Julius Caesar

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Julius Caesar—Dictator of Rome and its First Attempted Emperor

July 12, 102 BC, Rome, Italy; 7:00 PM approximately. (Source: Marc Penfield who cites ancient records which state the birth as occurring “near sunset”) Died, March 15, 44 BC, Rome.

Julius Caesar was the first and, arguably, the greatest in a long line of imperial figures produced by Rome. He was a brilliant general and politician—a man of strength and intelligence, who wrote copiously about his many military campaigns. From Caesar comes the famous statement: “I came; I saw; I conquered”. He was, according to the Tibetan, a relatively pure first ray type.

Historical report informs us, as well, of his huge, and, apparently, bi-sexual appetite, promoted, it would seem, by Uranus conjunct the Moon (ruler of H7) inconjunct to Mars (itself conjuncting Venus in multiple Gemini)

Probable Ascendant, Capricorn, with Moon conjunct Uranus, both in Capricorn and in the first house; Sun, Cancer; Mercury in Leo; Mars conjunct Venus in Leo; Jupiter in Pisces; Saturn in Sagittarius opposing Mars and Venus; Neptune in Aries and also Pluto in the last degree.


Reputed Quotes

As a rule, men worry more about what they can't see than about what they can.

I had rather be first in a village than second at Rome.
(Capricorn Ascendant.)

I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.
(Capricorn Ascendant & Scorpio MC. Mars conjunct North Node.)

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.
(Saturn trine Pluto.)

In war, events of importance are the result of trivial causes.

It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.

It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

Men freely believe that which they desire.

What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also.

Which death is preferably to every other? "The unexpected".

And you too, Brutus. [Et tu, Brute.] ATTRIBUTION: Julius Caesar [Gaius Julius Caesar] (100–44 B.C.), Roman general, emperor. quoted in Lives of the Caesars, “Julius Caesar,” sct. 82, Suetonius (120 A.D.).
Spoken by Caesar in 44 B.C., on seeing that his friend Brutus was one of his assassins.

The die is cast.
Julius Caesar on crossing the Rubicon in 49 B.C., an action which provoked the start of the first Civil War.

No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected.

Experience is the teacher of all things.

The things that we want we willingly believe, and the things that we think we expect everyone else to think.

As a result of a general defect of nature, we are either more confident or more fearful of unusual and unknown things.

Avoid an unusual and unfamiliar word just as you would a reef.

It does not disturb me that those whom I pardon are said to have deserted me so that they might again bring war against me. I prefer nothing more than that I should be true to myself and they to themselves.
(Capricorn Moon.)

Fortune, which has a great deal of power in other matters but especially in war, can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces.

Men’s minds tend to fear more keenly those things that are absent.

People willingly believe what they want to believe.

"Men gladly believe what they wish. —Libenter homines id quod volunt credunt"

"Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I conquered."

"I love treason but hate a traitor."
(Scorpio MC.)

The die is cast. —Alea iacta est"

"It is not these well-fed long-haired men that I fear, but the pale and the hungry-looking."

“To prefer my friendship to that of those who have always been his and my bitter enemies, by whose machinations the country has been brought to its present impasse.” - a request from Caesar to Pompey for a resolution to the impending civil war.

I have lived long enough to satisfy both nature and glory.

In extreme danger fear feels no pity. [Lat., In summo periculo timor miericordiam non recipit.]

Arms and laws do not flourish together.

"Cowards die many times before their actual deaths."

"All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures"

"When the swords flash let no idea of love, piety, or even the face of your fathers move you"

In extreme danger, fear turns a deaf ear to every feeling of pity.



104-100 Gaius Marius serves as Consul. Wars against Teutones in Gaul. Victories of Aquae Sextiae 102; Vercellae, 101. Legislation of Saturninus; rioting in Rome. Marius restores order, 100.

102?-100 Caesar born in Rome on July 13 to Gaius Caesar and Aurelia.

91 Tribunate of Drusus, whose plans to satisfy the Italian allies fails; Drusus assassinated. War breaks out with Italian allies; massacre of Romans at Asculum.

90-88 The "Social War" against Rome's Italian allies, demanding greater citizenship rights. The rebellion is crushed by Sulla, Marius, and Pompey Strabo, but the allies eventually received enhanced rights. First campaign of young Pompey, Cicero.

88 Sulpicius Rufus tribune. Proposal to transfer the Mithridatic command from Sulla to Marius. Sulla marches on Rome with his army; caputres the city; repeals legislation and passes laws strengthening the Senate. Marius escapes. Social War draws to a close. Mithridates overruns Asia Minor, massacres many Romans and Italians; joined by Athens.

87 Cinna and Marius occupy Rome; massacre of Sulla's supporters. Sulla lands in Greece and besieges Athens. Carbo consul 87-84. The teenage Caesar is chosen for the lifetime dignity of flamen dialis (high priest of Jupiter).

86 Marius, elected Consul for the seventh time (with Cinna), dies. Sulla takes Athens, defeats Mithridates' armies. Immediately after election as Consul (for the seventh time), Marius dies. Cinna takes control of the Populares against Sulla's faction.

85 Sulla negotiates Treaty of Dardanus with Mithridates. Settlement of Asia. Caesar becomes officially a man by assuming the toga virilis. His father dies.

84 Cinna in power but is later murdered. Caesar weds Cinna's daughter. Carbo remains sole consul.

83 Lucius Cornelius Sulla, returning from the eastern Mithridatic War, victorious against the Marian party with the aid of Pompey and Crassus. Massive proscriptions follow. Sulla's legislation returns political power to the Senate; tribunician powers limited. Murena begins Second Mithridatic War.

82 Civil War in Italy; Sulla victorious at the battle of the Colline Gate. Massive proscriptions, deaths, property confiscations shake the power structure. Sertorious, last major Marian leader, leaves for Spain. Pompey defeats Sulla's opponents in Sicily; Sulla orders Murena to stop fighting against Mithridates.

82-81 Sulla becomes dictator; constitutional settlement, reform of criminal law. Pompey defeats the Marians in Africa; Sertorius driven from Spain.

81 Sulla hostile against Caesar; Caesar flees Rome. Sulla persuaded to pardon Caesar, who refuses to divorce Cinna's daughter, Cornelia. Sulla impounds Cornelia's dowry and strips Caesar of office of flamen dialis. Caesar's only child, daughter Julia, is born.

80 Sulla serves as Consul. Sertorius returns to Spain. Caesar leaves Rome for military service with the governor of Asia. At the capture of Mytilene, Caesar wins the corona civica (personal heroism). For the rest of his life he will be awarded public honors (such as being able to wear his laurel crown on all public occasions). He is also permitted to sit in the Senate without age restriction.

80?-79 Sulla resigns dictatorship. Sertorious defeats Metellus Pius in Spain.

78 Death of Sulla. Lepidus challenges Sulla's constitution. Caesar serves under P. Servilius Isauricus in Cilicia. After Sulla's death, Caesar returns to Rome. He refuses to join Lepidus' insurrection.

77 Lepidus defeated by Catulus and Pompey, dies in Sardinia. Pompey appointed against Sertorius in Spain. In Rome, Caesar, as advocate, prosecutes the consular Cn. Cornelius Dolabella for extortion while serving as provincial governor.

76 Attempts to restore powers to tribunes. Sertorius successful against Pompey and Metellus.

75 Lex Aurelia allows tribunes to hold other offices later. Cicero serves as quaestor in Sicily. Leaving Rome to study rhetoric in Rhodes, Caesar is captured by pirates; his 50-talent ransom takes 40 days to raise while he is held captive. Caesar, released, returns and crucifies all the pirates. He then continues on to Rhodes to study under famous rhetorician Apollonius Molon.

74 Cyrene made a Roman province. Reinforcements sent to Pompey in Spain. Mithridates invades Bithynia; Lucullus sent against him. On the outbreak of the Mithridatic War, Caesar fights against a royal detachment in Asia province. Returns to Rome. Nicomedes dies, bequeaths Bythinia to Rome.

73 Tribune Licius Macer agitates for reform Laws deal with grain distribution. Rising of Spartacus at Capua. Lucullus defeats Mithridates on the Rhyndacus. Caesar joins the Pontifical College.

72 Spartacus continues successfully against Roman efforts to destroy revolt. In Spain, Sertorius assassinated; Pompey settles Spain. Lucullus campaigns against Mithridates in Pontus. M. Antonius unsuccessful against Cretan pirates. Caesar serves as military tribune.

71 Spartacus defeated by Crassus. Pompey returns from Spain. Lucullus defeats Mithridates who flees to Tigranes.

70 Pompey and Crassus elected as consuls; they continue dismantling provisions of Sullan laws.

69 Lucullus captures Armenian capital, Tigranocerta. Caesar serves as quaestor under governor of Further Spain. His aunt Julia (wife of Marius) dies; Caesar gives funeral oration, honors Marius and his own descent. Later, Caesar's wife dies.

67 Caesar marries Pompeia, granddaughter of Sulla. Votes for Lex Gabinia, to give Pompey total authority to fight piracy in the eastern Mediterranean.

