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in rhe 'Pompeian cause': many of rhe leading senarors on Pompey's

side were narrow-minded bigots, men deep in debt , who regarded
the republic as their own preserve for rhe pursuance of their ances-
tral ambitions, and men who looked on civil war as providing an
opportunity for personal enrichment as they anticipated rhe spoils
whi ch would fall to them in the aftermath of their victory. From
the republic's point of view, this tragedy was compounded by the
fact that those on Caesar's side were little different.
The war went on in various theatres of the empire until45, bur
the decisive battle was fought at Pharsalus in Greece in 48. Pom-
pey and his followers had quit Italy early in 49, nor so much to
save rhe homeland from rhe ravages of civil war as to establish
their bases within striking distance of rhe wealth and clientage
waiting in Asia Minor; Pompey hoped that this would win the
war for him, as well as stretching Caesar's lines of communication
and supply. Pompey was beaten at Pharsalus; it was said that some
30,000 of his men died there, although the figure is disputed.
Pompey himself escaped ro Egypt, seeking refuge with the son of
Ptolemy Auletes . However, the young Ptolemy and his sister
Cleopatra were more concerned to propitiate the rising than the
setting sun; to this end they had Pompey murdered - an abject
end for a man who, despite a political performance that often
seemed uncongenial and duplicitous, had achieved much for
Rome and her empire.
For Caesar and those who survived, there was little space, or
indeed inclination, for triumphalism; the priorities were now rec-
onciliation and an attempt to reconstruct the shattered republic.
JULIUS CAESAR :_:!/ c;\ ... oA---W

'fbe civil war provided no answer to the republic's problems in _
itself; as we have seen, it split families and friends apart (.R...- _
tried to weigh the rights and wrongs;, the advantages and dis-
advamages of the two side_.s. It was measure of the personal V S -
torment caused by this that when Quintus Cicero sought Caesar's
'pardon' for having joined Pompey's side he roundly blamed his ,__j..p
brother, Marcus, for his 'error' . In contrast, Cicero's friend, Caelius c;;e.::>.S
e.5 Rufw;, ch"'' ,id' !=au" h' <hough< <ha< Cae'"' would ol '"'-';.?
win; Cicero himself, although he had developed an increasing t
personal affection for Caesar in the later 5Os - not least because of
the fact that, on one occasion, Caesar had put himself in danger to
save Cicero's brother, Quintus- eventually joined Pompey out of ( s.
loyalty and because, for him, Pompey's alliance with the senate
seemed to offer hope that it was the 'better side'. HoweYer, Cicero
soon discovered, as Syme observed in Tl n RetJ(}ltttirm r
whllsr ' liberty' and 'there ublic' w din words, in
practice FHere rhe maimenance of
and vested imeres.t.S of the nobilirvl ...
Caesar' s supporters in the civil war were a disparate group: \'J
his army; the urban plebeians; equestrians; patrician families , 11)
long-depressed politically and financially, who saw in Caesar' s
rise an opportunity to better themselves; and senators, pahicu-
larly younger 'l1bers, who felt alienated by rhe behaviour of
,...,,.,c;.\,..,,.s., -Vof
rheir seniors. Some of Caesar's supporters were plain advenrurers,
whjJsc orbers joined him out of a personal attachment; we should
nor lose sight of the fact that although Caesar could be extremely
4 co of opposition there was a
of personal lo):alrv and magnetism in hiro which con-
trasted with the cynical behaviour of many of those involved in
the civil war.
A maJor problem for G.esar, however, was that, whilst such a
disParate, g-roup as his was r:eJatiyeJy easy to hold together during
, I \P the short space of the civil war, t!,le., breadth of its
V mevuably made rh1s much harder Another senous
difficulty for Caesar when he set out for war, even more so as
woJ\ ") upon post-war reconsrrucrioo, was caused by the tacr-
\ ' r at r: e grear ummanes o rhe republic, the noble fami li-es. ha
generall y JOmed Pompey. This inevitably made Caesar stand our
.Jtfi,.,... ,- above hts supporters in a way rhar many came ro see as increas-
.\-1> mgly Caesar himself was sensitive abouc this, as is
tvJc) ,. seen tn his famous response that he was 'nor king, buc Caesar' _
f'l - .,;.)-. A fu rrher difficulty which, affected Caesar was rbat, whilst be

