Brief 2 - His 240 Mr. Welch 10/30/06 Brief Two: Romans...

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His 240 Mr. Welch 10/30/06 Brief Two: Romans Being on of the greatest civilizations to have ever existed, the Romans have made a lasting impression on the world that even continues to this day. Ideas about leadership, causation, patriotism, law, and theories of history are passed down to modern generations. Some are fundamentally sound, whereas others weren’t quite evolved to the point of being commonly accepted in the present world. One of the great Roman historians was Plutarch. In his writings Plutarch’s Caesar, Plutarch emphasizes the greatness of Caesar. Not for his leadership abilities, or for any innovative new way of governing, but for his ability to endear himself to the common man. Being a great politician, Caesar knew how to work the crowd. For instance, when his wife died, there was no precedent of a funeral oration “of any upon young women till Caesar first made upon the death of his own wife. This also procured him favor, and by this show of affection he won upon the feelings of the people.” Caesar also knew enough to win the support of the military. He spent his time among them, not as a noble, but as a warrior himself. This caused the army to fight with zeal in his name, and if ever he needed them to put down a rebellious senate, they would probably have rallied to his cause. In Plutarch’s mind, being a true politician by appearing good is exactly what the people want. In Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, another spin is put upon leadership. Being what some could consider a true “philosopher-king,” Marcus Aurelius’ writings reflect
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his rather sophist nature. Being a true student of history and of great thinkers, Aurelius used this knowledge and insight from the past to rule in the present with a wise and just hand. His truly remarkable statement “If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured.” Many leaders merely act or pretend to be sorry for any wrongs they might do or believe, but Aurelius is willing to change if he is indeed wrong. Aurelius also realizes the need to win the support of the army. He “desired a plank bed and skin,” to endear himself to the military he was leading. Not for taking control of Rome itself, but to win their support and fight with passion for him. Both Plutarch and Marcus Aurelius each make their own valid points on leadership. In today’s world, all leaders need to be politicians. Humans currently love fluff, they love being told all the nice and kind things, and to be lied to by the higher ups that everything is fine. To this end, Plutarch was indeed correct. But it is also necessary for leaders to at least have a study of history, and to learn of the great minds that came before them. This would allow them to guide the masses better. Both Plutarch and Aurelius were right however in winning the support of the armed forces. Militaries have a strong history of support their rulers, and even in democracies that is no exception. Without support from the armed forces a leader cannot effectively conduct his “foreign
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Brief 2 - His 240 Mr. Welch 10/30/06 Brief Two: Romans...

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