67-66 Pompey destroys piracy in the Mediterranean; his reputation soars.

66 First Catilinarian 'conspiracy.' Cicero, Caesar speaks in favor of the Lex Manilia, giving Pompey unparallelled powers in command of Roman armies against Mithridates.

66-62 Pompey destroys Mithridates, king of Pontus, bringing new territories into the Empire. He completely reorganizes the eastern provinces; his reputation is at its height.

65 Crassus is censor; works for influence in Spain and Egypt. Pompey campaigns in the Caucasus. Caesar serves as Curule Aedile with Bibulus. He restores Marius' trophies, formerly removed by Sulla, and gains a reputation for lavish expenditure on games and crowd-pleasing entertainments.

64 Pompey victorious in Syria; end of Seleucid monarchy. In the elections, Cataline loses to Cicero for the consulship; some sources suggest Caesar supported Cataline.

63 Consulship of Cicero. Caesar triumphs at the polls to win the position of Pontifix Maximus. Birth of Octavian. On December 5, Caesar's significant speech in the Senate against condemning the Catilinarian conspirators to death without trial. Cato accuses Caesar of foreknowledge of the conspiracy but Cicero supports him. Pompey in Damascus, Jerusalem; end of Hasmonean power. Mithridates dies in the Crimea.

62 Defeat and death of Catiline at Pistoia. Caesar elected praetor. Clodius profanes the Bona Dea festival with resulting scandal. Caesar divorces Pompeia for not being "above suspicion." Pompey settles the East (including making Syria a province); returns to Italy and dismisses his army in December.

61 The Senate opposes Pompey's administrative acts in the East; Pompey holds his Triumph. Trial of Clodius. Caesar proconsul of the province of Further Spain; victorious campaign against the Lusitani which permits him to seek a Triumph in Rome. In Gaul, the Allobroges revolt; the Aedui appeal to Rome for help. Crassus negotiates, unsuccessfully, to reduce tax-farming commitments of the Equites in the east.

60 Caesar returns to Rome; Cato filibusters to prevent his standing for the consulship in absentia. Foregoing his Triumph, Caesar enters Rome, stands for office, and wins the Consulship with the support of Caesar and Crassus. The "First Triumvirate" formed.

59 Caesar's turbulent consulship. Land reforms forced through the Senate for Pompey's veterans; Crassus' tax-farming proposals passed. Bibulus retires to "watch the sky for omens." Caesar's daughter marries Pompey; Caesar marries Piso's daughter, Calpurnia. Caesar secures Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum (and, later, further Gaul) as his post-consular province for a 5-year term.

58 Tribunate of Publius Clodius. Cicero exiled; Cato sent to Cypress which is annexed. Caesar moves against the Helvetii and Ariovistus in the first battles of the Gallic Wars.

57 Rioting in Rome between Clodius and Milo. Cicero is recalled in September. Pompey concerned with food supply. Caesar campaigns against the Belgii; all northern Gaul apparently pacified.

56 The Triumvirate in disarray; Cicero attacks the land-reform law Caesar passed during his consulship. Caesar meets with Pompey and Crassus at Lucca in April to renew power-sharing. Caesar's term in Gaul to be extended. Pompey and Crassus will stand, again, for the Consulship. Caesar campaigns against rebellious tribes in Brittany and Normandy as well as the Aquitani. Cato returns from Cypress.

55 Second consulship of Pompey and Crassus; law passed prolonging Caesar's proconsulship for five years with new commands for both Consuls.Caesar campaigns against the Usipetes and Tencteri. First crossing of the Rhine into Germany; first, historic renconnaissance mission to Britain. Historic thanksgivings voted to Caesar by the Senate.

54 Pompey remains near Rome, governing Spain through subordinates. Rioting in Rome. Caesar returns to Britain, spending the winter in Gaul. Ambiorix destroys fifteen cohorts. Winter quarters of the legate Q.Cicero besieged; relieved by Caesar. Labienus campaigns against the Treveri. Death in childbirth of Caesar's daughter, Julia, wife of Pompey; Caesar's mother, Aurelia, also dies. Crassus, in Syria, prepares for Parthian campaign.

53 Continued rioting in Rome; no consuls can be elected until July. Caesar undertakes punitive expeditions against the rebellious tribes; second Rhine crossing. The Eburones are exterminated; Ambiorix escapes. On June 9, in Mesopotamia, Crassus loses the battle of Carrhae and his life.

52 In January, Publius Clodius murdered by Milo. Disorder in Rome; Pompey elected 'consul without a colleague' on February 25. Serves alone until order is restored in August. Caesar negotiates from Ravenna and, by the law, of the ten tribunes, is permitted to stand for the consulship in 49 in absentia. The Gallic confederacy formed under Vercingetorix; Gaul breaks into open rebellion. Caesar captures Avaricum, has to abandon the siege of Vergovia, is victorious in the neighborhood of Dijon, surrounds Vercingetorix in Alesia, repels the attempt of the combined Celtic levies to relieve him. Vercingetorix surrenders.

51 Optimates attacks on Caesar, who gains support of Curio. Parthia invades Syria; Cicero sent as governor to Cilicia. Death of Ptolemy Auletes; Ptolemy XIII marries Cleopatra; joint rulers in Egypt. Caesar completes pacification of Gaul; surrender of Uxellodunum with multilation of rebellious prisoners. Caesar begins political reorganization of the province from Nemotocenna (Arras). Probable publication of his Gallic commentaries. In Rome, Marcellus attempts to prematurely recall Caesar from his command.

50 In Rome the optimates continue their efforts to recall Caesar and bring him to trial. The tribune, C. Curio, prevents the passing of a decree against Caesar by imposition of the tribunician veto. Curio proposes that both Caesar and Pompey disarm; vetoed. Pompey asked by consul Marcellus to save the State (November). In December, Curio's term expires; Antony takes over as Caesar's leading tribune. Pompey refuses to compromise. Civil War looms. Caesar continues to negotiate to avoid losing his imperium while still running for the Consulship for 48 in absentia.

49 On January 7, the Senate decrees that Caesar must dismiss his army by an appointed day and, despite tribunician veto, grants Pompey and the other magistrates state authority. Caesar crosses Rubicon during the night of January 10 and, with one legion, begins moving towards Rome. On February 21, Corfinium surrenders with little resistance; on March 17, Pompey abandons Italy and crosses to the Balkan peninsula. On August 2, Pompey's Army in Nearer Spain surrenders to Caesar following battle of Ilerda; the souther Spanish province follows. Massilia surrenders to Caesar after a six-months' siege. Caesar is elected dictator and, during 11-day term, passes emergency legislation.

48 Caesar gives up the dictatorship, elected to second consulship with Publius Servilius Isauricus. Crossing the Adriatic, he surrounds Pompey at Dyrrhachium in April; Pompey breaks through the siege line in July. Caesar withdraws towards Thessaly. On August 9, Caesar defeats Pompey at Pharsalus. Pompey flees to Egypt, Caesar in pursuit. On September 28, prior to Caesar's arrival, Pompey is murdered by ministers of the Pharoah in Egypt. Caesar arrives and occupies Alexandria, where his small force is besieged by Ptolemy's hostile forces. Meets and supports Cleopatra in her quest for rule of Egypt.

47 Caesar again appointed dictator, this time for one year in absentia. Antony, his Master of the Horse, maintains order in Italy. In March, Caesar's forces relieved by reinforcements from Asia Minor; on March 27, he is victorious in battle on the Nile. Death of Ptolemy. Caesar installs Cleopatra as Queen and cruises the Nile. Pharnaces of Bosporus defeats Roman army under Domitius Calvinus in Pontus. In early June, Caesar leaves Egypt, moves against the king of Pontus, Pharnaces II (Mithridates' son). On August 1, defeats Pharnaces at Zela ("I came, I saw, I conquered"). At the beginning of October, Caesar (dictator) arrives in Rome; further legislative reforms including reorganizastion of debt laws. On December 28, Caesar and his legions return to the coast of Africa to defeat the remaining Pompeian forces. Since 48, the optimates have been collecting armies in the African Province. Cleopatra bears Caesar a son, nicknamed Caesarion.

46 Caesar elected consul for the third time, serving with Lepidus. On April 6, Caesar victorious at Battle of Thapsus, defeating Scipio and Juba. Suicide of Cato. On July 25, Caesar returns to Rome where he is appointed to his third dictatorship, this time for a ten-year term. In Spain, the sons of Pompey renew the war. Caesar completes further legislation including reform of the calendar, adding additional days to this year to bring the solar calendar into alignment. Leaves Rome for Spain in the middle of November.

45 Caesar serves as his fourth consulship (without a colleague). On March 17, Caesar victorious at Munda; after administrative reforms, he returns to Rome in October. The Senate votes extravagant decrees in his honor, including dictatorship for life and divine worship. Caesar's iimages begin to appear on coinage. In the fall, Caesar makes preparations for a campaign in Parthia the next year and makes his will, appointing his great-nephew, Octavian, as his primary heir, allegedly adopting him as his son.

