Julius Caesar Essay Research Paper Many things

Julius Caesar Essay, Research Paper Many things can be said about great men. You never can tell exactly just what makes a man great. Looks, personality, a strong mind, these are all

Julius Caesar Essay, Research Paper

Many things can be said about great men. You never can tell exactly just

what makes a man great. Looks, personality, a strong mind, these are all

good qualities to look for in a man. Speaking as a woman, I know women

look for all these qualities and then some. Does he have a good job? A fine

house? Good credit? Many of these questions plague the minds of women

today. Whether you are looking for a life partner, a friend, or a lover, these

questions will arise. Sometimes from you, but mainly from those around

you. Needless to say, we are all looking for greatness. In one form or

another. On July 13 100 B.C. a great man was born. Gaius Julius Caesar

walked the face of this earth for 56 years. Some called him a tyrant, a foe,

an adversary. Others named him a loyal friend and confidant. I, on the

other hand, simply call him great. Journey with me through the life of this

great man. We will walk together through his birth and family, his rise to

power, and finally the betrayal that cost him his life. After this, we will

meet back here. We will then reflect on the ups, the downs, the sorrows,

and the pains of which Caesar would have called his life. As we walk down

this road together, you will be awed, challenged and inspired. Come, let’s

go. The journey has already begun….

A Star is Born

A light shined ever so brightly on the thirteenth day of July 100 B.C. That

light was the birth of Gaius Julius Caesar. There was no small stir in the

spiritual realm on that day. It seemed as though some mystical force knew

what this young babe would later come to be. For that same mystical force

tried to eliminate him at birth. Because of the various complications at birth,

he was born through an unusual method for that time period. He was born

through the process of what would later become known as a Caesarean

Section. Although this process is commonplace for our day and time, at that

time, his birth was nothing short of a miracle. This miraculous birth in itself

was enough to let us know that this was not an ordinary man and this was

not to be an ordinary life. Whatever mystical powers there are that be, tried

to extinguish this life from the onset. Maybe this same power knew of the

murders, the wars, the savageries, the betrayals that were to come. Maybe

this power knew of the great lust for power and thirst for blood that was in

this babe’s future. This evil foreboding, seemed to cast a dim shadow over

the remainder of his life. For this babe would grow into a lad and then into

a man and yet this same mystical power would be continually petitioning

the ultimate power for his life. For whatever reason that was, we cannot tell.

However, looking through a dark glass in time we will least able to


The Julian Family was a noble one to say the least. They were patricians,

part of the Roman upper class. It was once rumored that they were direct

descendants of the goddess Venus. However, modern scholars seem to

believe that the Julian Family began this rumor on their own and it has no

actual basis in fact. Descendants of the gods or not, the Julian family was a

far cry from where they wanted to be politically, as well as financially. In

fact, they were in the second or third rank politically. The highest office the

family had reached was the office of Praetor. This shows they could not

have had a great fortune.

Caesar’s father also was called Gaius Julius Caesar. His mother was named

Aurelia, the daughter of consul Lucius Aurelius Cotta. In those days a

Roman noble won distinction for himself and his family by securing election

to a series of public offices, which culminated in the consulship, with the

censorship possibly to follow. This was a difficult task for even the ablest

and most gifted noble unless he was backed by substantial family wealth

and influence. Even with all of these seeming disadvantages, every star has

a day to shine.

Rise To Power

I have often heard people say the power for greatness is in us all. Whether

it’s business, sewing, cooking, etc… we all have a gift. Some of us have

multiple gifts. Bottom line is, we all have the power to succeed. The secret

to success is in the not giving up. We all have a season of prosperity that

comes into our lives. What we make of that season is up to us. Through

wisdom we can cause this season of life to be extended or cut short. We

can even have our lives extended or shortened through wise decision

making. Wisdom tells us which friends to keep and which ones to let go.

Wisdom often warns us of our enemies. Wisdom tells us which car to buy.

