On the Ides of March in the year 44BC Julius Caesar was murdered as he entered the Senate. Senators Brutus and Cassius and 21 others had conspired to murder him because they believed him a tyrant and wanted to save Rome from the rule of one person. After this, Rome’s civil war continued. Underneath this paragraph, Beckett had put a copy of the painting Murder of Caesar that he had found on the Internet. It showed the senators assassinating their leader.
Beckett decided to see Caesar one last time. After everything he had been through with Caesar, he felt he must say goodbye to him. Beckett chose to see Caesar at the moment just before his death on the Ides of March, the 15th of March. On this day, 23 senators led by Marcus Brutus, would encircle Caesar on the senate floor and murder him. After the war, Caesar had turned Rome’s democracy into a dictatorship. He intended to restore Rome to its former glory, but the other senators did not share his vision. They thought he was just another power hungry politician who needed to be stopped.
Annie let him use the time machine again. Since Beckett’s project had ended, she had been working on rewriting the program’s code.
Annie and Beckett found an empty spot in the centre of ancient Rome, near to the Roman Forum. This is where the senate building was. Beckett arrived and quietly made his way towards the Forum. He passed through a few relatively quiet alleyways before emerging in the busy square.
It was brimming with life. There were all sorts of colors and smells. People were shouting. People were selling clothing, bread, and small trinkets.
*I won't pay that much!*
*This will grant you direct access to the gods.*
*The more you buy, the better the deal I can give you.*
Beckett listened to the people negotiate. This is a good place to learn more Latin. He thought as he stopped to look around. He had spent so much time with Caesar, but this was his first time in Rome, seeing real Romans. He considered staying longer to improve his Latin, but remembered he had a purpose.
Beckett made his way through the crowded forum. Carefully stepping over dirt and cobblestone in his tattered sandals he moved towards the senate. Beckett wore his tunic and was grateful to be out of the Legionary uniform which was quite heavy. Beckett now appreciated the simplicity and comfort of the tunic.
Beckett saw the senate building; he recognised it from the pictures he had seen online. As Beckett neared the front he saw a group of senators heading up the stairs and into the forum. As they disappeared behind the large marble columns of the forum, Beckett could see Caesar among the group. Beckett ran up after them.
*Caesar!* Beckett called out.
Caesar and the senators turned around and looked at Beckett. *I will join in you all in just a moment.* He said to the senators, who continued towards the inner halls of the senate.
*Salvé, Master Beckett.* Caesar replied and slowed his pace to greet Beckett.
There on the steps of the Roman Senate Beckett saw Caesar for what he knew would be the last time. The assignment was finished. Beckett had enjoyed his time in the past, but it had to stop. Beckett was becoming to caught up in everything that happened. He had begun to miss the past when he wasn’t there.
*Salvé.* Beckett replied.
*I see you’ve finally improved your posture, Master Beckett.* Caesar smiled.
Beckett had not noticed it, but it was true. He no longer slouched. *Yes, it feels a lot better, sir, thank you. But the reason I’ve come here is to say thank you and… to say goodbye. This will be the last time we meet.*
The senators had stopped and waited for Caesar. Caesar beckoned them on and turned around to Beckett. *Am I to understand that you are leaving Roman lands? Or is my time left here coming to an end?*
Beckett looked at Caesar, unable to speak.
*Perhaps it is best you do not answer that.* Caesar remarked. *Clearly, the gods had some plan for us to meet. Neptune has blessed you and my nephew Octavius. There will come a day when Rome reaches its full greatness. Perhaps young men like you and he will be my legacy. Those who I might inspire, much like Alexander the Great inspired me.*
Beckett was lost for words. Caesar had come to mean so much to him. Caesar extended his hand to Beckett. Beckett grabbed Caesar’s forearm. Caesar looked at Beckett for a moment curiously. His gaze changed. He leaned in closer. *You’re really not of this world are you, sir Beckett?* Caesar asked.
Beckett was stunned. Caesar could not possibly know anything about Beckett or who he was and where he was from. But somehow, Caesar’s instincts told him everything.
*I'm from... I’m from Canada.*
Caesar stood up straight and adjusted his robes. *Well, master Beckett, give my greeting to Canada when you return there. Now, the senate awaits me.*
Caesar began to walk away; Beckett opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
Caesar turned back to Beckett.
*Stand tall.* He said.
Beckett pushed back his shoulders; he had accidentally started slouching again.
And with that, Caesar headed up the stairs and disappeared behind the pillars of the Roman senate.
Beckett turned to leave. He stopped a moment, turned back and ran up the stairs after Caesar. He stopped behind a wall of the senate entrance.
Then it happened. Just as it happened in the books, the scholar Artemidoros handed Caesar a scroll. This was a warning that Caesar failed to read. Then one of the senators walked up to him and pulled at his robe. That was the signal.
*Let go of me!* Caesar said, displeased to be handled in such a manner.
The senator looked frantically to the other senators, sweat on his brow and fear in his eye.
*What is this? This is violence!*
The conspiring senators drew their knives. Beckett saw Brutus staring straight at Caesar. Brutus, the man whose life Caesar had spared after the Battle of Pharsalus, had now come to commit murder.
Beckett stood there, his face half hidden behind the stone. He brushed his blonde hair away from his eyes. But as the attack began, Beckett shut his eyes tight. Beckett knew that Caesar had brought misfortune to many. He had caused the death of so many, but seeing him die like this was awful.
Beckett finally opened his eyes. He looked towards the senate hall. All he could see was the swarm of senators. As the sounds of the struggle filled the senate hallways, Beckett watched as the life of a great man drew to a close. Water filled Beckett’s eyes and trickled down his cheek.