The Rise and Fall of Julius Caeser

 

 

We will take a look at the rise and fall of Gauis Julius Caesar, who was born on July 12 100 BC, in Rome to his parents; Gaius Caesar and Aurelia.

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He lived a very vivid and well remembered life and Julius Caesar was even the governor Of Gaul, 58-49 BC and appointed dictator for ten years in 47 B, for life on February 14, 44 BC until he was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC.

During Julius Caesar’s early life, he grew up in a time of unrest and during the civil war in Rome. With the expanded size of the empire, it led to cheap slave labor coming into the country, which caused many of the Roman workers to go without employment.

The Social Wars produced turmoil throughout the country where Marius and Sulla were the superior leaders of the era.

Julius Caesar was expected, at the completion of his education, to take an important stance in the government, since he was a member of an old aristocratic family. He was to assume a modest office in his political career, in Rome.

Unlike other Romans, Caesar had already figured out that money was the most important factor when it came to politics; however corrupt.

When Julius Caesar was fifteen years old, his dad, Lucius died, so no longer was Julius Caesar bound to politics so he left the political arena and searched for his own path through life.

He began his adventure by marrying a woman from a very distinguished family, which helped him in building connections. In building those connections with influential people, Caesar met with dangerous individuals who were supporters of Marius. Sulla was the dictator of Rome who wanted to be rid of Marian sympathizers.

When Julius Caesar turned nineteen years of age, he was arrested, but luckily Sulla spared him. He was released, due to his influential friends who came to his aid, but they warned him that he should leave Rome until tensions ceased, and while he waited, he joined the army.

Caesar’s first post in the army wasn’t that of a normal soldier, since he was a member of a patrician family. Military Assistant to a provincial governor was his first assignment in the army.

When Caesar was posted in Cilicia, he proved that he was both courageous and capable at handling his duties and he won the admiration when he saved the life of a comrade.

In Caesar’s next assignment, many believe it was during that assignment when Caesar’s group crushed Spartacus’ slave rebellion.

Caesar then left the army but still felt that it wasn’t a choice to go back to Rome, so he spent some time in the south of Italy where he furthered his education, especially rhetoric.

When Caesar was captured by pirates and held captive for about 40 days, he joked to his captors that, he’d see them all crucified, while everyone laughed but once Caesar was released, he hunted down the same pirates and had them crucified.

When the regime in Rome finally improved, Caesar was able to return home where he campaigned for a post in the Roman administration, since he had a good record, already, from his military achievements.

In Spain, Caesar served in 63 BC as quaestor, and it is said that Caesar broke down and cried in front of a statue of Alexander the Great, because he was in great awe that this important man, by the age of thirty, had already conquered most of the known world.

Caesar was determined to achieve an important role in politics in Rome, so after his first wife died, he decided to marry into a marriage that would be even more politically useful to him than the last but with rumors of adultery, he divorced her, soon after.

Caesar spent much of his time trying to win approval and admiration from many people in Rome, which helped him gain the post of aedile, and he used this post to his advantage. He also bought the approval of those who could benefit his career, which gained him popularity it Rome.

Caesar made many improvements in Rome, including the renovating of buildings which made him even more popular with the citizens.

These good deeds cost Caesar an abundance of money, and some that he didn’t have, which caused him many calls from creditors wanting their pay.

Bribery wasn’t respected by many of the officials, who thought Caesar was just bribing his way up the ladder of success, but that didn’t stop Caeser; he continued to bribe anyone who helped him in his venture, which led him to becoming the holder of the office, pontifex maximus, which is chief priest.

This was a very powerful position and title for Julius Caesar. Now, it would be difficult for anyone to criticize him in any manner. He wouldn’t have to worry about being attacked because of his new religious post.

Caesar returned to Spain in the year 60 BC and at the age of 41 he became Praetor. He was in an area that was very troubled because the Senate wanted to see that he failed as a leader. This trouble in Spain had been ongoing with the local tribes, but Caesar was able to prevail.

This experience is Spain was very import to Julius Caesar and combined with the military experience he had already gained, he would excel in his career and he learned that war was very profitable as he paid off his many debts which further enabled his career…

Caesar then returned to Rome in 59 BC and was elected consul, which was the highest position attainable in Rome. He would have to face a hostile Senate. The new formation of the ruling triumvirate combined with Crassus and Pompey began Caesar’s determination to resort to any measures in facing that angry senate, which wasn’t sure about Caesar’s intentions.

