Hero Swap: Tony Soprano and Julius Caesar

What would happen if Tony Soprano and Julius Caesar switched places?

I’ve done Hero Swaps before and I’ve talked about how history would be different if key events transpired differently, but in the most ambitious crossover event in history, I’m going to be doing both.

The general idea in Hero Swap is to have the main character of two different things switch places. After explaining which version of the characters are being swapped, I then decide which movie (tv show or book) is better, which is changed more and which character fares better in their new role.

Obviously in this case things will be a little different because Julius Caesar was a real person.

With that out of the way, it’s time to get down to brass tax.

Hero Swap: Tony Soprano and Julius Caesar

Which Versions are Being Swapped?

For our purposes Tony Soprano will be dropped into Ancient Rome On January 10, 49 BC, the day Caesar crossed the Rubicon effectively starting a civil war. Julius Caesar meanwhile will be dropped off right at the start of The Sopranos for season one.

Tony will have all his experiences from the six seasons of The Sopranos and will additionally be granted the requisite knowledge he’d need to have a fair chance to survive in Caesar’s shoes. Caesar will have all his experience from life before his assassination, as well as the knowledge he’d need to survive as a Mafia boss.

Basically, I want to swap the personality type of Tony Soprano and Julius Caesar, not just drop them off in random situations with no way to survive.

Who Fares Better After the Swap?

Tony Soprano fares better after the swap. This may be controversial, but I stand by the choice.

For one thing, Tony had all the makings of a varsity athlete, I’ve never heard the same said of Caesar.

“OHHH whatsamaddawithyou!?!”

 

In all seriousness however, I think that had Julius Caesar been in Tony’s role in The Sopranos he’d have acquitted himself very nicely before the death of Jackie Aprile Sr.I’m not 100 percent sure he’d have been able to stomach installing Junior as the “acting boss” (if in name only), but he would probably see the benefits of the move and proceed similarly to how Tony and the other captains did.

During the Civil War with Juniors crew, it’s possible that he’d have failed to sniff out the assassination plot, but I think he’d again, proceed similarly to Tony by having those beyond hope whacked, while patching up his relationship with the others.

Caesar pardoned many of his enemies after winning his civil war against Pompey and the Senate after all.

However, I think that Big Pussy being a rat would ultimately bring about his downfall. I’ll delve into why in the next section.

Now, in order to determine whether Tony would be fare better than Caesar I had to figure out whether or not he’d be able to do everything that Caesar did until his death, which meant I had to figure out what made Caesar an effective politician and general.

Julius Caesar was audacious, smart, beloved by the people, calculating, ruthless, pragmatic and beloved of the ladies. His was able to improvise and innovate in ways that truly baffled his enemies.

I feel that Tony displayed these traits many times during his run.

He constantly made ambitious gambles in business dealings that paid off, but could have been disastrous under a less skilled leader.

He generally knew when to use threats, bribes, carrots, or sticks to get what he wanted out of people.

He was always getting gorgeous ladies to sleep with him despite the fact that he was fat and not super good looking. (Big Dick Energy anyone?)

Now, one big difference is that Tony’s people didn’t always love him. He drove various Capos, soldiers and associates to at least consider betraying him multiple times. His abrasive demeanor let to falling-outs with nearly everyone he was close with, at one point or another.

However, Tony generally knew when this happened and was able to either bring the aggrieved parties back into the fold, have them killed, kill them, or get lucky in ways that eliminated the threat to him.

I think that Tony would be able to successfully win the civil war against Pompey and the Senate, have an extramarital affair with Cleopatra and eventually be appointed Dictator for life, but the assassination plot is where he’d really distinguish himself. I’m going to dive into the assassination of Tony Soprano in the next section.

However, by virtue of accomplishing more as Julius Caesar than Caesar was able to accomplish as Tony Soprano Tony gets the edge here.

What Happens After the Swap?

As previously mentioned, everything goes great for Caesar as Tony initially, he sets himself up as boss of the New Jersey crew and navigates the tricky civil war with Junior’s crew.

However, he is unable to sniff out the rat amidst his crew.

Using the evidence gather by Big Pussy, Julius Caesar and other high ranking members of the DiMeo Crime Family are taken down by the Federal Government.

Resentful of his treatment, many of the Capos pin it all on Caesar, earning themselves lesser punishments.

This combined with the arrests, ruin the family forever.

Caesar takes it stoically, but when Big Pussy takes the stand he’s unable to hold in the emotion, he lets out “et tu Pussy?”, knowing he’ll be sent to prison.

(I’ve always felt that Tony would have preferred a nice, clean death to prison, as being forced to grapple with his crimes and the negative public perception that would come as a result would make him ultimately realize that he was a terrible person. But I digress.)

Tony meanwhile reaches the point of history where Julius Caesar is assassinated.

It is very, very likely that’d he’d have pissed off enough people as dictator that they’d attempt an assassination against him as well.

But, Tony Soprano has one thing going for him that Julius Caesar did not.

The guy is an absolute unit!

In Awe at the Size of the Lad!

Julius Caesar was around 5’7″ and likely around 130-160 pounds, and the average Roman male at the time was about 5’4″. Tony Soprano was 6’1″ and likely around 250 pounds.

Even if Tony had no idea an assassination attempt was coming, he’d be like Gulliver smashing the army of Blefuscudians in Gulliver’s Travels. 

After Tony beat the first dozen would be assassins, I figure the rest would have the good sense to come to his aid and arrest the villains, instead of attempting to pile on in the assault.

I mean Tony beat Muscles Marina the Italian Strongman to a pulp right after getting out of the hospital with a gunshot wound!

Besides, look at the situational awareness (and athleticism) he displays in the gif below.

He’d obviously sniff out the plot as soon as he entered the Senate chambers!

After surviving the attempt on his life, Tony is able to focus his attention on further nurturing his heir Octavian.

Octavian finally gives Tony a worthy male heir (Meadow would have been a fantastic boss in my opinion, but that is an argument for another time) and he relishes the opportunity to teach him everything he knows.

Not that Octavian necessarily needed it, having ushered in Pax Romana in real life, but still you have to feel great for Tony now that he isn’t saddled with the huge disappointments that are Christopher and AJ.

You may be wondering how Tony’s panic attacks, arguably, the centerpiece of the entire show, influence his chances of survival.Good on you.

Generally, Tony’s panic attacks are caused by things related to his family, removing himself from their sphere could possibly alleviate his anxiety. However, we can’t just look past the fact that his high stress lifestyle also played a keen role in his mental health.

Serving as a general and dictator wouldn’t exactly be relaxing.However, as the title image says, Julius Caesar himself was afflicted by something (commonly thought to be epilepsy, though new theories have emerged) that had debilitating effects on his health. Some historians described him as having sudden fainting fits, not unlike Tony’s.

The two famous Italian heroes were actually incredibly similar as it turns out.Both were capable leaders, intelligent and ambitious. Both were devoted to installing a male heir other than their son as their successor. Both were gifted fighters. I could really go on and on.

The biggest difference between them was their size.But who knows, maybe if Caesar had been given more gabagool as a kid, he’d have grown up as big and strong as Tony and have survived getting stabbed 23 times.

 

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