44 On February 15, Caesar appears at the Lupercalia as dictator perpetuus (for life), in the dress of the ancient kings of Rome; refuses the diadem of kingship offered by co-consul Mark Antony, along with the title of king. Announces he will leave Rome for Parthia on March 18. 60 Republicans, led by Brutus and Cassius, join in conspiracy to murder him. On the Ides of March (March 15), attending the Senate for the last time, Caesar is stabbed to death. His last words, to Brutus, in Greek, were "and you too, child?" Octavian returns from Greece. Antony receives command in Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul. Cicero's first Phillipic against Antony.

43 Antony's siege of Mutina raised; deaths of consuls Hirtius and Pansa. D. Brutus killed in Gaul. Octavian declared consul in August. Triumvirate of Octavian, Antony and Lepidus (November). Proscriptions; death of Cicero. Brutus in Macedonia and Cassius in Syria raising armies.

42 Julius Caesar deified. Sextus Pompeius controls Sicily. Brutus and Cassius are defeated at Philippi in October; both commit suicide.

Rise to Power
Although he was born into the Julian gens, one of the oldest patrician families in Rome, Caesar was always a member of the democratic or popular party. He benefited from the patronage of his uncle by marriage, Caius Marius. In 82 B.C., when Caesar refused to obey Sulla’s order to divorce Cornelia, the wealthy daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna, he was proscribed and subsequently fled from Rome (81 B.C.). 2

On Sulla’s death, Caesar returned (78 B.C.) and began his political career. He quickly gained popularity with his party and a reputation for oratory. In 74 B.C. he went into Asia to repulse a Cappadocian army. Upon his return, he agitated for reform of the government on popular lines and helped to advance the position of Pompey, the virtual head of the popular party. Caesar was made military tribune before 70 B.C. and was quaestor in Farther Spain in 69 B.C.; he helped Pompey to obtain the supreme command for the war in the East. He returned to Rome in 68 B.C., and in Pompey’s absence was becoming the recognized head of the popular party. His praise of Marius and Cinna made him popular with the people, but earned him the hatred of the senate. 3

In 63 B.C. he was elected pontifex maximus [high priest], allegedly by heavy bribes. His later reform of the calendar with the help of Sosigenes, was one of his greatest contributions to history. In Dec., 63 B.C., Caesar advocated mercy for Catiline and the conspirators, thereby increasing the enmity of the senatorial party and its leaders, Cato the Younger and Quintus Lutatius Catulus (see Catulus, family). In 62 B.C., Clodius and Caesar’s second wife, Pompeia, were involved in a scandal concerning the violation of the secret rites of Bona Dea, and Caesar obtained a divorce, saying, “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.” 4

The First Triumvirate

Having served in Farther Spain as proconsul in 61 B.C., he returned to Rome in 60 B.C., ambitious for the consulate. Against senatorial opposition he achieved a brilliant stroke—he organized a coalition, known as the First Triumvirate, made up of Pompey, commander in chief of the army; Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome (see Crassus, family); and Caesar himself. Pompey and Crassus were jealous of each other, but Caesar by force of personality kept the arrangement going. 5

In 59 B.C. he married Calpurnia. In the same year, as consul, he secured the passage of an agrarian law providing Campanian lands for 20,000 poor citizens and veterans, in spite of the opposition of his senatorial colleague, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus. Caesar also won the support of the wealthy equites by getting a reduction for them in their tax contracts in Asia. This made him the guiding power in a coalition between people and plutocrats. 6

He was assigned the rule of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul and Illyricum with four legions for five years (58 B.C.–54 B.C.). The differences between Pompey and Crassus grew, and Caesar again moved (56 B.C.) to patch up matters, arriving at an agreement that both Pompey and Crassus should be consuls in 55 B.C. and that their proconsular provinces should be Spain and Syria, respectively. From this arrangement he drew an extension of his command in Gaul to 49 B.C. In the years 58 B.C. to 49 B.C. he firmly established his reputation in the Gallic Wars. 7

In 55 B.C., Caesar made explorations into Britain, and in 54 B.C. he defeated the Britons, led by Cassivellaunus. Caesar met his most serious opposition in Gaul from Vercingetorix, whom he defeated in Alesia in 52 B.C. By the end of the wars Caesar had reduced all Gaul to Roman control. These campaigns proved him one of the greatest commanders of all time. In them he revealed his consummate military genius, characterized by quick, sure judgment and indomitable energy. The campaigns also developed the personal devotion of the legions to Caesar. His personal interest in the men (he is reputed to have known them all by name) and his willingness to undergo every hardship made him the idol of the army—a significant element in his later career. 8

In 54 B.C. occurred the death of Caesar’s daughter Julia, Pompey’s wife since 59 B.C. She had been the principal personal tie between the two men. During the years Caesar was in Gaul, Pompey had been gradually leaning more and more toward the senatorial party. The tribunate of Clodius (58 B.C.) had aggravated conditions in Rome, and Caesar’s military successes had aroused Pompey’s jealousy. Crassus’ death (53 B.C.) in Parthia ended the First Triumvirate and set Pompey and Caesar against each other. 9

Civil War
After the First Triumvirate ended, the senate supported Pompey, who became sole consul in 52 B.C. Meanwhile, Caesar had become a military hero as well as a champion of the people. The senate feared him and wanted him to give up his army, knowing that he hoped to be consul when his term in Gaul expired. In Dec., 50 B.C., Caesar wrote the senate that he would give up his army if Pompey would give up his. The senate heard the letter with fury and demanded that Caesar disband his army at once or be declared an enemy of the people—an illegal bill, for Caesar was entitled to keep his army until his term was up. 10

Two tribunes faithful to Caesar, Marc Antony and Quintus Cassius Longinus (see under Cassius) vetoed the bill and were quickly expelled from the senate. They fled to Caesar, who assembled his army and asked for the support of the soldiers against the senate. The army called for action, and on Jan. 19, 49 B.C., Caesar with the words “Iacta alea est” [the die is cast] crossed the Rubicon, the stream bounding his province, to enter Italy. Civil war had begun. 11

Caesar’s march to Rome was a triumphal progress. The senate fled to Capua. Caesar proceeded to Brundisium, where he besieged Pompey until Pompey fled (Mar., 49 B.C.) with his fleet to Greece. Caesar set out at once for Spain, which Pompey’s legates were holding, and pacified that province. Returning to Rome, Caesar held the dictatorship for 11 days in early December, long enough to get himself elected consul, and then set out for Greece in pursuit of Pompey. 12

Caesar collected at Brundisium a small army and fleet—so small, in fact, that Bibulus, waiting with a much larger fleet to prevent his crossing to Epirus, did not yet bother to watch him—and slipped across the strait. He met Pompey at Dyrrhachium but was forced to fall back and begin a long retreat southward, with Pompey in pursuit. Near Pharsalus, Caesar camped in a very strategic location. Pompey, who had a far larger army, attacked Caesar but was routed (48 B.C.) and fled to Egypt, where he was killed. 13

Caesar, having pursued Pompey to Egypt, remained there for some time, living with Cleopatra, taking her part against her brother and husband Ptolemy XII, and establishing her firmly on the throne. From Egypt he went to Syria and Pontus, where he defeated (47 B.C.) Pharnaces II with such ease that he reported his victory in the words “Veni, vidi, vici” [I came, I saw, I conquered]. In the same year he personally put down a mutiny of his army and then set out for Africa, where the followers of Pompey had fled, to end their opposition led by Cato. 14

Dictatorship and Death
On his return to Rome, where he was now tribune of the people and dictator, he had four great triumphs and pardoned all his enemies. He set about reforming the living conditions of the people by passing agrarian laws and by improving housing accommodations. He also drew up the elaborate plans (which Augustus later used) for consolidating the empire and establishing it securely. In the winter of 46 B.C.–45 B.C. he was in Spain putting down the last of the senatorial party under Gaeus Pompeius, the son of Pompey. He returned to Rome in Sept., 45 B.C., and was elected to his fifth consulship in 44 B.C. In the same year he became dictator for life and set about planning a campaign against Parthia, the only real menace to Rome’s borders. 15

His dictatorial powers had, however, aroused great resentment, and he was bitterly criticized by his enemies, who accused him of all manner of vices. When a conspiracy was formed against him, however, it was made up of his friends and protégés, among them Cimber, Casca, Cassius, and Marcus Junius Brutus. On Mar. 15 (the Ides of March), 44 B.C., he was stabbed to death in the senate house. His will left everything to his 18-year-old grandnephew Octavian (later Augustus). 16

Caesar has always been one of the most controversial characters of history. His admirers have seen in him the defender of the rights of the people against an oligarchy. His detractors have seen him as an ambitious demagogue, who forced his way to dictatorial power and destroyed the republic. That he was gifted and versatile there can be little doubt. He excelled in war, in statesmanship, and in oratory. 17

His literary works are highly esteemed. Of Caesar’s literary works, his commentaries on the Gallic Wars (seven books) and on the civil war (three books) survive. They are masterpieces of clear, beautiful, concise Latin, and they are classic military documents. Caesar wrote poetry, but the only surviving piece is a poem on Terence. 18

Caesar was born in Rome to a well-known patrician family (gens Julia), which supposedly traced its ancestry to Julus, the son of the Trojan prince Aeneas, who according to myth was the son of Venus. According to legend, Caesar was born by Caesarian section and is its namesake, though this is unlikely because it was only performed on dead women, and his mother lived long after he was born. Caesar was raised in a modest apartment building (insula) in the Subura, a lower-class neighborhood of Rome.

