Julius Caesar Essay
In myopinion, no other man in the history of the world symbolizes military andpolitical strength as much as Julius Caesar does. Caesar was born on July 12,100 BC in Rome, Italy (Encarta 2000). His father belonged to the prestigiousJulian clan (Internet Explorer) His uncle by marriage was Gaius Marius, leaderof the Populares which supported agrarian reform and opposed the Optimates (ComptonsEncyclopedia). Marius saw to it that Julius Caesar was appointed flamen dialiswhich is a archaic priesthood with no power. Caesar’s marriage in 84 BC toCornelia, the daughter of Marius’s associate was a political Match (Lindsay Salo).
When Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Marius’s enemy and leader of the Optimates, wasmade dictator in 82 BC, he issued a list of enemies to be executed. Caesar wasnot harmed but he was ordered by Sulla to divorce Cornelia. Caesar refused thatorder and left Rome to join the army (Lindsay Salo) (Comptons Encyclopedia).
This was the beginning of an astonishing military career. He became second incommand of the province Asia (Turkey) (Lindsay Salo).
In two years he proved hisbravery and superior skills at arms. After these years and Sulla’s resignationin 78 BC, Julius decided to return to Rome. There he served as an officer inCrassus’s army against Spartacus, Caesar climbed steadily in the government byserving as an official in many provinces (Internet Explorer). After the death ofhis wife Cornelia, Julius remarried a wealthy wife and allied with Crassus, whowas the richest man in Rome at the time (Internet Explorer). Their opponent wasPompeius Magnus (the Great). Caesar wanted to become part of the consulate. Theconsulate was a governmental position where two consuls, nominated each year,held the power of the state. Caesar was hoping that he and Crassus would becomethe powerful consuls of the Roman Empire. However, the Senate tried to stop hisefforts by pitting Crassus, Pompeius and Caesar against each other. Caesarnoticed this and did something believed impossible. Julius created an allianceamong himself, Crassus, and Pompeius (Encarta 2000). The alliance made itpossible for them all to share power. This three way consulship was called aTriumvirate (Internet Explorer). This agreement dictated the Roman policy forthe next decade. They shared all offices between them and their followers andthat’s the way Caesar became Governor of Gaul Transalpinia (Encarta 2000). Hehad three legions (15,000 men) under his command. Julius Caesar then marchedinto Celtic Gaul, defeated the Helvetii, and forced them to return to their home(Encarta 200). Next, he crushed Germanic forces under Ariovistus and furtherproved his excellent leadership. Julius Caesar now turned his mind completely onpolitics. In 51 BC, while still fighting some resistant clans, he proposed tothe Senate to extend his governor-ship for another two years, which allowed himto run for consul in the year 48 BC (A consul could only become consul againafter 10 years). He said that he earned it based on his presentations in Gauland referred to Pompeius whose governor ship in Spain had been extended the yearbefore. But the senate hesitated. In the year 50 BC, Caesar still tried toextend his governor ship, but to ensure the loyalty of his army he doubled theirpay. Other huge sums went into public funds and the creation of his own silvercoins: “CAE” on one side and “SAR” on the other, and akneeling Vercingetorix before him (Encarta 2000). The two consuls of 50 BC werehostile to him, but he managed to bribe one of them. This caused a stalemate inthe Senate. Then, late in the fall, the senate decide that Caesar and Pompeiuswere to relinquish control of their armies and provinces. Caesar’s followerstried to veto it, but the hostile consul ordered Pompeius to defend the Republicwith two Legions at Capua and the authority to raise more. Caesar thereupongathered his own armies and went south. Both commanders were still on speakingterms and Caesar made another proposal. The proposal was that he wouldrelinquish control of all but two of his legions and The province of CisalpineGaul (the part of Gaul lying in Italy). Pompeius agreed, but the senate orderedhim to wait. Caesar then made an ultimatum. Julius summed up his services to thestate and demanded that he could keep his legions and provinces till he waselected consul. In January 49 BC Mark Anthony, Caesar’s trusted lieutenant,demanded that the ultimatum he read aloud in the senate. Although the majoritywould have swayed for peace, the opponents of Caesar would allow no compromisesand bullied all the frightened senators that Caesar should disband his armies orbe declared enemy of the state. The Senate then stripped Julius of all hisoffices and the Republic declared war on him. Julius Caesar’s reaction to thiswas on January 11. He led his single legion, which he had assembled, across thebridge over a small stream that marked the boundary between his province and theRoman homeland. This spot was the Rubicon. Pompeius tried to stop Caesar, butall was in vain. No one dared to stand up against Caesar’s superior veteransoldiers. The senate and Pompeius were now panic stricken and left Italy to headtoward Albania, without taking the treasury with them. Once in Rome, Caesarwasted no time. Against no effective opposition, he assembled a makeshiftsenate, took control of the government and broke open the treasury. Mark Anthonywas put in charge of the Italian legions and Caesar himself went to theindependent city of Massilia. He could not capture the city, but he went toSpain and crushed Pompeius followers. When Caesar returned to Massilia, he wasclement and did not sack the city, but it was no longer independent. He returnedto Rome as a victor, but there was still Pompeius and the old senate. Pompeiushimself had raised a massive army in Macedonia. Caesar lacked a navy and wasforced to land in Yugoslavia with only 20,000 men (7 under powered legions).
Although Julius was largely outnumbered, he and Mark Anthony were victoriousover Pompeius. What happened was very odd. Strangely Pompeius withdrew his armyand Caesar remarked “Today the enemy would have won, if they had acommander who was a winner.” Caesar now chased after Pompeius towardsPharsalus. Here Caesar’s 32,000 faced Pompeius 43,000. It was going to be thelargest conflict of the civil war over the Roman Empire. On a morning in earlyAugust both armies attacked. Caesar’s left and center held strong, while hisright withdrew. Pompeius, noticing Caesar’s weak side headed his cavalry in thegap, but Caesar intelligently sent in his last reserve, and Pompeius linessimply collapsed. Nineteen months after the crossing of the Rubico Caesar becamedictator and master of the Roman Empire. The defeated Pompeius now fled to Egyptbut was killed once there by his own men (Encarta 2000). Although he had tostomp out several rebellions, in 46 BC Caesar finally could stage four Triumphparades for his victories. Caesar is believed to have been only twenty-six yearsold at the time. Caesar was now the ruler of the Roman Empire and the senatedeclared him dictator for life. As a ruler, Caesar instituted various reforms.
In provinces, he eliminated the highly corrupt tax system, extended Romancitizenship, and sponsored colonies of veterans. Also Caesar’s reform of thecalendar gave Rome a rational means of recording time which was very important(Encarta 2000). However, a number of senatorial families felt that Caesarthreatened their position. Thus, on the 6th of March 44 BC, the so called Idesof March, Caesar was murdered by Marcus Brutus, Gaius Cassius, and his twotrusted commanders of his old legions Decimus Brutus and Gaius Trebonius(Encarta 2000). Caesar was stabbed twenty-three times. While the blood pouredout of his wounded body the great dictator of Rome silently pulled his toga overhis head and fell at the foot of a statue of Pompeius (Internet Explorer). Inconclusion, Julius Caesar was probably the greatest man of his time and the mostsuccessful. It was Caesar who ended the Roman republic and paved the way for thelater Roman emperors (Encarta 2000). From his early life to his death no otherman accomplished as much as he did. Julius Caesar in my opinion was the greatestsoldier and dictator of all time. Bibliography1. Compton’s Encyclopedia 2. Encarta 2000 Biographies