Question 3 Talking Points



3. When should a leader step down from their leadership position and how?

Possible Texts

  • Plutarch’s Life of Alexander : Translated by John Dryden
  • Always I am Caesar by W. Jeffrey Tatum

Supporting Points

  • How can a leader relinquish their leadership position?

A leader can leave their position voluntarily or involuntarily.

  • Voluntary
    • Retire
      • Tatum page 41: members of the consuls could retire from their prestigious positions to comfortable lives where they could enjoy leisure, and still gain prestige from the population
      • Pass leadership role onto heirs
        • Tatum page 174: Although Caesar did not voluntarily leave his position, he arranged for the heir of his choosing to take his place
  • Involuntary
    • Assassination
      • Caesar was forcibly removed from his position of leadership. He had no intentions of voluntarily stepping down because he had made himself dictator for life of Rome.
      • Death by “natural causes” (i.e. death in battle, by disease, old age)
        • Plutarch – Alexander
          • Did not “step down” from leadership position; remained in position until death
            • Plutarch page 50-51: Alexander died by “natural causes” – sickness
              • After a drinking game, Alexander fell sick with a fever and subsequently died. However, there is speculation that he was purposely poisoned.
  • Why were these leaders assassinated/forcibly removed from their positions?
    • Caesar
      • The oligarchic rule
        • Caesar had become too powerful; therefore, the other members of the oligarchy had to bring him down
        • Dignitas – Everyone was indebted to Caesar for favors he had done for them. This put him in a position above them that Caesar would never give up, so they had to kill him.
        • Alexander
          • It is speculated that Antipater or Aristotle may have poisoned Alexander. “…both had reason to fear Alexander’s retribution for various disloyalties, and both also disliked [Alexander’s] favorable treatment of the Persians. Aristotle possessed the knowledge to make the poison and Antipater the means to administer it…”

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