Biography of Julius Caesar


 Julius Caesar was a strong leader for the Romans who changed 
the course of the history of the Greco - Roman world decisively and 
irreversibly. With his courage and strength he created a strong 
empire. What happened during his early political career? How did he 
become such a strong dictator of the Roman Empire? What events led up 
to the making of the first triumvirate? How did he rise over the 
other two in the triumvirate and why did he choose to take over? What 
happened during his reign as dictator of Rome? What events led up to 
the assassination of Caesar? What happened after he was killed? 
Caesar was a major part of the Roman Empire because of his strength 
and his strong war strategies. 
 Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman whose 
dictatorship was pivotal in Rome's transition from republic to empire. 
When he was young Caesar lived through one of the most horrifying 
decades in the history of the city of Rome. The city was assaulted 
twice and captured by Roman armies, first in 87 BC by the leaders of 
the populares, his uncle Marius and Cinna. Cinna was killed the year 
that Caesar had married Cinna's daughter Cornelia. The second attack 
upon the city was carried our by Marius' enemy Sulla, leader of the 
optimates, in 82 BC on the latter's return from the East. On each 
occasion the massacre of political opponents was followed by the 
confiscation of their property. The proscriptions of Sulla, which 
preceded the reactionary political legislation enacted during his 
dictatorship left a particularly bitter memory that long survived. 
 Caesar left Rome for the province of Asia on the condition 
that he divorce his wife because Sulla would only allow him to leave 
on that condition. When he heard the news that Sulla had been killed 
he returned to Rome. He studied rhetoric under the distinguished 
teacher Molon. 
 In the winter of 75-74 BC Caesar was captured by pirated and, 
while in their custody awaiting the arrival of the ransom money which 
they demanded, threatened them with crucifixion , a threat which he 
fulfilled immediately after his release. He then returned to Rome to 
engage in a normal political career, starting with the quaetorship 
which he served in 69-68 BC in the province of Further Spain. 
 In the Roman political world of the sixties the dominance of 
the optimates was challenged by Pompey and Crassus. The optimates, 
led by Quintus Lutatius Catulus and Lucius Licinius Lucullus , were 
chiefly men whose careers had been made by Sulla. Pompey and Crassus 
were consuls in 70 BC and had rescinded the most offensively 
reactionary measures of Sulla's legislation. During Pompey's absence 
from 67 to 62 BC during his campaigns against the Mediterranean 
pirates, Mithridates, and Crassus, his jealous rival. Caesar married 
Ponpeia after Cornelia's death and was appointed aedile in 65 BC As 
aedile, Caesar returned to Marius' trophies to their former place of 
honor in the Capitol, thus laying claim to leadership of the 
 When Caesar was a praetor, he supported a tribune who wanted 
Pompey recalled to restore order in Rome. As a result, Caesar was 
suspended from office for a period and antagonized Catulus. Before 
leaving Rome to govern Further Spain for a year, Caesar divorced his 
wife Pompeia because of the allegation that she had been implicated in 
the offense of Publius Clodius. The latter was then awaiting trial 
for breaking into Caesar's house the previous December disguised as a 
woman at the festival of the Bona Dea, which no man is allowed to 
 After his return from a successful year administrating Spain 
Caesar was elected consul for 59 BC through political alliance with 
Pompey and Crassus . This alliance was called the first triumvirate. 
Caesar's purpose was to gain a big military command. Pompey for his 
part sought the ratification of his Eastern settlement and land 
allotments for his discharged troops. Crassus sought a revision of 
the contract for collecting taxes in the province of Asia. An 
agrarian bill authorizing the purchase of land for Pompey's veterans 
was passed in January of 59 BC at a disorderly public assembly which 
Caesar's fellow consul Calpurnius Bibulus, was thrown from the 
platform and his consular insignia were broken. Bibulus tried to stop 
Caesar and his supporters from passing any further law but was only 
able to postpone the creation of the new laws by saying that the skies 
would not permit it because there was stormy weather and they were 
very superstitious. Caesar disregarded Bibulus' behavior and the 
remainder of the legislative program of the triumvirate was carried 
through. As a result of this action Caesar and his friends incurred 
bitter attacks. Their political opponents continued to claim that the 
whole of the legislation was unconstitutional and invalid.
 Caesar had secured for five years the governorship of three 
provinces. The provinces were Cisalpine Gaul , Transalpine Gaul , and 
Illyricum. He left Rome and remained in Gaul until his invasion of 
Italy. He continued north of the Alps each summer and he would leave 
his army there in garrison each winter while he came south to conduct 
the civil administration of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum and to keep 
in contact with Rome. 
