Julius Caesar was a strong leader for the Romans who changed the courseof the history of the Greco – Roman world decisively and irreversibly. With his courage and strength he created a strong empire . Whathappened during his early political career? How did he become such astrong dictator of the Roman Empire? What events led up to the makingof the first triumvirate? How did he rise over the other two in thetriumvirate and why did he choose to take over? What happened duringhis reign as dictator of Rome? What events led up to the assassinationof Caesar? What happened after he was killed? Caesar was a major partof the Roman Empire because of his strength and his strong warstrategies. Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman whose dictatorship waspivotal in Romes transition from republic to empire. When he was youngCaesar lived through one of the most horrifying decades in the historyof the city of Rome. The city was assaulted twice and captured by Romanarmies, first in 87 BC by the leaders of the populares, his uncle Mariusand Cinna. Cinna was killed the year that Caesar had married Cinnasdaughter Cornelia. The second attack upon the city was carried our byMarius enemy Sulla, leader of the optimates, in 82 BC on the lattersreturn from the East.
On each occasion the massacre of politicalopponents was followed by the confiscation of their property. Theproscriptions of Sulla, which preceded the reactionary politicallegislation enacted during his dictatorship left a particularly bittermemory that long survived. Caesar left Rome for the province of Asia on the condition that hedivorce his wife because Sulla would only allow him to leave on thatcondition. When he heard the news that Sulla had been killed hereturned to Rome. He studied rhetoric under the distinguished teacherMolon. In the winter of 75-74 BC Caesar was captured by pirated and, while intheir custody awaiting the arrival of the ransom money which theydemanded, threatened them with crucifixion , a threat which he fulfilledimmediately after his release. He then returned to Rome to engage in anormal political career, starting with the quaetorship which he servedin 69-68 BC in the province of Further Spain. In the Roman political world of the sixties the dominance of theoptimates was challenged by Pompey and Crassus.
The optimates, led byQuintus Lutatius Catulus and Lucius Licinius Lucullus , were chiefly menwhose careers had been made by Sulla. Pompey and Crassus were consulsin 70 BC and had rescinded the most offensively reactionary measures ofSullas legislation. During Pompeys absence from 67 to 62 BC duringhis campaigns against the Mediterranean pirates, Mithridates, andCrassus, his jealous rival. Caesar married Ponpeia after Corneliasdeath and was appointed aedile in 65 BC As aedile , Caesar returned toMarius trophies to their former place of honor in the Capitol, thuslaying claim to leadership of the populares.When Caesar was a praetor, he supported a tribune who wanted Pompeyrecalled to restore order in Rome. As a result, Caesar was suspendedfrom office for a period and antagonized Catulus. Before leaving Rometo govern Further Spain for a year, Caesar divorced his wife Pompeiabecause of the allegation that she had been implicated in the offense ofPublius Clodius.
The latter was then awaiting trial for breaking intoCaesars house the previous December disguised as a woman at thefestival of the Bona Dea, which no man is allowed to attend. After his return from a successful year administrating Spain Caesar waselected consul for 59 BC through political alliance with Pompey andCrassus . This alliance was called the first triumvirate. Caesarspurpose was to gain a big military command. Pompey for his part soughtthe ratification of his Eastern settlement and land allotments for hisdischarged troops. Crassus sought a revision of the contract forcollecting taxes in the province of Asia. An agrarian bill authorizingthe purchase of land for Pompeys veterans was passed in January of 59BC at a disorderly public assembly which Caesars fellow consulCalpurnius Bibulus, was thrown from the platform and his consularinsignia were broken.
Bibulus tried to stop Caesar and his supportersfrom passing any further law but was only able to postpone the creationof the new laws by saying that the skies would not permit it becausethere was stormy weather and they were very superstitious. Caesardisregarded Bibulus behavior and the remainder of the legislativeprogram of the triumvirate was carried through. As a result of thisaction Caesar and his friends incurred bitter attacks. Their politicalopponents continued to claim that the whole of the legislation wasunconstitutional 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.
Hecontinued north of the Alps each summer and he would leave his armythere in garrison each winter while he came south to conduct the civiladministration of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum and to keep in contactwith Rome. Caesar became determined to conquer and make a province of the whole ofGaul. After his defeat of the Belgic tribes in the north and thesubmission of the maritime tribes on the Atlantic seaboard, he believedthat the task had all but been accomplished. Caesar decided to make twoshort reconnaissance expeditions, one across the Rhine. and the otheracross the Straits of Dover to Britain. In a longer and more seriousinvasion of Britain he crossed the Thames and received the submission ofthe supreme commander of the southeastern Britons, Cassivellaunus.
