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10 Facts About Julius Caesar’s Rise to Power

10 Facts About Julius Caesar’s Rise to Power

Benefitting from an advantageous birth, Julius Caesar was primed for life in the public eye. Though he experienced more than a few bumps along the way, his career started with an active military service, effectively raising his stakes in Roman political society. Caesar then progressed to more civil and bureaucratic roles before returning to the life that he became famous for.

Here are 10 facts that concern Caesar’s early career and path towards greatness.

1. Caesar began his military career at the Siege of Mytilene in 81 BC

The island city, situated on Lesbos, was suspected of helping local pirates. The Romans under Marcus Minucius Thermus and Lucius Licinius Lucullus won the day.

2. From the start he was a brave soldier and was decorated with the Civic Crown during the siege

This was the second highest military honour after the Grass Crown and entitled its winner to enter the Senate.

3. An ambassadorial mission to Bithynia in 80 BC was to haunt Caesar for the rest of his life

King Nicomedes IV.

He was sent to seek naval help from King Nicomedes IV, but spent so long at court that rumours of an affair with the king started. His enemies later mocked him with the title ‘the Queen of Bithynia’.

4. Caesar was kidnapped by pirates in 75 BC while crossing the Aegean Sea

He told his captors the ransom they had demanded was not high enough and promised to crucify them when he was free, which they thought a joke. On his release he raised a fleet, captured them and did have them crucified, mercifully ordering their throats cut first.

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5. When his enemy Sulla died, Caesar felt safe enough to return to Rome

Sulla was able to retire from political life and died on his country estate. His appointment as dictator when Rome was not in crisis by the Senate set a precedent for Caesar’s career.

6. In Rome Caesar lived an ordinary life

Photo by Lalupa via Wikimedia Commons.

He wasn’t rich, Sulla having confiscated his inheritance, and lived in a working class neighbourhood that was a notorious red-light district.

7. He found his voice as a lawyer

Needing to earn money, Caesar turned to the courts. He was a successful lawyer and his speaking was very highly praised, though he was noted for his high-pitched voice. He particularly liked prosecuting corrupt government officials.

8. He was back in military and political life soon

Historian and archaeologist Simon Elliott answers the key questions surrounding one of history's most compelling figures - Julius Caesar.

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He was elected a military tribune and then quaestor – a travelling auditor – in 69 BC. He was then was sent to Spain as a governor.

9. He found a hero on his travels

In Spain Caesar is reported to have seen a statue of Alexander the Great. He was disappointed to note that he was now the same age as Alexander had been when he was master of the known world.

10. More powerful offices were soon to follow

Emperor Augustus in the robes of Pontifex Maximus.

In 63 BC he was elected to the top religious position in Rome, Pontifex Maximus (he had been a priest as a boy) and two years later he was governor of a large part of Spain where his military talent shone through as he defeated two local tribes.

This documentary tells the story of Julius Caesar's assassination on the 'Ides of March' in 44 BC. Featuring Dr Emma Southon and Professor Marco Conti.

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10 Facts about Julius Caesar

The people of Rome gave him titles, honors and more power than anyone else in their history but who was the man behind the brilliant speeches, the feared general and political genius, the man who inspired Shakespeare? His influence today might be more prevalent than you think. Even the King of Diamonds in the traditional pack of playing cards is meant to represent him.

Here are ten things that you should know about the famous (or infamous) Julius Caesar:

1 Happy Birthday Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar was born on July, 13th in 100 BC to an aristocratic family. Legend has it that his ancestry is traced back to the Goddess Venus, which explains why he had a temple built for her in the center of the city.

2 Don’t let kidnapping get you down After being kidnapped by Sicilian pirates at 25 years old, he didn’t behave like your average hostage. Instead he demanded his ransom be doubled and then preceded to amuse his kidnappers by giving speeches and joining in their sport and games aboard ship. But he always warned his new friends that once he got out of there, he’d hunt them down one by one. True to his word, once he was free, he captured them all, took back the ransom money and crucified each and every one of them. His one concession to his former “pals?” He killed them before crucifying them. Nice guy.

3 Caesar in Love Caesar was married 3 times but his most famous relationship was with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. The two were lovers for 14 years and had a son together named Ptolemy Caesar with the nickname “Caesarion”- “The little Caesar”. (And no, no connection to the Caesarian section.) Caesar’s obsession with Cleopatra led him to include a statue of her in the Temple to the Goddess Venus, all but inviting the people of Rome to worship his own mistress…something they were less than thrilled to do.