 Caesar became determined to conquer and make a province of the 
whole of Gaul. After his defeat of the Belgic tribes in the north and 
the submission of the maritime tribes on the Atlantic seaboard, he 
believed that the task had all but been accomplished. Caesar decided 
to make two short reconnaissance expeditions, one across the Rhine. 
and the other across the Straits of Dover to Britain. In a longer and 
more serious invasion of Britain he crossed the Thames and received 
the submission of the supreme commander of the southeastern Britons, 
 Caesar had avoided recall to Rome at the end of the five years 
of command voted to him by coming to a fresh agreement with Pompey and
Crassus at Luca. The optimates in control of the senate, now awake to
the immense increase in Caesar's personal power, wealth, and prestige,
kept Pompey in Italy, allowing him to govern his Spanish provinces by
deputies. Pompey's own attachment to Caesar was broken when Caesar's
daughter Julia to whom Pompey had been happily married since 59 BC 
died in 54 BC Crassus was killed by the Parthians at Carrhae in
Mesopotamia. In planning Caesar's return to civil life in Rome he 
could assume that as soon as he lost the immunity from prosecution 
which his military command conferred, his political enemies would 
endeavor to secure his exile by prosecuting him in the courts either 
for bribery or for the use of force in politics. In Rome there was 
support in the senate for a negotiated compromise when Curio put forth 
the proposal by which Caesar would give up his military command and 
stand in person at the consular election on condition that Pompey 
abandon his military command at the same time. On January 7, 49 BC 
Antony and one of his fellow tribunes were warned that their lives 
would be in danger if they sustained their veto and the proclamation 
of military law was passed. Caesar was told to leave his troops 
behind and cross the Rubicon into Rome alone. Caesar knew that this 
was a death sentence for him so he did not leave his troops but 
marched into the city and caused a civil war. He defeated Pompey's 
troops in many battles and became the dictator of Rome.
 From the time that he had first faced battle in Gaul and 
discovered his own military genius, Caesar was evidently fascinated 
and obsessed by military and imperial problems. He gave them an 
absolute priority over the more delicate by no less fundamental task 
of revising the Roman constitution. The need in the latter sphere was 
a solution which would introduce such elements of authoritarianism as 
were necessary to check corruption and administrative weakness.
 Caesar's first dictatorship was simply a commission to enable 
him to hold elections in the absence of the consuls of the year who 
were with Pompey, but after the news of Pharsalus, Caesar was created 
dictator again; after Tapsus he was made dictator for ten years and in 
the winter of 45 BC he was appointed perpetual dictator. 
 When Caesar was out of Italy after 49 BC real power lay in the 
hands of his representatives. When he was dictator the most important 
of these representatives was his "master of the horse". This 
representative was Mark Antony. Much resentment was felt by prominent 
senators like Cicero on account of the great power and influence of 
such against of Caesar. Caesar's military dominance was established 
beyond the possibility of successful challenge, the senate gave him a 
profusion of personal honors which were out of keeping with Roman 
tradition, reflecting as they did the extravagant distinctions 
accorded earlier to the Hellenistic kings. The month of July was named 
after Caesar and his statue was placed in the temple of Quirinus.
 Caesar was considered to be a dictator for life. According to 
the traditional Republican constitution this office was only to be 
held for six months during a dire emergency. Caesar also obtained 
honors to increase his prestige. He wore the robe, crown, and scepter 
of a triumphant general and used the title imperator. He was also in 
command of the armies. Caesar used his dictatorship and used it to 
increase his power. With all of his powers he was pretty much the 
king of Rome. Mark Antony was his major supporter and he helped 
convince the others to allow Caesar to have these abilities, but it 
led to some problems.
 A group of conspirators had been formed against Caesar because 
they felt that he had too much power and that if he became the king of 
Rome he would become corrupt and use his powers to create a bad 
society. The senate resented his actual position that was shown in 
the sixty member conspiracy which Marcus Brutus had organized to kill 
him. On the Ides of March , two days before he was due to leave Rome 
on his great eastern expedition, he was stabbed to death at a meeting 
of the senate in Pompey's new theater. He fell dead at the foot of 
Pompey's statue. Pompey was avenged, as well as Bibulus and Cato. 
After a provocative funeral oration by Mark Antony, Caesar's body was 
burned by the mob in the forum. When at the games in his honor the 
following July a comet appeared and it was regarded as evidence of his 
godhead and he was formally consecrated and "divus Julius," or divine 
Julius. Octavius, whose name became Caesar Octavianus after his 
adoption by Caesar's will, solved, by his creation of the Roman 
principate, the constitutional problem that Caesar failed to solve.
 Caesar had started as a consul and had formed the first 
triumvirate with Crassus and Pompey. They had taken over the Roman 
civilization and had controlled for a while. When Crassus was killed 
and agreement was made. Pompey and Caesar were supposed to give up 
their military and enter the city of Rome to find a real ruler. 
Pompey was in on the deal and he was supposed to take over. Caesar 
knew that if he entered the city of Rome without his troops he would 
be killed by Pompey and so he crossed the Rubicon with his troops and 
attacked Rome. He took over as a dictator for life and gained a lot 
of power. He was able to run a strong military and even though he was 
considered only a dictator he wrote laws that actually made him have 
the same powers as a king. The conspirators saw the problem that had 
arised and so they planned the murder of Caesar on the Ides of March. 
 Caesar was killed and there was another triumvirate formed. Caesar 
was a strong military leader that had showed strength and courage to 
take over the town and he was able to form a civilization that was 
strong militarily and politically.


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