And the subject makes me want — oh, yeah, me and my emotions — to link to this review of Maria Wyke's: "Caesar: A Life in Western Culture":
Ms. Wyke's concern is how we have created and adapted Caesar's image and historical importance over the past 2,000 years....I'm always going to be more interested in the way people understand and use things than in what is actually true.
The principle behind this kind of study is known as "reception theory." Its typical proponent is skeptical of how much we can know of what someone like Caesar and his contemporaries did and thought; a reception theorist is much more confident of how we have come to use and think about them ourselves....
Ms. Wyke offers a sharp analysis of how John Wilkes Booth took up the mantle of Brutus against the Caesar Lincoln -- and how Shakespeare's language was propelled into the assassination coverage by the American press. (Booth himself called the day of his attack "the Ides.") She deals briskly with how Napoleon used Caesar's example to justify and extend his emergency powers -- and how critics of Bonapartism stressed Caesar's role in turning military adventures abroad into despotism at home.