Wisdom is that still small voice on the inside that keeps us on track.

Solomon boldly declares: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get

wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” 1 When a star rises, it

shoots up fast and shines more brilliantly than all the rest. Gaius Caesar was

that shooting star. Caesar was by all accounts a military genius. He served

as officer in Crassus’s army against Spartacus and climbed steadily up in the

government by serving as official in the provinces. Using wisdom, he (re)

married a wealthy wife and allied with Crassus, then the richest man in

Rome. Their contestant was Pompeius Magnus (the Great). Caesar coveted

and gained the lifetime function of Pontifex maximus, high priest of the

people of Rome.

In 61Bc he received a military post as governor of Spain. He ruthlessly

suppressed all resistance and returned as war hero in Rome. The consulate

was his next goal. The two consuls held the power of state and were

nominated each year. But the senate balked his efforts and tried to play

Crassus, Pompeius and Caesar against each other. Caesar noticed this and

using wisdom did something believed impossible; he created an alliance

between him and the other two to share all power. The senate was effectively

bypassed and the First Triumvirate was born….

This agreement dictated the Roman policy for the next decade. they shared

all offices between them and their followers. That is the way Caesar became

Governor of Gaul Transalpinia. He had three legions (15000 men) under his

command, but when the Helvetii invaded Gaul and Italy he accidentally got

command of an additional army. After he crushed the Helvetii he turned his

attention on the Celts. When this part of the drama had been enacted the real

struggle began…

With Gallia subjugated, Caesar turned his mind fully to the political arena.

In 51Bc, while still fighting some defiant clans, he proposed to the Senate to

extend his governership with another 2 years, which allowed him to run for

consul in the year 48 B.C. (A consul could only become consul again after

10 years). He said that he earned it based on his presentations in Gaul and

referred to Pompeius whose governership in Spain had been extended the

year before. But the senate hesitated. In the year 50 B.C., Caesar still tried to

extend his governership, but to ensure the loyalty of his army he doubled

their pay. The senate delivered a crushing blow in the fall. The senate voted

and ordered Caesar and Pompeius to give up control of their armies and

provinces. Caesar’s followers tried to veto it, but the hostile consul ordered

Pompeius to defend the Republic with two Legions at Capua and the

authority to raise more. Caesar thereupon gathered his own armies and went

south. Both commanders were still on speaking terms and Caesar made

another proposal; he would relinquish control of all but two of his legions

and The province of Cisalpine Gaul (the part of Gaul lying in Italy!).

Pompeius agreed, but the senate ordered him to hold foot. Caesar then made

an ultimatum; he summed up his services to the state and demanded that he

keep his legions and provinces till he was elected consul. In January 49 B.C.

Mark Anthony, Caesar’s trusted lieutenant, demanded that the ultimatum

was read aloud in the senate.

But although the majority would have sued for peace, the opponents of

Caesar blocked all compromises and bullied all the frightened senators that

Caesar should disband his armies or be declared enemy of the state. Caesar

was stripped of all his offices; The Republic declared war on Caesar. Caesar

heard of the senates response and did what he did best: He acted. 11

January he led his single legion which he had assembled across the bridge

over a small stream that marked the boundary between his province and the

Roman homeland: The Rubicon…

Pompeius tried to stop Caesar, but all was in vain. No one dared to stand up

against Caesar’s crack veteran soldiers. The senate panicked and left Italy,

leaving the treasury intact behind them (how stupid can you be…). The

senate and Pompeius fled to Albania. Once in Rome Caesar wasted no time.

Against no effective opposition, he assembled a makeshift senate, took

control of the government and broke open the treasury. Mark Antony was

put in charge of the Italian legions and Caesar himself went to the

independent city of Massilia (Marseille). He could not capture the city, but

he went to Spain and crushed Pompeius followers (most defected to Caesar).

When Caesar returned to Massilia, he was clement and did not sack the city,

but it was no longer independent. He returned to Rome as a victor, but there

was still Pompeius and the old senate. Pompeius himself had raised a

massive army in Macedonia. Caesar was bold but extremely outnumbered.

