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March 15: The Ides of March

March 15, 2015

Julius_Caesar_Coustou_Louvre_MR1798Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome on this date in 44 BCE. The Jews of Palestine had backed Caesar in his successful civil war with Pompey, who had massacred some 12,000 of them while conquering Jerusalem, violated the Holy of Holies in the Temple, and sold thousands of Jews into slavery. (Pompey’s ally Crassus additionally emptied the Temple Treasury into his own pockets.) Once in power as emperor, Caesar returned the Jaffa port to Jewish control, allowed the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt, and lowered taxes. Caesar’s successors, Marc Antony and Octavian, would bring to power in Judea King Herod, a great urban builder who was also a mass-murderer of rabbis and other leaders of the Jewish people.

“Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered.”) —Julius Caesar