Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar Life of Julius Caesar was a strong leader for the Romans who changed the course of the history of the Greek – Roman world decisively and irreversibly. With his courage and strength he created a strong empire. What happened during his early political career? How did he become such a strong dictator of the Roman Empire? What events led up to the making of the first triumvirate? How did he rise over the other two in the triumvirate and why did he choose to take over? What happened during his reign as dictator of Rome? What events led up to the assassination of Caesar? What happened after he was killed? Caesar was a major part of the Roman Empire because of his strength and his strong war strategies. Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman whose dictatorship was pivotal in Romes transition from republic to empire. When he was young Caesar lived through one of the most horrifying decades in the history of the city of Rome.

The city was assaulted twice and captured by Roman armies, first in 87 BC by the leaders of the Populares, his Uncle Marius and Cinna. Cinna was killed the year that Caesar had married Cinnas daughter Cornelia. The second attack upon the city was carried our by Marius enemy Sulla, leader of the Optimates, in 82 BC on the latters return from the East. On each occasion the massacre of political opponents was followed by the confiscation of their property. The proscriptions of Sulla, which preceded the reactionary political legislation enacted during his dictatorship left a particularly bitter memory that long survived.

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Caesar left Rome for the province of Asia on the condition that he divorce his wife because Sulla would only allow him to leave on that condition. When he heard the news that Sulla had been killed he returned to Rome. He studied rhetoric under the distinguished teacher Molon. In the winter of 75-74 BC Caesar was captured by pirated and, while in their custody awaiting the arrival of the ransom money which they demanded, threatened them with crucifixion, a threat which he fulfilled immediately after his release. He then returned to Rome to engage in a normal political career, starting with the quaetorship which he served in 69-68 BC in the province of Further Spain.

In the Roman political world of the sixties the dominance of the optimates was challenged by Pompey and Crassus. The optimates, led by Quintus Lutatius Catulus and Lucius Licinius Lucullus, were chiefly men whose careers had been made by Sulla. Pompey and Crassus were consuls in 70 BC and had rescinded the most offensively reactionary measures of Sullas legislation. During Pompeys absence from 67 to 62 BC during his campaigns against the Mediterranean pirates, Mithridates, and Crassus, his jealous rival. Caesar married Ponpeia after Cornelias death and was appointed aedile in 65 BC As audile, Caesar returned to Marius trophies to their former place of honor in the Capitol, thus laying claim to leadership of the populares. When Caesar was a praetor, he supported a tribune who wanted Pompey recalled to restore order in Rome.

As a result, Caesar was suspended from office for a period and antagonized Catulus. Before leaving Rome to govern Further Spain for a year, Caesar divorced his wife Pompeia because of the allegation that she had been implicated in the offense of Publius Clods. The latter was then awaiting trial for breaking into Caesars house the previous December disguised as a woman at the festival of the Bona Dea, which no man is allowed to attend. After his return from a successful year administrating Spain Caesar was elected consul for 59 BC through political alliance with Pompey and Crassus. This alliance was called the first triumvirate. Caesars purpose was to gain a big military command.

Pompey for his part sought the ratification of his eastern settlement and land allotments for his discharged troops. Crassus sought a revision of the contract for collecting taxes in the province of Asia. An agrarian bill authorizing the purchase of land for Pompeys veterans was passed in January of 59BC at a disorderly public assembly which Caesars fellow consul Calpurnius Bibulus, was thrown from the platform and his consularinsignia were broken. Bibulus tried to stop Caesar and his supporters from passing any further law but was only able to postpone the creation of the new laws by saying that the skies would not permit it because there was stormy weather and they were very superstitious. Caesar disregarded Bibulus behavior and the remainder of the legislative program of the triumvirate was carried through. As a result of this action Caesar and his friends incurred bitter attacks.

Their political opponents continued to claim that the whole of the legislation was unconstitutional and invalid. Caesar had secured for five years the governorship of three provinces. The provinces were Cisalpine Gaul, Transalpine Gaul, and Illyricum. He left Rome and remained in Gaul until his invasion of Italy. He continued north of the Alps each summer and he would leave his armies there in garrison each winter while he came south to conduct the civil administration of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum and to keep in contact with Rome. Caesar became determined to conquer and make a province of the whole of Gaul.

After his defeat of the Belgian tribes in the north and the submission of the maritime tribes on the Atlantic seaboard, he believed that the task had all but been accomplished. Caesar decided to make two short reconnaissance expeditions, one across the Rhine and the other across the Straits of Dover to Britain. In a longer and more serious invasion of Britain he crossed the Thames and received the submission of the supreme commander of the southeastern Britons, Cassivellaunus. Caesar had avoided recall to Rome at the end of the five years of command vo …