Julius Caeser Essay, Research Paper
“I came, I saw, I conquered!”
These were the words expressed by the incredibly strong will and no-nonsense attitude of one history’s most famous men, Julius Caesar, who was courageous and quick-witted and also very good with people. But most of all, he was a gambler who knew how to calculate the odds. Willing to stake everything he had, even his own life, on a chance to win big in the game of politics, he was very sure of himself. So sure of himself to be considered arrogant on most occasions. The story goes a little something about how he was captured by pirates while still a young man only twenty-two years old. They wanted to ransom him for twenty talents of gold but he explained that he was worth much more. The pirates bought into his clever explaining and upped his ransom to fifty talents. While he was their prisoner, he would read them books of Roman and Greek literature. When they didn’t show interest for him and his books, Caesar promised to hunt them all down and put them to death after he was ransomed. The pirates should have killed him right there instead of laughing at him while they thought he was making “Idle” threats. Julius Caesar made good on his promises, though. After they released him, Caesar borrowed a ship from the governor of a nearby island and hunted down his captors. After keeping his promises, he crucified the whole band of the pirates, leaving them to die of thirst hanging naked on crosses in the hot Mediterranean sun.
Julius Caesar’s most famous accomplishments might as well be the conquest of Gaul and the invasion of Britain. The civil wars that had plagued the Roman Republic kept going during the reign of Julius Caesar, and he was a major player in the struggle for power and leadership. He defeated his major rival Cnaeus Pompey in 48 B.C. at the Battle of Pharsalus. Because he continued to generate so much power in his own hands that really belonged to the Senate, Caesar wasn’t looked on as a very good person by the senators of Rome. Most of them thought that he would mess up and put an end to the Republic and that he was a threat to all the Roman traditions that they’ve followed for years and years. A band of conspirators planned out and succeeded in assassinating him in 44 B.C., but the memory of him and what he did to Rome remained extremely popular amongst the commoners of Rome. This made a path for his adopted relative Octavian to gain power and become the first real Roman emperor.
After Caesar’s death, there was a curious mixed reaction amongst the Roman people. Normally the Romans shunned and detested the idea of kingship, and anyone who gave the impression of supporting a monarchy or aspiring to rule as king became extremely unpopular and disliked amongst Rome. This was the attitude that went way back to the founding of the Republic. Since Julius Caesar was a dictator, he alienated the citizens with strong traditional republican views, yet on the other hand, Caesar was an extremely popular man, especially with the army, the people, and the veterans. It is a curious gander of Roman psychology that the people were probably glad that Caesar was safely dead but still wanted to honor and grieve for their fallen hero.
Maybe it seems to us that dragging a dead, stabbed, corpse to the Forum and burning it would be a sign that the person was hated and despised, but in all actuality this was a way of greatly honoring the deceased. The funeral pyre and public funeral was the accepted and very “Appropriate” way to bury great men. After Caesar’s death, Marc Antony gave a speech that has become famous in history, which began with, and that which I use a quote “We have come not to bury Caesar, but to honor him…”, . In a show of public grief and mourning, the Roman people dragged and pulled Caesar’s corpse to the Forum and burned it, showing the ultimate and utmost respect for the man. It is probably no accident that this speech Antony made, made him extremely popular as a real friend of the dead Caesar.