4 Thanks Uncle After his only legal daughter Giulia died in childbirth, Caesar adopted his grandnephew Octavian and named him as heir in his will – something that wasn’t made public until after his death (coming up soon). Octavian would go on to become to first Emperor of Rome (Augustus Caesar) after Julius Caesar paved the way for him by dismantling the remains of the Old Republic and thus ushering in a reign of Emperors.

5 What’s the Date today? Caesar proposed the Julian Calendar in 45BC which most of the western world used until it was gradually replaced by the Gregorian Calendar proposed in 1582. Caesar is considered to be the father of the Leap year.

6 Pray to… Caesar? During his lifetime, his face started to appear on Roman coins but it wasn’t until after his death that he was officially deified by his heir, Octavian Augustus. He may have been the first Roman official to be deified but he wasn’t the last. Augustus had started a precedent and subsequent emperors (if popular) were also deified. In fact, it became the law to worship them… something that was to become a big problem for one religious group: the Christians.

7 Veni Vidi Vici! This famous phrase, meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered” was attributed to Caesar after his almost impossibly swift victory against Pharnaces II of the Kingdom of Pontus (modern day Turkey). It has since become synonymous with a swift, decisive victory.

8 Crossing the Rubicon: The die is cast Caesar’s more famous battles were against the Gauls upon whom he waged or more or less genocidal campaign in the efforts to boost his military career. In fear of his growing influence, the Senate decided to curtail his power but Caesar wouldn’t hear of it. In 49bc crossed the Rubicon River, the border of Roman territory and Cisalpine Gaul with his armies (a move that was tantamount to treason), uttering the phrase “alea iacta est” (the die is cast). The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” now signifies crossing a point of no return and indeed that was the result. Some mark the civil war that followed and the subsequent dictatorship that Caesar set up as the end of the Roman Republic.

9 Beware the Ides of March! Beware the Ides of March… said a soothsayer to Julius Caesar, thus uttering the prophecy of his doom. On March 15th, 44bc (what the Ancient Romans called the Ides) Julius Caesar was assassinated and the history of Rome changed forever. After threatening the power of the senate, they hatched a conspiracy – no less than 60 senators were involved in the plot. They stabbed him to death on the floor of the senate, at that time held in the no longer standing Theater of Pompey (close to today’s Largo Argentina). Despite stabbing him 23 times, only one blow was fatal.

10 E tu, Brute? Were these really Caesar’s last words? Fiercely fighting his attackers with just the pen in his hand, legend would have it that when Caesar saw Brutus, one of his closest friends, amongst the mob around him the fight went out of him. With a last “You too, Brutus?” he succumbed to his fate. At least, this is how Shakespeare would have had it in his play: “The assassination of Julius Caesar”. Whatever his final words, his life story, wreathed in myth and legend was certainly enough to inspire the great poet.

Bonus Buon Appetito? And the famous Caesar Salad? Named after it’s inventor Caesar Cardini in who invented it in the 1920’s.


#2 He was the most powerful man in the Roman Republic

The First Triumvirate ended with the death of Crassus in 53 BC, following which Pompey realigned himself with the Roman senate and opposed Caesar. This led to the Great Roman Civil War (49–45 BC) in which Caesar ultimately defeated Pompey and his supporters in the Senate to become the undisputed leader of Rome. In the Roman Republic, a dictator was an office which was given wide ranging powers, mostly in times of emergency. Caesar was first appointed dictator in 49 BC. In 44 BC, after he had crushed the last resistance of Pompey’s supporters, Caesar was appointed dictator perpetuo (dictator in perpetuity). He also held the tribunician power for an indefinite period, which prevented the other tribunes from interfering with his actions.


How did Julius Caesar come into power?

A superb general and politician, Julius Caesar (c. 100 BC &ndash 44 BC / Reigned 46 &ndash 44 BC) changed the course of Roman history. Although he did not rule for long, he gave Rome fresh hope and a whole dynasty of emperors. Born into an aristocratic family in around 100 BC, Julius Caesar grew up in dangerous times.

what did Julius Caesar invent? Answer and Explanation: In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar implemented a new calendar that he had created called the Julian Calendar. Previous Roman calendars were based on lunar

Just so, how did Julius Caesar expand the Roman Empire?

Julius Caesar had a major impact on the expansion of the Roman Empire and the Empire itself. After he conquered Gaul and Britain, he intended to return to Rome, though he knew Pompey, the consul of the time, would execute him for his power. He defeated Pompey in Greece and chased him to multiple other countries.


Caesar’s Rise to Power in Rome (Fall 2012)

Gaius Julius Caesar was perhaps one of the most influential peoples of all time. His historic rise to power and overthrow of the Roman Republic put an estimated 45 million people or around 15-25 percent of the world’s population under his control. Therefore, it is no wonder Caesar has been one of the main subjects of early history and it is also no wonder the Roman culture from 2,000 years ago can still be seen worldwide today. But with every historical event, comes questions as to why or how the event happened in the way it did. Due to Caesar’s rise to power having massive implications for so many people and history, it is necessary and rather interesting to explore how he was able to take over.

