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Reply #140


Response to Octafish (Reply #128)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 01:47 PM

140. No, I was not aware of McKnight, either

Growing a bit flabby in my research...thanks for giving me a new regimine to help bulk it back up again!

Gibson's thesis seems to support where my thinking is these days re: JFK. Ever since I learned about the failed "business plot" to oust FDR back in the '30s, I have suspected that perhaps at the dark heart of the assassination was a determination among the interests behind that plot to be more effective in eliminating Kennedy than they were with Roosevelt.

That would be nothing new, of course...Parenti's "The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome" helped me see the larger historical picture of which I think the Kennedy assassination is a modern-day manifestation. I don't always agree with Parenti's worldview, but I thought he did a good job of breaking down the class dynamics going on between the Optimates and the Populares in Rome that culminated in Caesar's assassination.

Why did a group of Roman senators gather near Pompey's theater on March 15, 44 B.C., to kill Julius Caesar? Was it their fear of Caesar's tyrannical power? Or were these aristocratic senators worried that Caesar's land reforms and leanings toward democracy would upset their own control over the Roman Republic?

Parenti (History as Mystery, etc.) narrates a provocative history of the late republic in Rome (100-33 B.C.) to demonstrate that Caesar's death was the culmination of growing class conflict, economic disparity and political corruption. He reconstructs the history of these crucial years from the perspective of the Roman people, the masses of slaves, plebs and poor farmers who possessed no political power.

Roughly 99% of the state's wealth was controlled by 1% of the population, according to Parenti. By the 60s B.C., the poor populace had begun to find spokesmen among such leaders as the tribunes Tiberius Gracchus and his younger brother, Gaius. Although the Gracchi attempted to introduce various reforms, they were eventually murdered, and the reform movements withered.

Julius Caesar, says Parenti, took up where they left off, introducing laws to improve the condition of the poor, redistributing land and reducing unemployment. As Parenti points out, such efforts threatened the landed aristocracy's power in the Senate and resulted in Caesar's assassination.

Parenti's method of telling history from the "bottom up" will be controversial, but he recreates the struggles of the late republic with such scintillating storytelling and deeply examined historical insight that his book provides an important alternative to the usual views of Caesar and the Roman Empire.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc

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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply No, I was not aware of McKnight, either
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