Historians, philosophers, and armchair historians have often pondered the role of chance in history. To what extent does randomness or luck dictate what happens to us? Are the events of history just a random spin on the wheel of fate, or is there a more determined explanation of historical events? Bringing up questions about historical free will, determinism, and cause-effect relationships, this episode goes through some of the history of people thinking about these types of questions. It also discusses some historical examples of "chance" in action, and the implications that asking these questions has for the study of history-particularly as it relates to the recent rise of "counterfactual" history.
When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon to ignite yet another Roman Civil War, nobody at the time knew that this was the end of the Republic. Caesar's victory in his clash with the forces of Pompey, his former friend and member of the 1st triumvirate, led to Caesar's rule as dictator in which he tried to alleviate the problems of the Republic in a similar fashion as popular reformers of years past. But the Ides of March were coming, and Caesar's heir Octavian would emerge from a struggle with Marc Antony as undisputed emperor of the Roman World: Augustus Caesar. The Roman Republic was dead.
This is the final episode in a series on the downfall of the Roman Republic. It focuses on the final years of the Roman Republic, and summarizes why it fell by a combination of factors that have been discussed in the series. Thanks for listening.