To understand Caesar’s rise to power, it is necessary to first understand Roman history and Caesar’s early history. Beginning with a brief overview of Roman history, Rome had its foundations tied up in the legend of Romulus and Remus. As the tale goes, when Romulus and Remus were born an attempt on their lives was made and the gods spared them. Then as they grew up in a different part of the country, they set up the foundations for what would become Rome. Though this is obviously just a legend and its truthfulness unknown, it is clear that Roman power began as an early kingdom some hundreds of years before the more-recorded Roman Republic and nearly 700 years before the Roman Empire, dating its foundations around 750 BC. From this point on, Rome continued to grow its influence and power. Eventually in 510 BC, the Romans overthrew the kingship and replaced it with a freer, democratic Roman Republic. In the appropriately called constitution which modern day nations like the U.S. have based their constitutions on, the Romans set up a Senate composed of leaders from all Roman territories allowing for better representation. To fill the authoritative void that the kings left, the Romans put power into two popular elected consuls that served for only a year. Their power was vastly limited and some powers, such as religious power, was vested in other elected officials to prevent any one person from having absolute power. In addition, the Romans authorized a special position during times of emergency that was key to Caesar’s rise to ultimate power that will be talked about later, known as the Dictatorship. This new system of government had a promising beginning, but soon developed fatal instabilities that belittled the power of the common man and paved the way for Caesar to take over.

Now, here is where Caesar comes into play. Julius Caesar, born Gauis Julius Caesar, was born on July 12, 100 BC in Rome to father and politician Gaius Caesar and mother Aurelia. Caesar grew up into a fairly wealthy political family and as such he was expected to follow tradition and enter politics. Caesar, as will become apparent, almost followed tradition too well throughout his life and angered political leaders and even the Roman Senate. Beginning his career in his adolescent years, Caesar started off on dangerous footing. The two political leaders of the time, Marius and Sulla, controlled the political scene and while Caesar tended to form connections with Marius supporters particularly with his marriage to the daughter of a Marius supporter/politician, Sulla gained influence over Marius and dispatched any Marius supporters. Caesar, through friends and relatives, was able to receive a pardon after he refused to divorce his controversial wife and was exiled.

While in exile, and somewhat before then, Caesar learned much about what it would take to be a political and even militaristic leader. To begin with, Caesar joined the army as a military assistant to a governor. While fulfilling his duties, Caesar also assisted in some successful military campaigns that garnered him support. Despite this, after serving for a short time, Caesar still couldn’t return to Rome, so he left the army and began work to improve his political abilities, focusing on public speaking. As Caesar was doing this, Rome was experiencing a political upheaval that resulted in a regime change. This gave Caesar the opportunity he needed and was waiting for to return to Rome and continue his political ambitions, an opportunity he did not take lightly.

When Caesar returned to Rome, he completely dedicated himself to politics. All aspects of his life, including his fortune, his choice of wife, and his character all had political implications surrounding them. For example, he married several times and always to a woman that would help boost his political standing or wealth. He put all of his fortune, including fortune he obtained through marriage, into politics via parties and bribes. Though this is not uncommon for political office seekers to do, Caesar also spent beyond his own fortunes and took money from others on loan. Knowing this could end up disastrous if his political rise halted, Caesar worked tirelessly and managed to work his way up the political scheme enough to land a high-end religious position called the pontifex maximus (the chief priest). Soon after obtaining this position, Caesar was sent to Europe to quell the revolts that were occurring stabilize the area. Caesar proved successful and gained further political support that he obviously wanted.

After the campaigns in Europe were finished, Caesar returned to Rome on a political high streak fresh with new experiences and knowledge. He quickly formed a crucial alliance with two political leaders of the day-Pompey and Crassus-to form the first Triumvirate. (Caesar solidified this alliance by marrying Pompey to his daughter Julia) With their help, Caesar was able to rise to the highest position in Rome, consul. Through this position, Caesar was able to further improve his popular support by passing popular legislation that reformed such things as tax collection. After serving the allowed period of a year, Caesar secured himself the position of the Governor of Gaul in 58 BC, which comprised the modern day region of middle Europe. Events that conspired soon after, though not by Caesar’s hand, resulted in the end of Caesar’s traditional Roman political career and threw him into a military campaign that brought him to the steps of Rome and the Roman Empire.