..lr{. won the d:_cisive vi.crory of the civil war_ ar Pbarsalus in 48, manvv
of Pompeys supporters-vowed m connnuetighnng and, under
the command of Pompey's sons, carr1ed the war on unci! 45. Tb
_; rnerefore_, char Caesar was .nor free:from war until so late was
. VLt bound to 3Ifecr his ro the..,whole political landscap! Yet
e_oe p61-h. J,
1I'1ie was to heal che republic he had to be ready co come to terms
( with those defeated enemies who made overtures to him; ir was
cenaioly not Caesa(s inremion to deal with opposiri_on iu. rhe way
rhac had done in 81 and 8(1 By conrrasr, Caesar made a
virrue of che.,connliarory attitude which he displayed to those who
had opposed him by publicising IS dementia 'clemency} This
was not weakness or softness on 's parr, he knew
rhar if he was to succeed in resroring peace and srab:ili ql" bewoyJd
ha ro carry wicb him a goOd proportion ofhis,Clefeated enemies.
.et veo his dementia carrie po mea nsks; not only was there a
anger for Caesar m surrounding himself with new associat,es,
such as Marcus Brutus, whom 1t IDighr UlrJmacely prove rash ro
have trusred, bur also, as Cassius was to observe in a letter ro
Cicero io 4 5. dememia was itself a vmue' associated with
irs application did nor depe.a._d uoon rights and.J aws but on the

arbitrar : was . ranee
c.l u..e.--
be easily and as
aesar knew hat it was not sufficient merely to hope that, after
, c e P.eace would look after itself; it seems rhar he may
have been a man who gave thou nr ee& of overnmenr,
IS did nor _remain simply on rbe tbeorer.ical leveL l,D ,I:'
constderarwn to the methods bv whtch Rome and W
Ital u ould Sit at the centre oLa well-ordered. we -defended and
p_:ospe(ous emptre. e ad already indicatedJ1is inte-rest in sue ..,-.
matters with a on extortion ..passed during his first con-
sulship in, 59 and, more recently, with his relatively liberal treat-
ment of defeated Gauls, leaving them free of the ravages of Roman
tax collectors by introducing the concepts of tax assessment and
local responsibility for collection. He also put before them the _o.,cqo
opportunities inherent in grants of Roman cirizenst!!p. In effecrL 0
this was the pax Romana of Augustus in its infancy. te.
It may also be surmised that Caesar recognised someof the
problems of Rome's domestic politics; in -particular, it must havet
been obvious to him that the republic was becoming increasingly
ungovernable,...as individuals and groups promoted themselves
using the OfJJ20rtunities of wealth and which the
empire had.hrought in its wake. 'The republic', Caesar is
reported to have observed, 'is a mere name, Without form ofSi:ii)._
could, of course, sunply have been the contemptuous
remark that it is often taken to have been, signalling that he felt
free to do whatever he wished; equally, it might have meant that,
,. L :::.
in his view, there was nothing 'sacred' in the way that the gov-
ernment had been carried out in the early days; just as the repub-
!!_c's institutions had evolved to meet changing needs in the past,
they should be able to continue to do in the present and rhe
Caesar may have begun to contemplate bow he could
preserve as much as possible of the republic' s governmental tradi-
t ions, wbifsr providing them with t he means to achieve stabili ty;
in this he was perhaps adumbrating the course of action to be
followed by his adopted son, Augustus . As we have seen, Cicero,
too, had thought along such lines, hoping that the consensus
boncm which he felt that he had established in 63, might be
rer ined on a more permanent footing, and strengthened. His
1,-e,. po...Jr,cOJ'..? -r
A1 .J.>... r ...lAt.> - rA A ')a.e.r- -=-...
' Union of the Orders', under the benevolent guidance of a man of
auctoritaJ, whom he called the moderator, was his preferred solu-
f.C> U alchough the ombreak of the civil war had shown how great
\ were the problems that stood in the way of cbe fulfi lment: of such
hopes. If the civil war had shown anything at all, it was that
of any kind was a singularly inappropriate word to apply
to the Roman republic of the mid-first century. One of Cicero's
difficulties was his tendency- certainly evidenced in his 'crusades'
against Catiline and, later, Antonius - to confuse symptoms and
causes. Because of this, he came to believe that 'solutions' which
derived from specific events might have a more general applica-
tion. Cicero, of course, had until the civil war identified Pompey
with his moderator; there is some evidence to suggest that, by
47-46, he was coming to hope that Caesar might be persuaded to
take this role. Whether Caesar had ever given Cicero any reason
for such hopes is another matter.
Caesar's task was to put me re ublic in order, and heal che
woun s ot recent years; co do this he had to means of
makmg his approaches acceptable. Some might follow Caesar
without question: an example is Gaius Matius who communicated
his feelings to Cicero after Caesar's assassination. However, con-
vincing defeated enemies, and even reluctant friends, was another
'macrer. Many of those who returned to Rome after Pharsalus were
sufficiently eager for peace to contemplate the necessity of tern-
f \ porary supervision of the republic by Caesar, at least until bruised
sensibilities began to heaL Cicero was amongst these, and he
might have gone further had events not demonstrated to him that
Caesar's supervision represented a slippery slope to autocracy.
Although Caesar may have wished to provide a new start for
rhe republic, a phoenix rising from the ashes of civil war, control
and setting himself above potential rivals appear to have been
uppermost in his political thinking: his observation that Sulla
simply demonstrated his political foolishness when he resigned
his dictatorship seems to point to this . Thus, from the start,
Caesar's control was emphasised: the basis of it was che dictator
ship which he held for varying periods from 4 'ch
became 'perpetua ' in 44. It is, however, important to make the
oinr char by this latter move Caesar was not necessarily becom-
ing dictator for ever, bur rather That he holding the office for
inde[inite peri od without the statement of a terminal date when,
in compliance with re.eublican rradicion could be called ro
account for his tenl,!!e- This may represent poor judgement on
Caesar's par(_it also shows his view that the supervision that
the republic required - and .indeed his own need for personal
policical prorecdoo stretched into a longer term furure. The.. oL>
great advantages that the dictatorship held for him were that fY
imperium of the office was 'superior' to that of other magistracies
and. traditions of che office were rooted in nation I
emergencie!:lc&ried immunity from the rribunician veto.
Caesar was also consul in 48 and from 46 to 44; indeed, in 45
he was sole consul, as Pompey had been in 52. What he imende
to convey or achieve by this plurality and iteration of offices
remains unclear: did he intend, by his holding of the consulship,
to bring the appearance of 'republican normality' to his activities
or was he trying to restrict the openings available to other mem-
bers of the nobility? It is said that he even contemplated following
the example of Publius Clodius in seeking a transitio ad plebem so
that he could hold the office of tribunate of the plebeians; there is
little real evidence to support this contention, although in 44 he
was given a special grant of tribunician inviolability (sacrosancti-
tas). Since 63, Caesar had been chief priest cpontifex maximus), the
'chairman' of all of the republic's priesthoods, and in 47 he became
an augur: these offices provided Caesar with a strong control over
the religious activity of the republic, with all the opportunities for
political manoeuvring that attached to the state religion. It is
clear, too, that Caesar enjoyed certain censorial powers- over che

