent on-air commentator for relevant specials on PBS, The History Channel, and The Discovery Channel. He writes about the modern politics of Greece, Turkey, and Russia in a regular column for The Hill and is often called upon to address today’s fictional accounts of ancient history like the movies 300 and Gladiator or HBO’s Rome. He is the Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies and Chair of the Department of History at Cornell.

Photo of Barry Strauss by Oliviero Olivieri

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.