During the times of Caesar, the Roman Republic was vastly extended out of Italy and into Europe and the Mediterranean. Due to Rome’s continual struggle to control these provincial territories, revolts erupted nearly every year in Europe and Caesar, as Governor of Gaul was left to defeat them. The revolts were numerous with the most implicating ones involved keeping control of Gaul and expanding its territory. Caesar was avidly able to defeat any revolt attempts and even used potential revolts as a way to justify expanding Gaul to include a broader area. However, Caesar did have some setbacks, most prominently in 54 BC and 52 BC when Arverni chief Vercingetorix attempted to overrun the Romans and throw them out of Gaul. Though he experienced some initial success, Vercingetorix was ultimately defeated. Caesar used this defeat as propaganda to fully secure Gaul as a Roman province a year later, permanently extending Rome’s influence beyond the Mediterranean and into Europe. The Senate “thanked” Caesar by removing him from office in 51 BC, leaving him powerless, most likely the hoped for outcome of Senate members who opposed Caesar.

And indeed, the plan worked as Caesar was left action less for about two years until 49 BC. At this time, he got tired of doing nothing and decided to do something that fundamentally changed the Roman Republic forever: he decided to invade and take control of it. Crossing the Rubicon that separates the Gaul and Italy, Caesar and his army marched on Rome, seized it, and all but formally reconstructed the Roman Republic ruled by the senate and consuls into the Roman Empire ruled by one man. Though he still met resistance, particularly from Pompey who most saw as Caesar’s superior and controlled some parts of the eastern Roman Empire, Caesar quickly dispatched him and returned to Rome. Thereafter, Caesar continued his rule, convinced the powerless Senate to declare him dictator for life, and tried to win over any enemies left by pardoning them. Tragically, however, Caesar’s rule was cut short when Senate members murdered him in 44 BC and the Roman Empire that he set up, still premature and not really ready for the loss of its leader, was forced to continue without him.

Now that Caesar’s historical rise to power is accounted for, it is possible to examine it and formulate questions about his rise to power. For example, how was Caesar able to grasp power when the Roman Republic before Caesar was directly set up to prevent men like him from doing so? Also, how was he able to do it without more public uprising or really any loss of support? Well, the answers to these questions are quite simple and all involve timing. When Caesar was born, the Roman Republic was overwhelmed by its size and power and didn’t know how to control it all, which resulted in political corruption at home and resistance abroad. For example, political leaders of the time relied on money and fear to get their way into political office instead of truthful popular appeal. The Senate and consuls also rarely fulfilled the needs of citizens and failed to ensure political stability. Caesar was able to capitalize on all of these insecurities and use his political abilities along with his military capabilities to at least ensure himself power in Rome. However, this still doesn’t explain how he was able to set up the Roman Empire fundamentally different than the Roman Republic. Again, the answer to this question is also quite simple. Caesar used force and the Dictatorship provision in the Roman constitution to give him absolute power, with which he kept the Senate as a false body, but stripped most or all of its powers and transferred them to himself. Of course, Caesar had opposition-and he also had support, but by the time anyone knew what was going on, it was too late. The forces of politics and government, the role of a specific individual-Caesar, economics, and arts and new ideas had already taken their toll and they were all in Caesar’s favor.

Overall, the rise of Caesar marks an important change in Roman society as mentioned before anywhere from 15-25 percent of the world’s population were under Rome’s control. The end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire set up by Caesar would last for centuries to come and would continue to exert its power even after Caesar’s death. The influence doesn’t stop there however. Future nations and empires would look to Caesar’s methods, strategies, and reconstructions, as foundations for stabilizing themselves and his accomplishments would be remembered by the Romans and later societies forever.


9 Fascinating Facts About Julius Caesar, 'Dictator for Perpetuity'

Julius Caesar (100 B.C.E.-44 B.C.E.) was a towering figure of ancient Rome, a populist politician and brilliant military strategist who overthrew a corrupt Roman republic and crowned himself dictator for life. His romantic exploits and bloody betrayal were juicy enough to fuel two different Shakespeare plays, and historians have wrestled over his legacy — savior, tyrant or tragic hero? — for more than 2,000 years.

And today most people still know his name, even though they're not sure why. Here are nine must-know facts about Caesar.

1. He Wasn't Born by C-Section

First, let's dispel the age-old rumor that Caesar was the original, or at least the most famous Caesarean baby. Philip Freeman, a classics professor at Pepperdine University and author of the biography "Julius Caesar," says it's extremely unlike that Caesar was surgically birthed millennia before anesthesia or antibiotics.

"In those days, a C-section was almost always a death sentence for a mother, but Caesar's mother lived 50 years after his birth," says Freeman in an email interview. "The story probably comes from Caesar's name in Latin, which looks very much like the word 'to cut.'"