_ . btcol'"t
senate's membership and over the republic's moral and social fab-
these powers and positions. in addi rioo to his mjlitgy
pre-eminence and acrona e meant that he exercised a domi ant

role over rhe.,government of rbe republic.
Does the extent of his powers, however, provide us with an idea
of Caesar's view of the republic or does it simply point to the way
in which he saw his position at the time
How did all of this leave
the traditional organs of the republ ic's The popular
assem ies were on tbe.tr way to becoming cip ers; Caesar's wide-(
spread powers and patronage of equestrians , rban plebeians and l
armies saw to this . The senate, wo, chan_g a its role and appear-
Caesa1 noved from it responsibili for finance and forei$n
....>o.J.& ,. Sk-(
1 -., ..,k,
policy which, in any cru;e, ic bad usurped from rhe people; further,
.( . whilst srocies of Caesar's wish to fill rbe senate with ' rrousered
)" oq-l.- Gauls' were clearly exaggerated, b.i.. view of the senare to some
degree ar lease broke wirb rhe past, erbaps emphasising irs con-
'--- ulracive role. was he trying, as was rhe emperor au us

larer,. the senate more representative o: Jraly. the
\ growmg emp1re rather than of Rome alone? Wh1lsr rh1s JS pos-
q .C'-,~111<and may indeed carry parr of rhe rrurh, we muse remember
"c>- char, like any vicrorious leader, Caesar had supporters who were
c;Y', lookmg for rewardS m terms of starus and whose conrmued loyalry
\Y, ha to be guaranteed. The problem was char, Wit t e senare's
< membe<Sh;p inne.,ed to "'ound 900 - <ruUniy made up w;th,.._.-
oJ) Caesar's supporters - ir was likely, perhaps inevitable, char rhe
vJ\ dicrator should come co treat the body as a mere 'rubber stamp'.
( o\1" \,6 However, :his could be- and was- carried ro disturbing lengrbsl.-"'
_ ).JJ'"' " of an occasion when he found his name added
)tr' co the l.isr of signatories co a senatorial decree, although he had nocL.--
P!O""' even been presenr ar the meeting concerned. te . .!r,

