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Gaius Julius Caesar

Who was Gaius Julius Caesar? Short biograhpy. Gaius Julius Caesar history, pictures and videos. Gaius Julius Caesar facts, birthday and Life Story…

Caesar, Gaius Julius (100-44 BC) – Roman dictator, general, statesman, writer, lawyer, orator, founder of the Roman Empire

That Julius Caesar was the greatest man of the ancient world few historians would deny. Many of them, moreover, rate him as the greatest man of action of all time. And when you look at his career and the magnitude of his achievements, it is not hard to see how this extraordinary man has become perhaps the best known man in history. The combination of his talents stands unparalleled : command in battle, statesmanship, oratory, writing, the law, government, friendship with his fellow men, conversation, appreciation of art, he excelled in every one. He was witty, handsome, kind, and forgiving. He had immense will power, great personal courage, and a total absence of hatred or rancour of any kind.

Caesar gave the Roman republic a system of imperial government, though it was his great nephew and adopted son, Octavian, who became its first emperor. All succeeding emperors of Rome were called Caesar. Several later empires in other parts of the world were also to call their rulers by names derived from the name Caesar, like the Czars of Russia, the Kaiser of Germany, and the Shahs of Persia. Caesar entered politics when Rome was a Mediterranean empire; by his conquest and absorption of France, Belgium and parts of Spain (Gaul and Hispania) he made it a European empire and so laid the foundations of the Western Europe we know to-day.

He was worshipped as a god in his own lifetime and when he was brutally murdered Romans believed he ascended into the heavens.

The first forty years in Caesar’s life were sad times for Rome. The republican system was breaking up. Ambitious generals could threaten the city with armies and create governments of their own. Corruption and bribery were the order of the day. Caesar had not achieved much as yet, other than a magistracy or two and a command in Spain, where he demonstrated his coolness in battle, his bold leadership and his readiness to endure all the hardships he expected his men to put up with. But he learned a great deal, and he had enough experience in the Roman law courts to become the second greatest orator in the city (Cicero, p. 38, was the greatest), while among the political clubs he showed himself the most brilliantly clever manager of them all.

In 60 BC Caesar decided to make a bid for real power. The two leading men in the state, Pompey (p. 34) and Crassus (p. 34) were at daggers drawn. Caesar befriended them both, made them come to terms and offered to manage them as a pair as head of the government, with him as a third member of the team. Then he won an election as consul largely by his unique political skill in managing elections but also by holding the most magnificent entertainments electors had ever seen. At the end of his term of office, which had been filled with practical and necessary reforms, he was appointed to command the Roman armies in Gaul, for five years.

For two terms of office he led his men through this hitherto wild and unknown land, conquered it, invaded Britain and Germany, and brought most of the tribes under the dominion of Rome. They resisted bitterly at first, but once they were thoroughly beaten, they welcomed Roman civilization. During this time Caesar wrote a history of his campaign, and this has since been regarded as one of the best historical works to have been written by a Roman.

He came home to the Italian border to receive honour and reward for himself and his tough and loyal army, or so he thought. But instead, he was told he must disband his troops and give himself up for trial for the beneficial acts he passed when he was consul ten years before. He refused, and his troops backed him. Civil war followed, in which in a series of masterly campaigns which were not without moment of personal danger to him he crushed the opposition. He pardoned the survivors every time, probably without realizing that in so doing he was building up resentment against him. By 45 BC he was master of the Roman Empire.

Among his more constructive reforms which followed were the re-shaping of the calendar, the organization of local government, the founding of colonies, the beginning of the codification of Roman law, and the enlarging of the governing Senate so that it contained members of the provinces which had been conquered. In 44 he planned to take a huge army to Parthia in the East to deal with that continual border menace, but before he could leave he was struck down in the theatre of Pompey, on the Ides of March (15th) by the daggers of several jealous and greedy senators many of whom, ironically, owed everything, even their lives, to him. More than anyone he shaped the Europe we know today.

Caesar had felt that the one hope for the Roman state was a successive monarchy. But this meant in effect restoring the kingship, something Romans had, for centuries, been brought up to abominate. When some of them thought about it more deeply, they came to the conclusion that whatever good Caesar was to the state, as king he just was not acceptable. So they plotted to murder him. As an historian, he has never been surpassed for his simplicity, directness, and dignity.

Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar

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