Civil war In 50 BC, the Senate, led by Pompey, ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as governor had finished. Caesar thought he would be prosecuted if he entered Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a magistrate. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason.
In January 49 BC Caesar crossed the Rubicon river the frontier boundary of Italy with only one legion and ignited civil war. Upon crossing the Rubicon, Plutarch reports that Caesar quoted the Athenian playwright Menander in Greek, saying let the dice be tossed. Pompey and much of the senate fled to the south, having little confidence in his newly raised troops.
Despite greatly outnumbering Caesar, who only had his Thirteenth Legion with him, Pompey had no intention of fighting. Caesar pursued Pompey, hoping to capture him before his legions could escape. Pompey managed to escape before Caesar could break capture him. Caesar decided to head for Spain, while leaving Italy under the control of Mark Antony. Caesar made an astonishing day route-march to Spain, where he defeated Pompey's lieutenants. He decisively defeated Pompey, at Pharsalus in an exceedingly short engagement later that year. In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator, with Mark Antony as his Master of the Horse second in command ; Caesar presided over his own election to a second consulship and then, after eleven days, resigned this dictatorship.
Caesar then pursued Pompey to Egypt, where Pompey was soon murdered. Caesar then became involved with an Egyptian civil war between the child pharaoh and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, Cleopatra. Perhaps as a result of the pharaoh's role in Pompey's murder, Caesar sided with Cleopatra; he is reported to have wept at the sight of Pompey's head, which was offered to him by the pharaoh as a gift.
In any event, Caesar defeated the pharaoh's forces in 47 BC and installed Cleopatra as ruler. Caesar and Cleopatra celebrated their victory with a triumphant procession on the Nile in the spring of 47 B. The royal barge was accompanied by additional ships, introducing Caesar to the luxurious lifestyle of the Egyptian pharaohs.
Caesar and Cleopatra never married, as Roman Law only recognized marriages between two Roman citizens. Caesar continued his relationship with Cleopatra throughout his last marriage, which lasted 14 years — in Roman eyes, this did not constitute adultery — and may have fathered a son called Caesarion.
Cleopatra visited Rome on more than one occasion, residing in Caesar's villa just outside Rome across the Tiber. Late in 48 BC, Caesar was again appointed Dictator, with a term of one year. After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to the Middle East, where he annihilated the king of Pontus; his victory was so swift and complete that he mocked Pompey's previous victories over such poor enemies.
Thence, he proceeded to Africa to deal with the remnants of Pompey's senatorial supporters. He quickly gained a significant victory in 46 BC over Cato, who then committed suicide. After this victory, he was appointed Dictator for ten years. Nevertheless, Pompey's sons escaped to Spain. Caesar gave chase and defeated the last remnants of opposition in the Battle of Munda in March 45 BC. During this time, Caesar was elected to his third and fourth terms as consul in 46 BC and 45 BC this last time without a colleague.
Caesar had not proscribed his enemies, instead pardoning almost all, and there was no serious public opposition to him. Plutarch writes that many Romans found the triumph held following Caesar's victory to be in poor taste, as those defeated in the civil war had not been foreigners, but instead fellow Romans. On Caesar's return to Italy in September 45 BC, he filed his will, naming his grandnephew Gaius Octavius Octavian as the heir to everything, including his name.
Caesar also wrote that if Octavian died before Caesar did, Marcus Junius Brutus would be the next heir in succession. During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals.
With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system which had made its members rich. Between his crossing of the Rubicon River in 49 BC, and his assassination in 44 BC, Caesar established a new constitution, which was intended to accomplish three separate goals. First, he wanted to suppress all armed resistance out in the provinces, and thus bring order back to the empire.
Second, he wanted to create a strong central government in Rome. And finally, he wanted to knit together the entire empire into a single cohesive unit. The first goal was accomplished when Caesar defeated Pompey and his supporters. To accomplish the other two goals, he needed to ensure that his control over the government was undisputed, and so he assumed these powers by increasing his own authority, and by decreasing the authority of Rome's other political institutions.