\ ('>- >'' Caesar's arrimde ro rbe magistracies was equally cavaler lu!
c;>_,.,!l0t" did not abolish elections, bur rhe exreor of his patronage ensure.d
)f' !_har they became more of a formaliry. '{be numbers of annual_
magisrrares were increased both to.rewardsupporters and to ensur_
sciRicient supply of men for rhe jobs involved. On some occa-
R, _...{j sions, however (for example, in 47 and 45), regular officers were
\ \VV' ....... elected and administrative affairs were handed temporarily ro
prefects' (pt-aefectr) of Caesar"s choosing. There is no doubt tharall
'p0 of this was seen by many as A serious departure from traditional
arrangements and an elimination of rradirional opportunities (/ib-
ertas). Caesar had long had a tendency co be intolerant of oppos-
ition, regarding ir as unreasona le, ur his rrearmenr o r e
insrrumenrs of government was eighten opposition
rarber t an y lt. c 1s y surpnsing 10 r ese circumstances
that, 10 46, a man as tenacious in his regard for tradition as was
Marcus Caro should prefer suicide ro life in Caesar's republic.
Much that Caesar did or planned was directed. ar least in
Part, cowards achieving a fuirmonJous empire with
/ city worthy of the Attention was given
v/ / ro improving rbe financial and governmemal osition of the
V provinces over the empire as a whole along the lines that he J::ia, ..
adumbrated in Gaul. Colonies of his veterans and of ocher
}rom Rome were planted across the empire to enhance stabiliry
aEd securiqt..- Caesar's own as well as Rome's. Measures
these enhanced trade and, in this way, gave local people the
opporrumry to prosper and thus qualify through wealth for local
administrative office; the treasury in Rome would in its turn benefit
from an improved tax-rake. There was much in this that was taken
on by the emperors who caesar and developed by them.
The question, however, that inevitably arises out of a consider-
of Caesar's short period in power is whether he was aiming ?
at a form of monarchy; Caesar was not unnaturally sensitive to
criticism, and it even been suggested that he consciously
'went over the top' so that he could chen deny strenuously any
idea of monarchic intentions. C(aesar's behaviour appears to some
historians - and was seen by some comempotanes - to have been Q)
becoming more autocratic and arbitrary: his attitude and the J
appearance of his image on the coinage seem to poinr in that @ 3. OU
direction. So, roo, the swearing of an oath of allegiance to him, i
adoption of 'monarchic' dress, and the placing of his statue on the _
'fapn:olium, where he removed rhe inscription commemorating
the rebillldlllg by Quintus Lutarms caCUJus and SUDStltuted fiis - vi
own name. Then, dierewas the outrageous splendourofhis triumphs,
which after all were mostly 'earned' in civil strife not against
foreign enemies.
We should also rake into account his inauguration of a substan-
tial building programme - a public hall adjacent to the Forum(!)
(Basilica Julia), a new public square and 'business park'
lulium) - which was put into action; alongside it were plans
relieve the flooding of the river Tiber, the improvement of road
maintenance, the draining of the Pomptine Marshes and the
reconstruction of Rome's harbour at Ostia. Such projects may have fo
been conceived as a way of elevating Caesar's image, although it
- ' denied rbar all of these were useful and necessary, and cannot oe
" ,.,.,..,... oro.xid,e.d ordinarv oeople with work so that they col!!_d
afford their own food rather than having to rely on state handouts;
it should not be overlooked that the number of those in receiprof
the corn dole was reduced by around one-half. Again, the initi-
ation of a building programme which had more than a single
purpose looks forward to future bearers of the name 'Caesar'. The
A. . _\ .L {}tC..,.
the republic's institutions was sufficient to show that he was a
t is possibl:)bar by 46-45 Caesar was coming to appreciate
thatlle had no real answer to the republic's problems at least,
not one that was broadly acceptable. Matius' letter to\:icero made
the point that 'Caesar could not find a way out', and it has been
suggested that the campaigns on the Danube and in the east
which Caesar was planning at the time of his death convey a sense
- or possibly he hoped that they would give him the
opportunity to enhance his military reputation.
Cato's death was followed by the publication of eulogistic
pamphlets about him; Caesar, rather unwisely, insisted on pro-
ducing his own Anti-Cato, which was counterproductive in that, if
anything, it heightened the perception of antithesis between the
two men, which was evidently still momentous three years later
when the historian Sallust wrote his account of the Catilinarian
conspiracy of 63. The climax of Sallust's work was the debate on
the fate of the conspirators, in which 'pride of place' was given to
the orations of Caesar and Cato. These orations, especially Cato's,
are very clearly products of their times.
Caesar was evidently aware of his growing unpopularity and
sensitive to the campaign of disinformation that was, during 45
and 44, being mounted against him; the purpose of this was
presumably to isolate the dictator and to justify taking action
againsr him. Caesar seemed particularly concerned at rbe growing
disenchamment chac he noticed in Cicero, a man whom, in a
sense, Caesar saw as a kind of 'national barometer': Cicero had
joined Caesar after the civil war because, although he felt that the
republic needed, temporarily at lease, Caesar's kind ot aurhonry,
lie was clear in his mind that after a while Caesar should be able to
resign his overarching powers. This, of course, had not happened
and Cicero himself was deeply dejected- depressed over the 'abo-
lition' of the republic and, in addition, suffering badly after the
loss of his beloved daughter, Tullia; the 'old Caesar', the man of
culture, grace and charm, was now rarely to be seen. It is hardly
"slirpnsmg iliar agamst diis background some started to contem-
plate radical solutions, motivated by a combinauon of concerns
Tor the furure of rbe republic as well as, in some cases, by personal
grievances. At all events, it was becoming increasingly obvi ous

