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Roman Republic: Res publica Romana • View topic - Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Ludi Philippi - Symposia

The purpose of this collegium is to establish a group for those interested in ancient philosophy and a place where philosophical discussion and study may take place. Join at: http://romanrepublic.org/civitas/joint_ ... sophiae/42

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Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:29 pm

Salvete omnes!

As scheduled, the Collegium Philosophiae will be hosting its first symposia for the annual Ludi Philippi.

As you may know, the battle of Philippi took place from 3 October to the 23 October, ending in the defeat of the Liberatores (i.e. Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Iunius Brutus Caepio), and the effective collapse of the Republic.

The battle of Philippi is one of the most important in Roman history. As never before, the values that were the cause of the conflict were none like any other. It is a battle that was not fought to decide what leader to follow, but whether Rome would be governed by a Republic or an Empire. Although they lost, the Republican forces were fighting for the freedom of a popular government - which are the basis of our own Republic. Their values are ones that we aim to follow today.

The topic of this debate is Morality & the Fall of the Republic: Politics, Philosophy, Murder, and War.

All members and citizens are welcome to join in this debate. Please post your Roman name and a sentence or two about yourself before you post your response (this is only required for new members or the first post within this thread).

Those that participate will be rewarded based on contribution and philosophical/rhetorical style. I, Gaia Cassia Longina, will be serving as the judge. The winners will win either a small gift or denarii based on the number of people involved in this thread.

Good luck and let's talk philosophy!
Gaia Cassia Longina
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:42 pm

To begin tackling this topic, let us address the issue of morality first.

Morality, in a broad sense, means to fulfill the “moral claims” of a culture and, in addition, to have the right intentions in doing so – to act out of a sense of obligation or duty.

Unlike our modern view, the idea of moral duty should be replaced by the perception of virtue for the ancients. According to ancient ethics, a wholly virtuous person is not able to act in a non-virtuous way. In other words, a virtuous person will always act according to the virtues. In our modern way of thinking, however, a person that exhibits the virtue of liberality may not be able to exhibit the virtue of courage. But this was not the case for the ancients – if one exhibited liberality, he was able to demonstrate courage.

It can be argued that virtue will always be esteemed and the act of killing can never be classified as moral. Yet, different cultures have different moral codes, and as such, modern morality contrasts ancient morality in a quite apparent way. The most common description with regard to ancient ethics holds that Greek and Roman ethics mainly concern the question of “What is the Good Life?” while modern thought deals with how one should behave. There is almost always room for better understanding with regard to this disparity. Yet, the idea that these philosophies do not deal with “good” actions is not necessarily true.

Just as numerous as present-day views, ethics and morality were seen with differing ideas in the ancient world, according to each of the philosophical schools and cultures. Even according to Epicurean thought, the “right” and “wrong” of a particular community varies from place to place, from time to time, and it is generally difficult to define what the “right” really is. Epicurus recognized that there is no agreement about right or wrong – he recognized the limitations of the substance of the convention, no matter which way it is formed. It is the multitude of thoughts that hold the basic, underlying understanding about a concept.

Now that we have addressed this issue, I will continue with morality & murder.

Is it correct to judge the crime of murder under a strict moral law or must one judge every case based on its own merits? If it is decided that assassination is sometimes allowed, what circumstances and under what principles make it justified?

There can be no question that murder is an extreme fix. People who are willing to kill are generally seen as people of low virtue and intelligence, and they are branded as people beyond the range of any human sympathy. We, generally speaking, judge people’s actions by casting every doubt against them, judging them based on the statute that “murder is always wrong.”

However, we are not even allowed to stick every murderer into the same group. Is someone who believed he was protecting his State the same as someone who killed someone out of blind rage? It can also be argued that the way in which an act of murder is carried out can change the moral judgment. Can the number of participants change the nature? The location?

So, the question now becomes, when, in fact, can we judge? If everyone's opinion is different - must that mean that every definition is wrong?

When judging something as extreme as murder, or political actions (which the assassination of Julius Caesar, was, in fact, a political action) we must always remember that morality is in fact relative.

Or is morality a Platonic universal idea? How can we prove that?

The idea of morality is universal - each culture has the idea of morality. But every idea is different. While it may be universal, it may also be subjective.

In this case, when is war acceptable? Is it every correct to wage civil war?