The Julii Caesares, although of impeccable aristocratic patrician stock, were not rich by the standards of the Roman nobility. Thus, no member of his family had achieved any outstanding prominence in recent times, though in his father's generation there was a renaissance of their fortunes. His paternal aunt, Julia, married Gaius Marius, a talented general and reformer of the Roman army. Marius became one of the richest men in Rome at the time and while he gained political influence, the Caesar family gained the wealth.

Towards the end of Marius' life in 86 BC, internal politics reached a breaking point. Several disputes of the Marius faction against Lucius Cornelius Sulla led to civil war and eventually opened the way to Sulla's dictatorship. Caesar was tied to the Marius party through family connections. Not only was he Marius' nephew, he was also married to Cornelia Cinnilla, the youngest daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna, Marius' greatest supporter and Sulla's enemy. To make matters worse, in the year 85 BC, just after Caesar turned 15, his father grew ill and soon died. Both Marius and his father had left Caesar much of their property and wealth in their wills.

Thus, when Sulla emerged as the winner of this civil war and began his program of proscriptions, Caesar, not yet 20 years old, was in a bad position. Sulla ordered Caesar to divorce Cornelia in 82 BC, but Caesar refused and prudently left Rome to hide. Sulla pardoned Caesar and his family and allowed him to return to Rome. In a prophetic moment, Sulla was said to comment on the dangers of letting Caesar live. According to Suetonius, the dictator in relenting on Caesar's proscription said, "He whose life you so much desire will one day be the overthrow of the part of nobles, whose cause you have sustained with me; for in this one Caesar, you will find many a Marius."

Despite Sulla's pardon, Caesar did not remain in Rome and left for military service in Asia and Cilicia. While still in Asia Minor, Caesar was involved in several military operations. In 80 BC, while still serving under Thermus, he played a pivotal role in the siege of Miletus. During the course of the battle Caesar showed such personal bravery in saving the lives of legionaries, that he was later awarded the corona civica (oak crown). The award was of the highest honor given to a non-commander, and when worn in public, even in the presence of the Roman Senate, all were forced to stand and applaud his presence.

Back in Rome in 78 BC, when Sulla died, Caesar began his political career in the Forum at Rome as an advocate, known for his oratory and ruthless prosecution of former governors notorious for extortion and corruption. The great orator Cicero even commented, "Does anyone have the ability to speak better than Caesar?" Aiming at rhetorical perfection, Caesar traveled to Rhodes in 75 BC for philosophical and oratorical studies with the famous teacher Apollonius Molo.

On the way, Caesar was kidnapped by Cilician pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. When they demanded a ransom of twenty talents, he laughed at them, saying they did not know whom they had captured. Instead, he ordered them to ask for fifty. They accepted, and Caesar sent his followers to various cities to collect the ransom money. In all he was held for thirty-eight days and would often laughingly threaten to have them all crucified. True to his word, as soon as he was ransomed and released, he organized a naval force, captured the pirates and their island stronghold and put them to death by crucifixion as a warning to other pirates. However, since they had treated him well, he had their legs broken before they were crucified to lessen their suffering.

After returning to Rome in 73 BC, Caesar was elected to the College of Pontiffs. Unfortunately, Caesar returned to Rome in the middle of the slave rebellion under the ex-gladiator Spartacus. The Senate sent legion after legion to handle the rebellion, but each time Spartacus was victorious. In 72 BC, Caesar was elected a military tribune by the Roman assemblies, his first step in political life. Finally, in the year 71 BC, Marcus Crassus rose to the challenge presented by Spartacus. Caesar was one of the few men to lobby for Crassus in trying to establish his command. The Senate appointed Crassus to the cause, and Crassus personally levied six brand new legions, and recruited the young Caesar to serve as one of his tribunes for his work as an advocate. After a series of defeats, Crassus finally overcame Spartacus in 71 BC. During their time together, Caesar and Crassus would form a friendship that would later advance both of their careers in the years to come. But Caesar's triumph soon turned to disaster.

In 69 BC, Caesar became a widower after Cornelia's death trying to deliver a stillborn son. In the same year, he lost his aunt Julia, to whom he was very attached. These two deaths left Caesar very much alone to raise a still infant daughter, Julia Caesaris. It was untraditional for Roman women to have great public funerals, but Caesar broke tradition and gave them both fine funerals. During the funerals, Caesar delivered eulogy speeches from the Rostra. Julia's funeral was filled with political connotations, since Caesar insisted on parading Marius's funeral mask. Although Caesar was very fond of both women (according to Suetonius), these speeches were interpreted by his political opponents as propaganda for his upcoming election for the office of quaestor.

Caesar's Cursus Honorum

Julius Caesar, depicted from the bust in the British Museum, in Cassell's History of England (1902)Caesar was elected quaestor by the Assembly of the People in 69 BC, at the age of thirty, as stipulated in the Roman cursus honorum. He drew the lots and was assigned a quaestorship in Lusitania, a Roman province roughly situated in modern Portugal and part of southern Spain. As an administrative and financial officer, the trip was largely uneventful, but it was while in Hispania that he had the famous encounter with a statue of Alexander the Great. At the temple of Hercules in Gades, it was said that he broke down and cried. When asked why he would have such a reaction, his simple response was: "Do you think I have not just cause to weep, when I consider that Alexander at my age had conquered so many nations, and I have all this time done nothing that is memorable."

Caesar was released early from his office as quaestor, and allowed to return to Rome early. Despite any personal grief over the loss of his wife, of who all accounts suggest he loved dearly, Caesar was set to remarry in 67 BC for political gain. This time, however, he chose an odd alliance. The granddaughter of Sulla, and daughter of Quintus Pompey, Pompeia Sulla, was to be his next wife. Now as a member of the Senate, thanks to his election earlier as quaestor, Caesar supported laws which were designed to grant Pompey the Great unlimited powers in dealing with Cilician pirates in the Mediterranean. Obviously building a relationship with Rome's great general would play into his hands later.

Between the support of the laws regarding Pompey's command, Caesar served as the curator of the Appian Way. The maintenance of this road, which stretched from Rome to Cumae and beyond to the heel of Italy's boot, was an important and high profile position. While it was enormously expensive on a personal basis, it gave a great deal of prestige to a young Senator, and Crassus' support certainly made it an achievable task for Caesar. All the while, Caesar continued to pursue his judicial career until his election as curule aedile in 65 BC, along with a young rival and member of the Optimates faction by the name of Bibulus.

This magistrate position was the next step in the Roman cursus honorum and was a grand opportunity for the master of the public spectacle. The curule aediles were responsible for such public duties as the construction and care of temples, maintenance of public buildings, traffic, and other aspects of Rome's daily life; perhaps most important of all, the staging of public games on state holidays and management of the Circus Maximus. Caesar indebted himself to the point of near financial ruin during this time, but enhanced his image irreversibly with the common people. Caesar ended his year as aedile in glory but in bankruptcy. His debts reached several hundred gold talents (millions of euros in today's currency) and threatened to be an obstacle for his future career. His co-aedile Bibulus was so unspectacular in comparison that he later commented in frustration that the entire year's aedileship was credited to Caesar alone, instead of both.

His success as aedile was, however, an enormous help for his election as Pontifex Maximus (high priest) in 63 BC, following the death of the previous holder Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius. This office meant a new house — the Domus Publica (public house) — in the Forum, the responsibility of all Roman religious affairs and the custody of the Vestal virgins under his roof. For Caesar, it also meant a relief of his debts. The election put Caesar in a position of considerable power, with opportunity for income. The Pontifex was elected to a lifetime term and while technically not a political office, still provided considerable advantages in dealing with the Senate and legislation.

Caesar's debut as Pontifex was however marked by a scandal. Following the death of his wife Cornelia, he had married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla, in 67 BC. As the wife of the Pontifex and an important matrona (Latin: married woman), Pompeia was responsible for the organization of the Bona Dea festival in December. These rites were exclusive to women and considered very sacred. However, Publius Clodius Pulcher managed to get in the house disguised as a woman. This was absolute sacrilege and Pompeia received a letter of divorce. Caesar himself admitted that she could be innocent in the plot, but, as he said: "Caesar's wife, like the rest of Caesar's family, must be above suspicion."

63 BC was an especially difficult year, not only for Caesar, but for the Roman Republic itself. Caesar ran for, and won, the office of Praetor Urbanus for the year 62 BC. Before he could even take office, however, the Catiline Conspiracy erupted putting Caesar in direct conflict with the Optimates once again. The result was the conviction to death of five notable Roman men, Catiline's allies, without a trial. The only other option open was banishment, as imprisonment before trial was unheard of; if banished the men would simply have gone to take command of Catiline's armies in Etruria. The Senate deliberated on the matter, with Caesar one of the few men to speak up against the death penalty.