to some that Caesar, the author and beneficiar} uf dominatio, had
....___ - ._.
to go.
---pe'bruary clearly crucial; it was the month in which
Caesar petpetttUJ , and it was also the month in
which Antonius, now consul, orchestrated the incident of the offer
and refU.Sal of rhe golden dnidem. Caesar was due to leave tor &is
eastern campaign on 18 MarCh, having fixed all appointments to
domestic and provincial posts for the next two years, disregarding
any republican formalities over such matters. As if to 'rub salt
in the wound', Caesar effectively left his associates Oppius and
Balbus in charge at Rome; anyone having business with Caesar
during his absence would thus be required to approach him
through two men who were not even senators.
The instigators of the plot to assassinate Caesar were Gaius
Cassius Longinus and his brother-in-law Marcus Junius Brutus;
both had supported Pompey until Pharsalus, but had then offered
their services to Caesar. Cassius appears to have yielded leadership
of the conspiracy to Brutus, a man who had entertained high
hopes of Caesar (he was praetor in 44), but who was perhaps too
deeply influenced by his descenr from the Brutus who, according
to tradition, had founded the republic and by his more immediate
/ family connections with Cato and Bibulus. Of the rwenrv known
names of conspirators, nine had fought with Porn ey, seven with
aesar, w ilst the remaining four had been with Caesar in Gaul.
Tfus mixture of immediate backgrounds reftecrs well the namre of
Caesar's problem of crying to satisfy a variety of interests betwe;;Q'
48 and 44, as well as his failure co find an acceptable solurion. -
-The conspirators seem to have taken the view, rather like the
Athenian ryramucides io rhe late-sixth cenrory BC, thar the dearh
of the tyrant himself would immediately lead ro rhe recovery of
conscirurional imegricy. Indeed, Amonius was co be left alive-an
omission which Cicero later saw ro have been a vi cal error, claim-
ing that the ' banquet of the Ides of March bad been one course
U t (>short'. Further, the libertas for the sake of wb jcb Caesar was
down, whilst of concern ro rnemhep; ofrbe senatorial nobilirv, was
of very little imerest to the mass of the !?ooulation- the people,
the armies, the eguestriaos and even some senarors - who were
coming to feel that sense of dependence on the 'national leader'
(princeps) that was to be a feature of the Augustan principate.
Caesar may not, in his ,,nal moments, have been too surprised to
have been struck down by the assassin's knife, although he was, it
seems, shocked that it was wielded by Brutus. There seems, how-
ever, little to support the contention that Caesar 'walked into'
assassination as a kind of 'consrrucrive ' '
Uh Caesar dead, the republic had no obvious leader, although
Antonius, as consul in 44, was in the best position to seize the
initiative - something that in the short term he was able to do,
because Caesar's assassins had laid no positive plans beyond the
single act of removing the tyrant; the republic thus remained as
deeply in trouble as ever.

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Gnu! ac rhe t ime or
Caesar's campaigns in Gaul 58-50
0... ,-j"'

n 58 Caesar took command of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum with three
legions for a period of five years. To this command was later added
Transalpine Gaul (Gallia Narbonensis) with an additional legion. This
command imparted several advantages.
In Cisalpine Gaul:
The Po valley was a good recruiting ground for troops.
It would be a future source of strength, since Caesar had won clients in
65 there by proposing full Roman citizenship.
kc.ulh Q\VOCtCi'j lt't.td .ramc ICLWJ, laVI:Jl.tCttf

to tr
tith three
:er added
ion. This
clients in
Its proximity to Rome would allow Caesar keep an eye on what was
going on in the capital.
In Transalpine Gaul (Narbonese Gaul):
Disturbances among the Gauls outside the Roman province would give
Caesar opportunities to win military glory for himself and to extend
Rome's influence. ( t u._' ll'\.l l (t\ <. tt_l t"(Jt \ .
There was the p ssibil ity of acqui ring great wealth, which Caesar
need d for fut ure career. A ro \I"Jf\RD-- THINK I !G. (_,\ j( lf-\t
The length f the command (fi ve years, later extended fo r a furth r
five) assured him of immunity for a long time from attempts to prosecute
him for the unconstitutional acts committed during his consulship.
The map at left illustrates the course of Caesar's campaigns in Gaul.
\ .oo-)
The defeat of the Helvetii and Suebi
The Helvetii from northern Switzerland were seeking new homes in Gaul;
es r
400 000 intended migrating westwards by passing through the northern IP"\
comer of the Roman province. When Caesar prevented this they entered \.!)
at the Jura Mountains, plundering the countryside of the Aedui and
The Aedui were allies of Rome, even though their territory was
\o u+- h
outstde the Roman province. Caesar provoked a war, followed and
defeated the Helvetii at Bibracte, and forced t hem to return to their
homeland. (} 1 f' j J r t o l o> C'. C 011\ h rtill d liv\ t <D C-t .
The Suebi, Getmans fr m across t he Rhine, had been used by the
Sequani in a conflict with the Aedui but had refused to leave, and in 59
the Romans had recognised the Suebi chieftain, Ariovistus, as a Friend of t:::\
the Roman People. However, he had begun to expand at the expense of \:!!.)
the Aedui and the Sequani. When negotiations between Caesar and
Ariovistus broke down, Caesar saw another opportunity for a spectacular
campaign. He drove the Germans beyond the Rhine.
Caesar returned to Cisalpine Gaul for the winter in order to administer Caesar's return to
Gaul his province, but left troops stationed in the area of the Sequani as he
believed they could be a fu ture problem. Ftc was alSo concerned tnat if he
withdrew his troops to Narbonese Gaul, the Germans might cross the
Rhine again. ' IL. .e .e p I V\ j OlVl (' A1.{> or R..oVV\.Q s , l'lT'f_A't',J f S '

