JULIUS CEASAR

JULIUS CAESAR

Gaius Julius Caesar was born 12 July 100 BCE (though some cite 102 as his birth year). His father, also Gaius Julius Caesar, was a Praetor who governed the province of Asia and his mother, Aurelia Cotta, was of noble birth. Both held to the Populare ideology of Rome which favored democratization of government and more rights for the lower class as opposed to the Optimate factions’ claim of the superiority of the nobility and traditional Roman values which favored the upper classes. It should be understood that the Optimate and the Populare were not political parties in conflict with each other but, rather, political ideologies which many people shifted toward and from, regardless of class in society. The concept of appealing to the people for support, rather than seeking approval from the Roman Senate or the other Patricians, would work well for Caesar later in life.
YOUTH & MILITARY SERVICE
When he was sixteen, his father died and Caesar became the head of the family. Deciding that belonging to the priesthood would bring the most benefit to the family, he managed to have himself nominated as the new High Priest of Jupiter. As a priest not only had to be of patrician stock, but married to a patrician, Caesar broke off his engagement to a plebian girl and married the patrician, Cornelia, daughter of a high profile and influential member of the Populares, Lucius Cinna. When the Roman ruler Sulla declared himself dictator, he began a systematic purge of his enemies and particularly of those who held to the Populare ideology. Caesar was targeted and fled Rome but his sentence was lifted through the intercession of his mother’s family.  Still, he was stripped of his position as priest and his wife’s dowry was confiscated. Left without means of supporting himself or his family, Caesar joined the army.
He proved himself an effective soldier, even being awarded the civic crown for saving a life in battle, and was promoted to the staff of the military legate to Bithynia to secure a fleet of ships. In this, as in his time as a soldier, Caesar was successful and, when Sulla died, he decided to return to Rome and try his luck as an orator (a modern-day lawyer). In this, too, he proved a success and became well known as an eloquent speaker.
I SAW , I CAME, I CONQUERED
BY-JULIUS CEASAR
IN  75 BCE, while sailing to Greece, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held for ransom. In keeping with the high opinion he had of himself, it is said that when the pirates told him he would be ransomed for twenty talents, Caesar claimed he was worth at least fifty. While he was held captive by them, Caesar was treated well and consistently maintained a friendly relationship with the pirates. He is said to have repeatedly told them that, upon his release, he would hunt them down and have them crucified for the affront to his family and personal dignity and this threat the pirates understood as a joke. Upon his release, however, Caesar made good on that threat. He had the pirates’ throats slit before crucifixion, however, in a show of leniency owing to their easy treatment of him in captivity. This determination of Caesar’s, to do exactly what he said he would do, became one of his defining characteristics throughout his life
Back in Rome, Caesar was elected military tribune and, his wife Cornelia having died, married Pompeia, a wealthy Optimate granddaughter of the Emperor Sulla. Rising now in prominence in Rome, Caesar had enough prestige to effectively support Gnaeus Pompeius (later known as Pompey the Great) for a generalship. During this time he also became friends with the wealthiest man in Rome, Marcus Licinius CrassusCrassus, it is thought, helped fund Caesar’s bid for election to the position of Chief Priest (Pontifex Maximus) which he won in 63 BCE. In 62 he was elected praetor, divorced Pompeia after a scandal she was implicated in with another man, and sailed for Spain in 61 as Propraetor (governor) of Hispania.

In Spain, Caesar defeated the warring rival tribes, brought stability to the region, and won the personal allegiance of his troops through his skill on the battlefield. He was awarded a consulship by the senate. Returning to Rome with high honors, Caesar entered into a business/political agreement with Pompey and Crassus, in 60 BCE, dubbed The First Triumvirate by modern scholars and historians (though no one in ancient Rome used that term). Caesar married Calpurnia, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful Populare senator, and married his daughter Julia to Pompey to further cement their arrangements. The three men together then effectively ruled Rome, Caesar as consul, by pushing through measures favored by Pompey or Crassus in the senate. Caesar proposed legislation for reform of government, opposing Optimate sentiment, and a redistribution of land to the poor, both long-held Populare goals. His initiatives were supported by Crassus’ wealth and Pompey’s soldiers, thus solidly aligning The First Triumvirate with the Populare faction.  As long as Caesar was a public servant he was safe from prosecution by his Optimate enemies for his legal indiscretions but, once his consulship ended, he was sure to be indicted. Further, Caesar was deeply in debt, both financially and politically, to Crassus, and needed to raise both money and his prestige.
