It’s time to decide our Major Hack 2019 winners!
Students have been asked to respond to the final line in Julius Caesar in any method they liked:
OCTAVIUS: So call the field to rest; and lets away,
To part the glories of this happy day.
We received six great submissions, check them out below and vote for your favourite. The winner will be decided through a combination of public and judge votes with the top-prize winner taking home an iPad Air.
Poem - O My Dear Rome (by Octavius)
My poem’s form is in the style of a Shakespearian sonnet (with a tinge of Shakespearian language for greater effect). It has the usual sonnet structure of 14 lines: 12 of these are divided into 3 quatrains (with alternating rhyme schemes — abab cdcd efef) and these conclude with a rhyming couplet (gg); each line has the characteristic 10 syllables in iambic metre.
As for the contents of my poem, I wrote it from the perspective of Octavius – Caesar’s grand-nephew and sole heir. From this biased viewpoint, the poem aims to sway Romans who were supporters of Brutus, or who were otherwise ambivalent towards the civil war between Mark Antony and Octavius’ forces and those of Brutus — the message is to not fall for Brutus’ lies. Brutus is telling the Roman people his assassination of the much-loved Caesar was for the better, but, in the eyes of Octavius, it was a purely treacherous act aimed only for the furtherment of his own political career.
At the same time, through the poem Octavius is attempting to prevent the commoners of Rome from changing their opinions and following Brutus instead – as Caesar, and thus his heirs/political allies, enjoyed great support and loyalty from the commoners. Throughout the poem, Octavius tells them not to be fooled by the tales of Brutus and to trust their gut instinct with regards to whom they are to support – he draws on their sympathy for Caesar (given he was murdered), as well as their love for Caesar (given the great things he did for Rome). Overall, I aimed to convey, in a biased manner, how the forces of Mark Antony and Octavius, whilst described by Brutus as servants of a tyrannical regime, are in fact bringers of justice to the brutal murderers of Caesar, and aspire to further the legacy granted by Caesar’s reign – a reign that brought much wealth and prosperity to the Roman people.
O My Dear Rome
O Rome O Rome how much your people ail
Beneath the yoke of civil disarray
Those prosp’rous times unto so good avail
And now with Caesar’s life have slipp’d away
Some aim to further Caesar’s legacy
Whilst others plot and seek to bankrupt it
The latter men are proud with treachery
The former are most humble in their wit
Now Judas with deceitful followers
Have mock’d the common Roman with their tales
Of honest men instead made warriors
Warriors made dirt under tyrants’ nails
For this I pray dear Rome; place trust to mind
And let them not befool you; be not blind.
- The history of the Second Triumvirate after their victory in Phillipi immediately provoked images of previous Australian Liberal Party leadership spills, especially given the fact that Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar were, in the public eye, one team, but private quarrels resulted in landslide power to Octavius as he established the Roman Empire.
- Parallels can be drawn between more popular, yet relatively inexperienced Octavius Caesar and Liberal member Scott Morrison, especially in consideration of Peter Dutton representing Mark Antony. After Julius Caesar was assassinated, Antony was the true winner of the public’s support as he skilfully reconfigured the initial support for the murder. Yet in the end, it was Octavius who established the empire. Dutton lead the downfall of Turnbull, yet wasn’t popular enough to get the ultimate prize of PM.
- All things considered, I thought it would be most interesting to show Octavian’s journey from equal team mate to superior leader through his political cunning that must have been founded right at the start of his political presence
- Although they killed many conspirator supporters before the ultimate battle at Phillipi and the deaths of Brutus and Cassius, Octavius still wanted to win over his fellow senators and consolidate support for the Triumvirate.
- I have drawn on techniques used by Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar’ to write this speech, as I imagine Octavius to have been well educated in the art of rhetoric, as Antony was. Appealing to patriotism and provoking images of an idolised, mighty roman republic in the mind of his audience, he aims to gain their full support.