Finally, he enacted a series of reforms that were meant to address several long neglected issues, the most important of which was his reform of the calendar. Dictatorship When Caesar returned to Rome, a triumph was held in his honor. The senate voted to place his triumphal chariot on the capital, opposite of Jupiter's, and that a bronze statue of him be put up on a monument representing the world with an inscription to the effect that he was a demigod. Four triumphs were celebrated ostensibly over Gaul, Egypt, Pharnaces and Juba although actually over the Romans he had defeated.
Part of the triumph involved Arsinoe IV, a former queen of Egypt, paraded around the streets in chains. This spectacle had never before been seen, at least not in Rome, and the people had pity on her. A fest was also held, and then Caesar was escorted home by twenty elephants carrying torch barriers. The following day, numerous spectacles were held. In addition, a naval battle was staged on a flooded section of the Field of Mars. Finally, two armies of war captives 2, people, horse and 20 elephants on either side fought each other in the Circus Maximus to the death.
The people were bothered, not so much by the sheer scale of the bloodshed as much as the waste of such a vast sum of money. Rioting resulted, which only stopped when Caesar had two rioters sacrificed by the priests on the Field of Mars. When the triumph was over, Caesar set forth to passing an unprecedented legislative agenda. He ordered a census be taken, which forced a reduction in the grain dole. Then he mandated that jurors could only come from the senate or the equestrian ranks. Next he passed a sumptuary law which restricted the purchase of certain luxuries.
After this, he passed a law that rewarded families for having many children, in an effort to speed along the repopulation of Italy. Then he passed a law which outlawed professional guilds, except those of ancient foundation, since many of these were subversive political clubs.
He then passed a term limit law applicable to governors. Next he passed a debt restructuring law, which ultimately eliminated about a fourth of all debts owed. The Forum of Caesar, with its Temple of Venus Genetrix, was then built among many other public works. Caesar also tightly regulated the purchase of state-subsidised grain and reduced the number of recipients to a fixed number, all of whom were entered into a special register. From 47 to 44 BC he made plans for the distribution of land to about 15, of his veterans.
The most important change, however, was his reform of the calendar. The calendar at the time was regulated by the movement of the moon, and this had resulted in a great deal of disorder. Caesar replaced this calendar with the Egyptian calendar, which was regulated by the sun. He set the length of the year to To bring the calendar into alignment with the seasons, he decreed that three extra months be inserted into 46 BC the ordinary intercalary month at the end of February, and two extra months after November.
This calendar is almost identical to the current Western calendar. Shortly before his assassination, he passed a few more reforms. He established a police force, appointed officials to carry out his land reforms, and ordered the rebuilding of Carthage and Corinth. He also extended Latin rights throughout the Roman world, and then abolished the tax system and reverted to the earlier version which allowed cities to collect tribute however they wanted rather than needing Roman middlemen. His assassination prevented further and larger schemes. He wanted to build an unprecedented temple to Mars, a huge theater, and a library on the scale of the Library of Alexandria.
He also wanted to convert Ostia to a major port, and cut a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth. Militarily, he wanted to conquer the Dacians, Parthians, and avenge the loss at Carrhae. Thus, he instituted a massive mobilization. Shortly before his assassination, the senate bestowed more honors on him. They named him censor for life, Father of the Fatherland, decreed that his image be stamped on coins a symbol of monarchy , that his birthday be celebrated by public sacrifices, and that the month of Quintilis be renamed July in his honor.
They even went further and decreed that he should sit in the senate on a gilded chair in the clothes that the kings had formally worn, according to HH Scullard reference From the Graccchi to Nero, third edition it is doubtful that he was addressed outright as "Jupiter Julius" and instituted a de facto cult around him with Mark Antony as its high priest. The senators may have done this to hasten his undoing, although he accepted most of these honors and became so prideful that he dispensed with his bodyguard. Political reforms The history of Caesar's political appointments are complex and uncertain.