CAESAR’S CONQUEST OF GAUL
Recognizing the wealth to be gained through conquest, Caesar left Rome with his legions and went to Gaul in 58 BCE. He defeated the tribes there just as he had done in Spain and secured the borders of the provinces. When the Germanic tribes seemed threatening to invade, Caesar built a bridge over the Rhine River, marched his legions across in a show of force, then marched them back and had the bridge dismantled. The Germans understood the message and never invaded. He defeated the tribes of the north and twice invaded Britain (Rome’s first incursion into the British isles). At the Battle of Alesia, in 52 BCE, Caesar defeated the Gallic leader Vercingetorix and completed the conquest of Gaul. He was now effectively the sovereign of the province of Gaul with all the attendant wealth at his disposal.
Back in Rome, however, The First Triumvirate had disintegrated. Crassus was killed in battle against the Parthians in 54 BCE and, that same year, Julia died in childbirth. Without Caesar’s daughter and his financial and political backer tying him to Pompey, the latter aligned himself with the Optimate faction in Rome which he had long favored. Pompey was now the sole military and political power in Rome and had the senate declare Caesar’s governorship of Gaul terminated and, further, ordered him to return to Rome as a private citizen. This would mean Caesar could be prosecuted for his actions when he was consul. 
Name and family
 In Classical Latin, it was pronounced . In the days of the late Roman Republic, many historical writings were done in Greek, a language most educated Romans studied. Young wealthy Roman boys were often taught by Greek slaves and sometimes sent to Athens for advanced training, as was Caesar’s principal assassin, Brutus. In Greek, during Caesar’s time, his family name was written Καίσαρ (Kaísar), reflecting its contemporary pronunciation. Thus, his name is pronounced in a similar way to the pronunciation of the German Kaiser.
In Vulgar Latin, the original diphthong first began to be pronounced as a simple long vowel [ɛː]. Then, the plosive before front vowels began, due to palatalization, to be pronounced as an affricate, hence renderings like in Italian and in German regional pronunciations of Latin, as well as the title of Tsar. With the evolution of the Romance languages, the affricate became a fricative in many regional pronunciations, including the French one, from which the modern English pronunciation is derived. The original /k/ is preserved in Norse mythology, where he is manifested as the legendary king Kjárr.[139]
Caesar’s cognomen itself became a title; it was promulgated by the Bible, which contains the famous verse “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. The title became Kaiser in German and Tsar or Czar in the Slavic languages. The last Tsar in nominal power was Simeon II of Bulgaria, whose reign ended in 1946. This means that for two thousand years after Julius Caesar’s assassination, there was at least one head of state bearing his name.
His family-
Julius Caesar and Cleopatra’s Relationship
Cleopatra has never appeared on the list of most popular names for babies. Neither has the world known another Cleopatra. There are actually several pharaohs who have adapted the name, but no one came close to Cleopatra VII. She has surpassed the fame of any Egyptian pharaoh. She has always been depicted in different light, in so many media. However Cleopatra remains as a mother not only to her own but to her people as well. She is a woman who had relationships with two great men, but upheld timeless femininity. She had the power to be every man’s aspiration. Cleopatra is the embodiment of love and ambition all at the same time. Her relationship with them may have the greatest contribution as to the way every one looks at these men today.
Ancient Egypt has celebrated the birth of Cleopatra in the year 69 BCE (Stritof, n.d.). She is the daughter of Ptolemy XII but her mother is of unknown identity, it is supposed that her mother is one of the pharaoh’s concubines or the pharaoh’s sister, Cleopatra VI (Grochowski, 2005). The death of her father has earned her the throne to be the pharaoh; however, she had to be married to Ptolemy XIII, her brother. This is in accordance to Egyptian rule that a queen has to always lead with a king.
