Talk:Et tu, Brute?

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Contradiction[edit]

To me there are contradictions between the lede and the Context section. The lede emphatically states:

The fame of the quotation is entirely due to its occurrence in William Shakespeare's play 

While the Context section authoratively states:

Shakespeare in turn was making use of a phrase already in common use in his time: it appears for example, in Richard Eedes's Latin play Caesar Interfectus of 1582 and The True Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke &c of 1595

While the former implies Shakespeare is the ONLY reason this phrase is known, the latter shows Shakespeare was not its originator.
The former could be changed to:

The MODERN fame of the quotation is entirely due to its occurrence in William Shakespeare's play 

But this would just turn it into a weasel comment about a POV opinion on the origin of the knowledge of it that exists today.
So IMO it would be better to simply calm the statement down:

The quotation famously occurs in in William Shakespeare's play ..

Then there is also contradiction within the Context on the authenticity of the quote. Again there is an emphatic statement:

There is no reliable evidence that Caesar ever spoke the words. Suetonius himself claims Caesar said nothing as he died

but then goes on:

The phrase follows in the tradition of the Roman historian Suetonius, who reports that others have claimed Caesar's last words were the Greek phrase "καὶ σὺ, τέκνον;", transliterated as "Kai su, teknon?"

So the there ARE reports of Caesar's last words. And what is meant here by "reliable evidence", if De Vita Caesarum is not that? Suetonius himself noted various reports of the event. And this is hardly surprising. The final words of anyone, unless actually recorded on tape, are usually contentious, the more so the more famed the speaker, and definitively determining the words spoken in the final moments of a brutal mob assassination, even with modern-day action-replay, would be a challenge.
Lastly, the Context notes:

 Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing and merely pulled his toga over his head when he saw Brutus

For me such a gesture speaks as loudly and in absolute harmony with the quotation itself. Imagining forensic precision in history is just Hollywood. Even with video recordings, we cannot arrive at such a view of events in 1963. Here I would have cited events in the last decade but that would be to invite a firestorm. Which would seem to prove the point. LookingGlass (talk) 08:45, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

"fame of the quotation"[edit]

"The fame of the quotation is entirely due to its occurrence in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar ...." This seems to me to imply that the quotation existed apart from Shakespeare, but not famous. Should this sentence say "the existence of this quotation" instead? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 00:29, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

So far as i know, the quotation was created by Shakespeare: however Shakespeare is known to have reused and reworked much prior content in his plays. The point is that the quote became famous because of its appearance in a well-known play by Shakespeare, no matter who first coined it. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 21:58, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
That shows how much i know, the article makes it clear that the phrase was in use well before Shakespeare used it. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 10:37, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Illegitimate son theory[edit]

It appears that an author named Kirsty Corrigan has put forth a theory suggesting that Brutus was Caesar's illegitimate son and that theory had made its way into this article. We don't publish WP:OR or poorly documented theories and WP:COI certainly applies.[1]. Per WP:EXCEPTIONAL, I believe including this theory requires exceptional third-party sources and that Ms. Corrigan should not be editing Wikipedia articles where she has a WP:COI. This is not the place to promote your own theories. Toddst1 (talk) 17:54, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

