A History and Political Career of Julius Caesar: Defining Periods of Caesar's Life

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Julius Caesar is one of the most celebrated individuals of the Roman era, embodying the valued ideals and principles of that time, his story is an intriguing one. A man that rose from the ranks and became one of Rome’s most famed individual, the efforts expended to elevate Caesar are nothing short of pure unbridled determination. While his life was full of historic moments, the question remains what were some of the defining periods of Caesars life? It is important to look objectively at select periods, isolating those which had the greatest impact on Caesar’s life. It began with his elevated status in the senate following a lengthy internal spat, this is what truly began Caesars climb. His Achievements in conquering leading to fear from the senate and the ensuing civil war, and finally the eventual transition of Rome into a dictatorship, introducing himself as a lifelong ruler. It was a combination of these three defining periods that allowed Caesar to stand out and be remembered.

Several of Caesars defining periods consist of his rise in the senate, the civil war, and Rome’s transformation into a dictatorship. Caesars time within the senate allowed him to further his own political career with his conquest of Gaul being one of his most crowning achievements. Originally the Triumvirate pact established Caesar as a mainstay within the senate attempting to push his at the time allies’ agendas through the senate. Caesars unusual term as consort of Rome lead to a few dead ends with the eventual departure of Caesar for his governorship of northern Italy due to pressure from the senate “When at the close of his consulship the praetors Gaius Memmius and Lucius Domitius moved an inquiry into his conduct during the previous year, Caesar laid the matter before the senate; and when they failed to take it up, and three days had been wasted in fruitless wrangling, went off to his province.”

Furthermore, with Caesar deep in debt and no money to be earned from his political power he turned his attention to the unconquered neighbouring territories and set himself about his conquest of Gaul, bringing about the Gallic war. Caesar soon found himself in battle after battle heading further north facing cementing himself there for the winter and proclaiming that he intended to conquer those surrounding him “…his success at once drew him into struggles between people father north. Another battle enabled him to break the control which the Germanic Suebi had been exerting within Gaul, and to drive them back across the Rhine River. Page 242 The Romans: From Village to Empire”

Given more time Caesar pressed his conquest to the far reaches of England but found stern resistance, wherein he resumed his conquest of Gaul finally exerting total control in 51 BC “Ancient estimates that one million Gaul’s were killed in the course of Caesar’s campaigns, and another million enslaved are credible. 242”. With Caesar victorious he set about returning to Rome where his old allies had heard of his triumphs, scared that their own political positions were endangered they set about sabotaging Caesars in attempts to keep him from power. To conclude Caesar’s reign as consort of Rome while initially had a solid foundation ended with Caesar having to retire to his given estates, but with his desire for more power he turned himself towards Gaul and managed a momentous accomplishment with the victorious conquest, this in turn caused his previous allies to turn against him leading into what would be a civil war.

The senate’s denial of Caesar would open a new chapter in his life where-in his enemies were fellow Romans. While Caesar knew that in order to rise within Rome having allies within the senate were invaluable, the betrayal of those individuals set out a defining moment for both Caesar and Rome. Quarrels within and outside but corresponding to the senate were more than common in the Roman era, such is an example of Caesars attempted return to Rome only to discover his allies in the senate had forgone their pact and pursued their own selfish political goals, in attempting to undermine the great achievements of Caesar by denying him any real power within Rome, the individuals in question were Claudius Marcellus, and Gnaeus Pompey: Claudius Marcellus, the consul. Declaring first by proclamation, that he intended to propose a measure of the utmost importance to the state, made a motion in the senate that some person should be appointed to succeed Caesar in his province, before the term of his command was expired; because the war being brought to a conclusion, peace was restored, and the victorious army ought to be disbanded. He further moved, that Caesar being absent, his claims to be a candidate at the next election of consuls should not be admitted, as Pompey himself had afterwards abrogated that privilege by decree of the people.