There is much account of how ‘beautiful’ Cleopatra was. She was described as ‘a woman of surpassing beauty’ by Cassius Dio (as cited in Grout, 2009). On top of the beauty, she is often dubbed as having a ‘charming voice’. Descriptions of her statue are also among the highest praises. Albeit the physical descriptions, it is often said that she is more of a diplomat than anything else. She is also of Macedonian decent, which they said, bore her of high intellectual power. She is skilled in nine languages and mathematicians (Gupta, 2009).
Cleopatra was given such responsibility at a young age of 18. She chose to rule almost alone. She had reforms for Egypt which was solely her doing, rather than consulting her much younger co-ruler/ husband / brother. In the battle of power, of who should rule, she was beaten with the help of the ministers of her younger brother (Grochowski, 2005). In 48, BCE, she was thrown out of power, which leads to her ambition to return to power.
Julius Caesar, on the other hand, is a son to the humble family of Aurelia and to Gaius Julius Caesar in Rome. Their family is not wealthy nor is it prominent when he was born in 100 or 102 BCE. By the age 18, he already had two wives, both from prominent families, Cossutia and Cornelia, respectively. He also joined the military which then earned him with the oak leaves or the civic crown. He had an impressive career and later, he returned home to be an orator. After two other wives, Pompeia, whom he divorce because of scandal with other men; and Calpurnia, he achieved consulship (McManus, 2001). He had an illustrious career.
Cleopatra and Julius Caesar: Their Life Intertwined
The Cleopatra and Julius Caesar connection was formed when Julius Caesar fled to Egypt in pursuit of his enemy Pompey (McManus, 2001). Pompey has already been executed by the Egyptians. Julius Caesar, however, is not threatened by the same fate for he carried a much greater army force.
Julius Caesar is smitten by the woman delivered through a carpet; it is smuggled through Alexandria and is presented as a gift for the Roman leader (Grochowski, 2005). Cleopatra is then about 21 or 22 years old. Julius Caesar immediately recognized the potential of being lovers and allies.
The relationship could have been for love among any other. However, there are also political agenda behind the union. They are both leaders of influential and powerful nations. They have people under them, armies that could fight battles and win them. Both Rome and Egypt needs intellectual leaders.
Specifically, for Cleopatra’s side, she saw how a Caesar’s fleet could easily return her to power which he eventually did. Julius Caesar killed Cleopatra’s brother and husband, Ptolemy XIII when his army drove them away only to drown in the Nile. This was during the Alexandrian War. Julius Caesar made sure that Cleopatra is firm in her position as the leader of Egypt. He even left three legions to protect Cleopatra’s reign of power (McManus, 2001). He made sure that any insurgencies could be dismissed by his powerful army.
For Julius Caesar, the union will unite two great lands, Egypt and Rome. He has an ultimate dream that his children would someday rule this land. Julius Caesar could have also seen Alexandria as a strategic location for his battles and as time pass by, Egypt could also form a powerful army to help him in his conquests.
Cleopatra, though said to still be in love Julius Caesar, married her younger brother, Ptolemy XIV, to return her rule over Egypt. However, she was also married to Julius Caesar because Egypt allows polygamy. Cleopatra and Julius Caesar spent time in Alexandria. The Roman leader, however, is called for to lead his army to battles. He emerged victorious but returned to Rome instead.
Julius Caesar and Cleopatra also had a son, Caesarion. Julius Caesar sent for his wife and son to be brought to Rome, with the great surprise of the Roman people. Out of respect for Julius Caesar, the people did not really give much attention to the fact that Julius Caesar married a foreign woman albeit having a Roman wife (McManus, 2001). The son was later executed for the fear that he can claim the land that is rightfully his father’s.
During Julius Caesar’s reign, he is able to claim much land for his people as well as established a well-settled society. He was then given the ultimate title as a dictator for life, thus bearing an unmatched power for the rest of his life. This was only a year after being declared a dictator or a ruler who has a complete power. However, Julius Caesar’s life was also threatened because of this title.
