ho changedthe course of the history of the Greco – Roman world decisively andirreversibly. With his courage and strength he created a strongempire. What happened during his early political career? How did hebecome such a strong dictator of the Roman Empire? What events led upto the making of the first triumvirate? How did he rise over theother two in the triumvirate and why did he choose to take over? Whathappened during his reign as dictator of Rome? What events led up tothe assassination of Caesar? What happened after he was killed?Caesar was a major part of the Roman Empire because of his strengthand his strong war strategies.Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman whosedictatorship was pivotal in Rome’s transition from republic to empire.When he was young Caesar lived through one of the most horrifyingdecades in the history of the city of Rome. The city was assaultedtwice and captured by Roman armies, first in 87 BC by the leaders ofthe populares, his uncle Marius and Cinna.
Cinna was killed the yearthat Caesar had married Cinna’s daughter Cornelia. The second attackupon the city was carried our by Marius’ enemy Sulla, leader of theoptimates, in 82 BC on the latter’s return from the East. On eachoccasion the massacre of political opponents was followed by theconfiscation of their property. The proscriptions of Sulla, whichpreceded the reactionary political legislation enacted during hisdictatorship left a particularly bitter memory that long survived.Caesar left Rome for the province of Asia on the conditionthat he divorce his wife because Sulla would only allow him to leaveon that condition. When he heard the news that Sulla had been killedhe returned to Rome.
He studied rhetoric under the distinguishedteacher 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 whichthey demanded, threatened them with crucifixion , a threat which hefulfilled immediately after his release. He then returned to Rome toengage in a normal political career, starting with the quaetorshipwhich he served in 69-68 BC in the province of Further Spain.In the Roman political world of the sixties the dominance ofthe optimates was challenged by Pompey and Crassus. The optimates,led by Quintus Lutatius Catulus and Lucius Licinius Lucullus , werechiefly men whose careers had been made by Sulla.
Pompey and Crassuswere consuls in 70 BC and had rescinded the most offensivelyreactionary measures of Sulla’s legislation. During Pompey’s absencefrom 67 to 62 BC during his campaigns against the Mediterraneanpirates, Mithridates, and Crassus, his jealous rival. Caesar marriedPonpeia after Cornelia’s death and was appointed aedile in 65 BC Asaedile, Caesar returned to Marius’ trophies to their former place ofhonor in the Capitol, thus laying claim to leadership of thepopulares.When Caesar was a praetor, he supported a tribune who wantedPompey recalled to restore order in Rome. As a result, Caesar wassuspended from office for a period and antagonized Catulus.
Beforeleaving Rome to govern Further Spain for a year, Caesar divorced hiswife Pompeia because of the allegation that she had been implicated inthe offense of Publius Clodius. The latter was then awaiting trialfor breaking into Caesar’s house the previous December disguised as awoman at the festival of the Bona Dea, which no man is allowed toattend.After his return from a successful year administrating SpainCaesar was elected consul for 59 BC through political alliance withPompey and Crassus . This alliance was called the first triumvirate.Caesar’s purpose was to gain a big military command.
Pompey for hispart sought the ratification of his Eastern settlement and landallotments for his discharged troops. Crassus sought a revision ofthe contract for collecting taxes in the province of Asia. Anagrarian bill authorizing the purchase of land for Pompey’s veteranswas passed in January of 59 BC at a disorderly public assembly whichCaesar’s fellow consul Calpurnius Bibulus, was thrown from theplatform and his consular insignia were broken. Bibulus tried to stopCaesar and his supporters from passing any further law but was onlyable to postpone the creation of the new laws by saying that the skieswould not permit it because there was stormy weather and they werevery superstitious. Caesar disregarded Bibulus’ behavior and theremainder of the legislative program of the triumvirate was carriedthrough. As a result of this action Caesar and his friends incurredbitter attacks. Their political opponents continued to claim that thewhole of the legislation was unconstitutional and invalid.
Caesar had secured for five years the governorship of threeprovinces. The provinces were Cisalpine Gaul , Transalpine Gaul , andIllyricum. He left Rome and remained in Gaul until his invasion ofItaly.
He continued north of the Alps each summer and he would leavehis army there in garrison each winter while he came south to conductthe civil administration of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum and to keepin contact with Rome.Caesar became determined to conquer and make a province of thewhole of Gaul. After his defeat of the Belgic tribes in the north andthe submission of the maritime tribes on the Atlantic seaboard, hebelieved that the task had all but been accomplished.
Caesar decidedto make two short reconnaissance expeditions, one across the Rhine.and the other across the Straits of Dover to Britain. In a longer andmore serious invasion of Britain he crossed the Thames and receivedthe submission of the supreme commander of the southeastern Britons,Cassivellaunus.Caesar had avoided recall to Rome at the end of the five yearsof command voted to him by coming to a fresh agreement with Pompey andCrassus at Luca.
