Julius Ceasar Julius Ceasar Julius Caesar was said to be the greatest man in the Roman world. Some historians, and among them those of international authority, have made greater claims for him. He was the greatest of the Roman would but of antiquity. Looking through the onlg list of rulers, kings and emperors and the rest, they have failed to find an wuqual of this man who refused the style of king but those name Ceasar has become the commanding majesty and power. Great as a general, great as a politican.Born in 102 B.
C., or it may have been tow or three years later, Gaius Julius Caesar, to give him his full name, was of the most ancient and aristocratic lineage. Although he himself, rationalist as he was, must have smiled sometimes at the conceit, there were some who said that he was not only of royal but divine descent, since Venus, the goddess of Love, and married a Trojan prince and so become the mother of the legendary founder of the Julian house. All the same, circumstances and perhaps personal inclinations attached him to the comparatively democratic party. His aunt had married as a youth of seventeen to the daughter of Cinna, another leader of the fraction tht was opposed to the aristocratic party under Sulla, Marius, great rival. A year or two later, when Sulla had become supreme in the state, the young man was ordered to put away his wife. He refused, and his life was saved only through the intercession of powerful friends in Rome.
But though he had been reprieved, Ceasar was far from safe, and for a time he skulled in the mountains until he managed to get acrss the sea to Asia Minor, where he served in the Roman army that was campaigning against Mithridates, the king of Pontus. At the seige of Mitylene in 80 B.C. he first distinguished himself as a soldier when he saved the life of a hard-pressed cmrade.
On the death of he kept himself at the bar. His politics and made a career for himself at the bar.His political learning were showwn clearly enought, however, when he ventured to act as prosecutor of one of Sullas principal lieutnants, who was charged with gross extortion and crueltu when he was governor of the Macedonian province. To improve himself in rhetoric, Casear went to Rhodes to take a course of lessons under a celebrated master of that art, and it was probably at about this time that he had his famous encouter with Mediterranean pirates.
These rufians captured the ship in which he was a passenger, and put his ransom. While his messenger was away collecting the money, Caesar made himself quite at home with his captors. He told them amusing stories, joked with them, joined in their exercises, and, always in the highest good humor, told laughed and joined in the fun.But Caesar was as good as his word.
As soon as his ransom had been paid some over and he regained his liberty, he went to Miletus, hired some warships, and made straight back to the pirates, and ordered them to be crucified as he had assured them that he would. He also got back the money that had benn paid as his ransom. Still on the fringe of the political arena, Caesar spent the next few years as a gay young man about town. His family wasnt rich, but there were plenty of moneylenders who were glad to accommodate him. He spent money like water, on expensive pleasures women particularly, since he was as facinating to them as they were to him and on building up a body of popular support for the time when he might need it.
Then in 68 B.C. he got his first official appointment under Government, as a quaestor, which secured him a seat in the Senate, and in 63 B.C. he appointed Pontifex maximus, a position of great dignity and importance in the religion establishment of the Roman State. He was onthe way up, and his rise was furthered by successful administration of a province in Spain. So capable did he prove that in 60 B.C.
he was chosen by Rome, to form with him and crassus what is called the 1st Triumvirate.To strengthen the union between himself and Pompey, Caesar gave Pompey his daughter Julia in marriage. Then after a year as Consul, Caesar applied for, and was granted, the proconculship of Gual and Illyricum, the Roman dominion that extended from what is now the south of France to the Adriatic. His enemies and he had plenty were glad to see him leave Rome, and they no dought thought that Gual would prove the grave of his reputation. After all, he had up to now shown no special military gifts. But Casear knew what he was doing.
He realized that the path to power in the Roman State lay through military victory, and he believed, as firmly as he believed in anything, in his star. In a series of campaigns he extended Roman dominion to the Atlantic and what a thousand years later was to be known as the English Channel. Years after year his dispatched to the Government in Rome told ever large conquests, of ever greater victories. Sometimes he suffered a reverse, but not often and when he did he was relentless in his determination to win the last and decisive battle.
His soldiers idolized him even while they feared him.He demanded but he showed them how to do it. He was not behind the lined general, ordering his men into the breach while he looked on from a distance. He was always up there, in the front line or very near it.
He would march beside his legionaries on foot, and out-tire the best of them. He set the pace for his cavalry.He would seize a spade and give a hand in digging in. He ate the same food as his men were out in the cold and wet.
He was never a specially strong man, physically he seems been subject to epileptic seizures but when campaigning he seemed as hard as nails. And of course he was brave. Many and many time when his men were hard-pressed by the hosts of Gauls they were vastly cheered by the sights of their general hurrying up to their assistance, branshing his weapns and shouting words …