And for the record, Caesar had nothing to do with the Caesar salad either. That was invented in 1924 by an Italian-born chef named Caesar Cardini working in Tijuana, Mexico.

2. He Was a Political 'Progressive'

"Conservative" and "progressive" are modern terms, but they're often applied to the partisan feud between Caesar's followers and those of his Roman political foe, Cato the Younger.

Richard Billows, a history professor at Columbia University and author of "Julius Caesar, The Colossus of Rome," says that Rome in the first century B.C.E. had become hopelessly corrupt, dominated by elite families called Optimates who doled out political favors for cash.

"Cato the Younger, the leading conservative, insisted that the traditional governing system ruled by the elites was absolutely fine as it was," says Billows. "The corruption problem wasn't institutional or systemic, argued Cato the Younger, but a moral one."

Caesar thought that was nonsense. The only way to root out corruption was to replace the incompetent elites with skilled governors and generals, some recruited from outside of Rome in its expanding foreign provinces.

Cicero, the great writer and orator, argued that the best way to keep corrupt officials in line was to install a rector of impeccable personal standing to act as a kind of supreme judge. Caesar liked the rector idea but wanted to take it a step further.

"Caesar believed that ending corruption was not something you could do by moral persuasion you needed real power," says Billows. "The rector needed to have the power to depose and punish generals and governors who didn't behave themselves. In other words, Rome needed a dictator."

3. He Viciously Conquered Gaul (Modern France)

Caesar proved his political genius early, forming pacts with political rivals and getting elected as consul of Rome in 59 B.C.E. at 41 years old. But if he was going to make his case for becoming the sovereign ruler of Rome, he needed to show his strength as a military leader.

For centuries, Rome and its territories had been terrorized by invading tribes from the north. Rather than just fighting off these Germanic and Celtic hordes, Caesar decided to push north and conquer the whole of Gaul, which had roughly the same borders as modern France.

By Caesar's admittedly exaggerated account of his seven-year war in Gaul, his armies killed 1 million people, enslaved another 1 million, and subjugated the remaining 1 million.

"Not anywhere near a million were killed or enslaved, but it certainly illustrates that it was a pretty atrocious process," says Billows. "Caesar believed in the Roman Empire, and he clearly felt that it was necessary for Roman power to extend up through Gaul."

More importantly, says Billows, Caesar knew from experience that political fights in Rome were seldom settled by philosophical debate. Ultimately, if he wanted to defeat his political foes, he would need to use force.

"So, the conquest of Gaul, to a great part, is about the training of an army that he could rely on to take control of Rome," says Billows.

4. He Was Behind the Phrase 'Cross the Rubicon'

In modern parlance, "crossing the Rubicon" is making a decision or taking a step from which there is no turning back. In the year 49 B.C.E., Caesar marched his army out of Gaul and back toward Rome.

"The Rubicon River was the boundary between Caesar's province as governor and Italy proper, which no governor was allowed to enter with an army," says Freeman. "When he crossed the Rubicon with his troops, he was in open rebellion against Rome."

Writing a century later, the Roman historian Plutarch described Caesar's internal turmoil as he took "the dreadful step" and "thought of the sufferings which his crossing the river would bring upon mankind, as well as "the fame of the story of it which they would leave to posterity." Indeed Caesar's decision to cross the Rubicon thrust Rome into a bloody civil war in which Caesar defeated the much larger army of the Senate led by Pompey the Great.

5. He Eschewed the Title of 'King' for 'Dictator for Life'

Billows says that Caesar's victory in the civil war effectively ended the traditional Roman system of government.

"From that point on, Rome is governed by a monarch who oversees the whole system and determines who is going to govern where, who is going to lead which armies, where Rome goes to war and where it makes peace," says Billows. "It was an efficient, effective, centralized system where everything is answerable to one central authority figure."

Officially, Caesar's title was dictator, which literally means "the one who dictates" or gives orders. In Ancient Rome, dictators were special magistrates brought in to solve temporary emergencies. Today, the word "dictator" holds strong negative connotations, but in Caesar's time the title everyone avoided was "king."

"Romans grew up on stories on how the kings had become cruel and tyrannical, and that's why they had to be overthrown so Rome could become a republic," says Billows. "Caesar's enemies constantly accused him of trying to crown himself king, and Caesar always said, 'Rome will never be ruled by a king.' But what's in a word?"

In 45 B.C.E., Caesar declared himself "dictator for perpetuity." So much for the temporary gig.

6. He Lent His Name to the Titles of 'Czar' and 'Kaiser'

When Caesar's adoptive heir Augustus became the first emperor of Rome, he went by the name Caesar Augustus, and all subsequent Roman emperors also carried the title Caesar, a sign of how venerated Caesar was as a military and political leader.