No, that author was correcting the impression that it was her theory. I agree that we need a source for the original claim. Dbfirs 22:00, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Toddst1 has not checked his facts which is not at all professional. Above comments are incorrect and insulting. This erroneous theory did indeed make its way into the article but NOT at Dr Corrigan's hands - she was merely trying to correct a misattribution to/misquotation of her. TO BE CLEAR Dr Corrigan does NOT believe that Caesar was Brutus' father, as that was highly improbable: this has has been the widely held view for many years by modern historians and Corrigan completely agrees with them in her book. Please review original article against Corrigan's edit, and apologise for slanderous comment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Khc79 (talkcontribs) 19:43, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
WP:COI isn't something I made up and you don't have to like it. Toddst1 (talk) 22:05, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I think Kirsty is asking you to apologise for a mis-reading of the situation. She states that she was countering the theory, not putting it forward. In any case, the theory needs a WP:reliable source before it is restored. Dbfirs 22:06, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Khc79, since the theory is not well-known, and since (as you state) Dr Corrigan does not endorse it, there seems no reason to mention it at all here. Dr. Corrigan's refutation of or opposition to a fringe theory is no doubt appropriate to an extended scholarly work, but it really has no place in this article. And with it removed completely, no one can be misled into thinking that Dr. Corrigan supports this theory. The previous edit was possibly confusing: it could have been read to mean that Dr. Corrigan supported the theory but that the consensus was that it was improbable. In my view Toddst1 was entirely correct to remove all mention of this theory, even if s/he misunderstood the intent of your edit, Khc79. I don't think there is any more to say about this, but feel free to comment furhte if you feel that there is some issue remaining. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 22:07, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
To say that "Kirsty Corrigan has put forth a theory suggesting that Brutus was Caesar's illegitimate son" may have been incorrect, but it was and is not slander, nor was it a Personal attack. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 22:10, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Before someone starts talking about WP:OUTING, it's important to note that Khc79 (talk · contribs) started editing as editor KirstyCorrigan (talk · contribs) and represented herself as "Dr. Kirsty Corrigan" on my talk page8. Toddst1 (talk) 22:14, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, there's no question of "outing" when an editor openly reveals their true identity. Dbfirs 22:20, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Plutarch writing in 96 AD in his book Life of Brutus suggest that Caesar thought that Brutus was his son. (He says that Caesar was protective of Brutus in battle. “Some say he did this tenderly for Sevilia’s sake, Brutus’s mother. For when Caesar was a young man , he had been intimate with her, and she was extremely in love with him. And because Brutus was born at that time when their love was hottest, Caesar persuaded himself that Brutus was his child.” ) It is also said that this father/son relationship was rumored by ancient historians, though not thought to be true. (According to Richard A. Billows in his 2008 book Julius Caesar: The Colossus of Rome, and Joseph Sobran in his 2009 book Julius Caesar. ) The connection with the phrase “Et tu Brute” is made in Mark Grossman’s 2007 book World Military Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary. So it seems correct for the content to be included in the article. Handthrown (talk) 04:35, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

I have taken another look at this discussion and I realized that I, as an editor, played a role in what happened. Here is what I believe is the story: The suggestion that it was rumored that Brutus might be Ceasar’s illegitimate son was added to this article a few years ago (October 23, 2012 by editor @JamesBWatson:). It appears to be accurate content, but it did not have a reliable source attached to it. It existed unsourced in the article for almost 4 years. Then on July 18, 2017, I found a reliable source to support this idea (that was already in the article), and so I added the reliable source. (The reliable source is a history book titled “Brutus Caesar's Assassin”). Then editor @Khc79: felt that the article was not representing that source accurately, and editor Khc79 added a short phrase to make it clear that the rumor (that Brutus was Caesar’s son) was not generally accepted as true.
There are a number of errors in this talk page section: A comment on this talk page seem to be suggest that the author of the reliable source might have been the one to add the citation — that is not true: I was the one that added it. Also, the false rumor that Brutus was Caesar’s illegitimate son is not a fringe theory, it’s not even a theory. It is a fact that it was indeed rumored by ancient historians as early as the 1st Century, and the rumor has been mentioned and discussed widely in modern reliable sources including Brutus Caesar's Assassin. And it has a clear historic connection to the phrase that is the title of the article.
If indeed the author of the reliable source edited to attempt to make a brief correction that that author felt was important — it would not be the first time an author of a reliable source has attempted to set the record straight on Wikipedia. And why not? It was helpful to the article, and probably no one else would make the change. I think we can all agree that a person who is the author of a reliable source is not on that basis forbidden to edit on Wikipedia.
The first sentence at the top of the talk-page section and the title of this section are both gross misunderstandings, and the content and the reliable source were both improperly removed from the article, because they were based on the misunderstandings. Handthrown (talk) 06:26, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
... so do we agree that the sentence can be restored in its last form except with the attribution of the old theory to a reliable source independent of Kirsty Corrigan (but not removing her refutation and reference)? Can anyone find a suitable independent source? Dbfirs 06:44, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Here’s a source that tells the story, including the fact that the rumor is demonstrated to be highly improbable, and that connects it with the phrase that's the title of this article: Julius Caesar: The Colossus of Rome, written by Richard A. Billows, Routledge, (2008), ISBN 9781134318339, page 249-250 Handthrown (talk) 10:24, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I really don't think it shows appropriate weight to say that some writers have suggested something improbable. Whether or not there is a COI here, I don't think it belongs here. Toddst1 (talk) 20:05, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

