If you ever needed a sure sign of how delusional the battle against new media from News Corp has become, news today suggests that Rupert Murdoch believes himself to be Julius Caesar.
Kara Swisher at AllThingsD details how the battle against new media at News Corp is known internally as “Project Alesia,” after the battle led by Julius Caesar against the Gauls in what is now France in September 52 BC. Read Kara’s post for the historical context of the battle, which the Romans won and ultimately led to Gaul becoming a Roman territory.
If News Corp though believes that its battle is one with parallels to Caesar, you need to look past the Battle into the shorter term following the battle. Although over a period of eight years, the comparison of the Roman time scale vs the News Corp one shouldn’t be equal: in an age where news and information travels at the speed of light, eight Roman years is generously eight months today, but in pure mathematics a lot less; it would take weeks for news from Rome to travel across the Empire, where as Rupert Murdoch has access to the internet and telephones.
So what happened after the Battle of Alesia? Well, as it turned out, the Roman senate refused to allow Caesar the honor of a triumph for his victory in the Gallic Wars, which eventually led, in part, to the Roman Civil War of 50–45 BC.
For those with a scant understanding of Roman history, the Civil War of 50-45 BC saw Caesar take full control over the Roman land, and saw the abolition of Republican Rome in favor of what is known today as the Roman Empire.
At this point, Caesar is winning, and perhaps in the short term Murdoch may as well. But it doesn’t take a Roman scholar to know what happened later, but it does help if you read Shakespeare at school, because you’d know the saying “Beware The Ides of March.”
In the end, Caesar dies, not of natural causes but at the hands of his own supporters who didn’t like the direction Rome was taking.
The Roman Empire though didn’t die with Caesar, but it did eventually die. As a side point, Caesar failed to invade Britain twice, I wonder if the parallel there is with Murdoch’s failed attempts at establishing News Corp online with failures such as MySpace and others?
If Murdoch is Caesar, and News Corp the Roman Empire, News Corp will eventually die as well; it might not be immediately, and it won’t be in 400 years, but it will happen because the same history they’re basing their new media battle on says that it will. History tells us that no empire lasts forever, and News Corp is the biggest empire in the media world today. The only question is how soon will they fall?