Despite the senate’s betrayal Caesar had yet to fully concede to his fellow Romans, believing in the capability of his men, Caesar offered a compromise in hopes that they might avoid civil war: At the same time, he made his adversaries an offer to disband eight of his legions and give up Transalpine-Gaul, upon condition that he might retain two legions, with the Cisalpine province or but one legion with Illyricum, until he should be elected consul. But as the senate declined to interpose in the buisness, and his enemies declared that they would enter into no compromise where the safety of the republic was at stake…

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Attempting to completely block Caesar out the senate denied any room for compromise, and thus as a direct result had undoubtedly started down the path of civil war. Additionally, the actions taken by Pompey and Marcellus set in motion a period that would scar the Roman people leaving Caesar no choice but to engage in civil war. Very much so for Caesar it was akin to do or die, he had laboured hard to accomplish what he had, thus leaving him no choice but to confront the senate by crossing the Rubicon river which is historically seen as Caesars official declaration of war “We may still retreat; but if we pass this little bridge, nothing is left for us but to fight it out in arms.”

This marked the beginning of a period of temporary suffering for Rome. To conclude, due to Caesar’s allies in the senate turning against him and attempting to deny him office after his great achievements, he was forced to cross the Rubicon river, and openly engage in civil war in order to defend his honour. The following civil war would route the old foundations of the senate and establish a new one with a defining step towards dictatorship. The senate had denied Caesar allowing themselves to fall into open civil war.

With the Crossing of the Rubicon the senate realized their folly abandoning Rome to spirit away and secure their safety, leaving Rome to suffer, and Caesar in pursuit. With the senate gone form Rome Caesar left a close ally to remedy the current troubles, while Caesar pursued his enemy and was finally given his chance when Pompey, under pressure to meet Caesar in open battle entered an engagement and while Caesar was massively outnumbered he managed to succeed with superior strategies and war-hardened men “Caesar gave the signal for his third line to advance and renew forward momentum in the fighting line. The pressure on the enemy was too much. At first the Pompeians went back slowly but more and more units began to dissolve into rout.”

With Caesar’s victory Pompey had fled across the oceans to gather more support. Furthermore, in the following months Caesar finally rid himself of the looming disease known as Pompey, finally falling after seeking aid from Egypt, though the means were anti-climactic.

Caesar was now free to return to Rome and secure his place among his people, through glorious celebration. “When he finally returned to Rome in late July, basking in the glory of his victory in the civil war, he put on in September of that year a series of public celebrations that in some cases matched, and in others surpassed, the kinds of celebrations that others held before him. Page 48 Ceremony and Power”. Initially Caesars rule was a just one, but it was not to last after the rush of power essentially corrupted Caesar, there were those in the Senate that still opposed him, and in his lust for power his life was taken from him by those he once placed trust in, marking an end to the famed Roman ”

On 15 February Caesar’s dictatorship and other powers were extended for life. A month later he was stabbed to death by a group of senators that included men who had served him for years, as well as pardoned Pompeians.”

The conflict between Pompey and Caesar was only hastened by the senates over confidence in their numbers, which ultimately led to their downfall, allowing Caesar to rout their army and pursue them further, upon his victory in the civil war Caesar returned to Rome and solidified his place among his people with celebrations that would boost his public image. Not long after Caesar put himself into power and in 44 BC that power had corrupted him, making himself a lifelong dictator he was shortly stabbed to death by men who once served him ending the beloved emperors’ life.

To conclude Caesars initial political career within the senate, forged through the triumvirate pact lasted but a year full of controversy, and upon its completion caused Caesar to retreat to his estate in northern Italy where it was believed he would remain for some time. Not content Caesar went about conquering Gaul and with its completion his prior allies turned against him attempting to bar him from any form of political power. With the crossing of the Rubicon Caesar quite literally walked into open rebellion in which he would pursue the fleeing senate firmly dispatching of them due to their hubris and returning to Rome.

Upon his return he firmly established his image, providing the citizens of Rome with celebrations like those of previous rulers, but his rule was not long lived, as it can be said that in his short time as self-appointed dictator he had gone mad with power appointing himself as a lifelong dictator in 44 BC only for his life to end the following month in which he was stabbed to death by members of the senate including those he once trusted.

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A History and Political Career of Julius Caesar: Defining Periods of Caesar’s Life. (2021, January 12). WritingBros. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-history-and-political-career-of-julius-caesar-defining-periods-of-caesars-life/
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A History and Political Career of Julius Caesar: Defining Periods of Caesar’s Life [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Jan 12 [cited 2024 May 23]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-history-and-political-career-of-julius-caesar-defining-periods-of-caesars-life/
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