Like always, I Googled to check what exactly did Congregate mean.
Congregate:(verb) to gather into a crowd or a mass.
And that sounded quite interesting. And that’s why I’m here.
Interesting points first. So that you check out the entire post and not say ‘huh’ and walk away.
Let’s go back to 44 BC March 15.
Assassination of Julius Caesar.
Well, even though that event is quite intriguing and I know that you want me to debate over Marcus Brutus’ loyalty, I still won’t wander into those territories because they wouldn’t fall into the theme. Instead I’ll talk about how Mark Antony instigated the crowd, a few days after Julius Caesar’s death.
The Roman crowd was considered to be ambiguous about their opinion on Caesar’s death, the conspirators and Antony. Their opinions on Caesar and whether or not he was ambitious kept changing so often in a single act that it becomes pretty clear that they were merely a disorganised mob who often awaited for a leader to do the justice.
Initially, their rage against the conspirators had crossed all boundaries, until Brutus addressed them and talked about how ambitious Caesar really was. He presented Caesar’s action and then his own reaction:
“As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but as he was ambitious, I slew him”.
This does help in turning the tables over and the crowd which had come to burn down all the conspirators, end up empathizing and cheering Brutus instead.
But again, this reaction doesn’t last long either. Antony enters the scene and with his extraordinary oratory skills, he addresses the allegation by saying:
“Caesar hath brought many captives home
to Rome, whose ransoms did the general coffers fill. Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept; ambition should be made of sterner stuff. You all did see that on the Lupercal, Antony thrice
presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse, was that ambition?”
Thus, indirectly contradicting what Brutus had said, yet not talking a word against the conspirators.
“Yet Brutus says he was ambitious, And Brutus is an honourable man.”
In addition to all this, he keeps mentioning Caesar’s will that acts like a spark to light up the crowd’s emotions and unveil their love and respect towards Caesar that Brutus had temporarily buried. He also shows Caesar’s mutilated body to the citizens, thus invoking further rage and cries of distress.
But without going further into the story, let’s talk about the significance of that mob, their reaction and how it mattered so much to the senators. Assassination of Caesar was the cause for the congregation. Their objective though, was disturbingly very unclear.
Does this mean when people congregate, its usually disorganized and without a fixed objective? To generalize it using one statement wouldn’t seem quite right. I mean, not always did a congregation involve people who didn’t know what they were doing. Infact, Google also says that congregation is a word that can be used to refer to that group of people who have come together for a religious worship. And they clearly have a defined purpose.
So does congregation mean the coming together of an unruly, disoriented mob or the disciplined mass?
Or does it mean the congregation of the stars to make up huge elegant forms like the Butterfly cluster?
Or could congregation just mean coming together of things, living or non-living and having a purpose or otherwise. And why does it even matter so much?
The conspirators feared the congregation of the Roman citizens while Antony found it necessary to avenge Caesar’s death.
While the word might have different definitions, concerning different things, in the end it comes down to the strength of the multitude which can change the course of things, if provided with the right purpose and push.