Beware the Kalends of May

In Caesar's Ghost, Masters of Command by Barry StraussLeave a Comment

The news of Osama bin Laden’s death seems to have jolted my connection with Caesar back to life. Tell me, dictator, what do you think of the news? I suppose Bin Laden should have known to beware the Kalends of May [as Romans called May 1]. But we men of action never could abide soothsayers and their warnings.

Barry StraussBeware the Kalends of May

Great Caesar’s Ghost

In Caesar's Ghost, Masters of Command by Barry StraussLeave a Comment

I read a report recently that Syrian ruler Bashar Assad sent thousands of soldiers into Damascus undercover, in black plainclothes, to make them look like policemen. Classicist that I am, I immediately thought of an incident in 49 BCE. Just before crossing the Rubicon and starting his invasion of Italy, Caesar sent centurions into the key city of Rimini (ancient …

Barry StraussGreat Caesar’s Ghost

Caesar, Spartacus, and NATO

In Caesar's Ghost, Masters of Command, Spartacus by Barry StraussLeave a Comment

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of taking a staff ride to the site of one of Julius Caesar’s battles in Gaul. It was part of my visit to SHAPE in Mons, Belgium, where I was invited to lecture on military history. SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers in Europe) is NATO’s military wing. My companions on the staff ride …

Barry StraussCaesar, Spartacus, and NATO