Caesar held both the dictatorship and the tribunate, but alternated between the consulship and the Proconsulship. His powers within the state seem to have rested upon these magistracies. He was first appointed dictator in 49 BC possibly in order to preside over elections, but resigned his dictatorship within eleven days.
In 48 BC, he was appointed dictator again, only this time for an indefinite period, and in 46 BC, he was appointed dictator for ten years. In February of 44 BC, one month before his assassination, he was appointed dictator for life. Under Caesar, a significant amount of authority was vested in his lieutenants, mostly because Caesar was frequently out of Italy. In October of 45 BC, Caesar resigned his position as sole consul, and facilitated the election of two successors for the remainder of the year, which, in theory at least, restored the ordinary consulship, since the constitution did not recognize a single consul without a colleague.
In 48 BC, Caesar was given permanent tribunician powers, which made his person sacrosanct and allowed him to veto the senate, although on at least one occasion, tribunes did attempt to obstruct him. The offending tribunes in this case were brought before the senate and divested of their office. This was not the first time that Caesar had violated a tribune's sacrosanctity, since after he had first marched on Rome in 49 BC, he forcibly opened the treasury in spite of a seal placed on it by a tribune.
After the impeachment of the two obstructive tribunes, Caesar, perhaps unsurprisingly, faced no further opposition from other members of the tribunician college. In 46 BC, Caesar gave himself the title of "Prefect of the Morals", which was an office that was new only in name, as its powers were identical to those of the censors. Thus, he could hold censorial powers, while technically not subjecting himself to the same checks that the ordinary censors were subject to, and he used these powers to fill the senate with his own partisans.
He also set the precedent, which his imperial successors followed, of requiring the senate to bestow various titles and honors upon him. He was, for example, given the title of "Father of the Fatherland" and " imperator ". Coins bore his likeness, and he was given the right to speak first during senate meetings. Caesar then increased the number of magistrates who were elected each year, which created a large pool of experienced magistrates, and allowed Caesar to reward his supporters. Caesar even took steps to transform Italy into a province, and to more tightly link the other provinces of the empire into a single cohesive unit.
This addressed the underlying problem that had caused the Social War decades earlier, where individuals outside Rome, and certainly outside Italy, were not considered "Roman", and thus were not given full citizenship rights. This process, of fusing the entire Roman Empire into a single unit, rather than maintaining it as a network of unequal principalities, would ultimately be completed by Caesar's successor, the emperor Augustus.
When Caesar returned to Rome in 47 BC, the ranks of the senate had been severely depleted, and so he used his censorial powers to appoint many new senators, which eventually raised the senate's membership to All of these appointments were of his own partisans, which robbed the senatorial aristocracy of its prestige, and made the senate increasingly subservient to him.
To minimize the risk that another general might attempt to challenge him, Caesar passed a law which subjected governors to term limits. Near the end of his life, Caesar began to prepare for a war against the Parthian Empire. Since his absence from Rome might limit his ability to install his own consuls, he passed a law which allowed him to appoint all magistrates in 43 BC, and all consuls and tribunes in 42 BC. This, in effect, transformed the magistrates from being representatives of the people to being representatives of the dictator. Mark Antony, having vaguely learned of the plot the night before from a terrified Liberator named Servilius Casca, and fearing the worst, went to head Caesar off.
The plotters, however, had anticipated this and, fearing that Antony would come to Caesar's aid, had arranged for Trebonius to intercept him just as he approached the portico of Theatre of Pompey, where the session was to be held, and detain him outside. Plutarch, however, assigns this action to delay Antony to Brutus Albinus.
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When he heard the commotion from the senate chamber, Antony fled. According to Plutarch, as Caesar arrived at the Senate Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother. The other conspirators crowded round to offer support. Both Plutarch and Suetonius say that Caesar waved him away, but Cimber grabbed his shoulders and pulled down Caesar's tunic. Caesar then cried to Cimber, "Why, this is violence! At the same time, Casca produced his dagger and made a glancing thrust at the dictator's neck. Caesar turned around quickly and caught Casca by the arm.
