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Politics & War

Politics & War

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

• During Caesar’s youth an element of disorder and instability ruled the
Roman Republic, which had discredited its nobility and seemed unable to
handle its considerable size and influence.
• While the date has long been disputed, it’s estimated that Julius Caesar
was born in Rome on July 12 or 13, 100 BC. While Julius Caesar hailed
from Roman aristocrats, his family was far from rich. Caesar was born
into a patrician family.
• Caesar’s father, also called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the
province of Asia His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential
family. Little is recorded of Caesar’s childhood.
• Julii Caesares were not especially politically influential. When Caesar was
16, his father, Gaius Caesar, died. He remained close to his mother,


• Caesar was the head of the family at 16. His coming of age coincided
with a civil war between his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius
Cornelius Sulla. Both sides carried out bloody purges of their political opponents.
• During Caesar’s youth an element of disorder and instability ruled the
Roman Republic, which had discredited its nobility and seemed unable to
handle its considerable size and influence. Around the time of his father’s
death, Caesar made a concerted effort to side with the country’s nobility.
• His coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle Gaius
Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both sides carried out
bloody purges of their political opponents whenever they were in the


• Caesar’s marriage to Cornelia drew the ire of the dictator Sulla, as
Cornelia’s father was Sulla’s political rival. Sulla ordered Caesar to divorce
his wife or risk losing his property. The young Roman refused and
escaped by serving in the military, first in the province of Asia and then in
Cilicia. With the help of influential friends, Caesar eventually convinced
Sulla to be allowed to return to Rome.
• After Sulla’s death, Caesar began his career in politics as a prosecuting
advocate. He relocated temporarily to Rhodes to study philosophy. During
his travels he was kidnapped by pirates.
• In a daring display of his negotiation skills and counter-insurgency tactics,
he convinced his captors to raise his ransom, then organized a naval force
to attack them. The pirates were captured and executed.
• After Sulla’s death, Caesar began his career in politics as a prosecuting
advocate. He relocated temporarily to Rhodes to study philosophy. In his
return to Rome, he was elected military tribune, a first step in a political
• He was elected quaestor for 69 BC, His wife Cornelia also died that year.
Caesar went to serve his quaestorship in Spain after her funeral, in the
spring or early summer of 69 BC.
• While there, he is said to have encountered a statue of Alexander the
Great, and realised with dissatisfaction that he was now at an age when
Alexander had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively
• On his return in 67 BC, he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of


• In 63 BC, he ran for election to the post of Pontifex Maximus, chief
priest of the Roman state religion.
• The strategic political alliance among Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius
Crassus and Pompey came to be known as the First Triumvirate. At
the same time Caesar was governing under Pompey, he aligned himself
with Crassus, a Roman general and politician who served valiantly during
Sulla’s rule.
• Crassus and Pompey, however, were intense rivals. Once again Caesar
displayed his abilities as a negotiator, earning the trust of both Crassus
and Pompey and convincing them they’d be better suited as allies instead
of enemies. Caesar was acclaimed Imperator in 60 and 45 BC.


• In 60 BC, Caesar sought election as consul for 59 BC, along with two
other candidates. Caesar won, along with conservative Marcus Bibulus
• Caesar proposed a law for redistributing public lands to the poor—by force
of arms, if need be—a proposal supported by Pompey and by Crassus,
making the triumvirate public.Pompey filled the city with soldiers, a move
which intimidated the triumvirate’s opponents
• With the help of political allies, Caesar later overturned this, and was
instead appointed to govern Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) and
Illyricum (southeastern Europe), with Transalpine Gaul (southern
France) later added, giving him command of four legions.


• In an early controversial move, Caesar tried to pay off Pompey’s soldiers
by granting them public lands. Caesar hired some of Pompey’s soldiers to
stage a riot. In the midst of all the chaos, he got his way.
• He was still deeply in debt, but there was money to be made as a
governor, whether by extortion or by military adventurism. Caesar had
four legions under his command, two of his provinces bordered on
unconquered territory, and parts of Gaul(FRANCE AND BELGIUM)
were known to be unstable.
• In response to Caesar’s earlier activities, the tribes in the north-east began
to arm themselves. Caesar treated this as an aggressive move and, after
an inconclusive engagement against the united tribes, he conquered the
tribes piecemeal.


• Meanwhile, one of his legions began the conquest of the tribes in the far
north, directly opposite Britain. During the spring of 56 BC, the Triumvirs
held a conference, as Rome was in turmoil and Caesar’s political alliance
was coming undone.
• In 55 BC, Caesar repelled an incursion into Gaul by two Germanic tribes,
Late that summer, having subdued two other tribes, he crossed into
Britain, While Caesar was in Britain his daughter Julia, Pompey’s wife,
had died in childbirth.
• Despite scattered outbreaks of warfare the following year, Gaul was
effectively conquered. Plutarch claimed that during the Gallic Wars the
army had fought against three million men (of whom one million died,
and another million were enslaved), subjugated 300 tribes, and
destroyed 800 cities.