Caesar had avoided recall to Rome at the end of the five years ofcommand 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 Caesars personal power, wealth, and prestige,kept Pompey in Italy, allowing him to govern his Spanish provinces bydeputies. Pompeys own attachment to Caesar was broken when Caesarsdaughter Julia to whom Pompey had been happily married since 59 BC diedin 54 BC Crassus was killed by the Parthians at Carrhae inMesopotamia. In planning Caesars return to civil life in Rome he couldassume that as soon as he lost the immunity from prosecution which hismilitary command conferred, his political enemies would endeavor tosecure his exile by prosecuting him in the courts either for bribery orfor the use of force in politics. In Rome there was support in thesenate for a negotiated compromise when Curio put forth the proposal bywhich Caesar would give up his military command and stand in person atthe consular election on condition that Pompey abandon his militarycommand at the same time.
On January 7, 49 BC Antony and one of hisfellow tribunes were warned that their lives would be in danger if theysustained their veto and the proclamation of military law was passed. Caesar was told to leave his troops behind and cross the Rubicon intoRome alone. Caesar knew that this was a death sentence for him so hedid not leave his troops but marched into the city and caused a civilwar.
He defeated Pompeys troops in many battles and became thedictator of Rome.From the time that he had first faced battle in Gaul and discovered hisown military genius, Caesar was evidently fascinated and obsessed bymilitary and imperial problems. He gave them an absolute priority overthe more delicate by no less fundamental task of revising the Romanconstitution. The need in the latter sphere was a solution which wouldintroduce such elements of authoritarianism as were necessary to checkcorruption and administrative weakness.Caesars first dictatorship was simply a commission to enable him tohold elections in the absence of the consuls of the year who were withPompey, but after the news of Pharsalus, Caesar was created dictatoragain; after Tapsus he was made dictator for ten years and in the winterof 45 BC he was appointed perpetual dictator. When Caesar was out of Italy after 49 BC real power lay in the hands ofhis representatives. When he was dictator the most important of theserepresentatives was his master of the horse.
This representative wasMark Antony. Much resentment was felt by prominent senators like Ciceroon account of the great power and influence of such against of Caesar. Caesars military dominance was established beyond the possibility ofsuccessful challenge, the senate gave him a profusion of personal honorswhich were out of keeping with Roman tradition, reflecting as they didthe extravagant distinctions accorded earlier to the Hellenistic kings. The month of July was named after Caesar and his statue was placed inthe temple of Quirinus.Caesar was considered to be a dictator for life. According to thetraditional Republican constitution this office was only to be held forsix months during a dire emergency. Caesar also obtained honors toincrease his prestige.
He wore the robe, crown, and scepter of atriumphant general and used the title imperator. He was also in commandof the armies. Caesar used his dictatorship and used it to increase hispower.
With all of his powers he was pretty much the king of Rome. Mark Antony was his major supporter and he helped convince the others toallow Caesar to have these abilities, but it led to some problems.A group of conspirators had been formed against Caesar because theyfelt that he had too much power and that if he became the king of Romehe would become corrupt and use his powers to create a bad society.
Thesenate resented his actual position that was shown in the sixty memberconspiracy which Marcus Brutus had organized to kill him. On the Idesof March , two days before he was due to leave Rome on his great easternexpedition, he was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate inPompeys new theater. He fell dead at the foot of Pompeys statue. Pompey was avenged, as well as Bibulus and Cato. After a provocativefuneral oration by Mark Antony, Caesars body was burned by the mob inthe forum. When at the games in his honor the following July a cometappeared and it was regarded as evidence of his godhead and he wasformally consecrated and divus Julius, or divine Julius.
Octavius,whose name became Caesar Octavianus after his adoption by Caesars will,solved, by his creation of the Roman principate, the constitutionalproblem that Caesar failed to solve.Caesar had started as a consul and had formed the first triumviratewith Crassus and Pompey. They had taken over the Roman civilization andhad controlled for a while. When Crassus was killed and agreement wasmade. Pompey and Caesar were supposed to give up their military andenter the city of Rome to find a real ruler.
Pompey was in on the dealand he was supposed to take over. Caesar knew that if he entered thecity of Rome without his troops he would be killed by Pompey and so hecrossed the Rubicon with his troops and attacked Rome. He took over asa dictator for life and gained a lot of power. He was able to run astrong military and even though he was considered only a dictator hewrote laws that actually made him have the same powers as a king. Theconspirators saw the problem that had arised and so they planned themurder of Caesar on the Ides of March. Caesar was killed and there wasanother triumvirate formed.
Caesar was a strong military leader thathad showed strength and courage to take over the town and he was able toform a civilization that was strong militarily and politically.