That respect/fear carried over into other cultures. The Russian word czar or tsar is a variant of Caesar, as is Kaiser in German.

7. That Fling With Cleopatra Was Mainly for Political Reasons

When Caesar and his army drove Pompey out of Rome in the civil war, Caesar chased Pompey's men all the way to Egypt. There, Caesar met Queen Cleopatra, with whom he had a secret love affair. For Cleopatra, half Caesar's age and hungry for political leverage, love likely had nothing to do with it. In fact contemporary accounts place more emphasis on Cleopatra's intellect and cunning rather than her supposed beauty.

"[Caesarion, the son she bore to Caesar] definitely gave Cleopatra status in the eyes of the Egyptians, but more importantly it bound Caesar to her," says Freeman. In fact, Cleopatra moved to Rome after their son was born and lived there until Caesar was assassinated. He even erected a statue to her, much to the dismay of the Romans.

8. Caesar Was a Terrific Writer

In addition to being a political genius and military leader, Caesar was also a prolific and accomplished writer. He wrote lengthy histories of his military conquests, penned his own speeches and even dabbled in poetry.

"I can't think of anyone else in history who has shown such extraordinary command of three different fields: politics, war and literature," says Billows.

The story goes that Caesar was such a wizard with words that he could dictate several different pieces of writing at the same time. He'd have three scribes in the same room, one taking dictation for an administrative letter, one writing up a speech to the Senate and another writing down Caesar's exploits in Gaul. Billows says Caesar would alternate seamlessly between each scribe like a chess master playing multiple games at once.

Caesar even published a joke book. They weren't his jokes, but he was a fan of humor, especially Cicero's. So, Caesar had a scribe follow Cicero around writing down his best zingers, which he assembled into a book.

Caesar also found time to reform the yearly calendar to the one we still use now.

9. He May Not Have Said 'Et Tu, Brute'

Although he had rabid support among the people, Caesar made more than his fair share of political enemies in the Roman Senate, including Marcus Junius Brutus, who had backed Pompey in the civil war. They felt that Caesar had amassed too much power.

On March 15, the infamous "Ides of March," Brutus and a cadre of conspirators murdered Caesar, stabbing him 23 times with double-edged daggers. They did it at a Senate meeting in full view of 200 witnesses, but the plotters were pardoned.

According to some sources, Caesar's last words weren't Shakespeare's famous "Et tu, Brute?" ("You, too, Brutus?") but "You, too, my child?" Either way, Caesar was shocked to see his friend among the people stabbing him.

After Caesar's death, his birth month of Quintilis was renamed in his honor as "Julius" – what we known in English as "July."

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The "Caesar haircut," unlike the salad, may owe its clipped-bangs look to Julius Caesar. Some Roman writers criticized him for being overly vain, especially about his thinning hairline, which he tried to cover up by combing his hair forward.


Top Ten Books on Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar has cast a shadow over western history for two millennia. He was a remarkable general, a people's champion, the destroyer of the Roman Republic and the creator of the Roman Empire. Each of these books not only try to tell Caesar's story but attempt to understand his impact on the world.

Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar: Life of a Colossus (Yale University Press, 2008)

In the introduction to his biography of the great Roman emperor, Adrian Goldsworthy writes, “Caesar was at times many things, including a fugitive, prisoner, rising politician, army leader, legal advocate, rebel, dictator . . . as well as husband, father, lover, and adulterer.” In this landmark biography, Goldsworthy examines Caesar as a military leader, all of these roles and places his subject firmly within the context of Roman society in the first century B.C.

"Adrian Goldsworthy is one of our most promising young military historians today."—Sir John Keegan, author of The Iraq War

Freeman, Philip. Julius Caesar. (Simon and Schuster, 2008)

In this splendid biography, Freeman presents Caesar in all his dimensions and contradictions. With remarkable clarity and brevity, Freeman shows how Caesar dominated a newly mighty Rome and shaped its destiny. This book will captivate readers discovering Caesar and ancient Rome for the first time as well as those who have a deep interest in the classical world.

"Can Alexander Hamilton possibly have been right that Julius Caesar was 'the greatest man who ever lived'? Reading Philip Freeman's pacy and panoptic narrative of Caesar's life from unpromising early beginnings to the fateful Ides is one very rewarding approach to answering that perennially fascinating question." -- Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History, University of Cambridge

Suetonis, Grant, Robert, trans. The Twelve Caesars (New York: Penguin Books, 1979)

As private secretary to Emperor Hadrian, the scholar Suetonius had access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eyewitness accounts) to produce one of the most colorful biographical works in history. The Twelve Caesars chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Caesar and Augustus to the decline into depravity and civil war under Nero and the recovery that came with his successors.

