William Shakespeare's gripping play showed Caesar's assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. The real killing, however, was a carefully planned paramilitary operation, a generals' plot put together by Caesar's disaffected officers and designed with precision. Brutus and Cassius were indeed key players, but they had the help of a third man—Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar's entourage, one of Caesar's leading generals, and a lifelong friend. It was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar.
Caesar's assassins saw him as a military dictator who wanted to be king. He threatened a permanent change in the Roman way of life and in the power of senators. The assassins rallied support among the common people, but they underestimated Caesar's soldiers, who flooded Rome. The assassins were vanquished; their beloved Republic became the Roman Empire.