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Roman Dictator - Julius Caesar

Updated on December 7, 2016

Caesar was the cognomen (an ancient Roman's personal name or epithet, as in Marcus Tullius CICERO, Publius Cornelius Scipio AFRICANUS) of the Roman dictator Gaius Julius CAESAR. Such was his influence and reputation that thereafter it was used as a title for Roman emperors from Augustus to Hadrian. Centuries later the names Czar and Kaiser of Russia and Germany were derivatives of the name Caesar.

Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar
Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar

Conn Iggulden has crafted a sensational story weaved through a framework of fact in describing Caesar's career in Spain, his election to Consul, the expansion into Gaul and the invasion of Briton. Fantastic reading that had me fully immersed in the first century BC. If you enjoyed the HBO series Rome, and enjoy a good read, you will love this novel.

Roman General, Statesman and Patrician

Born an aristocrat, Caesar began his rise to power in 78 BC. The Roman leader is regarded as one of history's greatest military commanders.

His career got off to a strong start when he became quaestor in Spain in 68.

Caesar allied himself with the popular party, and when elected to the office of aedile 65, he nearly ruined himself with lavish amusements for the Roman populace. Although a free thinker, he was elected chief pontiff in 63 BC and appointed governor of Spain in 61 BC.

Returning to Rome in 60 BC he formed an alliance with Pompey, the commander-in-chief of the army, and Crassus, the richest man in Rome, as the First Triumvirate. Which was a joint dictatorship.

In 58 BC, Caesar was appointed military commander in Gaul, where his victories in the Gallic Wars (58 - 49 BC) established his military reputation.

As governor of Gaul, he was engaged in its subjugation 58-50, defeating the Germans under Ariovistus and selling thousands of the Belgic tribes into slavery.

In 55 he crossed into Britain, returning for a further campaigning visit 54. A revolt by the Gauls under Vercingetorix 52 was crushed in 51.

His governorship of Gaul ended in 49 and after the death of Crassus, Pompey became his rival.

Caesar's success alarmed both Pompey and the Roman Senate; in 49 BC, the Senate called on him to disband his army or be declared an enemy of the people.

In defiance Caesar and declaring "the die is cast", then led his army across the Rubicon and advanced into Italy to meet the army raised against him by Pompey. Pompey fled and Caesar pursued him to Greece - defeating him at Pharsalus in 48 BC - and then to Egypt, where Pompey was assassinated, thus becoming dictator. Caesar preserved power by cultivating the support of the plebians and the army, and by initiating a great programme of public works.

After successful campaigns in Egypt, Syria and Africa, Caesar returned to Rome in triumph.

In 46 BC he was awarded a ten-year dictatorship, and with his final victory over the sons of Pompey at Munda in Spain in 45 he was awarded dictatorship for life in 44 BC. His pretensions aroused resentment among many politicians, and in the same year he was assassinated on the Ides of March (15 March) by a group of conspirators led by Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus. Stabbed to death by conspirators at the foot of Pompey's statue in the Senate house.

Accomplishments

  • Caesar reformed the Roman calendar.
  • Improved the empire's administration
  • Instituted Roman citizenship for communities outside Italy.
  • Wrote detailed accounts of the civil war and his Gallic campaigns.
  • Reduced debt and changed taxes.
  • Built the Forum Iulium
  • He met the common peoples needs which strengthened his control of the state.

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    • caesar 56 profile image

      caesar 56 8 years ago from US

      Nice clean article on "the man." Love the painting of Vercingetorix...

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting indeed. I once stood in the Roman Forum on the place where, according to legend, Caesar was stabbed. Or so the guidebook said, at least! Not sure how they can really know after all this time.

      Thanks for the read.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • heyju profile image

      heyju 7 years ago

      Wonderfully entertaining, makes me want to learn much more about the ancient Romans. Thank you.

    • profile image

      oldenuf2nobetter 7 years ago

      Caeser is one of the most influential individuals in history for better and for worse.

    • profile image

      Zaibachthemind 7 years ago

      I think its funny that the name Julius Caesar is still used today in spanish and italian communities.

      The name Caesar, survived over 1,900 years after his death, as the highest rank of office in both Germany and Russia. That says something about the power that Caesar had wielded in life, and even after death.

      One of the most important men in history.

      Excellently written.

    • profile image

      ordocaelum 6 years ago

      good enough i'd say,although one this is wrong with this article. GJC never said "The die is cast." that's hollywood.

      What he really said was and the true translation is " Let the dice fly." as his final message to Pompey. before crossing the Rubicon.

    • darkside profile image
      Author

      Glen 6 years ago from Australia

      "Historians differ as to what Caesar said upon crossing the Rubicon; the two competing lines are "The die is cast" and "Let the dice fly high!" (a line from the New Comedy poet Menander), the former in Latin (Alea iacta est) and the latter in Greek. This minor controversy is occasionally seen in modern, contemporary literature when an author wishes to underscore his or her superior knowledge by attributing the less popular Menander line to Caesar."

    • AJHargrove profile image

      AJHargrove 6 years ago from USA

      I agree that the painting is great. Vercingetorix is a pretty interesting study himself.

    • profile image

      lozzoms 6 years ago

      Enjoyed the read, also, nice choice of artwork, very nice picture. I'm very interested in roman history myself, and was nice to read someone elses work on the period, and the people of the time.

    • furnitureman profile image

      furnitureman 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Very nice. It's worth reading. thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      rhinestone4 5 years ago

      i like this a lot

    • ata1515 profile image

      ata1515 4 years ago from Buffalo, New York.

      Great overview of the political life of Caesar. Voted up!

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