The Rise of Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar, a roman general and statesman who was able to turn the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire, conqueror of Gaul, victor in the civil war of 49-45 BCE, and dictator from 46-44 BCE (Julius Caesar Biography). Gaius is known to the world as Julius Caesar. He had a life filled with many events and accomplished much during his time including doing a series of political and social reforms.
In this paper, I will talk about the rise of Gaius Julius Caesar. It will include his family, and a look into his death. Some say that Julius did much throughout his time here, and he got far. He died an infamous death that is taught worldwide to this day.
On July 12 100 BCE, parents Aurelia Cotta and Gaius Julius Caesar gave birth to a man who would eventually become a powerful person through his lifetime. His mother, Aurelia, was a great noble at birth and his father, Gaius, was a praetor who governed the province of Asia. Julius’s father passed away when he was only 16 years old, and he became the head of the family as a result. (Mark)
As head of his family now, Julius declared himself as the ‘new High Priest of Jupiter.’ During this time, he married a woman by the name of Cornelia. Through this time, Cornelia and Julius had a child named Julia Caesaris. During their marriage, a roman ruler Sulla declared himself the dictator and wanted a purge of all enemies he ever encountered especially those in support of the Populare ideology. In support of this, Caesar decided it was time to flee Rome (Mark). Still, Sulla ordered him to divorce Cornelia or lose his property, to escape this ultimatum, he decided to join the Army. Julius proved himself to be a successful soldier during this time (Julius Caesar Biography).
In 78 BCE, Sulla died and Julius took this as an opportunity to return back to Rome. While in Rome, he became not only an orator, but an eloquent speaker also. He decided to move to Rhodes so he could study in the field of philosophy. Later this year, Julius set sail to Greece and ended up being kidnapped along the way by pirates. During this time, Julius promised once he was released that he would find them and then kill them all. Once he was released, he did just that. (Mark)
After returning back to Rome, Julius was elected for military tribune, and his wife died shortly after. Not too long after, he went on to marry the granddaughter of Sulla, Pompeia. During this time, Caesar was able to gain the friendship and support of Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey the Great) and Marcus Licinius Crassus. Running in an election for Chief Priest, Crassus helped fund Julius’s bid in the election. Which he went on to win in 63 BCE. Later in 62 BCE, Julius was elected praetor and soon after decided to divorce his wife Pompeia. After the divorce, he decided to sail to Spain as Propraetor of Hispania. While in Spain Julius accomplished much. He was able to defeat their rival tribes and therefore was able to bring peace and stability to Spain. Accomplishing such a great thing, the Senate awarded him with a consulship. After he left a good name for himself in Spain, Caesar thought it was time to finally head back to Rome. Returning home, he entered into an agreement with Crassus and Pompeius. This agreement was known as the First Triumvirate. With Julius elected as consul, the three ruled all of Rome together. (Mark)
During his time, Julius made lots of enemies, people who wanted revenge. Among those people, were the Optimates. Julius went against the Optimate sentiment, and they were not happy. But Caesar was supported by the means of Pompeius and Crassus. But, they said as long as he was a public servant, he could not be touched. But as soon as his position ended, he would be persecuted for the things he had done. (Mark)
Furthermore, Caesar was in debt to Crassus and somehow needed to get the money and his power back. Caesar then left Rome with his legions and sailed to Gaul in 58 BCE. During this time he was able to defeat tribes of the North and not once, but twice, invaded Britain. And through his completion of the conquest of Gaul, he defeated the Gallic leader, Vercingetorix, in the Battle of Alesia. With that being said, he was now the sovereign of the province of Gaul. (Mark)
Back in Rome, the First Triumvirate was done for. Crassus was killed in battle and Pompey became the sole military and political power in Rome. After this, Pompey made sure the Senate declared Caesar’s governship of Gaul to be terminated and he was ordered to come back to Rome and live among the citizens as one of them. And if he were to return back to Rome and become a regular citizen again, he would have to be punished by the Optimate for the things he had done as a consul. However, Julius decided instead of going home, he would cross over into the Rubicon river and him and his legions marched into the city on 49 BCE. The Rubicon river was the border that flowed in between Gaul and Rome, so this was considered an act of war. (Mark)
After Julius’s march, Pompey fled to Spain and then over to Greece. He was defeated by Julius’s force at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BCE. Pompey finally escaped and fled to Egypt, but was killed the moment he came ashore. He was killed by the Egyptians because they believed Caesar was in the Gods favor. Outraged over Pompey’s death, Julius sailed to Egypt. Once in Egypt, Caesar proclaimed martial law and then took over the royal palace. Egypt is where Julius deposed Ptolemy XIII and also aligned himself with Cleopatra VII. This was also considered an act of war and created a war between Caesar’s legions and the Egyptian army. Julius then went to Asia Minor and at the Battle of Thapsus, his legions defeated the forces of the Optimate faction in 46 BCE. After defeating them, he returned back to Rome. Even though the Senate was upset about his indiscretion between Cleopatra and Calpurnia (who he was married to), he was still awarded the title Dictator Perpetuus in 44 BCE. He initiated many reforms including further land redistribution among the poor, land reform for veterans which elimanted the need to displace other citizens, as well as political reforms which proved unpopular with Senate. He reformed the calendar, created a police force, ordered re-building of Carthage, abolished the tax system, among many other pieces of legislation (Mark) He had little to no regard to the Senate during his ruling. With his return back to Rome, Caesar was able to relieve the debt and he reformed the Senate by increasing its size. (Mark)
Moreover, the Senate, and in particular the Optimate faction, thought that Julius could’ve been getting too powerful for them to handle, and thought he could one day abolish the Senate so he could rule as a king (Mark). Since they thought this, Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 BCE by the Senate (Julius Caesar Biography). He was stabbed 23 times and he had died at the base of Pompey’s statue. The death of Julius Caesar .caused the civil wars that ended the Republic also ended. And keeping the accomplishments, and their name as one of the greatest in History, Caesar’s nephew and heir, Octavian, as Augustus came up as the first emperor (Julius Caesar 100 BC-44 BC). Also, Caesar became the first Roman figure to be deified (Toynbee). A few results that came from Julius Caesar’s death include the fact that many people were upset with the killing of Julius. The Senate also went on to give him the title The Divine Julius. Also, in November 2017, evidence was found linking the invasion of Britain in 54 BCE to Julius Caesar (Julius Caesar Biography).
In conclusion, Julius Caesar was a powerful man who did much throughout his short-lived life. He was only around the age 56 according to history. He was a great Roman ruler and statesman. He was able to lead his legions to victory in many battles. Despite many marriages, a few kids, and his own friends turning on him, he was able to lead a great life. His views were different than most and because of that, he developed numerous enemies along the way. Julius Caesar was a great man who will forever be taught by teachers to students in history.”
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