Beware the Ides of March: Rome in 44 BCE

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Beware the Ides of March: Rome in 44 BCE recreates the struggle for power and control of Rome following the assassination of Julius Caesar. The assassins, who believed they were liberating Rome from a tyrant, had no plan for setting the Roman state in order again. For them, Caesar's removal was the remedy Rome needed, and the future would take of itself. The game begins the day after the assassination, and most of the action takes place in the Senate. Students are assigned roles as members of two principal factions, "Republicans" and "Caesarians" (the larger faction in the game, since Caesar had "packed" the Senate), or as non-partisan, or at least uncommitted, members of the Senate. Probable debates in the Senate fall under four general headings: public order, Caesar's powers, foreign policy, and government. Some specific issues are whether Caesar should be honored with a public funeral or his body cast into the Tiber; whether to accept the legitimacy of Caesar's acta; whether to regard the assassins as liberators or murderers; whether new elections should be held; and whether the Parthian campaign should go forward and under whose leadership. Students base their game personalities and their arguments in the Senate on excerpts from Cicero's letters, orations and political writings, in particular de re publica, as well as other ancient sources. By grappling with the complex issues of Roman power politics at a moment of crisis, students gain perspective on the dynamics of late Republican Roman history and can evaluate Rome's subsequent evolution. 

About the Authors:

Carl A. Anderson is Associate Professor in the Department of French, Classics, and Italian at Michigan State University. He teaches Latin, Greek, and classical literature in translation. His research specialties are Greek comedy and history. T. Keith Dix is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Georgia. He teaches Latin, Greek, and classical literature in translation. His research specialties are Latin literature and ancient libraries.

Companion Text:

Cicero: The Republic, The Laws  (Niall Rudd, Trans.)
© 1998 Oxford University Press  | ISBN 978-0-19-283236-8