Towards the end of his praetorship, Caesar was again in serious jeopardy of prosecution for his debts. Crassus came to the rescue again, paying off a quarter of his 20 million denarii balance. Eventually, by 61 BC, Caesar was finally assigned to serve as the Propraetor governor of Lusitania, the province he served in as a quaestor. With this appointment, his creditors backed off, allowing that this position could be quite profitable. Leaving Rome even before he was officially to take over, Caesar was not taking chances.

Arriving in Hispania, Caesar developed a remarkable reputation as a military commander. Between 61 BC and 60 BC, he won considerable victories over the local Gallaecian and Lusitanian tribes. During one of his victories, his men hailed him as Imperator in the field, which was a vital consideration in being eligible for a triumph back in Rome. Caesar was now faced with a terrible dilemma, though. He wanted to run for consul for 59 BC and would have to be present within the city of Rome to do so, but he also wanted to receive the honor of a triumph. The Optimates surely would use this against him, forcing him to wait outside the city, as was the custom, until they confirmed his triumph. The delay would force Caesar to miss his chance to run for consul and he made a fateful decision. In the summer of 60 BC, Caesar entered Rome to run for the highest political office in the Roman Republic.

First Triumvirate
In 60 BC, Caesar's decision to forego a chance at a triumph for his achievements in Spain put him in a position to run for consul. Even though Caesar had overwhelming popularity within the citizen assemblies, he had to manipulate formidable alliances within the Senate itself in order to secure his election. Already maintaining a solid friendship with the fabulously wealthy Marcus Crassus, he approached Crassus' rival Pompey the Great with the concept of a coalition. Pompey had already been considerably frustrated by the inability to get land reform for his eastern veterans and Caesar brilliantly patched up any differences between the two powerful leaders.

The alliance (known today as the First Triumvirate) was formed in late 60 BC, and remarkably remained a secret for some time. Pompey and Crassus agreed to use their wealth and clout to secure Caesar's consulship, and in return Caesar would lobby for both Pompey's and Crassus's political agenda. Caesar and Crassus were already the best of friends from a decade back, and he solidified his alliance with Pompey by giving him his own daughter Julia Caesaris in marriage. The alliance combined Caesar's enormous popularity with the plebians and legal reputation with Crassus's fantastic wealth and influence within the plutocratic Equestrian order and Pompey's equally spectacular wealth, military reputation, and Senatorial influence. With their help, Caesar won the election easily enough, but the Optimates managed to get Caesar's former co-aedile Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus elected as the junior consul.

Once in office in 59 BC, Caesar's first order of business was to pass a law that required the public release of all debates and procedures of the Senate. Next on the agenda was the appeasement of Pompey. Unused land in parts of Italy would be restored and offered to Pompey's veterans. Doing so would not only alleviate the problem of the unemployed mob in Rome but would satisfy Pompey and his legions. Still Cato the Younger and the Optimate faction opposed the concept simply because it was Caesar's idea. Caesar rebuked the Senate and took it directly to the people.

While speaking before the citizen assemblies, Caesar asked his co-consul Bibulus his feelings on the bill, as it was important to have the support of both standing consuls. His reply was simply to say that the bill would not be passed even if everyone else wanted it. At this point the so-called first triumvirate was made publicly known with both Pompey and Crassus voicing public approval of the measure in turn. The law carried with overwhelming public support and Bibulus retired to his home in disgrace. Bibulus spent the remainder of his consular year trying to use religious omens to declare Caesar's laws as null and void, in an attempt to bog down the political system. Instead, however, he simply gave Caesar complete autonomy to pass almost any proposal he wanted to. After Bibulus' withdrawal, the year of the consulship of Caesar and Bibulus was often referred to jokingly thereafter as the year of "Julius and Caesar".

Already secure with Crassus, by marrying the daughter of his client Piso, Caesar next strengthened his alliance with Pompey. Pompey was married to Caesar's daughter Julia. In what seemed to be a mere political edge, the marriage blossomed into romance by all accounts. Caesar was given the proconsulship of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum, granting him the opportunity to match political victories with military glory. This five-year term, unprecedented for an area that was relatively secure, was an obvious sign of Caesar's ambition for external conquests. Caesar's future campaigns would all be conducted at his own discretion. In an additional stroke of luck, the current governor of Gallia Narbonensis died, and this province was assigned to Caesar as well.

As 59 BC came to a close, Caesar had the support of the people, along with the two most powerful men in Rome (aside from himself), and the opportunity for infinite glory in Gaul. At the age of forty, while already holding the highest office in Rome and defeating his enemies at every turn, the true greatness of his career was yet to come. Marching quickly to the relative safety of his provinces, to invoke his five year imperium and avoid prosecution, Caesar was about to alter the geopolitical landscape of the ancient world.

Gallic Wars
Caesar took official command of his provinces of Illyricum, Cisalpine Gaul and Transalpine Gaul in 59 BC. Beyond the province of Transalpine Gaul was a vast land comprising modern France, called Gallia Comata, where loose confederations of Celtic tribes maintained varying relationships with Rome. However, as soon as he took office, a Celtic tribe living in modern day Switzerland, the Helvetii, had planned a move from the Alpine region to the west of modern France. In order to make such a move, however, the Helvetii would have to march not only through Roman-controlled territory, but that of the Roman allied Aedui tribe as well. Other Gallic Celts and people within the province of Gallia Narbonensis feared that the Helvetii would not just move through as they proposed, but would plunder everything in their path as they went. Without question, Caesar opposed the idea and hastily recruited two more fresh legions in preparation.

Several other local tribes joined the Helvetti in lesser numbers making the entire force among the largest and most powerful in all of Gaul. In total, according to Caesar, nearly 370,000 tribesmen were gathered, of which about 260,000 were women, children and other non-combatants. After setting off, and disregarding Caesar's objection, the two forces inevitably met. After several skirmishes, Caesar occupied the high ground with his six legions, and lured the enemy into a poorly matched battle. Near the Aeduan capital, Caesar crushed the Helvetii, slaughtering the enemy wholesale with little regard for combat status. According to Caesar himself, of the 370,000 enemy present, only 130,000 survived the battle. In the next few days following the battle while chasing down the fleeing enemy, it seems that at least another 20,000 were killed. Around the same time, in late 59 BC, the Germanic leader Ariovistus, chieftain of the Germanic Suebi, lead an invasion of Gaul and raided the border regions, but Caesar quelled the situation at that point by arranging an alliance with the Germans in early 58 BC. He forced the Germans back east across the Rhine, and used the "defense of Roman allies" as his cause to continue north in conquest.

In the spring of 57 BC, Caesar was in Cisalpine Gaul attending to the administration of his governorship. Despite cries of great thanks from various Gallic tribes, discontent was growing. Word came to Caesar that a confederation of northern Gallic tribes under the Belgae was building to confront the Roman presence in Gaul. Caesar hurried back to his legions, raising two new legions of mainly Gallic "citizens" in the meantime, bringing his total to eight.

As Caesar arrived, likely in July 57 BC, the rumors of Gallic opposition proved true. Caesar moved quickly, surprising Gallic tribes before they could join the opposition, and made fast allies of them. The Belgae, in reprisal against this, began to attack. With eight legions the Romans crushed the attack in a hard fought affair. The victory was two fold for Caesar. It not only was a victory in the field, but a political and propaganda win as well. By defending his "allies" from external aggression, he could now easily secure the necessary legalities to continue aggression against the Belgae. Though it would be another difficult campaign, this was exactly the sort of fortune that Caesar wanted. Caesar continued north, conquering all in his path, either through politics or by force.

As the campaign year of 56 BC opened, Caesar found that Gaul still was not quite ready for Roman occupation. Caesar sent his generals to every corner of Gaul, quelling any Gallic resistance in their way. Publius Crassus, son of Marcus Crassus, was sent to Aquitania with twelve legionary cohorts to subdue the tribes there. With the help of Gallic auxilia, Crassus quickly brought Roman control to the westernmost portion of Gaul. Decimus Brutus, the young future assassin of Caesar, was sent north to modern day Brittany to build a fleet amongst the Veneti. The Veneti controlled the waterways with a formidable fleet of their own and were augmented by British Celts. At first the Gallic vessels outmatched the Romans, and Brutus could do little to hamper Venetian operations. Roman ingenuity took over, however, and they began using hooks launched by archers to grapple the Venetian ships to their own. Before long, the Veneti were completely defeated, and like many tribes before them, sold into slavery.

In all, dozens of tribes were forced to surrender to Roman domination and hundreds of thousands of prisoners were sent back to Rome as slaves. With the defeat of the Gallic resistance, Caesar next began to focus his attention across the channel. Still, the conquest was not quite as complete as it seemed. First Caesar would have to deal with more Germanic incursions before he could cross to Britain. And despite his confidence, the Gallic tribes were not nearly as subdued as he thought. For now, though, Caesar returned to Cisalpine Gaul to attend to political matters in Rome.

