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Julius Caesar Essay, Research Paper
?Vini, Vidi, Vici? (The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations 10-3-99) which in
English means ?I came, I saw, I conquered.? This was Julius Caesar?s motto when he
was a soldier and invading different provinces. For this quote to still be recognized today
is a compliment to Caesar?s importance and fame at the time. Julius Caesar is considered
by some historians to be Rome?s greatest genius. He changed a chaotic, old system of
government into the basis for a new one that produced the greatest of all the ancient
empires.( 10-6-99) It has been said
that no other man in the world symbolized military or political strength more than Julius
Caesar did. While Caesar was a great Roman ruler without a doubt, his personal life
somewhat resembled a modern day soap opera.
There were many stories about Caesar. One of them was about him being
captured by pirates in the eastern Mediterranean. The pirates were holding him captive
and were asking a ransom of 20 talents. Caesar joked that he would ?give 50 talents for
his life.? He then vowed to come back and hang them all. Sure enough, a few weeks
after the ransom was paid and he was released, Caesar returned, captured, and hung every
last one of them. ( 10-2-99)
Gaius Julius Caesar was born on July 12, 100 B.C..
(http://www.main-vision.com/richard/Caesar.html 10-5-99) He was born into the Julia
family, an ancient but not distinguished Roman family. Julius got married in 84 B.C. to
Cornelia. Through this marriage, Gauis Marius became Julius?s uncle. Marius was the
leader of the Populares, a group that was pushing for change in Rome. As always, there
are always groups that oppose each other. This was not an exception. Sulla, the leader of
the Optimates, a reactionist group, was completely against Marius?s views. Marius would
have a big effect on young Julius?s life whether he wanted to or not. Eventually, the
Optimates came into rule in Rome. This was not good for Julius because his uncle was a
bitter enemy of the dictator. Sulla demanded that Caesar divorce his wife because of her
relationship to Gauis Marius. Caesar refused to divorce his wife and was left with
virtually no other choice than to leave Rome until Sulla resigned which was 78 B.C..
Before he resigned though, Sulla made one prediction about Caesar?s future. He said
?One day, the stubborn boy will become dangerous.?(Gauis Julius Caesar 10-3-99)
After Caesar had survived death once, he decided to enter the army. He would
eventually go on to an amazing military career. Caesar steadily climbed the ranks of the
army, and after a few years, was able to return home. Caesar then went on to serve as a
general in the army against Spartacus. He remarried to a wealthy wife, and allied himself
with Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Pompey the Great. This three-way alliance was
known as the first Triumvirate.(?Encarta 98 Encyclopedia? 10-6-99) This Triumvirate
controlled the government of Rome.
Around 58 B.C. Caesar found new allies in Celtic Gaul. Gaul was still
independent at this time. Caesar decided to take over Gaul, and marched there with six
legions of soldiers. Within a year, Rome was in control over most of Gaul. After taking
over Gaul, Caesar remained there for a while. While he was there, his associates
attempted to dominate the politics of Rome. Pompey tried to make the most of Caesar?s
absence. He assumed full power over Rome. As a result, the Roman Senate asked
Caesar to disband his army in Gaul and come back to Rome. Instead, in 49 B.C. Caesar
swept through southern Italy and into Rome. Pompey fled into Greece. Caesar was not
happy with letting him get away, so in 48 B.C. Caesar?s army swept through Greece and
destroyed Pompey?s forces. Pompey however, escaped into Egypt. he was assassinated
there a year later. Within one year of Caesar?s return, he was master of all Italy.
(Microsoft Inc. ?Gauis Julius Caesar?)
The traditional constitution of Rome stated that a dictator hold office for only six
months, and in a dire emergency. Caesar completely shattered this rule and appointed
himself dictator for life. ( 10-6-99)
Even after appointing himself dictator for such an extended period of time, Caesar took it
one step further by appointing himself consel for ten years. Traditionally, consels only
served in one year increments. This was an amazing show of power from Julius. During
the time he ruled, military strength was always his main asset. That is how he kept his
power, by being in total control of his armies.
It was once said of Caesar that he was ?Every mans woman, and every woman?s
man.? (The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations 10-3-99) Not every person in Rome felt
this way about Caesar. He didn?t really do much to keep their favor either though. He
offended them by having his statue built next to the early kings of Rome. One of
Caesar?s more unpopular acts was when he refused to accept a crown that Mark Anthony
had set upon his head. ( 10-4-99)
Caesar?s unpopularity grew so much that a plot to assassinate him was soon
forming. By the time it actually got carried out, sixty Roman senators were involved.
Many of them were Republicans who had long ago fallen out of favor with Caesar. Out
of the group was a young Republican named Brutus. Brutus was a friend of Caesar?s, and
would play a big part in his assassination. The plan to assassinate Caesar was to be
carried out at the Meeting of the Senate on March 15th, 44 B.C.. Somehow Caesar did
not know of the fate that awaited him at the Meeting. His wife however, had a feeling
that something bad would happen and warned him not to
go.( 10-5-99) Julius Caesar did not
listen to his wife?s warning and attended the Meeting. When he arrived, his attackers
surrounded him with daggers. At first Caesar put up a struggle, but when he saw Brutus
among the attackers, he quit struggling and said ?Et tu Brute?? which means ?You too,
Brutus?? Caesar was repeatedly stabbed, and then finally, he pulled his toga over his
head and fell lifeless at the feet of the statues of the early Roman kings.
Gauis Julius Caesar was without a doubt a great leader. He once said ?In war,
events of importance are the result of trivial causes.? (The Columbia Dictionary of
Quotations 10-6-99) One of his only downfalls was the fact that he got greedy and did
not want to give up his position as ruler. If he would have gave way for another ruler, he
might not have been assassinated. But then again, if he would have given way to another
person, he might not be looked upon as a great Roman ruler.
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