The title has earned him the people’s support but he also received the Senate’s unworthy action. Since Julius Caesar has made any changes without consulting the Senate, he became an unpopular person for them. Before he is to leave for yet another conquest, he met with the Senate. There he met his end as he is stabbed to his death by all sixty Senate people, lead by Brutus and Cassius.
Cleopatra and son, Caesarion left Rome, where a civil war broke. They returned to Egypt, there, Cleopatra allegedly poisoned her brother / husband / co-regent. Cleopatra then announced her son with Julius Caesar as a co-ruler and re-acquired rule of Egypt. This is when her rule was entirely secured locally, unlike the two previous co-regents.
A CONSPIRACY RISES
The time had come to save the Republic from this would-be king, and thereby a conspiracy was borne. However, a plot not to just overthrow but to kill Caesar was a dangerous mission. Who would dare plan to kill the dictator for life of the Roman Republic, knowing if they failed, they would be branded as traitors? Of course, there were the usual, old enemies of Caesar – friends and supporters of Pompey who sought both high office and profit. Next, there were those who many believed were friends of Caesar, people who, while being rewarded for their loyalty, disliked many of his policies, especially his hesitance to overthrow the old, conservative Optimates. Further, they disapproved of his peace-making attempts with Pompey’s supporters. And lastly, there were the idealists – those who respected the Republic and its ancient traditions. Individually, their reasons varied, but together, they believed the salvation of the Republic depended on the death of Caesar.
THE RINGLEADERS
The four leading men of the conspiracy were an unusual mix of both friends and enemies.  The first two men believed they had not been rewarded substantially enough for their service to Caesar: Gaius Trebonius served as a praetor and consul and had fought with Caesar in Spain; Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus was governor of Gaul and had been victorious against the Gauls. The next two conspirators were obviously not friends of Caesar: Gaius Cassius Linginus who had served with both Crassus and Pompey as a naval commander and who some believe conceived the plot (Caesar certainly did not trust him), and lastly, the greedy and arrogant Marcus Junius Brutus who had also served under Pompey and who was the brother-in-law of Cassius.
Brutus was the son of Caesar’s mistress Servilia (some mistakenly believed he was Caesar’s son) and married to the Roman orator Cato’s daughter Portia. Marcus Porcius Cato (or Cato the Younger), a strong supporter of Pompey and outspoken critic of Caesar, had committed suicide in 46 BCE while in North Africa. He had refused to surrender to Caesar after the commander’s victory at Thapus. After Cato’s death, both Cicero and Brutus wrote eulogies in praise of the fallen Roman. To Cicero Cato was the height of Roman virtue, a statement that angered Caesar. Despite all of this, Caesar believed in Brutus, forgave him, and supported him for a position as a praetor, which was a stepping stone to a consulship. There were other conspirators of course: Publius Servilius Casca, a tribune, who would strike the first blow against Caesar; Gaius Servilius Casca (his brother) who supposedly struck the final blow in the  dictator’s ribs; and lastly, Lucius Tillus Cimber, governor of Bithynia, who signaled the start of the attack. To these men power had to be, at any cost, wrested from Caesar and returned to the Roman Senate.
THE PLAN
Brutus believed there was considerable support for Caesar’s assassination. These men met together secretly, in small groups to avoid detection. Luckily for the conspirators, Caesar had dismissed his Spanish bodyguard in October of 45 BCE, believing no one would dare attack him. The conspirators realized the attack had to be soon and swift as Caesar was making plans to lead his army on a three-year campaign against the Parthians, leaving on March 18. But where and when should they strike? Should they attack as Caesar rode on the highway the Appian Way or in a public place; could they attack while he was walking home on the Via Sacra (the Sacred Way); could they attack while he attended a gladiatorial games? After considerable debate, the final decision was to strike during a session of the Senate at the Theater of Pompey (the regular Roman Senate was being repaired) on March 15, 44 BCE, the Ides of March. The attackers had chosen their weapon of choice wisely – a double-edged dagger or pugio of about eight inches long instead of a sword.  Daggers were better for close contact and could be hidden under their togas.