Germania, Britain, and Vercingetorix
By 56 BC, as Caesar was pushing Roman control throughout the entire Gallic province, the political situation in Rome was dangerously falling apart. In the midst of planning his next steps in Gaul, Britain and Germania, Caesar returned to Cisalpine Gaul and knew he had to reaffirm support within the Senate. Pompey was in northern Italy attending to his duties with the grain commission, and Crassus went to Ravenna to meet with Caesar. He instead, called them both to Lucca for a conference, and the three triumvirs were joined by up to 200 Senators. Though support in Rome was unravelling, this meeting showed the scope and size of the ‘triumvirate’ as being a much larger coalition than just three men. However, Caesar needed Crassus and Pompey to get along in order to hold the whole thing together. Caesar had to have his command extended in order to ensure safety from recall and prosecution.

An agreement was reached in which Caesar would have his extension while granting Pompey and Crassus a balance of power opportunity. Pompey and Crassus were to be elected as joint consuls for 55 BC, with Pompey receiving Hispania as his province and Crassus to get Syria. Pompey, jealous over Caesar’s growing army, wanted the security of a provincial command with legions, and Crassus wanted the opportunity for military glory and plunder to the east in Parthia. With the matter resolved, Crassus and Pompey returned to Rome to stand for the elections of 55 BC. Despite bitter resistance from the Optimates, including a delay in the election, the two were eventually confirmed as consuls. Caesar took no chances however, and sent his legate, Publius Crassus, back to Rome with 1,000 men to "keep order". The presence of these men, along with the popularity of Crassus and Pompey went a long way to stabilize the situation. Caesar quickly returned to Gaul set into motion the first Roman invasion of Britain.

Before Caesar could focus on Britain, a German invasion across the Rhine into Ubian territory forced his attention on Germania. The invaders sent ambassadors to Caesar saying they only desired peace, but Caesar demanded their removal from Gaul and marched his legions against them. Before Caesar attacked, his cavalry was attacked by surprise and seventy-eight Romans were killed. A full-scale assault was then launched on the German camp and according to Caesar, 430,000 leaderless German men, women and children were assembled. The Romans butchered indiscriminately, sending the mass of people fleeing to the Rhine, where many more succumbed to the river. In the end, there is no account of how many were killed, but Caesar also claims to have not lost a single man.

With the situation secure on the Gallic side of the river, Caesar decided it was time to settle the matter with the aggressive Germans once and for all, lest they invade again. It was decided, in order to impress the Germans and the Roman people that bridging the Rhine would have the most significant effect. By June of 56 BC, Caesar became the first Roman to cross the Rhine into Germanic territory. In so doing, a monstrous wooden bridge was built in only ten days, stretching over 300 feet across the great river. This alone assuredly, impressed the Germans and Gauls, who had little comparative capability in bridge building. Within a short time of his crossing, nearly all tribes within the region sent hostages along with messages of peace.

Only one tribe resisted, fleeing their towns rather than submit to Caesar. The Romans made an example of them by burning their stores and their villages before receiving word that the Suevi were beginning to assemble in opposition. Caesar, rather than risk this glorious achievement in a pitched battle with a fierce foe, decided that discretion was the better part of valor. After spending only eighteen days in Germanic territory, the Romans returned across the Rhine, burning their bridge in the process. With that short diversion, Caesar secured peace among the Germans, as the Suevi remained relatively peaceful for some time after, and secured a crucial alliance with the Ubii. His rear secured, Caesar looked for another glorious Roman ‘first’ and moved his body north to prepare for the invasion of Britain.

Even after an unsuccessful first invasion, Caesar succeeded in invading a second time with the largest naval invasion in history until the Invasion of Normandy, nearly 2,000 years later. At year's end in 55 BC, Caesar had traveled to the farthest point in the known world and held most of Gaul firmly in his hands. But not all was going Caesar's way. In 54 BC, his only daughter, Julia Caesaris, died in childbirth, leaving both Pompey and Caesar heartbroken. And to make matters worse, Crassus had been killed in 53 BC during his ill-fated campaign in Parthia. Without Crassus or Julia, Pompey began to drift towards the Optimates faction, and relations with Caesar withered. Still away in Gaul, Caesar tried to secure Pompey's support by offering him one of his nieces in marriage, but Pompey refused. Instead, Pompey married Cornelia Metella, the daughter of Metallus Scipio, one of Caesar's greatest enemies.

New discontent was brewing among the tribes of south-central Gaul. Among those tribes were the Arverni. Initially hesitant, a young chieftan, Vercingetorix, came to the forefront to rally the Gauls. Other neighboring tribes soon joined the growing revolt, especially in the absence of the legions who occupied the northern and eastern portions of Gaul. Caesar had to make haste from Cisalpine Gaul and joined his army in the late winter/early spring of 52 BC. Caesar had no choice but to consolidate his forces against the formidable revolt.

Caesar followed Vercingetorix's retreating army to the fortified town of Alesia. With an alleged army of some 80,000 men, Vercingetorix and his Gauls were in shock from Caesar's Germanic cavalry allies and were in no condition to meet the 60,000 Romans legionaries on the battlefield. Caesar ordered the complete circumvallation of the Alesian plateau, which would not only enclose the Gauls, but keep his large army occupied during the siege. Walls, ditches and forts of various sizes stretched the entire circle for a total length of ten miles. In one of the most brilliant siege tactics in the history of warfare, and a testament to the skill of Roman engineering, Caesar ordered a second wall to be built on the outside of the first. This wall, nearly identical to the first in construction and type, extended as much as fifteen miles around the inner wall and left enough of a gap in between to fortify the entire Roman army. The first wall was designed to keep Vercingetorix in, and the second wall to keep his allies out.

A massive army was raised to defend Vercingetorix. According to Caesar, nearly 250,000 Gauls came in support of their besieged king. This force marched from the territory of the Aedui to crush the Romans between two forces larger than that of their target. Inside Alesia, however, conditions were terrible, with an estimated 180,000 people (including non-combatant women and children) running out of food and supplies.

By the time the relief force arrived, Vercingetorix and his army were in dire straits, with many of his men likely on the verge of surrender. October 2 would prove to be the final battle of Alesia. The Gauls on both sides hammered the weakness in the Roman wall. Overall, the Romans may have been outnumbered as many as six to one. The battle that was once very close to the possible end of Caesar, turned into an all out rout and the Gauls outside the Roman walls were slaughtered. By the end of the battle, the Germanic cavalry would virtually wipe out the retreating Gauls, leaving only Vercingetorix on the inside. Forced back into Alesia after the defeat of his relief force, with no hope of additional reinforcements, and only with the starving remnants of his own army, Vercingetorix was forced to surrender.

The defeat of Vercingetorix lead to an effective end of the Gallic Wars. The whole campaign resulted in 800 conquered cities, 300 subdued tribes, one million men sold into slavery and another three million dead in battle.

Civil War
Painting of Gaius Julius CaesarThe Optimates despised Caesar and his conquests and looked for every opportunity to strip him of his command. Prosecuting Caesar, whether the goal was death, exile or just a symbolic limitation of his power, would prevent his re-establishment of the populares agenda that he so masterfully instituted previously. The years 50 BC and 49 BC were pivotal because during this time frame, Caesar's imperium, namely safety from prosecution, was set to expire. Caesar badly desired the ability to run for the consulship in absentia, thereby allowing him the safe transfer of protection from his proconsular imperium, granted by his command in Gaul, to that of the actual consulship once again.

By this time, however, Pompey, likely the only man able to smooth things over, had clearly sided with the Optimates. His jealously over Caesar's success and his ultimate goal of acceptance and power within the Senate took him ever further from the alliance with Caesar. Laws were passed while Pompey was consul without colleague that forced a candidate to be present in Rome to run for office.

Caesar's only options throughout were either to surrender willingly and face certain prosecution along with the end of his career or life, or go to war. On January 1, 49 BC and the days immediately following, the Senate rejected Caesar's final peace proposal and declared him a public enemy. Around the January 10 49 BC, word reached Caesar and he marched south with the Thirteenth Legion from Ravenna towards the southern limit of Cisalpine Gaul's border. He likely arrived around January 11, and stopped on the northern bank of the small river border, the Rubicon.

Caesar seemed to contemplate the situation understandably for some time before making his final fateful decision. He is then reported to have muttered the now famous phrase, from the work of the poet Menander, Alea iacta est, usually translated as "The die is cast." The Rubicon was crossed and Caesar officially invaded the legal border from his province into Italy, thus starting the civil war. Despite having two legions to Caesar's one, Caesar's Gallic legions were on the move to join him so Pompey and the rest of Caesar's opposition had little choice but to leave Rome immediately and abandon Italy to Caesar. When Caesar entered Rome, he was elected Dictator, but only served for eleven days when he left office and served as consul instead. He was soon joined by legions from Gaul, and set off for Spain with nine legions. He is said to have boasted "I'm off to meet an army without a leader, then I will meet a leader without an army." Caesar meant that Pompey had left seven legions in Spain while he fled to Greece. Caesar's army marched into Spain and defeated the Pompeiian forces at Ilierda. While marching back through southern Gaul, he took the city of Massila (present day Marseille) from Pompeiian forces.