Osgood, Josiah. Caesar's Legacy: Civil War and the Emergence of the Roman Empire (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006)

In April 44 BC the eighteen-year-old Gaius Octavius landed in Italy and launched his take-over of the Roman world. Defeating first Caesar's assassins, then the son of Pompey the Great, and finally Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, he dismantled the old Republic, took on the new name 'Augustus', and ruled forty years more with his equally remarkable wife Livia. Caesar's Legacy grippingly retells the story of Augustus' rise to power by focusing on how the bloody civil wars which he and his soldiers fought transformed the lives of men and women throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond. During this violent period, citizens of Rome and provincials came to accept a new form of government and found ways to celebrate it. Yet they also mourned, in literary masterpieces and stories passed on to their children, the terrible losses they endured throughout the long years of fighting.

'… a fine achievement … A vision of the remarkable period now exists where none existed before. In his first book, Mr. Osgood provides an admirable demonstration of original scholarship, and he is to be warmly congratulated.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Rubicon is vivid historical account of the social world of Rome as it moved from republic to empire. In 49 B.C., the seven hundred fifth year since the founding of Rome, Julius Caesar crossed a small border river called the Rubicon and plunged Rome into cataclysmic civil war. Tom Holland’s enthralling account tells the story of Caesar’s generation, witness to the twilight of the Republic and its bloody transformation into an empire. From Cicero, Spartacus, and Brutus, to Cleopatra, Virgil, and Augustus, here are some of the most legendary figures in history brought thrillingly to life.

Combining verve and freshness with scrupulous scholarship, Rubicon is not only an engrossing history of this pivotal era but a uniquely resonant portrait of a great civilization in all its extremes of self-sacrifice and rivalry, decadence and catastrophe, intrigue, war, and world-shaking ambition.

Marcus Porcius Cato: an aristocrat who walked barefoot and slept on the ground with his troops, political heavyweight who cultivated the image of a Stoic philosopher, a hardnosed defender of tradition who presented himself as a man out of the sacred Roman past—and the last man standing when Rome's Republic fell to tyranny. His blood feud with Caesar began in the chamber of the Senate, played out on the battlefields of a world war, and ended when he took his own life rather than live under a dictator.

Syme, Ronald, The Roman Revolution (Oxford, Oxford University, 2002).

The Roman Revolution is a profound and unconventional treatment of a great theme - the fall of the Republic and the decline of freedom in Rome between 60 BC and AD 14, and the rise to power of the greatest of the Roman Emperors, Augustus. The transformation of state and society, the violent transference of power and property, and the establishment of Augustus' rule are presented in an unconventional narrative, which quotes from ancient evidence, rarely refers to modern authorities, and states controversial opinions quite openly. The result is a book which is both fresh and compelling.

`the most complete and the most challenging history of its subject which has appeared for many years, in England perhaps at any time . Nor is this book only for the specialist, for the subject is of prime importance, the information is the best which modern research can provide.' Oxford Magazine

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Caesar Against Rome is an absorbing narrative of the four-year Roman Civil War that began with Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BCE. Focusing always on Caesar, the book sketches a panorama of Roman society―the first society to display the ambition, greed, and intrigue of modern politics―in the last century before Christ. Caesar was a complex and contradictory figure, extraordinarily talented and extremely ambitious, but at the same time vain, careless, and inclined to be forgiving. While Caesar's unusual show of mercy was a significant factor in winning popular support, soldiers, and towns to his side, it allowed all enemy leaders to return to the battlefield against him.

The Landmark Julius Caesar is the definitive edition of the five works that chronicle the mil­itary campaigns of Julius Caesar. Together, these five narratives present a comprehensive picture of military and political developments leading to the collapse of the Roman Republic and the advent of the Roman Empire.

The Gallic War is Caesar’s account of his two invasions of Britain and of conquering most of what is today France, Belgium, and Switzerland. The Civil War describes the conflict in the following year which, after the death of his chief rival, Pompey, and the defeat of Pompey’s heirs and supporters, resulted in Caesar’s emergence as the sole power in Rome. Accompanying Caesar’s commentaries are three short but essential additional works, known to us as the Alexandrian War, the African War, and the Spanish War. These were written by three unknown authors who were eyewitnesses and probably Roman officers.

Jonathan P. Roth, Roman Warfare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Roman Warfare surveys the history of Rome's fighting forces from their inception in the 7th century BCE to the fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century CE. In non-technical, lively language, Jonathan Roth examines the evolution of Roman war over its thousand-year history. He highlights the changing arms and equipment of the soldiers, unit organization and command structure, and the wars and battles of each era. The military narrative is used as a context for Rome's changing tactics and strategy and to discuss combat techniques, logistics, and other elements of Roman war. Political, social, and economic factors are also considered.