To respond to the comment made just above that says: “I really don't think it shows appropriate weight to say that some writers have suggested something improbable.” First, when the Wiki editor refers to “something improbable”, that is the idea that Brutus was the illegitimate son of Caesar. And when the Wiki editor refers to a group of “some writers” (who suggested that Brutus was Caesar’s son) the reference is to a number of eminent and notable authors, which would include William Shakespeare. Of course, when Shakespeare wrote Julius Caesar he didn’t consider the idea “improbable”, he considered it to be historically true. So when Brutus had a hand in the murder of Caesar, to Shakespeare it was not just a political assassination, or even merely an act of betrayal, but it was also, on top of all that, the murder of a father by his son. And of course, as Brutus stabs him, Caesar acknowledges Brutus, when he says “Et tu Brute!”; which is the phrase made famous by this play. We now know, that Shakespeare got it all wrong — thanks to modern research and scholarship by authors such as Kirsty Corrigan. Of course it is ironic that in the very first sentence of this talk-page section, and in fact, in the heading, Wikipedia gets Corrigan all wrong, because we falsely accuse Corrigan of expressing an idea that is the opposite of what Corrigan has written. It seems especial dishonest (and an attempt to shame) to see her name in bold letters in the heading being tarred with the foolishness that she never said. Instead of being grateful, we editors at Wikipedia betray one of our modern scholars. (And not just on this page, but on the Tea Party page and elsewhere where Corrigan made appeals.) So, to return to the sentence I quoted at the top, when it’s said that “some writers have suggested something improbable” — that description would include Shakespeare and his play, and without Shakespeare’s play, we would not have the phrase “Et tu Brute”, and without that phrase this article would not exist. Handthrown (talk) 11:08, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

To close this out, I have changed this from passive-voice to active and added the attribution of the theory to Ronald Syme per the Billows text. I think Ms. Corrigan was unfairly characterized as having created this theory. Thanks @Handthrown: Toddst1 (talk) 13:18, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
The change you made in the article appears to misrepresent Ronald Syme (and Billows). Syme does not interpret the phrase in the way that you changed the article to suggest, and he doesn’t claim to be the originator of the “theory” as you call it. Syme doesn’t call it a “theory”. As far as I can tell what Syme does in his book “The Roman Revolution” is to point out a possible effect of Plutarch’s suggestion regarding Caesar’s love affair with Brutus’ mother. I suggest that the sentence you altered be removed until a source for it can be found. [I changed it to "It has been suggested" but a source needs to be found for it.] No. I'm removing the sentence that suggests that "Et tu Brute" can be interpreted to refer to Brutus being Caesar's son. Because I found several sources that indicate that it was Shakespeare's apparent intention to keep that idea out of the play. Which is the opposite of what the article is now suggesting. So I will remove it. Though that part of the article doesn't refer to the precise subject of the article -- the sentence still lacks a source. Handthrown (talk) 19:08, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, thanks for fixing it. Sorry my attempt was wide of the mark. Toddst1 (talk) 06:24, 11 August 2017 (UTC)


ad hominem attacks and abuse of OTRS privileges collapsed

"Whether or not there is a COI here, I don't think it belongs here. Toddst1"

