Julius Caeser

This essay has a total of 1616 words and 8 pages.


Julius Caeser








Gaius Julius Caesar was born on July 13, 100 BC. Although patrician descent,
Caesar's family had not achieved real prominence. His father, also named Gaius Julius
Caesar, was the brother-in-law of Gaius Marius and married Aurelia, who was connected
with the prominent Aurelii family; he died about 85 BC, however, before reaching the
consulship. In 84, Caesar married Cornelia, daughter of Marius's old partner Lucius
Cornelius Cinna. When Lucius Cornelius Sulla ordered him to divorce her, he refused and
escaped harm through the intervention of such people as his mother's relative, Gaius
Aurelius Cotta.

Caesar was then sent to collect a fleet from the Roman ally Nicomedes IV of
Bithynia and was honored for conspicuous bravery at the siege of Mytilene. Returning
home after Sulla's death , he unsuccessfully prosecuted two Sullans, Gnaeus Cornelius
Dolabella and Gaius Antonius Hibrida. He then left Rome for studies in Rhodes but was
captured by pirates. After obtaining ransom, he recruited private troops, captured the
pirates, and had them executed in. His studies on Rhodes were interrupted by the outbreak
of war with Mithradates VI of Pontus, against who he gathered a force in 74.

During a legateship to help Marcus Antonius Creticus fight piracy, Caesar was
made a pontiff at Rome in 73 BC. After his military tribunate and possible service against
Spartacus, he sided with those seeking power from outside the circle of nobles who
dominated the Senate. He supported restoration of tribunician powers and the recall from
exile of those who had supported Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in his revolt of 77. Caesar also
advertised his Marian connections: by displaying Marius's effigies at his aunt Julia's
funeral; through funeral orations for both Julia and his wife; and by the restoration of
Marius' battle trophies on the Capitoline Hill.

After a quaestorship in Spain, Caesar earned popularity among the Transpadane Gauls by
supporting their agitation for Roman citizenship. He next married Pompeia,
granddaughter of Sulla and relative of Pompey the Great, and evidence indicates that he
supported important military assignments for Pompey in 67 and 66. As aedile in 65 BC, he
achieved great popularity--and went into debt--by financing splendid games. He also
probably cooperated with Marcus Licinius Crassus in an attempt to annex Egypt, in
supporting Catiline for the consulship, and in promoting the land-distribution bill of
Publius Servilius Rullus.

In 64 BC, Caesar presided over trials of those who had committed murder during
Sulla's proscriptions. The following year, he prosecuted Gaius Rabirius, and used that trial
to attack the legality of the Senatus consultum ultimum, the Senate's decree of a state of
emergency. In the elections of that year, massive bribery helped him become Pontifex
Maximus. Caesar took no part in Catiline's conspiracy, but he courted popularity by
opposing the execution of Catiline's accomplices and, as praetor in 62, by supporting
measures favorable to Pompey. Soon after, however, he divorced Pompeia on suspicion of
infidelity with Publius Clodius, although he refused to testify against the latter in the Bona
Dea affair. Caesar later married Calpurnia.

Caesar became governor of Further Spain in 61 after Crassus had helped pacify his
creditors. Military action in Spain restored Caesar's finances, and he outwitted his political
enemies by forgoing a triumph (the traditional victor's procession in Rome) in order to win
election to the consulate with the support of Crassus and Pompey. Faced with increased
opposition from conservatives like Cato the Younger, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey
formed the First Triumvirate to further their ambitions After obtaining a reduction of the
Asian tax contracts for Crassus, ratification of Pompey's postwar arrangements in the
East, and land for Pompey's veterans, Caesar received the governorships of Illyricum,
Cisalpine Gaul, and Transalpine Gaul. He was also given control of a large army, which he
used to subjugate Gaul. He gained enormous political strength from the Gallic Wars,
which lasted from 58 to 51 BC.



Although Caesar's daughter, Julia, married Pompey in 59, strain, encouraged by
Crassus, developed between the two men. The "Triumvirate" was renegotiated at Luca in
56, but the death of Julia in 54 and Crassus in 53 and the phenomenal success of Caesar in
Gaul eventually destroyed Caesar's relationship with Pompey. In 50 Pompey joined
opponents of Caesar's bid for a second consulate. Caesar's offers of compromise were
rejected by the Senate, and on Jan. 10, 49 BC, Caesar precipitated civil war by leading his
army across the Rubicon into Italy proper.

Caesar's veteran army soon overran Italy, forcing the unprepared Pompey to
withdraw to Greece. In August 49 a lightning campaign secured Spain, and Caesar then
crossed to Greece. At Dyrrhachium he suffered a loss, but his hardened veterans totally
defeated Pompey's superior numbers at Pharsalus on Aug. 9, 48. Pompey fled to Egypt,
where he was murdered. Following him there, Caesar became involved in the civil war
between Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII. He made Cleopatra his mistress as well
as queen of Egypt.

In 47 BC Caesar went to Anatolia, where he defeated Pompey's ally Pharnaces,
king of Bosporus, at Zela; this victory occasioned Caesar's famous boast Veni, vidi, vici
("I came, I saw, I conquered"). He returned to Rome, but in December 47 he crossed to
North Africa to meet a new threat from the Pompeian forces. After victory at Thapsus, he
Continues for 4 more pages >>