Cassius  [suicide 42 BCE]

Roman senator who played a key role in the events that precipitated the demise of the old republic. Gaius Cassius Longinus was an ally of the triumvir, Marcus Licinius Crassus. After Crassus was killed fighting the Parthians (53 BCE), Cassius regrouped the remnants of the defeated Roman army & for two years repelled Parthian attacks on Syria. He was made tribune (49 BCE) & served as a naval commander of Pompey's fleet in the civil war with Julius Caesar. Caesar pardoned him & appointed him legate, with the promise that he would be made governor of Syria in 44 BCE. Despite this, Cassius organized the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. Six months later he withdrew to Syria & without authorization ousted the former governor, Publius Cornelius Dolabella. He appointed Herod governor of Coele-Syria [Lebanon]. To gain much needed revenues for the civil war with Caesar's heirs, Marc Antony & Octavian, he ordered procurators in Syria & Palestine, including Antipater, to collect heavy taxes. He joined forces with Brutus at Philippi, Macedonia (42 BCE), but committed suicide when Antony's forces defeated his. Almost a century later his relative & namesake, a prominent Roman jurist, served as governor of Syria under the emperor Claudius.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 14.119-122, 270--280, 288-304, 311-320.
                  _____, War 1.180-182, 218-242, 280.
                  Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Marcus Brutus, Caesar, Antony.

Other online resources:

Silver denarius from 43-42 BCE with image of Liberty & inscription (reading from bottom to top) C[aii] Cassi[i] Imp[eratori] Leibertas ("of Emperor Gaius Cassius - Liberty"). For a catalog of Cassius' coinage see:

Perspective on the World of Jesus

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