Well, I do. The statement clearly is relevant, and its source is a book published by a reputable military history publisher. It was written by Dr Kirsty Corrigan at the University of Kent who has a PhD in ancient history and is an expert on the Roman empire. Thus, this particular statement and its source, which completely fulfills Wikipedia's quality standards needs to stay. I will also remind Toddst1 that nobody has any claim to ownership of Wikipedia pages. Asav | Talk 01:34, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Hey Assav, 2 edits is a far cry from f-ing owning an article. I'll remind you to AGFF. Perhaps you would have preferred that I didn't open this discussion? Facepalm Toddst1 (talk) 01:39, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Please keep a civil tone. If you cannot contribute to talk pages without resorting to vulgarities, I will request that you be blocked for an appropriate time period. Asav | Talk 01:53, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Look pal, you're the fine chap that says someone who disagrees with you is owning the article. Try to squelch discussion much? If you don't like my push-back, I suggest you pursue that request for my block. Toddst1 (talk) 03:03, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
As you will probably be aware of, numerous users have complained about abusive behaviour and language on your part, and OTRS has received a number of complaints due to this behaviour. I repeat that you are advised to keep a civil tone in discussions and edit summaries from now own. The fact that you are a long-time contributor does not absolve you from from Wikipedias policy on civility. Asav | Talk 03:26, 10 August 2017 (UTC) (Member of the OTRS Volunteer Response Team)
No, I'm not aware of any OTRS issues and no action has ever been taken against me. I've brought your attempt to further your argument through character assassination, ad hominem attacks and abuse of your OTRS role to ANI. Toddst1 (talk) 03:55, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Note: As a result of that discussion on ANI, Asav's OTRS role was suspended and subsequently removed.

The historic Caesar vs Shakespeare's version[edit]

I think there’s a confusion in the article between the two versions: The historic Caesar and Shakespeare's version. The article discusses both, back and forth, and I think the problem would be solved simply by making sure it is clear to the reader which one is intended when it is discussed. For example, in the section “Context” it says that Caesar “supposedly spoke those words” — without indicating which words are intended. It is perhaps reasonable to assume that by “those words” the sentence is referring to the title of the article, “Et tu, Brute?” If that assumption were accepted then it would be the Shakespeare character that’s meant, and, in that case, the word “supposedly” is wrong — because we know for certain exactly what the Shakespeare character said. However reading that paragraph I got the sense that the article actually intended to discuss the historic context, and perhaps the editor that added the content may have thought that “Et tu, Brute?” is historic. (@Toddst1:) I made a minor edit to the sentence to try to deal with this, but it got reverted, and I think it’s worth considering. Ciceronianclausula (talk) 00:51, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Since there’s no discussion here, at least so far, I will go ahead and put the edit back that was reverted. Of course it can still be discussed. The edit will add the words “historic” to indicate that the reference is to the actual Caesar and not the fictional Caesar, and then the edit removes the error that “Et tu, Brute” is what the historic Caesar supposedly said. (“Et tu, Brute” is certainly what the fictional Caesar said.) The ancient sources all indicate that Caesar responded at the moment of his assassination, but the sources vary: one indicates he spoke in Greek, another indicates his response was a simply a groan, and another reports that he responded by covering his head. That is the historic “context”. The title of the section is “Context”, and the section discusses both historic and fictional contexts. However, I think dividing the section into two — Historic context and Fictional context — should be considered. Ciceronianclausula (talk) 14:08, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
==Meaning in Historical and Philosophical Context.== Probably Original research. Not OR for me but for previous history authors and philosophers. But The historical context was among the most pivotal in the history of civilization and the phrase itself as the most pivotal question in the philosophy of western civilization. Context being Caesar's attempt to unite East and West with which the assassins disagreed. Et tu meaning "also you?" Brute (the most moral man in Rome. Representing the honor of Rome) disagree? The philosophical context being with what, exactly, the assassins, even the most honorable among them, disagreed. In their minds, and in the minds of many later western philosophers, "The West" (Rome) represented civilization, and progress, and "The East" represented savagery or at best stagnation. A savage world raised from savagery by Rome. A unification with which an honorable man might honestly disagree. History appears to demonstrate such disagreement to have been justified. After the west fell the east stagnated. Later writers, particularly of the enlightenment and later, saw Rome as hubris and the east as humility. Rome fell because of its hubris, and the east stagnated because of its humility. While the hubris of ambition raised Roman civilization, and the civil cohesion of humility supported the east, the unification of both hubris, and humility, is the core of enlightened civilization. That is the hubris of progress and the humility of recognizing that even the most honorable men may be wrong. Even you Brute.98.164.67.198 (talk) 14:06, 20 November 2017 (UTC)