Caesar stopped taxes on farmers and public land was allocated to families who had three or more children. These achievements caused Caesar even further popularity with the Roman people.

Caesar then remarried and she was also from a prominent and influential family and as Caesar’s one-year commitment in the office as consul ended, he searched for a new office to hold so he could retire from the previous office.

He was prone to attack so he had to search for an office that would keep his offenders from seeking revenge against him.

Caesar then landed the governorship of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyricum and when the current governor died, a second term was issued for Transilpine Gaul for a period of five years.

Caesar was well educated in the aspect of war. He needed a larger military force and he did raise the force to 10 legions, which was equal to about 50,000 men and Caesar also held 10,000 to 20,000 allies, as well as slaves and camp followers who were at his disposal.

Christian Meier explains in his book, “Caesar” that “Julius Caesar acted quickly and defeated the Helvetian invasion.” When the tribe of Helvetians was forced from their mountainous homelands by the migration of the tribes that were Germanic and they were pushing into Transilpine Gaul, Caesar was victorious.

Crossing the Rhine, were the Sueves, Germans and Swabians, who came into the Roman area of Gaul. Ariovistus, their leader, was an ally of the Romans but so was the Gallic tribe of the Aedui in which the Germans were coming against Caesar, sided with the Aedui.

Gaul was a priority for the Germans and had been for a long period of time, so Caesar utilized this great opportunity to cease their intentions. Caesar wanted Gaul to be Roman.

Caesar went to battle and when he heard that the Germans believed in a prophecy that they should lose in the battle if they fought before the new moon, Caesar went to battle with them, immediately.

Antony Kemm, tells us in his book, (Kemm, 2006), “Julius Caesar: A Life”  that “Caesar was a brilliant politician and his army defeated the Germans and many of them were slaughtered and murdered as they tried to escape the battleground.”

In the year 57 BC, which was the next year after the victory over Germany, Caesar led his army in a northern direction in order to settle things with Belgae. The Nervii, in the Celtic Belgae were a leading tribe and had prepared to come against Caesar’s Roman army and they were afraid that Caesar may take over the whole area of Gaul and of course, they were correct in their assumptions.

Caesar then attempted a full war against the Nervian territory and it was during this time when Caesar experienced a form of weakness, which was that of bad reconnaissance.

Caesar didn’t fully trust his horsemen and he didn’t use them as leaders who introduced his army in the war, which led to Caesar not being prepared when he was often taken by surprise during his campaign in Gaul.

(Garner, 1976) tells us about “The Nervii fought a good fight against the Romans and for a long period of time,” and it wasn’t for sure who would win this battle. But, Caesar and his Roman army were victorious when they defeated the Nervii and the Romans watched as all other tribes of Belgae gave in.

Caesar, after conquering Gaul, met with two members of the triumvirs in the year 56 BC which was located in the town of Luca in Cisalpine Gaul. It was there that it was decided that Caesar’s governorship of Gaul would be extended where Crassus and Pompey would once again remain as consuls.

Many victorious battles were won by Caesar and his army and he did manage to persuade the senate to declare that he be dictator for life. Julius Caesar was king of Rome in all but title.

In the book, “The Twelve Caesars” (Grant, 2003) we are told that “Caesar was dead at the hands of a band of senatorial conspirators that was led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus who were both former Pompeians who had once been pardoned by Julius Caesar, after the battle of Pharsalus.” Caesar died after five months prior to his arrival back to Rome, which was only three days before his departure on his campaign to the east.

The death of the great leader was documented in many instances, to well preserve the memory of the man who individually and remarkable set in motion a plan of becoming a true leader with power, which he gained from his marriages and influences in the political arena. Caesar was famous for gaining influence from any source he deemed possible and would never stop in obtaining and gaining political strength, in order to make his own decisions which led him through many courageous wars because of his dedication to the idea that he was to be a great leader.

The Roman Empire had indeed changed by Julius Caesar. He had changed the old corrupt system of the earlier Roman Republic and showed future Roman leaders and Emperors an example to lead by. They could follow a man who was born to become the Emperor.

Adrian Goldsworthy gives us a good look at the life of Julius Caesar in her biography of Caesar in (Godsworthy, 2006) “Caesar-Life of a Collusus”, and tells us about the republic in Rome and shares with us that “Julius Caesar was a well-remembered leader.”

(Shakespeare, reissued 2004) William Shakespeare is able to offer us a huge amount of information about Julius Caesar in learning about his “great role as a Roman leader.”