The optimates in control of the senate, now awake tothe immense increase in Caesar’s personal power, wealth, and prestige,kept Pompey in Italy, allowing him to govern his Spanish provinces bydeputies. Pompey’s own attachment to Caesar was broken when Caesar’sdaughter Julia to whom Pompey had been happily married since 59 BCdied in 54 BC Crassus was killed by the Parthians at Carrhae inMesopotamia. In planning Caesar’s return to civil life in Rome hecould assume that as soon as he lost the immunity from prosecutionwhich his military command conferred, his political enemies wouldendeavor to secure his exile by prosecuting him in the courts eitherfor bribery or for the use of force in politics.
In Rome there wassupport in the senate for a negotiated compromise when Curio put forththe proposal by which Caesar would give up his military command andstand in person at the consular election on condition that Pompeyabandon his military command at the same time. On January 7, 49 BCAntony and one of his fellow tribunes were warned that their liveswould be in danger if they sustained their veto and the proclamationof military law was passed. Caesar was told to leave his troopsbehind and cross the Rubicon into Rome alone. Caesar knew that thiswas a death sentence for him so he did not leave his troops butmarched into the city and caused a civil war. He defeated Pompey’stroops in many battles and became the dictator of Rome.
From the time that he had first faced battle in Gaul anddiscovered his own military genius, Caesar was evidently fascinatedand obsessed by military and imperial problems. He gave them anabsolute priority over the more delicate by no less fundamental taskof revising the Roman constitution. The need in the latter sphere wasa solution which would introduce such elements of authoritarianism aswere necessary to check corruption and administrative weakness.Caesar’s first dictatorship was simply a commission to enablehim to hold elections in the absence of the consuls of the year whowere with Pompey, but after the news of Pharsalus, Caesar was createddictator again; after Tapsus he was made dictator for ten years and inthe winter of 45 BC he was appointed perpetual dictator.When Caesar was out of Italy after 49 BC real power lay in thehands of his representatives.
When he was dictator the most importantof these representatives was his “master of the horse”. Thisrepresentative was Mark Antony. Much resentment was felt by prominentsenators like Cicero on account of the great power and influence ofsuch against of Caesar. Caesar’s military dominance was establishedbeyond the possibility of successful challenge, the senate gave him aprofusion of personal honors which were out of keeping with Romantradition, reflecting as they did the extravagant distinctionsaccorded earlier to the Hellenistic kings. The month of July was namedafter Caesar and his statue was placed in the temple of Quirinus.Caesar was considered to be a dictator for life. According tothe traditional Republican constitution this office was only to beheld for six months during a dire emergency.
Caesar also obtainedhonors to increase his prestige. He wore the robe, crown, and scepterof a triumphant general and used the title imperator. He was also incommand of the armies. Caesar used his dictatorship and used it toincrease his power. With all of his powers he was pretty much theking of Rome.
Mark Antony was his major supporter and he helpedconvince the others to allow Caesar to have these abilities, but itled to some problems.A group of conspirators had been formed against Caesar becausethey felt that he had too much power and that if he became the king ofRome he would become corrupt and use his powers to create a badsociety. The senate resented his actual position that was shown inthe sixty member conspiracy which Marcus Brutus had organized to killhim.
On the Ides of March , two days before he was due to leave Romeon his great eastern expedition, he was stabbed to death at a meetingof the senate in Pompey’s new theater. He fell dead at the foot ofPompey’s statue. Pompey was avenged, as well as Bibulus and Cato.After a provocative funeral oration by Mark Antony, Caesar’s body wasburned by the mob in the forum. When at the games in his honor thefollowing July a comet appeared and it was regarded as evidence of hisgodhead and he was formally consecrated and “divus Julius,” or divineJulius.
Octavius, whose name became Caesar Octavianus after hisadoption by Caesar’s will, solved, by his creation of the Romanprincipate, the constitutional problem that Caesar failed to solve.Caesar had started as a consul and had formed the firsttriumvirate with Crassus and Pompey. They had taken over the Romancivilization and had controlled for a while.
When Crassus was killedand agreement was made. Pompey and Caesar were supposed to give uptheir military and enter the city of Rome to find a real ruler.Pompey was in on the deal and he was supposed to take over. Caesarknew that if he entered the city of Rome without his troops he wouldbe killed by Pompey and so he crossed the Rubicon with his troops andattacked Rome. He took over as a dictator for life and gained a lotof power.
He was able to run a strong military and even though he wasconsidered only a dictator he wrote laws that actually made him havethe same powers as a king. The conspirators saw the problem that hadarised and so they planned the murder of Caesar on the Ides of March.Caesar was killed and there was another triumvirate formed. Caesarwas a strong military leader that had showed strength and courage totake over the town and he was able to form a civilization that wasstrong militarily and politically.