Ceaser Essay

This essay has a total of 1717 words and 8 pages.



Gaius Julius Caesar has been described as one of the most influential political and
military leaders in history. He began the Roman transition from a republic to an empire.
Caesar united Rome under his ruthless power; he controlled religion, senate, and the
military. He almost made himself emperor, and this was the fact that inspired his

Caesar was born in Rome on July 12 or 13, 100 BC. He started his education early, as a
young man he was placed under the tutorship of M. Antonius Gnipho, a freeborn native of
Gaul. Antonius was a well-educated man, and well read in Greek and Latin. Caesar was a
product of what could be called the Roman Renaissance; he was well educated in the culture
of classical Greece. He was a realist, and very astute; he saw the real problem set out to
solve it with great vigor. Julius belonged to the prestigious Julli clan; these were
patricians and traced their lineage back to the goddess Venus. His uncle by marriage was
Gaius Marius, leader of the Populares. This party was opposed by some of the senatorial
faction. Caesar later married Cornelia in 84 BC; she was the daughter of one of Gaius’s
associates. These two factors identified Caesar as a radical to certain members of the
senate. Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Marius enemy was elected dictator in 82 BC, Sulla ordered
Caesar to divorce Cornelia. Caesar refused and fled Rome to Samnium. He did not return to
his home until Sulla resigned in 78 BC.

Caesar was captured in 78 BC by pirates on his way to Rhodes, he was said to have raised
his ransom, raised a naval force, captured his captors, and had them executed, all while
holding no public office. At Rhodes he studied rhetoric under Apollonius Molon, a
celebrated master. There is no doubt he used his newly learned rhetoric on the unlucky

From 73 BC to 69 BC practically nothing is known of his life, in 69 BC he was elected
questor, and in the following year served as such on the staff of C. Antistius Vetus,
praetor of Spain. Shortly before he took his position he lost his aunt and his wife. When
he returned to Rome and married Pompeia, this strange marriage has been considered a
politically tactical move in order to gain an eventual strategic advantage.

In 67 BC Pompey the Great had supreme command in the east. Licinius Crassus a rich
partician, was bitterly jealous of Pompey’s successes. These two men rivaled for the next
dictatorship, so in order to keep up with Pompey, Crassus needs the popular support of the
people. Who better to help Crassus then the outspoken and popular Julius Caesar, this
alliance was considered a marriage de convenance. Caesar was a governor in Spain for a
year, he returned in 60 BC. It was at this point that Julius formed a three-way alliance
with Crassus and Pompey. This was known as the First Triumvirate. To cement their
relationship further, Caesar gave his daughter Julia to Pompey in marriage. Now properly
backed Caesar was elected to consul in 59 BC, despite Optimate hostility, the year after
he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul.

The Gallic wars started in 58 BC, this is because the Helvetii, a Gallic people, were
invading a Roman allied tribe known as the Aedui. Caesar marched to Cisalpinc Gaul with
six legions; he defeated the Helvetii and forced them back to their homelands. An example
of Caesars brilliance as a military and political commander was at this point. He sent the
Helvetii back to their homeland and supplied them with corn for their journey, and for
when they rebuilt their villages. He did this so that the fertile farmlands would not fall
to the neighboring Germanic tribes.

Next Caesar crushed the Germanic forces under Ariouistus, now Rome was in control of
northern Gaul by 57 BC. A last revolt of the Gaul’s, led by Vercingetorix, was suppressed
in 52-51 BC. Caesar went off to raid Brittan and put down a revolt in Gaul, Crassus was
jealous and eager to gain equal military glory. Crassus then provoked a war with the
Parthian empire; he was defeated and killed at Carrhae in 53 BC. The death of Crassus
removed any obligations between Pompey and Caesar, since Julia died in 54 BC.

Pompey was made sole consul in 52 BC; his first objective was to rid himself of the
younger rival Caesar. Pompey’s way of doing this was relieving Caesar of his command in
Gaul. The senate ordered Caesar to resign his army or become a public enemy. Caesar
refused and decided to attack Pompey, thus beginning the civil war.

At the beginning of the war Caesar had eight legions in Gaul, while Pompey had ten and
most too far away to be of any help. Although in fighting forces actual and potential
Caesar was inferior to Pompey, morally he was vastly superior to him. His conquests of
Gaul had granted him much prestige; his singleness of command enabled him to come to rapid
and unquestioned decisions, and the devotion of his men instilled him with complete
confidence in their loyalty. Caesars main strategy to win the war was to convince the
people, the property owners, and the capitalists, that his cause was the more desirable
one, and he had to convert his enemy’s legions into a profitable recruiting ground.

Pompey fled to Brundisium because his troops in Italy were not prepared for war. They met
at the port, where the greater part of the Pompeian army had already sailed. Pompey and
twenty cohorts were still in port. Before this point Caesar had many times offered peace
talks, but all were denied. This could have been a tactical ploy to gain the peoples
backing, or he simply could have wanted the conflict to end. On March 18th 48 BC, Caesar
entered Brundisium and Italy was considered his. Caesar then constructed a fleet, he had
none to speak of prior to this point, and took Spain and the key port of Massalia. In Rome
Caesar became dictator until he was elected consul for 48 BC. It was in the beginning of
this year that he landed at Greece and smashed Pompey’s forces at Pharsalus. Pompey fled
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