“Caesar was one of the greatest statesmen and generals in history. He was noted for his ability as an orator and was also a gifted writer. Among his important military victories were the conquests of Britain and Gaul.” We are told by

Robert Garland, author of the book, (Garland, 2004) “Julius Caesar” tell us that “Julius Caesar was on of the most famous Romans who ever lived.”

J.F.C. Fuller gives us a biography of Julius Caesar and tells how “Caesar was an extraordinary human being.” Caesar was able to accomplish so much more than most other leaders during his career.

Ramon Jiminez easily tells us about Caesar’s fight against the Celts in his book, “Julius Caesar: Man, Soldier, and Tyrant when he talks about “Ceasear being a strong leader.” Caesar’s campaign against his enemies was battles that led him and the country of Rome to innumerous victories.

Julius Caesar, from the beginning of his early connections with politics, until his death, was able to accomplish so many victories against the enemies that came against Rome. From the time Julius Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon, he sparked civil war in B.C. that left him known as the leader who was the undisputed leader of the Roman World.

Caesar was very successful in his career as a politician which he helped in dominating Roman politics for many years, even though he was fiercely opposed by optimates like Cato the Younger.

His conquest of Gaul extended the Roman world all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, and he was also responsible for the first Roman invasion of Britain in the year 55 B.C., but the collapse of the triumvirate ended up with there being a huge stand-off with Pompey and the Senate. Much of Julius Caesar’s life is known through his own writings and commentaries.

He often told about his military campaigns, and his other accomplishments in Rome. There were the letters and speeches of Caesar’s political rival, Cicero, and also the historical writings of Sallust, and also the poetry of Catullus that tell us so much about Caesar.

More details of Caesar’s life are also recorded by historians. Julius Caesar was born with much political ambition and oratory talent which helped him to manipulate his way through ancient histories most interesting years with great talent for conquering and overcoming.

Julius Caesar did use his educational background, as well as military background; in order to gain the knowledge that he needed that would aid him in conquering his enemies.

Julius Caesar will always be remembered in history as a strong and intelligent leader who used any method at his hand in able to conquer his enemies that came against the Roman Empire. Caesar’s career was noted as remarkable from the time that he first embarked his adventure of being in military command.

It is interesting to learn how Julius Caesar was able to use his army as his own personal weapon in accomplishing his own feats that, in the long run, did benefit the entire Roman Empire.

He used his forces to control and conquer areas that had admitted to seeking revenge against Julius Caesar and had thought they were more powerful and could outwit Julius Caesar and his military force. Throughout Caesar’s career, he was sought after by many important leaders who wanted to see his rule come to a quick end.

You can discover so much information about the rise and fall of Julius Caesar in many books that describe how Caesar used his mental talent, as his educational and influential backgrounds in order to become a king for life.

Julius Caesar was remarkable in his early and later years and was capable of being remembered as one of the greatest leaders of all time. Through the victories he achieved, along with the help of his Roman soldiers, Caesar was able to change the way that the Roman Empire existed.

We will long remember Julius Caesar and the many stories about his life and times in ancient Rome. He was a man with courage and determination who pushed past anything and anyone who stood in his way. He was able to gain important positions in Rome, which led him to fight many battles and he was usually successful in his wars, that were battled with his large army who remained loyal to his orders.

Many books down through history mention Julius Caesar as a solid leadership figure and well remembered character in our history as one of the most famous Roman generals and statesman who brought about the effective end of the Republic.

Julius Caesar left behind, in the thoughts of so many, that in the end, he desired to live no longer, because of his failing health. He left the world a brave man, just as he entered leaving behind his legacy for all to read about for past and future generations. Julius Caesar is often referred to as “The Last Emperor.”

 

 

 

References

 

Fuller, F.F.C., (1991) “Julius Caesar: Man, Soldier, and Tyrant

Gardner, Jane F., (1976). “The Civil War”. Penguin Classics

Garland, Robert, ((2004). Julius Caesar. Bristol Phoenix Press

Goldsworthy, Adrian. (2006) Ancient Classical History. Yale University Press

Grant, Michael, (2003). “The Twelve Caesars”. Penguin Classics

Kamm, Antony, (2006). “Julius Caesar: A Life”. Routledge. Ed.1

Meier, Christian. (1997). “Caesar”. Basic Books

Ramon, Jiminez. (2005). “Caesar Against The Celts”. Da Capo Press

Shakespeare, William. (2004). “Julius Caesar”. Reissue Edition. Washington Square Post