His boldness scared Pompeius into a retreat. On a morning in early August

both armies collided. Caesar’s left and center held fast, while his right

withdrew. Pompeius, seeing this, hurled his cavalry in the gap, but Caesar

pulled an ace out of his sleeve. He sent in his last reserve (Napoleon; ” the

positioning and the timing of the reserve is one of the most important

decisions on the battlefield”) and Pompeius’ lines simply collapsed. Nineteen

months after the crossing of the Rubicon, Caesar was made master of Rome

and its empire. Pompeius fled to Egypt but was killed on arrival by his own

men. Caesar, hot on his heels, is said to have wept for his former son in law.

In 46 B.C. after snuffing out 4 small rebellions, Caesar was clearly

omnipotent and the senate declared him dictator for life.

The Ultimate Betrayal

Each one of us has set goals for his or her own life. Some are realistic and

some are not. We all like to feel like we have accomplished something in

life. That is the reason we set those goals. Some people however, will do

anything to acheive those goals. They do not care who they hurt, or what

the consequences will be. Just as long as they accomplish what they set out

to do. Gaius Caesar had a goal. He lusted greedily for power. He craved

blood. He killed, he conquered, he subdued. As if by some unseen force he

was driven. He wanted to have absolute power. In 44 B.C. he accomplished

that goal. He paid the ultimate price for what he wanted.

I believe however, Jackie Gleason (while portraying Ralph Kramden,) said

it best,” Be kind to the people you meet on the way up, because you are

gonna meet the same people on the way down.” Although this bit of

wisdom was siezed from an episode on “The Honeymooners,” this saying

still holds true today. Caesar became dictator, but the price for that victory

was insurmountable. Fear was on every side. He could not trust anyone.

Caesar obtained innumerable adversaries. Many of his enemies feared him.

Because of this fear, they chose to hate him secretly. One prime example is

that of Cicero. Cicero wrote letter revealing his apparent dislike for Caesar

after Caesar’s demise. This proves that not all of Caesar’s enemies were bold

enough to air their hatred openly. Many friends and confidants secretly

hated him as well. On the 6th of March 44 B.C., the so called Ides of March,

was Caesar murdered by Marcus Brutus, Gaius Cassius, Decimus Brutus

and Gaius Trebonius, the last being an old commanders of his legions and

a dear friend.


A popular saying in this country is that every man has his price. The price

for ultimate power cost Gaius Caesar his family his friends and ultimately

his life. In return, he received power, fame and fortune. Not many people

are willing to pay that high of a price, for anything. Some people are

ambitious and they like that sort of power. Some will do anything to get it.

Lust, greed, or an unquenchable thirst for power, is what drives them.

However, one should not allow his or her thirst for power and greatness

interfere with the lives of others. A popular proverb declares you reap what

you sow. In the life of Caesar this proverb was proven to be true. If Caesar

had been killed in a war. He would have died with honor as a hero. But

because he was ruthless and greedy for power, he died a cold, miserable,

death,at the hands of his so-called friends. He lived as a ruthless animal,

and died as a worthless dog. We are each allowed only one life on this

earth. Each one of us has a choice of which path we choose to take. We can

either choose life or we can choose death. No one can force us to choose.

We must make our choice willingly. Caesar made his choice, and he paid

the price for that choice. I pray those of us that follow him, learn from his

mistakes, and make the right choice.


Jerome Carcopino. Daily Life In Ancient Rome: Yale University Press 1940

Christian Meier. Caesar A Biography: Basic Books 1982

Holy Bible (King James Version) Zondervan 1994

Internet Sources:

Biography Julius Caesar. http://cyberessays.com/History/75.htm

Julius Caesar. http://homepages.iol.ie/~coolmine/typ/romans/romans6.html

Chapter 3

1. Holy Bible (King James Version) Zondervan 1994. Proverbs 4:47