Gaius Cassius Longinus (Rome character)

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Gaius Cassius Longinuss
Rome character
Cassius-Rome (TV series).jpg
First appearance "Triumph"
Last appearance "Philippi"
Portrayed by Guy Henry
Information
Gender Male
Title Plebeian
Family Brutus (brother-in-law)

Gaius Cassius Longinus is a historical figure who features as a character in the HBO/BBC2 original television series Rome, played by Guy Henry. Cassius is depicted as a passion-filled man who is one of the first people who wants Caesar dead. He is one of the figures who devised the plot for Caesar's death, and also acted as one of the assassins. The real Cassius was also one of the main players in the death of Caesar.

Personality

Cassius is a senator of Rome. Rebellion is in his blood, inherited from his father Marcus Cato, who was one of the Governor Generals of Gnaeus Pompey. Cassius believes that membership in the Roman Senate should be restricted to wealthy Romans. He is completely against foreigners or plebs in the senate. Cassius is a stubborn man and will argue to get his way. Although not violent, he is willing to risk his life to have Caesar killed. In this and other matters, he is significantly more practical and ruthless than his somewhat idealistic ally Brutus. He is skilled with words and knows how to convince others to do his bidding.

On his last birthday, Cassius displays a sense of humor, even while on his deathbed.

Character history

Cassius only appears in the last three episodes of season 1 and most of the first half of season 2. He is briefly introduced in 1-10 "Triumph." In 1-11 "The Spoils" he tells Brutus that the plebs want him to rescue them from Caesar. When Brutus disagrees, Cassius calls him a coward and tells him that he has the power to end Caesar's tyranny.

In 1-12 "Kalends of February" Cassius is plotting the downfall of Caesar, along with Brutus, Servilia, Casca and Quintus Pompey. After Casca first stabs Caesar, Cassius joins in with the others in stabbing the dying leader. After cajoling Brutus to deliver the death blow, he declares "Thus ever for tyrants!" and thrusts Brutus's hand into the air.

In 2-1 "Passover," it is revealed that Cassius had ordered Mark Antony to be killed behind Brutus' back. It is only after Antony offers the conspirators amnesty that Brutus confronts Cassius about this in private. Cassius, Servilla, and Marcus Tullius Cicero insist that Antony must die, but Brutus refuses; there must be reconciliation. After Caesar's funeral, Cassius and Brutus are forced to flee Rome on Antony's advice.

In 2-3 "These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero," Cassius and Brutus are seen in Bithynia, asking the king for money so they can raise an army to defeat Mark Antony. Things don't go too well, as Brutus has drunk too much and is easily provoked by heckling foreigners. Cassius leads him away before he causes trouble.

In 2-4 "Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare)," both Cassius and Brutus set up camp in western Turkey. Their strength has risen to 38,000 with assistance from foreign allies. Cassius expresses a desire for Brutus to have a bust of his face made, for it will please his mother to see it.

In 2-5 "Heroes of the Republic," Cicero warns Cassius and Brutus via letter that Gaius Octavian has declared them both traitors and enemies of the state; furthermore, Cicero implores them to return and rescue the Republic. Cassius feels outraged upon receiving the news, but Brutus sees this as an opportunity to crush Octavian and Mark Antony, who are fighting each other, separately. Both brothers-in-law are seen nearing the Hellespont towards Greece.

In 2-6 "Philippi," Cassius and Brutus learn that Mark Antony and Gaius Octavian have united, outnumbering them nineteen to fourteen, and are within a day's march. While Cassius urges for a retreat, Brutus suggests they stay and fight, for they have the higher ground. Next day, before the Battle of Philippi ensues, Brutus wishes Cassius a happy birthday and apologizes that there is no cake. Cassius just smiles and is sure that Brutus get an "extra big" cake next year. "No cinnamon," he adds. "Makes me sneeze." As the battle begins, Cassius asks if Brutus would like the honor to personally leads the troops. Brutus declines and insists that his brother-in-law go, to which he is grateful. Cassius is later seen being carried to Brutus on a litter, mortally wounded. His last words are "Hell of a birthday."

Comparison with the historical Gaius Cassius

Gaius Cassius Longinus was the ally and brother-in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus, as he was married to Brutus' half-sister Junia Tertia with whom he had a child. The family connection is never established in the series and Junia Tertia is omitted completely. While the series shows him dying in battle, in reality Cassius committed suicide, after mistaking a victory of Brutus as a victory for Octavian. Although it was actually Octavian who had been forced to retreat, Cassius killed himself believing Brutus to have already done so. Brutus took his own life a few weeks later.

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