c.. \oS-c.. p(o-.t

Sujugation of the Belgae :1. .
J..o . f ( o\o S'
The Belgian Gauls comprised a large group of tribes north of the Seine
and the Marne rivers. An armed force was preparing an attempt to expel 'f
the Romans. Caesar took the offensive on the pretext of protecting the ?
southernmost Belgian tribe, the Remi, who had submitted to the Romans
earlier. Most of the tribes gave way as he approached, and after defeating

I : '
the strongest tribe, the Nervii, the peoples of Normandy an Brittany
yielded to Caesar's legates.
Dissension in the Caesar needed more time to complete his work in Gaul, but events in
trittmvimte Rome were causing a rift between Pompey and Crassus and th optimates
were attempting to cause a break between Caesar and Pompey. ln 56 the
three triumvirs met just inside Cisalpine Gaul at p. 45) to
renew their coalition, and in the foH wing year Caesar' command in
Gaul was extended n r a further five years. CO\..(\'\..A.
L?}'\ f?11ovvL0PJ Revolt of the Veneti 3. -ro
)h 1 V1 t"b -\ti ln the winter of 56 the Veneti revolted and attacked the Roman garrisOoJ..
Caesar bui lt a fleet at the m uth f the Loire River and defeated the
I lol: .. r In 56 the Aquitani were defeated by Publius Crassus
c \,1\J\ IV\ ,_.!.. o -r ::> o '\. \1.. _
..:, .. n ...) c I . (the s n f Caesar's political partner). ....., w, f-el(e.S (j1 j
.t:rn)Y) .1\ - I I
ct\Yirl Resultsandimportanceoftheperiod58-56 V)iS ltfj'LO \
\...A"'\.- Caesar's reputation wa enhanced.
=----tu.-H- a.'--_ , ,.. (,...,( r The R mans were now practically the masters of all Gaul and Caesar
flY' had become the champion and prate tor f the GaUic C-1 V
( 1t .>tAbYVl t+l'e l so V\'Q\i\1
A stacuerte o( n clytng Gaul ( e1J , r(d

