Caesar's reforms in the provinces had an epoch-making
character. He reduced taxes, lessened the burden of their collection, and took
into his own hands the appointment of provincial magistrates. Henceforth
oppressive governors and swindling publicans had to expect swift, stern
punishment from one whose interests included the welfare of both citizens and
subjects. By granting Roman citizenship to communities in Gaul and Sicily, he
indicated his purpose, as rapidly as possible, to convert the provincials into
Romans. It was Caesar's aim to break down the barriers between Rome and her
provinces, to wipe out the distinction between the conquerors and the
ASSASSINATION OF CAESAR, 44 B.C.
Caesar did not live to complete his task. Like that other
colossal figure, Alexander the Great, he perished before his work as a
statesman had hardly more than begun. On the Ides of March, 44 B.C., he was
struck down in the Senate-house by the daggers of a group of envious and
irreconcilable nobles, headed by Cassius and Brutus. He fell at the foot of Pompey's
statue, pierced with no less than twenty-three wounds. His body was burnt on a
pyre in the Forum, and his friend, Antony, pronounced the funeral eulogy.
CONSEQUENCES OF CAESAR'S DEATH
In the light of all the possibilities of beneficent
government which Caesar was revealing, his cowardly murder becomes one of the
most stupendous follies recorded in history. Caesar's death could not restore
the republic. It served only to prolong disorder and strife within the Roman
state. As Cicero himself said, hearing the news, "The tyrant is dead; the
tyranny still lives."