Outline Julius Caesar’s Reforms

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

Although between the period of 49-44BC Caesar spent little time in Rome, during his brief appearances he initiated a large number of legislative and administrative reforms.

He pushed through a large number of senatorial decrees and laws dealing with such things as the reorganisation of the local government of Italian towns, the length of tenure of provincial governors, the reduction in the number of Romans receiving free grain, penalties for criminal offences, the ratio of free labourers to slaves on large estates, traffic congestion in the Forum, the composition of the law courts, reform of the calendar and even the restriction of luxury displayed by nobility.

However, his most important initiative was the founding of colonies outside Italy and the extension of Roman citizenship to provincials. In 49 Caesar granted franchise to the area of Transalpine Gaul. He enfranchised a Gallic legion en masse and granted full Roman citizenship to certain provincial towns. This provided Caesar with more support from people who he provided the vote too.

Also, the granting of Roman citizenship to provincials allowed for a patron-client relationship to occur where people supported each other in exchange for protection etc.

Caesar also promoted overseas colonies not just for his veterans but also for the urban poor. These colonies were in places such as Carthage and Corinth that received a rebirth because of this. Through this Caesar had effectively introduced Romanisation of the empire. This reform is seen as Caesar’s most statesmen like act. He also made reformed the financial ways of the empire. He replenished the treasury by penalties extracted from rebels. He even modified the taxation system to eliminate the need of selfish tax collectors.

To represent the provinces he even took the unpopular measure of enrolling provincials from Gaul and Spain into the senate. The senate was also increased to 900 men. The number of quaestors was increased from 20 to 40, aediles from 4 to 6 and praetors from 8 to 16. By doing this the distribution of power under him great so that one man could not rival his power and support. He also increased the pay of soldiers greatly while providing them with extra bonuses such as bounties and pensions. This was popular because it allowed him to keep the support and loyalty of his armies and even attract more supporters.

For the city he began to extend the forum and pave it. He planned on creating a Basilica, a vast library and he even planned to drain marshes, improve the cities drainage and build new roads. This increased his popularity in Rome since they were directly being provided with tangible benefits. He also attempted to promote the release of slaves by making at least one third of the estate be free men labourers not slaves. This also helped avoid another slave revolt like the one tackled by Pompey earlier. He even reformed the calendar of Rome called the Julian calendar.

This calendar is even in use today and was developed mathematically. He also equalled out the composition of the courts providing more opportunities for the equites to have their say. The penalties for criminal offences were increased to keep strict controls over the Roman people and avoid rioting resulting from the corn dole. He also passed a variety of miscellaneous laws varying from the suppression of private clubs, passing measures to relieve debt and to protect creditors from incurring heavy losses. He even passed laws against mass amounts of luxury being shown off.

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