.se..-&U.d }< q L{ ,Q t-;
50 OYl t\. tj -fOt-t'
A Roman leg onal')'
plundering a Gallic vil lage
nts in
i6 the
fS) to
nd in
:ass us
lc appears that Caesar now intended either to ann x the whole area r
to set up a group of client states, as Pompey had done in the east. eN t>S
The large amount of bo ty sent back to Rome created great excitement.
Alch ugh Pompey proposed a long r.hanksgiving to Caesar, it is lik ly
that he may have felt some h_i s .
- r .. QV lA t Let
In the winter of 55 two German tribes crossed the Rhine into Gaul.
Caesar arrested the German peace envoys and exterminated the two
tribes, including the women and children. He then carried out a specta-
cular bridging of the Rhine River. His engineers built a bridge 280 metres
long by 12 metres wide, crossed the river in order to indicate the strength
Caesar crosses the
Rhine Y.
and p wer f Rome, then returned and destroyed the bridge.
The lively trade between Britain and Gaul may have given Caesar an Invasion of Britain
exaggerated idea of Britain's potentialities- prospects for booty or tribute.
In 55 he only carried out reconnaissance, but in 54 he crossed d1e channel J
again, defeated King Cassivellaunus (the commander-in-chief of the
Britons) and crossed the Thames River, taking the capital of the king.
Caesar received the submission of the tribes in the southeast and may
have been given hostages and promises of tribute; he th n returned m
Results and importance of the period 55-54
Caesar's harsh treatment of the Germans compared with his leniency
towards the Gauls was denounced in the senate by Cato, but nothing
came of this as Caesar could argue that it was necessary to make an
example of the invaders. In fact, the Germans did not disturb Gaul
ALL SI.Ail.h
His spectacular excurson into unexplored territory excited the Romans
and enhanced his reput-ation.
Mis crossing to Britain was only an exploit and had no permanent
results, but it created great interest in Rome and opened the way for
future trade. It was a hundred years before Britain became Roman.
It N Jcu OLt>
Caesar suffered major sethack wh n an independent Belgic tribe, the
Eburones, organised a urprise attack on Lhe R man garrison at Aduatucas,
annihi lating one and a half legions. Caesar's rapid action crushed this
rev lt, bu di.sc.ontent among the Gauls spread.
Caesar was also concerned wit:h events in Rome, since it appeared that
Pompey was being placed in a situation where he had to make a choice
between the optimates and Caesar.
(,.Eburones' attack
Problems in Rome
'PA '/. RoMAN A - Rom CAn, broV\ t)n-'-
'I f I
' ,,
Coin showing the head of the
Gallic chief, Vercingetorix
Events in Rome may have encouraged the discontented Gauls to get rid
of the Romans, since it was obvious that the Romans were intent on
permanent annexation of Gaul.
A serious uprising occurred in 52 under the leadership of a young noble
of the Arverni tribe, Vercingetorix. He had fought with Caesar as a
cavalry officer, bu now used his or ani in talents t unite the Gauls.
h rev Lt spread and Cae ar wa forced to divide his orces. The situation
became extremely critical for Caesar, who used a cavalry f Germans fr )ffi
across the Rhine. Even the Aedui (long-time allies of Rome) joined the
revolt, and at one point the capital of the Narbonese province was
After a series of Roman victories, Vercingerorex and his troops were
besieged in a fortress on the plateau of Alesia and were eventually starved
inro submission. -
The Gauls were by no means pacified, and Caesar spent 51 - 50 subduing
remnants of t he rebels ami org, ni sing the g vernmenr of the province.
In his Gallic commentaries, Caesar describes Vercingetorix thus:
'Vercingetorix, a very powerful young Arvernian, whose rather,
Celtlllus, had held suzerainty over all Gaul .. had no difficulty in
exciting !heir [his father's retainers! passions, and the news of
what was afoot soon brought others out in arms .. He was
proclaimed king by his adherents, and sent embassies in every
direcllqn adjuring the tribes to l<eep faith . .. Himself a man of
boundless energy, he terrorised walverers with the rlgours or an
iron discipline. Serious cases of disaffection were punished by
torture and death at the stake, or even for a minor ra.ult he would
cut off a man's ears or gouge out one of his eyes and send him
home to serve as a warning to others of the severe chastisement
meted out to offenders.' (Co(lQuest of Gaul, VII : 4)

get rid
nt on
as a
d the
A description of the siege worl<s at
AJesla, where Verclngetorlx was
'He dug a trench twenty feet wide,
which, having perpendicular sides, was
as broad at the bottom as at the top. The
other wori<S were kept some six hundred
and fifty yards behind this trench, to
protect them ftom surprise attacks . . . At
this distance, therefore, Caesar dug two
trenches of equal depth, each fifteen feet
wide, and filled the Inner one with water
diverted from the streams. Behind the
trenches a palisaded rampart twelve feet
high was erected, strengthened by a
battlemented breastworl<, with large
forked branches where it
joined the rampart . . Towers were
placed at intervals ot a hundred and
thirty yards along me entire circuit ot
fortifications . .. tree trunl<s or very stout
boughs were cut and their tops stripped
of barl< and sharpened; they were then
fixed in long trenches dug live feet deep,
with their lower ends made fast to one
another to prevent their being pulled up ,
and the branches projecting. There were
five rows In each trench, touching one
another and Interlaced and anyone who
went among them was likely to Impale
himself on the sharp points . . In front
of them, arranged in diagonal rows
forming quincunxes, were pits throe feet
deep, tapering gradually towards the
bottom, In which were embedded
smooth logs as thick as a man's thigh
Results and importance of the period 54-51
with the ends sharpened and charred,
and projecting only three Inches above
the ground. To keep the logs flrtnly In
position, earth was thrown into the pits
and trodden down to a depth of one foot ,
the rest of the cavity being filled with
twigs and brushwood to hide the tmp.
These were planted in groups, each
containing eight rows three feet apart . . .
In front ot these again were bloclts of
wood a foot long with iron hooks llxed In
them .. these were right sunk into the
ground and strewn thickly everywhere.
'When these defences were
completed, Caesar constructed a similar
line of fortlcatlons facing outwards
instead of inwards.
(Conquest of Gaul, VII : 72-4)
A model of Caesar's siege
works at Alesia
The Gallic War, which had lasted for more than eight years, was over: 1
in thirty pitched battles Caesar is believed to have captured a million
men, killed more than a million ( 1 192 000) and captured more than
800 towns. The enormous amount of plunder taken during eight years
left the Gauls financially exhausted.
Gi+O,WO s, M.J,
Caesar now adopted a c nciliatory policy, after years of what he
considered necessary brut ality. H realised that he might need a
supportive Gaul in any future c nfl ict with the optimates.
The conquered territory was called Gallia Comata (Long-Haired Gaul)
and was organised with the minimum of supervision from the Roman
governor of Narbonese Gaul. The tribes retained their own organisation
croo so\d

