Who dare say the Sun is false?
-Virgil, remarking on ill portents after Caesar's assassination
On the Ides of March, in the year 44 BCE, Julius Caesar was assassinated, stabbed by members of his own Senate. The Senators thought he was trying to amass too much power, wanting to declare himself king of Rome. A series of political missteps on his part exacerbated the climate against him, and the rest, well, is history.
After he was killed, Mark Antony, co-consul of Caesar, tried to hold the Republic together, but in the end was defeated by Octavian, Julius's son, who declared himself Caesar Augustus, Emperor of Rome. The Republic fell, and the Roman Empire began.
As if to mirror the events on its surface, the interior of Earth rumbled with discontent at that same time. It's well known that in and around the Mediterranean the summer following the assassination was fraught with climactic disaster; it was unusually cool and dark during the day, crops failed and rivers flooded, causing wide spread famine and disease.
Geologists have long thought that a volcanic eruption was behind these more natural events, but had not been able to determine from where. New research by an ...