Julius Caesar (100BC - 44BC)

Bust of Julius Caesar © Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic, who greatly extended the Roman empire before seizing power and making himself dictator of Rome, paving the way for the imperial system.

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BC into the prestigious Julian clan. His family were closely connected with the Marian faction in Roman politics. Caesar himself progressed within the Roman political system, becoming in succession quaestor (69), aedile (65) and praetor (62). In 61-60 BC he served as governor of the Roman province of Spain. Back in Rome in 60, Caesar made a pact with Pompey and Crassus, who helped him to get elected as consul for 59 BC. The following year he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul where he stayed for eight years, adding the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire, and making Rome safe from the possibility of Gallic invasions. He made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BC and 54 BC.

Caesar then returned to Italy, disregarding the authority of the senate and famously crossing the Rubicon river without disbanding his army. In the ensuing civil war Caesar defeated the republican forces. Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed him and became romantically involved with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.

Caesar was now master of Rome and made himself consul and dictator. He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar. Dictatorship was always regarded a temporary position but in 44 BC, Caesar took it for life. His success and ambition alienated strongly republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides (15) of March 44 BC. This sparked the final round of civil wars that ended the Republic and brought about the elevation of Caesar's great nephew and designated heir, Octavian, as Augustus, the first emperor.


Julius Caesar- Rise to Prominence

Julius Caesar’s rise to prominence up until 60BC transpired due to a number of factors. The first of these being his family background and Marian connections, which at varying stages of his life were both a help and a hindrance. We can also note that most of his marriages were used to gain political and financial resources accentuating his connections to powerful families and individuals. This rise to prominence can also be attributed to Caesar’s opportunistic nature and vast ambitions coupled with his education and specialised tuition in the art of rhetoric, skills essential to gain popularity and political office. Additionally his acquisition of religious titles added prestige and status to his name while providing him with an array of religious powers. We also see his political alliances reflecting the success of his early political career and rise through the cursus honorum. All of these aspects were an integral part of Caesar’s public and personal life contributing in no small way to his eventual rise to prominence.

Caesar’s family background and Marian connections gave him a base to build his career as well as enhancing his reputation and status in society. His family, Gens Julia were of noble patrician roots, but at the time neither rich nor influential. However they were able to claim decent from Trojan prince Aeneas, supposed son of the goddess Venus. This claim to both royal and divine decent gave Caesar high social standing within roman society at the time. Caesar’s aunt Julia was married to Gaius Marius who during Caesar’s infancy was the most powerful man in Rome, holding an unprecedented seven consecutive consulships along with leading the faction known as the populares. These Marian connections were exploited by Caesar himself at every possible opportunity most notably the funerals of his aunt Julia and his wife Cornelia. While delivering their eulogies he flaunted his Marian heritage, Plutarch telling us that “As nephew of Julia the deceased wife of Marius, he pronounced a splendid encomium upon her in the forum, and in her funeral procession ventured to display images of Marius, which were then seen for the first time since the administration of Sulla”.1 In regard to Caesar’s rise to prominence the acclamation of divine and royal ancestry along with his ties to the previously most powerful family in Rome gave Caesar reputation and status as well as providing a host of available clientele to enhance his political career.

Caesar’s marriages linked him to some of the most powerful men in Rome enhancing his influence amongst his peers. Caesar’s first engagement and possible marriage had little significance in his rise to prominence and was ended around 86BC. However Caesar’s second marriage was to Cornelia, daughter of Cinna, in 84BC and was of much higher importance to Caesar’s rise. Not only did it emphasise his ties to the populare faction, it made him the son in law of the most powerful man in Rome as Cinna was holding the office of consul at the time. His third and final marriage before 60BC was to Pompeia the granddaughter of Sulla and the daughter of rising general Pompey. Pompeia brought with her a large dowry along with access to two of the most influential people at the time. The marriage ended in 61BC due to a supposed affair where Clodius was accused of sacrilege. Caesar immediately divorced Pompeia on the grounds that “I thought my wife ought not even to be under suspicion.” 2 separating him almost completely from any affiliation with the Optimates. Caesar's marriages were used for political gain, the procurement of financial resources and for access to the most influential men in Rome all of which enhanced Caesar’s prominence.

Caesar’s opportunistic nature, vast ambitions and education were all essential aspects of his continual rise to prominence. We gain insight into the depth of his ambition through Plutarch’s reporting of Caesar bursting into tears upon reading about Alexander the.


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