Julius Ceasar Complete History Essay, Research Paper
In the last century of Rome, a great general and politician rose to become
the sole ruler of the republic. That ruler was Julius Caesar.
Born Gaius Julius Caesar on July 13, 100 B.C., he was the son of a patri-
cian family. His father was also named Gaius Julius Caesar. His mother was
Aurelia, who was part of the Aurelii family, an important Roman family. Julius
Caesar was raised to be in the military, because his father was a general and
gave Julius the desire to follow in his footsteps. Julius was only fifteen years
old when his father died, but he already had a lot of military experience.
In 84 B.C., Caesar married Cornelia, the daughter of his father?s friend and
partner, Lucius Cornelius Cinna. Because she was so young, Caesar was
ordered to divorce her, but he refused, and in order to keep him from harm he was
sent to get a fleet of ships from a Roman ally, Nicomedes IV of Bithynia.
When Caesar was about twenty-four years old, he left Rome to study
oratory in Rhodes, Greece. He was captured by pirates when he was on his
way to Rhodes,, but was released after obtaining a ransom. Caesar vowed
revenge, and gathered troops together to go after the pirates. He captured them
in 75 B.C. and had them executed. After returning to Rome from his studies in
Rhodes, he helped Marcus Antonius Creticus fight piracy.
In 73 B.C., Caesar was made a pontiff at Rome. He supported those who
were trying to get power from the nobles who dominated the Senate. He also
supported the return of tribunician powers.
His wife Cornelia died in 69 B.C. and he married Pompeia in 68 B.C., a
granddaughter of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, and a relative of Pompey the Great.
He also became the quaestor of Spain at this time, and in 61 B.C. became
governor of Further Spain. He divorced Pompeia this same year because he
suspected she was unfaithful, and in 58 B.C. he married Calpurnia.
A year after becoming the governor of Further Spain, Caesar joined the
First Triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus to further their political ambitions.
Caesar helped Crassus get a reduction of Asian tax contracts, and he helped
Pompey to obtain land for his veterans and ratify postwar agreements. As a
result, Caesar became governor of Illyricum, Cisalpine Gaul, and Transalpine
Gaul. He was also given a large army which he used to conquer Gaul. These
were known as the Gallic Wars and they lasted from 58-51 B.C. Caesar became
very powerful because of these wars.
Even though Caesar?s daughter, Julia, married Pompey in 59 B.C., things
began to go wrong with the Triumverate. Then Julia died in 54 B.C. and Crassus
died in 53 B.C. Caesars successes in Gaul and the fact that Pompey blamed
Caesar for Julia?s death, caused the two to become enemies. Pompey joined
the enemies of Caesar and kept him from getting a second consulate. This
lead Caesar to begin a civil war which eventually forced Pompey to withdraw to
Greece. After overrunning Italy and Spain, Caesar entered Greece where he
defeated Pompey on August 9, 48 B.C. at Pharsalus. Pompey fled to Egypt
where he was murdered.
Caesar followed Pompey to Eaypt where he became involved in a civil
war between Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII. With Caesar?s help,
Cleopatra defeated her brother, and became the queen of Egypt. She also
became Caesar?s mistress and followed him to Rome.
After defeating allies of Pompey in Anatolia (47 B.C.), North Africa (47
B.C.), Thapsus (46 B.C.) and Munda, Spain (45 B.C.), Caesar was appointed
dictator of Rome.
As a popular ruler, Caesar was honored by having his face put on coins,
and having a temple erected in his name. He was elected consul, appointed
prefect of morals, awarded tribunician sacrosanctity, and finally appointed
dictator for life in 44 B.C.
Caesar introduced alot of new ideas during his reign, such as, limiting the
distribution of free grain, founding citizen colonies, introducing the Julian Calen-
dar (which we still use today), and enlarging the Senate. He reduced debts,
revised the tax structure, and extended Roman citizenship to non-Italians.
While meeting the needs of the citizens of Rome, Caesar strenthened his
control of the state, becoming more popular with the citizenry, but causing his
opponents to fear him. In 44 B.C., Caesar began to plan the conquest of
Parthia, likening himself to Alexander the Great. Many in the Roman Senate
feared that he would become an absolute king and conspired to murder him.
They were led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. On March
15, 44 B.C.,during a meeting of the Senate in Pompey?s theatre, Caesar was
stabbed to death by the group of conspirators. As he lay dying, at the foot of
Pompey?s statue, he looked at his friend Brutus and said in Greek: ?Even you, Lad??
Caesar was a very intelligent, popular leader, who caused much loyalty
among the citizens of Rome and many of those in the government, but because
he was very ambitious and he did not honor the traditions of his opponents, he
drove them to desperate measures against him. Caesar?s adopted son, Octa-
vian later became the first emperor of Rome, Augustus.
Julius Caesar, one of history?s most remarkable men, in a little less than
fifteen years, had set Rome on the path to become an empire, had shaped the
future of western Europe, had triumphed on battlefields from the Atlantic to
the Black Sea, had reformed the calendar, and at his death had been decreed a
god by the Roman Senate. ? Caesar— the man and the legend—has fascinated
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Winer, Bart. ?Rome: Ruler of the World?, p. 170-213. Life in the Ancient World. New York:
Random House, 1961