- Inspired by the critiques of the corrupt orator seen in Plato’s ‘Gorgias’ and other works, another parallel between ancient roman and contemporary politics is the media. By creating a rich, powerful orator figure I aim to represent Rupert Murdoch, who owns 65% of circulated newspapers in Australia while simultaneously being an avid supporter of the American Republic party, who’s opposition to the Democrats is similar to the right wing faction’s critique of the Australian labour party. Subsequent incidents and accusations of corruption are a reminder of the impact that media has on the common people and indeed the power of their political representatives
Sample of concepts
- A victory speech delivered by Octavius Caesar to the Roman Senate, inspired by and representative of Scott Morrison’s 2019 PM acceptance speech
- A series of tweets inspired by real @LiberalAus posts will be created to circulate catchy slogans and promises to the expectant public
- Creation of the character ‘Remus’ the Caesar-allied orator in order to represent and draw parallels between corrupt contemporary media and Ancient rhetorician tactics
Address to the Senate of Rome delivered by Octavius Caesar following his victory at Phillipi
Inspired by Scott Morrison’s 2019 acceptance speech
Gentleman of the Senate, I do thank you for your warm welcome but please, hold fast while I speak. We have returned from Phillipi untied in victory! The traitors cowered and fell apart at the sight of an army as our own. How good is Rome? How good is Rome? Rome, my brothers, is only as good as the people who make it, and now that we have eliminated the traitors, the pure blood of Rome can run without the risk of poison. The traitors, they told you that Caesar must die to protect the republic, but it is now plain to see, men, that they were simply thirsty for the power that they did not possess, the power that lay with their friend and fellow countryman, who they murdered in cold blood. I assure you that Antony, Lepidus and I will provide the strong leadership that you deserve, and that you will bear witness to the dawn of a mighty era that will live on forever. Us Romans are clearly superior in mind and strength, together, I believe we can take on the whole world, and you will help us get there! But I must acknowledge those who helped us get to this point. I’d like to thank Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus for their leadership and courage in battle. I’d also like to thank and bless the souls of the men who were killed in battle at Phillipi, they are the true noble men of Rome that will live on for as long as the republic. And with that, let us begin this new chapter of the mighty united empire that will be as immortal as the ghost of Caesar.
If Octavius Caesar had Twitter
Inspired by @LiberalAus and twitter trends
Character profile - Remus the orator
Loosely based on media giant, Rupert Murdoch
Name - Remus Romulus
Sex - Male
Occupation - politician and orator
Remus is an influential orator, senator and intellectual who enjoys a high class life in Ancient Rome along with his wife and seven sons. Raised in a wealthy family, his father taught him the art pf rhetoric at an early age and encouraged his son to pursue politics. Remus is now one of the most sought after teachers for young boys, and makes a healthy sum at this practice. His reputation as wise and respectable has made him a key player in politics, and was therefore quickly targeted as an essential ally by Triumvirate member Octavius Caesar, who was taught by Remus in his earlier years. Any doubt that the young Caesar would step up to his duty was eliminated when Remus announced support for him after his famous victory speech mad after his victory over Brutus and Cassius at the battle of Phillipi. The significant impact that a figure like Remus in the success of the Triumvirate cannot be underestimated, and the public keenly await what connections, influence and stories he can pull of of the hat for his allies in the senate.
Major Hack second provocation - Elisa
For my provocation, I chose the side of Mark Antony because of his position in the public arena as a supporter of Caesar as well as an individual politician. Compared to Octavius, Antony has a stronger foundation to work off of, as he is already a prominent political figure as well as more closely resembling politicians of today, which is the era my response is appropriate to.
The form, a series of tweets, intends to emulate how Donald Trump spreads his messages so they resemble his tweets in style. His use of Twitter in comparison to any other social media platform means that he must keep his messages concise and carefully crafted due to the character limit. Regardless of how I feel about his ideology, it is undeniable that Trump is a powerful communicator. After some research into how he speaks and writes, it became clear that the reason for his popularity is that his speech and writing is accessible to a wide range of people because it is usually in short sentences that often end in strong memorable words. He doesn’t leave any space for ambiguity with regards to how the reader should feel as he’s expressive with his use of exclamation marks and emotive yet simple language.
There are some unquestionable similarities between Mark Antony and Donald Trump in terms of their manipulation of the public, and even direct links such as that between Antony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral and Trump’s victory speech in Nevada wherein he claimed to “love the poorly educated”. They both have similar strategies of controlling what the public thinks of them as well as others, especially their opponents whom they often alienate and vilify. It therefore follows that if Antony were to exist in a time when Twitter is around and has an account, his tweets would be of similar nature to Trump’s.
However, unlike the majority of Trump’s tweets, these are not defensive as that is not appropriate in the given situation. Instead, they aim to unite the public in their aversion to the conspirators by inciting feelings of anger and frustration for the suffering that they have made the Roman society endure. The ultimate aim of the tweets, however, is for Antony to create a façade of peacekeeping and having the public’s interests at heart, presenting himself almost in a heroic light. He thereby builds the public’s trust in him, as that is sure to help him in ultimately overthrowing Octavius and ruling Rome himself. This method is preferable to directly fighting Octavius, since he (Octavius) already has considerable power at this point in time and even if he were to succeed, without the masses under his control, he would not have much power over them anyway. Antony hopes that eventually, the public themselves will drive Octavius out of the city. That way he, as an individual, will not be seen as a villain by anyone, as his influence on them has been primarily subconscious, but he will be left as Octavius’ heir and therefore achieve his goal.