• Caesar tried to re-secure Pompey’s support by offering him his great-niece
in marriage, but Pompey declined. In 53 BC Crassus was killed leading
a failed invasion of the east. Rome was on the brink of civil war.
Pompey was appointed sole consul as an emergency measure, and
married the daughter of a political opponent of Caesar. The Triumvirate
was dead.
• In 50 BC, the Senate 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. On
January 10, 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon river and ignited civil


• Pompey and many of the Senate fled to the south, having little confidence in Pompey’s newly raised troops. Pompey, despite greatly outnumbering
Caesar, who only had his Thirteenth Legion with him, did not intend to fight. Caesar pursued Pompey, hoping to capture Pompey before his legions
could escape.
• Pompey managed to escape before Caesar could capture him. Heading for
Spain, Caesar left Italy under the control of Mark Antony Caesar defeated
Pompey’s lieutenants, then returned east, to challenge Pompey in Illyria.
• In July 48 BC in the battle of Dyrrhachium,Caesar barely avoided a
catastrophic defeat. In an exceedingly short engagement later that
year, he decisively defeated Pompey at Pharsalus, in Greece
• In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator, with Mark Antony as his
Master of the Horse (second in command).


• Caesar then pursued Pompey to Egypt, arriving soon after the murder of the
general. There, Caesar was presented with Pompey’s severed Head.He
then had Pompey’s assassins put to death.
• Caesar then became involved with an Egyptian civil war between the
child pharaoh and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, Cleopatra.
Caesar sided with Cleopatra. He withstood the Siege of Alexandria and later
he defeated the pharaoh’s forces at the Battle of the Nile in 47 BC and
installed Cleopatra as ruler.
• Caesar and Cleopatra celebrated their victory with a triumphal
procession on the Nile in the spring of 47 BC. The royal barge was
accompanied by 400 additional ships, and Caesar was introduced to the
luxurious lifestyle of the Egyptian pharaohs.
• Caesar and Cleopatra were not married. Caesar continued his relationship
with Cleopatra throughout his last marriage—in Roman eyes, this did not
constitute adultery—and probably fathered a son called Caesarion.


• 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.
• On his way to Pontus, Caesar visited Tarsus from 27 to 29 May 47 BC
where he met enthusiastic support, Then 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 10 years.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.


• Upon his return to Rome, Caesar was made dictator for life and hailed as the
Father of his Country. Although he would serve just a year’s term before his
assassination, Caesar’s rule proved instrumental in reforming Rome for his
• Caesar greatly transformed the empire, relieving debt and reforming the
Senate by increasing its size and opening it up so that it better represented all
Romans. He reformed the Roman calendar and reorganized the
construction of local government.
• He resurrected two city-states, Carthage and Corinth, which had been
destroyed by his predecessors. And he granted citizenship to a number of
foreigners. A benevolent victor, Caesar even invited some of his defeated
rivals to join him in the government.


• On Caesar’s return to Italy in September 45 BC, he filed his will, naming his grandnephew Gaius Octavius (Octavian, later known as Augustus
Caesar) as his principal heir, leaving his vast estate and property including
his name.
• During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down 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.
• 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 Republic. Second, he wanted to create a strong central government in Rome. Finally, he wanted to knit together all of the provinces into a single cohesive unit.


• On the Ides of March 15 March of 44 BC, Caesar was due to appear at a
session of the Senate. Several Senators had conspired to assassinate.

• As Caesar arrived at the Senate, Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother. The other conspirators crowded round to offersupport. Casca produced his dagger and made a glancing thrust at the dictator’s neck. Caesar turned around quickly and caught Casca by the arm.
• 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.
• Around 60 men participated in the assassination. He was stabbed 23


• The most important change, however, was his reform of the
calendar. The calendar was then regulated by the movement of the
moon, and this had left it in a mess. Caesar replaced this
calendar with the Egyptian calendar, which was regulated by
the sun.
• He set the length of the year to 365.25 days by adding an
intercalary/leap day at the end of February every fourth year.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
• Thus, the Julian calendar opened on 1 January 45 BC.This
calendar is almost identical to the current Western calendar.


• After his death, Caesar quickly became a martyr in the new Roman
Empire. A mob of lower- and middle-class Romans gathered at
Caesar’s funeral, with the angry crowd attacking the homes of
Cassius and Brutus. Just two years after his death, Caesar became
the first Roman figure to be deified. The Senate also gave him
the title “The Divine Julius.”
• A power struggle ensued in Rome, leading to the end of the Roman
Republic. Caesar’s great-grandnephew Gaius Octavian played on the
late ruler’s popularity, assembling an army to fight back the military
troops defending Cassius and Brutus. His victory over Caesar’s
assassins allowed Octavian, who assumed the name Augustus,
to take power in 27 BC and become the first Roman emperor.