Caesar briefly returned to Italy before marching into Thessaly with eight legions. He quickly incorporated the towns of the region under his control. His exhausted and poorly supplied army was able to secure new sources of food and essentially become re-energized for the continuing campaign. Caesar first faced Pompey on July 10, 48 BC at Dyrrhacium. Caesar barely avoided a catastrophic defeat. Caesar lured Pompey into Greece where he decisively defeated Pompey's numerically superior army — Pompey had nearly twice the number of infantry and considerably more cavalry — at the Battle of Pharsalus in an exceedingly short engagement in 48 BC.

As the battle closed, Caesar reviewed the field and was likely shaken by the effects of civil war. He claimed that 15,000 enemy soldiers were killed, including 6,000 Romans, and 25,000 were captured, while losing only 200 of his own men, though both numbers are likely either over- or under-exaggerated. Still, the sight of the field apparently had a profound effect on the new master of the Roman world. In surveying the carnage, Caesar supposedly said, "They would have it so, I, Gaius Caesar, after so much success, would be condemned had I dismissed my army."

Caesar in the East
Following the defeat at Pharsalus, the majority of the remaining Pompeian forces surrendered to Caesar, and the major part of the war was essentially over. Pompey himself fled to Egypt, where his own horrible fate awaited him. Respected as the conqueror of the East, Pompey certainly felt comfortable heading into Egypt. While waiting off-shore to receive word from the boy-king, Ptolemy XIII, Pompey was betrayed and assassinated. Stabbed in the back and decapitated, his body was burned on the shore and his head was brought to the king in order to present as a gift to Caesar. On July 24, 48 BC, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus was dead, just short of 58 years old. When Caesar arrived in pursuit of Pompey, to certainly, by all accounts, grant him a pardon and welcome him back to Rome, Ptolemy presented Caesar with Pompey's head and his signet ring. Caesar, despite realizing Pompey's death made him the master of Rome, was overcome with grief. Turning away from the slave who presented Pompey's head, Caesar burst into tears at the sight of his rival, former friend, and son-in-law.

When Caesar arrived with just 4,000 men, or just under one full legion, he immediately took over the palace and presumed to secure his authority. He had two goals while in Egypt, secure grain and repayment of Egyptian debts, and also to settle the matter of who should rule the country: Cleopatra or Ptolemy. Caesar privately requested a meeting with Cleopatra in order to take stock of her before making a decision.

Cleopatra was slipped into some bed coverings and presented to Caesar as a gift. Though little is known of the actual meeting, it is quite clear that the young queen made an enormous impression on Caesar. She was elegant and charismatic, but most of all, she had power and money, and Caesar supposed she was susceptible to manipulation. Caesar, at 52 years old and 35 years her elder, easily withstood her seduction attempts, and seduced her. He would place Cleopatra on the throne of Egypt and use her as the key to controlling the vast wealth of Egypt.

By January of 47 BC, Caesar secured the reign of Cleopatra by enforcing the will of her father Ptolemy XII with both military and political force, and married her to her younger brother Ptolemy XIV. Over the next several months, Caesar and Cleopatra went on what seemed like a honeymoon vacation along the Nile. Traveling on Cleopatra's barge as far south as his men would let him, they toured the entire country all the way to the border of Ethiopia.

While Caesar and Cleopatra enjoyed their love affair in earnest, however, Republican forces in Spain and Africa continued to be a threat. Making matters worse, though, Pharnaces II of Pontus, son of the great Roman enemy Mithridates the Great was making incursions against neighboring provinces in the Roman East. Once again Caesar gathered his forces and marched off to face another threat.

The End of the Civil War
By the campaign season of 47 BC, Caesar left Egypt and began an overland march through the far eastern provinces. Heading towards the trouble with Pharnaces, Caesar traveled through Judaea and Syria, accepting apologies and granting pardons to those foreign kings and Roman governors who had supported Pompey. In so doing, he was also able to rebuild his war chest through the various tributes paid to him. Caesar met King Pharnaces in the Battle of Zela. His victory was so swift and so complete that he commemorated it in his triumph with the words: Veni Vidi Vici ("I came, I saw, I conquered").

Thence, in 46 BC, he proceeded to Africa to deal with the remnants of Pompey's Senatorial supporters under Cato the Younger. He quickly gained a significant victory at Thapsus over the forces of Metellus Scipio, who was killed in battle, and Cato. After Cato saw that his forces were defeated by Caesar, in traditional Roman fashion, he fell on his sword and committed suicide.

Despite this great loss for the Senatorial faction, Pompey's sons Gnaeus Pompeius and Sextus Pompeius, together with Titus Labienus, Caesar's former propraetorian legate (legatus propraetore) and second in command in the Gallic War, escaped to Spain, where they continued to resist Caesar's dominance of the Roman world. Caesar arrived in Spain in late November or early December of 46 BC, with eight legions and 8,000 cavalry of his own. Caesar's arrival was completely unexpected by the enemy, and the surprise gave him an early advantage.

In March of 45 BC, the two armies faced off in the Battle of Munda with Gnaeus Pompey holding the high ground. Caesar was forced to march uphill against the strong enemy position, but he was never one to shirk from a chance at open battle. As his army marched to meet Pompey, and the battle was joined, it soon became clear that this would be among the most ferociously fought battles of Caesar's career. The exhausting battle was taking its toll and both commanders left their strategic overview positions to join their men in the ranks. Caesar himself later told friends that he had fought many times for victory, but Munda was the first time he had fought for his life. Finally after an epic struggle, Caesar's Tenth Legion, under his nephew Octavian, began to make the difference.

Positioned on Caesar's right wing, the Tenth started to push back Gnaeus Pompey's wing. Labienus, in command of Pompey's cavalry, recognized the threat and broke off from the main battle with his cavalry to secure the camp, but this seemed to have dire consequences. Pompey's men seemed to have viewed this as a general retreat by the one man who knew Caesar so well, and panic was the result. Caesar's army overwhelmed the retreating enemy and was merciless in its zeal to end the war. Up to 30,000 men were slaughtered in the carnage, including Labienus, but Gnaeus Pompey managed to escape. Still, it would turn out to be the final major battle and victory of Caesar's career, and one that effectively ended land-based resistance.

After the Civil War
Over the next few months, Caesar mopped up in Hispania and brutally punished the people for their disloyalty. Gnaeus Pompey was later killed and his brother Sextus who garrisoned Corduba managed to flee Spain entirely. Caesar was joined by his nephew Octavian just prior to the battle of Munda, and the young man secured himself as Caesar's heir during the campaign in Spain. He certainly learned a great deal about provincial administration from his now all-powerful uncle. It was after the battle of Munda that Caesar stopped referring to Octavian as his nephew and called him his son.

Caesar returned to Italy in September, 45 BC, and among his first tasks was to file his will, naming Octavian as his sole heir. While away, the Senate had already begun bestowing honors on Caesar. Even though Caesar had not proscribed his enemies, instead pardoning nearly every one of them, there seemed to be little open resistance to Caesar, at least publicly.

Great games and celebrations were to be held on April 21 to honor Caesar's great victory. Along with the games, Caesar was honored with the right to wear triumphal clothing, including a purple robe (reminiscent of the kings of Rome) and laurel crown, on all public occasions. A large estate was being built at Rome's expense, and on state property, for Caesar's exclusive use. The title of Imperator also became a legal title that he could use in his name for the rest of his life.

A statue of Caesar was placed in the temple of Quirinus with the inscription To the Invincible God. Since Quirinus was the deified likeness of the city and its founder and first king, Romulus, this act identified Caesar not only on equal terms with the gods, but with the ancient kings as well. In yet more scandalous behavior, Caesar had coins minted bearing his likeness. This was the first time in Roman history that a living Roman was featured on a coin, clearly placing him above the Roman state, and tradition.

When Caesar actually returned to Rome in October of 45 BC, he gave up his fourth consulship (which he had held without colleague) and placed Quintus Fabius Maximus and Gaius Trebonius as suffect consuls in his stead. He celebrated a fifth triumph, this time to honor his victory in Spain. The Senate continued to encourage more honors. A temple to Libertas was to be built in his honor, and he was granted the title Liberator. They elected him consul for life, and allowed him to hold any office he wanted, including those generally reserved for plebeians, like the tribunate. He also was given the power to appoint magistrates to all provincial duties, a process previously done by drawing of lots or through the approval of the Senate. The month of his birth, Quintilis, was renamed July (Latin Julius) in his honor and his birthday, July 13, was recognized as a national holiday. Even a tribe of the people's assembly was to be named for him. A temple and priesthood, the Flamen maior, was established and dedicated in honor of his family.

Caesar, however, did have a reform agenda and took on various social ills. He passed a law that prohibited citizens between the ages of 20 and 40 from leaving Italy for more than three years unless on military assignment. This theoretically would help preserve the continued operation of local farms and businesses and prevent corruption abroad. If a member of the social elite did harm or killed a member of the lower class, then all the wealth of the perpetrator was to be confiscated. A general cancellation of one-fourth of all debt also greatly relieved the public and helped to endear him even further to the common population.