THE ATTACK
If one believes in omens, there were a number of reasons for Caesar not to attend the Senate meeting that day. First, Caesar’s horses that were grazing on the banks of the Rubicon were seen to weep. Next, a bird flew into the Theater of Pompey with a sprig of laurel but was quickly devoured by a larger bird. Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia had a dream of him bleeding to death in her arms. And lastly, a soothsayer named Spurinna warned him to beware of danger no later than the Ides of March. Unfortunately, Caesar put little faith in omens. The historian Suetonius wrote, “These warnings, and a touch of ill-health, made him hesitate for some time whether to go ahead with his plans or whether to postpone the meeting.” On the day of his death Caesar was truly sick and, as Suetonius said, hesitant about attending the meeting of the Senate, but the conspirator Decimus arrived at his home and urged him to not disappoint those waiting for him.
A large crowd accompanied Caesar on his way to the Senate.  Just as he entered the theater a man named Artemidorus tried to warn him of eminent danger by thrusting a small scroll into his hand, but Caesar ignored it. The dictator entered and sat on his throne. MarkAntony, who had accompanied Caesar, was conveniently delayed outside by Trebonius, as planned. In the theater there were two hundred senators in attendance along with ten tribunes and a number of slaves and secretaries. Cimber approached the unsuspecting Caesar and handed him a petition on behalf of his exiled brother; Caesar, of course, did not rise to greet him.  Cimber grabbed at Caesar’s toga and pulled it back. Caesar reportedly said, “Why, this is violence?” Casca dealt the first blow with his knife; Caesar immediately tried to defend himself by raising his hands to cover his face. The remaining conspirators surrounded the shocked Caesar – Cassius struck him in the face, Decimus to the ribs. Caesar collapsed, dead, ironically at the foot of a statue of his old enemy Pompey. In all there were twenty-three blows. Suetonius described the attack, “… at that moment one of the Casca brothers slipped behind and with a sweep of his dagger stabbed him just below the throat. Caesar grasped Casca’s arm and ran it through with a stylus; he was leaping away when another dagger caught him in the breast.” Despite the beautiful words of William Shakespeare Caesar did not say “E tu, Brute!” (You, too, Brutus!) as Brutus plunged his dagger into the dying dictator but “You, too, my child!”  The remaining senators in attendance ran from the theater. Afterwards, Rome was in a state of confusion. Suetonius wrote that there were some, those who disliked Caesar, who wanted to seize the slain leader’s corpse and throw it into the Tiber, confiscate his property, and revoke his laws; however, Mark Antony maintained a cool head and stopped any such plans.
AFTERMATH
While the conspiracy had all the makings of a great plan, little attempt was made to prepare for afterwards. The conspirators made their way to Capitoline Hill and the Temple of Jupiter. Brutus spoke from a platform at the foot of the hill, trying in vain to calm the crowd. Meanwhile, slaves carried Caesar’s body through the streets to his home; people wept as it passed. The funeral procession on March 20 was a spectacle unlike the one portrayed by Shakespeare, although Antony did give a short eulogy. A pyre had been built on the Field of Mars near the family tomb; however, Caesar’s body was quickly seized by locals and taken to the Forum where it was burned on a much simpler pyre. The ashes were returned to the Field of Mars and his family tomb; the city continued to mourn. In his The Twelve Caesars Suetonius wrote that Caesar may have been aware of the plot against him and because of ill-health knowingly exposed himself to the assault.  “Almost all authorities, at any rate, believe that he welcomed the manner of his death…he loathed the prospect of a lingering end – he wanted a sudden one”
Brutus believed the death of Caesar would bring a return of the old Roman spirit; unfortunately, the city was in shock, and people became increasingly more hostile. On March 17 the Senate sought a compromise with the urging of Mark Antony: While the laws of Caesar would remain intact, there would be amnesty for the conspirators. Unfortunately, peace was impossible and the conspirators fled Rome and would all ultimately meet their end. Suetonius ended his chapter on the slain leader, “All were condemned to death … and all met it in different ways – some in shipwreck, some in battle, some using the very daggers with which they had treacherously murdered Caesar to take their own lives.”  For Rome the young Octavian, the adopted son of Caesar, received not only his war chest but also the support of the army. A final conflict between Mark Antony (with the help of Cleopatra) and Octavian would bring Octavian to power as Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire.





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