According to Plutarch, he said in Latin, "Casca, you villain, what are you doing? Within moments, the entire group, including Brutus, was striking out at the dictator. Caesar attempted to get away, but, blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him as he lay defenceless on the lower steps of the portico.
According to Eutropius, around sixty or more men participated in the assassination. He was stabbed 23 times. According to Suetonius, a physician later established that only one wound, the second one to his chest, had been lethal. The dictator's last words are not known with certainty, and are a contested subject among scholars and historians alike. Suetonius reports that others have said Caesar's last words were the Greek phrase "" transliterated as " Kai su, teknon? However, Suetonius himself says Caesar said nothing. Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators.
The version best known in the English-speaking world is the Latin phrase " Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar. According to Plutarch, after the assassination, Brutus stepped forward as if to say something to his fellow senators; they, however, fled the building. Brutus and his companions then marched to the Capitol while crying out to their beloved city: "People of Rome, we are once again free!
They were met with silence, as the citizens of Rome had locked themselves inside their houses as soon as the rumour of what had taken place had begun to spread.
A wax statue of Caesar was erected in the forum displaying the 23 stab wounds. A crowd who had gathered there started a fire, which badly damaged the forum and neighbouring buildings. In the ensuing chaos Mark Antony, Octavian , and others fought a series of five civil wars, which would end in the formation of the Roman Empire.
Aftermath of the assassination The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic. The Roman middle and lower classes, with whom Caesar was immensely popular and had been since before Gaul, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had killed their champion. Antony, who had been drifting apart from Caesar, capitalised on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to unleash them on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking control of Rome himself.
But, to his surprise and chagrin, Caesar had named his grandnephew Gaius Octavian his sole heir, bequeathing him the immensely potent Caesar name as well as making him one of the wealthiest citizens in the Republic. The crowd at the funeral boiled over, throwing dry branches, furniture and even clothing on to Caesar's funeral pyre, causing the flames to spin out of control, seriously damaging the Forum. The mob then attacked the houses of Brutus and Cassius, where they were repelled only with considerable difficulty, ultimately providing the spark for the Liberators' civil war, fulfilling at least in part Antony's threat against the aristocrats.
However, Antony did not foresee the ultimate outcome of the next series of civil wars, particularly with regard to Caesar's adopted heir. Octavian, aged only 18 at the time of Caesar's death, proved to have considerable political skills, and while Antony dealt with Decimus Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavian consolidated his tenuous position. In order to combat Brutus and Cassius, who were massing an enormous army in Greece, Antony needed soldiers, the cash from Caesar's war chests, and the legitimacy that Caesar's name would provide for any action he took against them.
Seeing that Caesar's clemency had resulted in his murder, the Second Triumvirate brought back the practice of proscription, abandoned since Sulla. It engaged in the legally sanctioned murder of a large number of its opponents in order to secure funding for its forty-five legions in the second civil war against Brutus and Cassius.
Antony and Octavius defeated them at Philippi. Afterward, Mark Antony married Caesar's lover, Cleopatra, intending to use the fabulously wealthy Egypt as a base to dominate Rome. A third civil war broke out between Octavian on one hand and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. This final civil war, culminating in the latter's defeat at Actium, resulted in the permanent ascendancy of Octavian, who became the first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus, a name that raised him to the status of a deity.
These plans were thwarted by his assassination. His successors did attempt the conquests of Parthia and Germania, but without lasting results. Julius Caesar was the first historical Roman to be officially deified. Though his temple was not dedicated until after his death, he may have received divine honours during his lifetime: and shortly before his assassination, Mark Antony had been appointed as his flamen priest.
After the death of Antony, Octavian, as the adoptive son of Caesar, assumed the title of Divi Filius son of a god. Modern scholarship is "sharply divided" on the subject, and it is more certain that he was plagued by malaria, particularly during the Sullan proscriptions of the 80s. Caesar had four documented episodes of what may have been complex partial seizures.