Caesar tightly regulated the purchase of state-subsidized grain and forbade those who could afford privately supplied grain from purchasing from the grain dole. He made plans for the distribution of land to his veterans and for the establishment of veteran colonies throughout the Roman world. Caesar ordered a complete overhaul of the Roman calendar in 46 BC, establishing a 365-day year with a leap year every fourth year (this Julian Calendar was subsequently modified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 into the modern calendar). As a result of this reform, the year 46 BC was in fact 445 days long to bring the calendar into line.

Plutarch records that at one point, Caesar informed the Senate that he felt his honours were more in need of reduction than augmentation, but withdrew this position so as not to appear ungrateful. He was given the title Pater Patriae ("Father of the Fatherland"). He was appointed dictator a third time, and then nominated for nine consecutive one-year terms as dictator, effectively making him dictator for ten years. He was also given censorial authority as prefect of morals (praefectus morum) for three years.

At the onset of 44 BC, the honors bestowed upon Caesar continued and the subsequent rift between him and the aristocrats deepened. He had been named Dictator Perpetuus, making him dictator for the remainder of his life. This title even began to show up on coinage bearing Caesar's likeness, placing him above all others in Rome. Some among the population even began to refer to him as Rex (Latin for king), but Caesar refused to accept the title. But the seeds of conspiracy were beginning to grow within the Senate.

The fear of Caesar becoming king continued when someone placed a diadem on the statue of Caesar on the Rostra. Not long after the incident with the diadem, two tribunes had citizens arrested after they called out the title Rex to Caesar as he passed by on the streets of Rome. Caesar acted harshly. He ordered those arrested to be released, and instead took the tribunes before the Senate and had them stripped of their positions.

At the coming festival of the Lupercalia, the biggest test of the Roman people for their willingness to accept Caesar as king was to take place. On February 15, 44 BC, Caesar sat upon his gilded chair on the Rostra and watched the race. When Mark Antony ran into the Forum and was raised to the Rostra by the priests attending the event, Antony produced a diadem and attempted to place it on Caesar's head, saying "the people offer this the title of king to you through me." Caesar quickly refused being sure that the diadem did not touch his head. The crowd roared with approval, but Antony, undeterred, attempted to place it on Caesar's head again. Still there was no voice of support from the crowd, and Caesar rose from his chair and refused Antony again, saying, "I will not be king of Rome!" The crowd wildly endorsed Caesar's actions.

Caesar planned to leave in April of 44 BC for campaigns in Parthia, and a secret opposition that was steadily building had to act fast. Made up mostly of men that Caesar had pardoned already, they knew their only chance to rid Rome of Caesar was to prevent him ever leaving for Parthia.

Caesar summoned the Senate to meet in the Theatrum Pompeium (built by Pompey) on the Ides of March (March 15) 44 BC. A few days before, a soothsayer had said to Caesar, "Beware the Ides of March." As the Senate convened, Caesar was attacked and stabbed to death by a group of Senators who called themselves the Liberators (Liberatores); the Liberators justified their action on the grounds that they committed tyrannicide, not murder, and were preserving the Republic from Caesar's alleged monarchical ambitions. Among the assassins who locked themselves in the Temple of Jupiter were Gaius Trebonius, Decimus Junius Brutus, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Caesar had personally pardoned most of his murderers or personally advanced their careers. Caesar sustained twenty-three (as many as thrity-five by some accounts) stab wounds, which ranged from superficial to mortal, and ironically fell at the feet of a statue of his best friend and greatest rival, Pompey the Great. Pompey had recently been deified by the Senate, some accounts report that Caesar prayed to Pompey as he lay dying. In antiquity, however, his last words were generally thought to be those reported by Suetonius (Jul. 82.2) as: ?a? s? t?????? (Greek, "You too, (my) son?"). Shakespeare's Et tu, Brute? (Latin, "And (even) you, Brutus?") – in the play, Julius Caesar, are without ancient authority.

Caesar's death also marked, ironically, the end of the Roman Republic, for which the assassins had struck him down. The Roman middle and lower classes, with whom Caesar was immensely popular, and had been since Gaul and before, were enraged that a small group of high-browed aristocrats had killed their champion. Antony, who had been as of late drifting from Caesar, capitalized on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to unleash them on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking control of Rome himself.

But Caesar named his grand-nephew Gaius Octavius (Octavian) sole heir of his vast fortune, giving Octavius both the immensely powerful Caesar name and control of one of the largest amounts of money in the Republic. In addition, Gaius Octavius was also, for all intents and purposes, the son of the great Caesar, and consequently the loyalty of the Roman populace shifted from the dead Caesar to the living Octavius. Octavius, only aged nineteen at the time of Caesar's death, proved to be ruthless and lethal, and while Antony dealt with Decius Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavius consolidated his position. A new triumvirate was found — the Second and final one — with Octavian, Antony, and Caesar's loyal cavalry commander Lepidus as the third member. This triumvirate deified Caesar as Divus Julius and – seeing that Caesar's clemency had resulted in his murder – brought back the horror of proscription, abandoned since Sulla, and proscribed its enemies in large numbers in order to seize even more funds for the second civil war against Brutus and Cassius, whom Antony and Octavian defeated at Philippi.

A third civil war then broke out between Octavian on one hand and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. This final civil war, culminating in Antony and Cleopatra's defeat at Actium, resulted in the ascendancy of Octavian, who became the first Roman Emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus. In 42 BC, Julius Caesar was formally deified as "the Divine Julius" (Divus Iulius), and Caesar Augustus henceforth became Divi filius ("Son of a God").

Male lovers

Cicero says that "the virginity of this son of Venus was lost in Bithynia" with King Nicomedes. Licinius Calvus was quoted as "whate’er Bithynia had, and Caesar’s paramour (predicator, active partner in anal sex)". Dollabella said that Caesar is "the queen’s rival, the inner partner of the royal couch" and Curio called him "the brothel of Nicomedes and the stew of Bithynia". Bibulus named Caesar the "queen of Bithynia" saying that "of yore he was enamoured of a king, but now of a king’s estate". Gaius Memmius made analogy to Ganymede by stating that Caesar was the "cupbearer to Nicomedes with the rest of his wantons". It was said that soldiers sang mockingly that "Caesar conquered the Gauls, but Nicomedes conquered Caesar".
In ancient Rome male homosexuality was common and widespread throughout society, but it was thought to be improper for a freeborn boy or man to be penetrated anally as Caesar was in his youth. For a man or boy to participate in the passive role during anal sex it generally indicated that they were a slave or one that had earned his freedom. Under Roman law emancipated slaves may still be required to render certain services, including sexual ones, to their former master. [1]

Mark Antony charged that Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus had earned his adoption by Caesar through sexual favors. Suetonius while saying that Caesar's affair with Nicomedes is true described Antony's accusation of an affair with Octavian as political slander. The boy would become the first Roman Emperor following Caesar's death. [2]

First marriage to Cornelia Cinnilla
Second marriage to Pompeia Sulla
Third marriage to Calpurnia Pisonis
Julia Caesaris with Cornelia Cinnilla
Ptolemy XV Caesar (Caesarion) with Cleopatra VII, he would become an Egyptian pharaoh

a grandson from Julia Caesaris and Pompey, dead at several days, unnamed
July 13, 100 BC – Birth in Rome; Alternatively, July 12, 102 BC
84 BC – First marriage to Cornelia Cinnilla
82 BC – Escapes the Sullan persecutions
81/79 BC – Military service in Asia and Cilicia; tryst with Nicomedes of Bithynia
70s – Career as an advocate
69 BC – Death of Cornelia, Quaestor in Hispania Ulterior
65 BC – Curule aedile
63 BC – Second marriage to Pompeia Sulla,
December, Divorces Pompeia
Elected pontifex maximus and praetor urbanus
the Catilinarian conspiracy
61 BC – Serves of Propraetor in Hispania Ulterior
59 BC – First consulship with Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, beginning of the First Triumvirate
Third marriage to Calpurnia Pisonis
58 BC/53 BC – First term as Proconsul of Gaul
54 BC – Death of Julia
53 BC – Death of Crassus: end of the First Triumvirate
53 BC/48 BC — Second term as Proconsul of Gaul
52 BC – Battle of Alesia
49 BC – Crossing of the Rubicon, the civil war starts
48 BC – Defeats Pompey in Greece at Battle of Pharsalus, made dictator (serves for 11 days)
Second consulship with Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus
47 BC – Campaign in Egypt; meets Cleopatra VII
46 BC – Defeats Cato and Metellus Scipio in northern Africa, third consulship with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
Second dictatorship
Introduces the Julian Calendar and adoptes Octavian as heir
45 BC – Defeats the last opposition in Hispania
Returns to Rome; fourth consulship (without colleague)
Named Pater Patriae by the Senate and third dictatorship
44 BC –
Fifth consulship with Marc Antony
Appointed perpetual dictator
February, Refuses the diadem offered by Antony
March 15, Assassinated
42 BC Formally deified as "the Divine Julius" (Divus Julius),



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