The Valiant Caesar
The history of Rome can not exist without a name called Caesar in its timeline. He can be depicted to all ages for all the qualities he exhibited in his reign. The word Caesar originates from the family of Julius Caesar, who became a dictator, when Rome was still a republic.
Who Was Julius Caesar?
A skillful swordsman, a great orator, an efficient politician and an eminent ruler, that’s what the world calls him, Julius Caesar, an eminent personality, whose name became synonymous with Rome and with the Roman emperors. He is considered as the most famous of all the Roman emperors . He was not an emperor, rather a dictator who acted as a beacon for ages.
Gaius Julius Caesar, is the perfect Latin Roman name people consider. He was born in Rome on 12 July 100 BC , in a patrician family, the gens Julia, claimed to be descendant from Lulus, son of the Trojan prince Aeneas.
His father, Gaius Julius Caesar, ruled the province of Asia, and his mother Aurelia Cotta, came from an aristocratic family. Caesar’s aunt married Gaius Marius, one of the most eminent persons of Roman history, responsible for many reforms.
The Julian-Claudian dynasty lasted from 27 BC to AD 68. The famous Julius Caesar belonged to this dynasty and others include Augustus Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.
Childhood and early life of Julius Caesar:
Caesar was taught by Antonius Gnipho of Italy. The surroundings of Caesar included his uncle’s friends, soldiers and statesmen, who were selfish and considered to be dangerous. When he was 15 years old, his father died, with him died his expectations that Caesar should engage on political career. Caesar tried to better himself, and he set out to prove his worth to the world.
Caesar used his first marriage to build his political career, by marrying a woman from an influenced network. He began building a network of connections, of which some included politicians, out of favour and the nineteen year old Caesar paid the price of getting arrested. Sulla, the dictator of Rome spared him, like the way he did for others and some influential friends of Caesar managed him to get released. To make thing settle, he had to leave Rome for a while.
Military career and the Island of Rhodes:
Caesar, entered his military career with the posting of a military assistant to a provincial governor. Then he was posted to Cilicia, where he exhibited his courage by saving a comrade and its believed that his next assignment was among the soldiers against Spartacus slave rebellion.
Later, Caesar left the army and had spent time in Italy, improving his education. He decided to spend the winter on the island of Rhodes, but unfortunately the ship taking him there went under the control of pirates, who held him hostage for about 40 days, until a large amount bought his freedom. Burgundus, Caesar’s favourite slave brought the money from the city and held him free. Later, Caesar crucified all the pirates, according to the sources of history. During the time he was captured, Caesar exhibited his fearlessness which proved him to be famous later. He joked with the pirates that he is going to pin down every pirate, if untied and accordingly, the same happened after he got released from them.
Mean while, the conditions in the city of Rome changed and Caesar returned to Rome, to set his political career. As fate decided, his wife died and determined Caesar again went into a politically useful marriage. Though he divorced her basing on suspicion of adultery and it later got proved to be false. Caesar achieved the post of aedile and he used it for various political purposes. He used bribes, public shows, games and contests to gain popularity. This character of Caesar drew many against him to make foes and Caesar minded little about them.
Later, he bribed to enter in to the office of Pontifex Maximus (chief priest) in a religious post, and acquired the sheer status of a powerful position.
The First Triumvirate:
In 59 BC, proving himself as a capable ruler, Caesar formed a pact with two of the most prominent Romans forming The First Triumvirate, that later helped Caesar to achieve his goal of electing to consul, the highest office of Rome. The other two people in the triumvirate were the rich banker Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius or better known as Pompey.
Crassus had started his career as a colonel in Sulla’s army and earned large amount of money in his regime. As praetor, Crassus had crushed the revolt of Spartacus and later got involved in Catiline conspiracies.
Pompey was leading general in the city of Rome. He also started his career in Sulla’s army and later suppressed the risings of Marius in Spain and helped Crassus in suppressing the revolt of Spartacus. He annexed Syria, conquered Jerusalem and there by doubled Rome’s capital income.
The three had benefited equally from the formation of the triumvirate and entered into inter marriages in the triumvirate. Pompey married Caesar’s daughter Julia, Caesar married Calpurnia, the daughter of Piso, a very close friend of Crassus.
Governor of Gaul and The battle of Alesia:
Before his one year of consul term expires, Caesar has to defend himself from his enemies by acquiring a position in an office and fortunately, with the sudden death of Governor of Gaul, he obtained the Governorship. Gaul consisted of south of Alps and east of Appenines till the river Rubicon.
Caesar, perfected himself in the art of war fare. This is evident from various facts that he defeated the tribe of Helvetians, Germans, the Nervii and his attacks on Germany and Britan.
In 52 BC, Gaul rose against its conqueror and the Arveni chief, Vercingetorix, allied with other tribes of Gaul against Rome. Caesar, immediately, launched attacks on the allies, eliminating the enemies, one after the other.
Vercingetorix, instead of waiting for the right time, made a fatal error of attacking Caesar’s army and loose by the hands of Caesar. Later the battle has taken place ferociously between the two with innumerable infantry and cavalry against twenty five thousand infantry and eight thousand cavalry of Caesar’s army (though numbers are not confirmed). Mind games of Caesar had worked very well for the army, confusing the enemies, Caesar carved his name on the battle of Alesia, 52 BC.
Great leaders are often great orators. This has been proved in the case of Caesar. His oratory skills can be depicted from various situations that proved him as a convincing orator. One such include the funeral of his aunt Julia. It was obvious that eminent persons make on oration at the funeral and Caesar utilized it to show his excellence. He threw pride on his aunt’s character descending one side form the gods and the other from kings.
Assassination of Julius Caesar:
The dictatorship was the reason for Julius Caesar’s assassination, most people presume. The conspiracy against him grew larger and the assassination plans were set up for March 15, 44 BC , ides of March, when Caesar would meet the senate. Republic was the main aim of the conspirators and it is believed that there were twenty men in the conspiracy.
Caesar entered the Senate, Trebonius interrupted Mark Antony with a conversation and as Caesar approached senators, the conspirators stabbed Caesar twenty times. It is presumed that Caesar, uttered the words of “ET TU BRUTE” (And you too, Brutus?) , addressing Brutus for his backstabbing and could not believe that Brutus could do such a thing to him. There ends Caesar’s life followed by oration of the conspirator for Republic restoration of Rome. Later, Octavian and Antony went on against Brutus and other conspirators to avenge the death of Caesar.
Great people are often assassinated despite of the ideals, they followed and the service they had provided to their country and the case of Caesar is no exception.
Julius Caesar has changed the face of Roman empire and set an example not only to the future Roman emperors, but also to the emperors of the world. Two years after his death, Caesar was formally declared as a god DivusIulius (divine Julius).