[E. Cassia Trop-Longinus, Gaius Cassius Longinus: Politics & Philosophy in the Late Roman Republic, 2016]
This material is copyright by E. Cassia Trop-Longinus, 2016.
Gaia Cassia Longina
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Marcus Aquillius » Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:32 pm

Avete,

I do not think that carrying out a civil war is ever truly acceptable. If you are killing people, there will always be an implication. In this case, did they "save" their Republic like they thought? They did so by killing so many other people in the following civil war. They killed Romans, nonetheless. While they could have thought that killing Caesar was a good thing, they did so but resulting in the loss of thousands more lives.
Marcus Aquillius
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:37 pm

Gaia Cassia Longina
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:51 am

Salve, Scipio,
I have moved your post to correspond with the topic.

C Cassia Longina

*
Publius Cornelius Scipio » 09 Oct 2016, 06:01

Brutus and Cassius killed ONE MAN. They did not expect to have to fight a war so they didn't plan for one.

The one man they killed was guilty of many capital crimes, he marched against his own country and imposed his quasi-monarchical Dictatorship, both crimes deserving of the death penalty under Roman Law.

The Civil War Brutus and Cassius fought was fought after several rounds of murder by Antony and the Second Triumvirate. The death of Cicero and Trebonius being prime examples. Their war was inarguably self-defense and defence of the Republic.
Gaia Cassia Longina
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Publius Cornelius Scipio » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:57 am

Ty Cassia. I must also add that the Civil War in which Brutus and Cassius fought was not begun by them, but by Antony, when he unlawfully appointed himself Governor of Cisalpine Gaul and marched on Mutina, attacking Decimus Brutus.
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Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:10 pm

Salve, Scipio,

I tend to agree with that, defending the Liberatores at most points. They did not mean to start a civil war, but they still must be held accountable for their actions - which were killing Caesar and participating in that war.

But in the case that you bring up, we must remember that Cassius also unlawfully marched on Syria, taking it for himself after the Senate gave him a different province. So, in this case, one can say he did the same thing as Antonius. He unlawfully took a province that he wanted. That is the briefest and simplest way to put it.

In that case, can we objectively or only subjectively define this action? Whether or not "he started it" does not necessarily mean he is any more innocent than someone else. Is Brutus more innocent than Cassius when they did this? To put it in simple terms: no. But we still view him as more innocent than Cassius or Antonius.
Gaia Cassia Longina
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:11 pm

Tribune Cassia;
From what I have read of the "Ides of March," the Civil War which followed, and my experiences with and knowledge of mankind to date, any group who asassinates a Chief Executive of any country knows full well that they can expect the country to be plunged into a Civil War. Of that I am convinced. This is particularly so in a country already in the grip of a personage who was obviously working toward a dictatorship. Following the asassination, the well defined lining up of those involved in trying to carve out their individual parts of wealth and power are well recogized. In addition, we do not know what went on behind the scenes in activities and discussions leading up to, and following the asassination and the beginning of the Civil War. The same style of activities leading to the positioning of Putin as the "President" of Russia, Hitler's coming to power in Germany, or any other Dictator coming to power over the appeals/desires of the people. No, in my view, these murderers knew exactly what they planned to happen, when they killed Caesar. What happened afterward to those laid plans, usually happens in a Civil or any other war -- "All previous plans are now thrown away, and what happens next depends solely of the actions of the major and minor players." This action also plays out in the historical view, what little we have of it in total.

Respectfully;
Marcus Audens
Marcus Minucius Audens
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:02 pm

Salve, Audens!

Thank you for joining! I agree with you - I believe they knew of what would happen. Cassius and Brutus were making preparations even though they did not want to go to war. Despite their wishes, civil war ultimately followed, as can be expected with any drastic "political overthrow."

So, as much as they did not want war, I fully agree, factors pushed them into war - and whether they started it or not as Scipio was saying, does not fully matter since it was a forced action upon all parties.

However, I do think that Antonius' actions pushed them further towards war than they would have liked. I have no doubt that they would have preferred peace (as unlikely as that is after an assassination of a leader) over what followed in reality.
Gaia Cassia Longina
 

Re: Ludi Philippi - Symposia

Postby Publius Cornelius Scipio » Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:58 am

Salve Cassia. Cassius took Syria from Dolabella, who was sent by Antony, who had set up a de facto military Dictatorship in Rome with Legionaries patrolling the city under arms and armor, a great scelus. Dolabella had also killed Trebonius, the lawful Governor of Asia. He had gone completely rogue. I will look up the details again, but I believe Dolabella killed the Republican Governor of Syria, along with Trebonius.
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