He may additionally have had absence seizures in his youth. The earliest accounts of these seizures were made by the biographer Suetonius who was born after Caesar died. The claim of epilepsy is countered among some medical historians by a claim of hypoglycemia, which can cause epileptoid seizures. In , Psychiatrists Harbour F.
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Hodder published what he termed as the "Caesar Complex" theory, arguing that Caesar was a sufferer of temporal lobe epilepsy and the debilitating symptoms of the condition were a factor in Caesar's conscious decision to forgo personal safety in the days leading up to his assassination. A line from Shakespeare has sometimes been taken to mean that he was deaf in one ear: Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf.
No classical source mentions hearing impairment in connection with Caesar. The playwright may have been making metaphorical use of a passage in Plutarch that does not refer to deafness at all, but rather to a gesture Alexander of Macedon customarily made. By covering his ear, Alexander indicated that he had turned his attention from an accusation in order to hear the defense.
The Roman historian Suetonius describes Caesar as "tall of stature with a fair complexion, shapely limbs, a somewhat full face, and keen black eyes. The standard abbreviation was, and this is not archaic, "C.
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In Classical Latin, it was pronounced. In the days of the late Roman Republic, many historical writings were done in Greek, a language most educated Romans studied. Throughout, Caesar A lengthy ethnographic digression on systemizes vocabulary and grammatical struc- Gaul and Germany occupies much of book tures, shuns unnecessary oratorical flourishes, 6 53 , although there are minor campaigns and writes gracefully and concisely Cic. Caesar adapted the traditional the German Sugambri.
Caesar ends the year and simple brevity of the commentarius, ele- searching for Ambiorix and investigating a vating its potential historiographically and conspiracy amongst the Senones and Carnutes. The book is the story of the rebellion divided into three parts.
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Caesar Gaul before justifying his campaign in Gaul. Caesar and his legates reduce the surrender of the Suessiones and Bellovaci, the remnants of Gallic resistance. The but deals savagely with the treachery of the final chapters focus on the challenges to Cae- Aduatuci and Veneti. They are fickle and undeter- only the greatest skill and elegance in writing, mined, rash and frenzied, greedy and lazy.
Already under pline, hard work, and traditional virtue.
The Germans have limits of his provinces without senatorial per- no organized religion, no organized agriculture, mission. The Britons are sin- promotion but also necessary to justify and to gled out for their charioteering skills, their promote his calculated subjugation of areas guerrilla tactics, and their ability to unify outside Roman control. The Helvetii threaten impose Roman dominion.
Four times, Caesar recalls their anni- goods. Such items threaten their ferocity and hilation of the army of L. Cassius Longinus in great virtue. In book 2, Caesar overcomes them BCE. Ariovistus, although a friend and ally only with great difficulty. Publius Cras- Publius Crassus and Quintus Cicero act sus must use care in suppressing the Aquitani, nobly, even under pressure.
Ambiorix defeats because some years before they had defeated Sabinus and Cotta because their personal dis- the army of L. Mallius and killed the legate agreement interferes with the right course of L. Valerius Praeconinus. In every case, the action for the Roman army. Caesar consis- Gallic tribes are never precisely differentiated. Furthermore, in-chief Riggsby Where appropriate undermine his successes in Gaul.
Therefore, he offers clemency or metes out punishment.
Caesar is the consum- mate diplomat, general, and warrior: the very In antiquity, the Gallic War provided material model of Roman virtue par excellence. The Roman views on the barbarian. Malmesbury and Petrarch. Francis Bacon and Henry Felton thought that the Commentaries The much-debated date of publication of the revealed Caesar as the most complete and Gallic War has not been unrelated to its unique figure to emerge from antiquity.
This in the education of a general. A slightly different position allows to Vercingetorix. As Cicero remarked: Braund, D. Needham, trans. McLintock, trans. As an historical document, the Gallic War Osgood, J. The Rambaud, M. Gallic War is read with an understanding Rhodes, P.