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 Julius Caesar (100 to 44 BC)

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Andrew Cox
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PostSubject: Julius Caesar (100 to 44 BC)   Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:14 pm

When Caesar was young, it was a period of civil war. There was a great boom in the size of the Roman empire, resulting in cheap slave labor that put many out of work. Caesar was part of an aristocratic family, and was expected to have a low position in Roman politics. Julius was not like the rest though, and was able to see that money was everything in Roman politics. When his father died, he set out to do better than the rest of his family. First he married into a more prominent family, and started connections that would help elevate himself.

Caesar was arrested because some of these connections, and was forced to go into exile. He decides to join the navy, and is posted as an assistant to a governor. After that posting, he was moved to Cilicia, where he showed that he was a great soldier, and saved the life of a comrade. When Julius left the army, he was still not able to return to Rome, so he stayed in southern Italy to continue his education. He was a great public speaker, probably attributed to this education.

On his return from exile, the ship Caesar was traveling on was captured by pirates. He joked with his captors that once he was free he would have them crucified. Even Caesar laughed at this ridiculous joke. Once the ransom was paid Julius did just that, hunting them down and crucifying them.

Upon returning to Rome, Caesar was able to to secure a position in the Roman administration, mainly because of his deeds and military achievements. He served as a quaestor in Spain in 63 BC.

Caesar soon returned to Rome, hoping to get into a political position. With his first wife having died, he entered a marriage that would be useful for his politic goals. This marriage did not last long, though, because of suspicion of adultery. There was no proof, and he was urged by many friends to have faith in his wife.

Over the next years, Julius worked to gain popularity with the common people, and with the people in power. Caesar soon achieved the position of aedile, a position that maintenance public buildings, regulated festivals, and could enforce public order. Using this position to his advantage, he made bribes, held gladiator contests, games, and banquets, all at a high cost. He also renovated public buildings to impress the general public. This led many people to dislike Julius, because of the no-budget spending. Caesar ignored this though, and bribed his way into the position of chief priest. This position was powerful and gave him a good appearance that could have not happened any other way.



At 41, Caesar was sent to Spain to be commander of an army, called a praetor. Some think that the Senate did this to see him fail, because Spain was a troubled region at the time. Julius was unwavering beneath the problems set against him, and excelled at his position. Caesar found he was good at military command, along with the spoils of war that may have saved his career. He used what he gained in Spain during the rest of his career.



In 59 BC, Caesar allied with Crassus and Pompey to get himself elected consul, the highest office of Rome. Caeser then had to convince the senate to believe that he would actually get something accomplished. Caesar's laws seemed like they were to make himself popular. He canceled taxes on farmers and gave land to the larger farming families. Along with this, Caesar remarried to Calpurnia Pisonis, from another influential Roman household. He married his daughter, Julia to Pompey, increasing his partnership with him.

Over the next years, Caesar, as the governor of Gaul, defeats several local tribes with forces he mostly raised himself. The people of Gaul came to hate Caesar, and in 52 BC, they rose up against him. After several battles, Julius tries to take the city of Alesia. Relief troops came upon his rear, estimated to number about 250,000. The Roman force had prepared for something like this though, and had build outer fortifications and stripped the land of food. During the battle, Caesar's troops did fairly well at first. Then when one of the main camps was breached, Caesar sent his cavalry to attack from behind, and rushed into the battle himself. The cavalry fell upon the army's ranks, and slaughtered most of the Gallic troops. This led to the surrender of Gaul, and it became a Roman province.

In 51 BC, Caesar's ruler ship of Gaul was revoked by Rome. Julius led an army into Italy in 49 BC, and forced Rome under his rule. Even though he ruled, Rome was not under his control. He had to pursue Pompey, his former ally, east to destroy resistance. Pompey escaped to Egypt, but was killed when he arrived.

Julius arrived in Egypt pursuing Pompey, only to get stuck in the quarrels of who should succeed the throne of Egypt. He was initially asked to settle the dispute, but was attacked by royal troops in Alexandria. Caesar was able to fend off the attacks in the streets, but did not leave immediately. He was persuaded by Cleopatra, the one who he had helped make queen, to stay as a guest. The next year, he named their son Caesarion in her honor.




Before he returned to Rome, he had to deal with king Parnaces in Asia Minor, where he sent the message "veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered)

In his absence, Caesar was named dictator, and that appointment was renewed many times. His delay on return had allowed Pompey's sons to to raise their own armies, and invoke two more campaigns, this time to Africa and Spain. Following this, Julius made many additions to the life of the people, including the calender adjustment we use today.

The Senate slowly brewed in their hate for Caesar. They did not like his power, fearing he was too like old kings. They also hated foreigners, like Cleopatra and Caesarion when they came to visit. Just before Caesar left on a campaign to Parthia in the east, just five months after he returned to Rome, Caesar was murdered by a band of senators. The Senators led him unsuspectingly into a back room and stabbed him 23 times. (March 15, 44 BC)



Caesar had reformed the Roman empire, by sweeping away old and pulling in new. He also set an example for future leaders, leaving an imprint on civilization.


Sources: http://www.roman-empire.net/republic/caesar.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedile
http://soccergirls15.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius_caesar_statue.jpg (image)
http://www.hbo.com/rome/img/cast/character/character_juliuscaesar.jpg (image)
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_D-egbB45pds/Sb3Q2lzg67I/AAAAAAAAEis/_kLkczJe020/s400/cleopatra+taylor.jpg (image)
http://img2.allposters.com/images/BRGPOD/303135.jpg (image)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/1963_Cleopatra_trailer_screenshot_(34).jpg (image)
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