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Brutus' surprise party (Orbis Romanum)

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Timeline: Orbis Romanum

March 15 44BC
Theatre of Pompey

On the way to the forum Julius Caesar encounters a group of about sixty senators who have called him for a meeting. This is a stroke of luck for the senators intent on assassinating the dictator. They urge Caesar into a side room in the theatre of Pompey ostensibly for privacy.
The senators urge a petition upon Caesar who is puzzled but begins to read the document. It is a ruse. Servilius Casca, one of the senators, draws his dagger to deliver a stroke.
At that moment there is a commotion at the entrance. Marcus Antonius has been warned by an informer minutes before and storms in with a squad of vigiles (police) shouting "Casca, noli!" The dagger falls from a nerveless hand and the vigiles quickly surround the senators. Out of breath, Marcus explains to Caesar the failed assassination. Caesar has stared death in the face many times and he is unmoved by the threat to his life. Justice and wisdom is required to force the senators to respect his office however. He notices his adopted son Brutus between the senators, hand still clasping a dagger. Incredible that the man Caesar intended to coax as his successor would turn against him. So much for his judgment of character. Caesar walks up to Brutus and holds out his hand. Brutus knows he is a living corpse but honor demands that he play the game. He surrenders his dagger. The dictator studies the weapon, nods approvingly and hands it back with the word "vixis!" (you have lived). Brutus expertly kills himself, falling upon his dagger in the approved manner.
Caesar turns to the senators an addresses them: "Brutus' crime, being my adopted son, overshadows yours. To be sure, you will atone for your crimes as well. To this end you will appear before the censores even today. I expect never to see any of you again."
When the senators are led out Marcus Antonius wonders aloud whether it is safe for Caesar to appear in public. Caesar chides him gently. "My dear Marcus, I will not under any circumstances appear a coward. Besides, with you in Rome I have little to fear. By the way you are entitled to a thousand talent bonus for saving my life."


March 18 44BC
Rome

Julius Caesar leaves Rome for Syria leaving Marcus Antonius in command. It is time to teach the Parthians a lesson. Parthia is the mortal enemy of Rome.
The Parthian empire stretches from Syria to India. Its formidable army consists of heavy cataphracts, armored horse riders using lances, and mounted archers. This army has proved itself in the battle of Carrhae where a numerically superior Roman army was annihilated. Worst of all the Roman legionary aquilae were captured in the battle.
Caesar takes with him his favorite legion, X Equestris under the command of Publius Crassus, the son of general Crassus who was defeated at Carrhae.

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