/ .,.,_)
and collected the moderate tribute imposed. I r
dv-d eM'{-- -
. c..,0 - {
0 - r 353

i '
Talk 3": Caesar as General and Author
1. Things to consider when assessing Caesar
Caesar is the major source on Caesar as a general
Gallic Wars

Civil Wars

(gotY. -
Continuators (Bellum Alexandrinum; Bellum Africum; Bellum Hispaniensum)
Caesar the hero: Aulus Hirtius, Gaius Oppius and L. Cornelius Balbus

Caesar Conqueror of Gaul versus Caesar the Leader in a Civil War
2. Caesar's military career and its connectionwith his political career
Caesar on the wrong side of civil war - I'U!..e..d S V\
Need for reputation to bolster his political career
Competition with Pompey-- J'\..IU.ol +o LJ(A.;f- al.o P
Competition with the image of Alexander the Great
Absence from Rome in the 50s - f pI d .fb I.A ,- -f- lA '-l-'iv2A<Vl.
Document: Gallic Wars 1.40: Caesar justifies himself as a superior general to his troops
3. Qualities of Caesar as a general
Speed Celeritas - COL.dd -Jro_up ; .Cfwck0J
Felicitas - I lACk.. OLCC'.Z..Jofe()) (3Y"9. u-(O_U!j {i--orv-. .. t)-00 s .
Organisation - nu e)-c - 3 ... v c..\.,"
Affection for his troops (Plutarch Caesar, 17) - cL.A.. vbf- SQ LJ..<.....<.>
' 1-IfJ.nds on' _general (Document: .Gallic Wars 7.87 -88)

'5 1"\
rA1 n.-<-n a.A"' - v - Col o . ..,.. r' '
Qf fYIA <::..t C .... ,, 'f'-V\
4. 'fhings to relll,ember about Roman Ar mies htt
Professional soldiers since the time of Marius (and probably before)
Gallic Wars 2.20: The Battle of the Sambre lpL .. f-.-:. +h...: ._, i "' +rc:.
Bellum Africum: Document: African War The Battle of Thapsus
5. Key to Caesar's Generalship
Ability to organise and feed his.troops ir difficult terrain PraY"\
Charismatic leadership 1 -fr
Knowledge about when to 'let the soldiers get on with it' and when to restrain them wok (
Scout system and courier system - 9ocd ,-,-, fe/tigertc..R Ci 'ayo {/t?-vffJOVil:J ...
Personal friendships in Gaul -c-v ,- h ca.J. lo s v. c.ce.s 5
Quality of his legates, especially T. Labienus, P. Crassus, ;
P 1'--..G-e ; .... in "
\.-o '/r o.f <6 h1
Use of Gallic soldiers in the later civil -:. C..v '+' 6!0

6. How does Caesar present himself in his work . . .
,., -<!. I . ( {rJD. . '(' h '-..') - U..-L'
Always in control (.."1o.

c :v L( vi ' .} v - _, . - , ". <-Lr. +I _
j ( (,,LiSp iV-<-j .5 I L\._,: l -' ' ' "'(. ' '-:;
His own qualities displayed rather than boasted about "3 . .Q..fJ n H""' '!( u. .. ,
Exciting vivid prose capturing excitement rather than boring detail
Constant eye on the current political situation (but one sometimes has to look closely
to see this) NB Contrast treatment ofT. Sabinus and Q. Cicero in Book 5
7. Close Run Battles: When did Caesar nearly Jose?
Sambre .-..:::;; i"-Ovv .:J :rc L.oe 1-'

Against Ambiorix
Against Indutiomarus
Gergovia (actual defeat)
llerda Civil r.ta-v- s
Dyrrachium (actual defeat) r v..J OJ"l
..tr ex
-fo n""'-./ke_ v 1 ' (3;/o /D ok

Africa (Curio's campaigns in 49; Thapsus campaign in 46)

8. Conclusions
Caesar basically controlled his own publicity and his fol1owers increased the
impression of Caesar the perfect general
Level ofexpertise of the army
Charismatic control surpassed that of Pompey
Overa1l ability to control the military situation
Getting into the better position
Ability at siege warfare
Ability to present himself to the soldiers and to his readers as successful
:::: v.J l\lj /..JL bJ-at s 55
( D
. ......., . . .... v, J \''-'" ' V\..'-'-'I II' ' 'O v,v Yd rr:/1' hv11Q1n
1 n , . ___ 10 H n
' I I
' ,
\ WOcAidvll- ::
Vl lrt o...c{
et c lrtattC...1
.-/ T L .-t .V
D Celt1ca
Provrncta Narbonensrsl
0 50 100 150 ZOOitm
West of Green-cro '-...
I ; I \
I : .. ,-,

!Z r:
\1 \
' \A
\ I ...,
r I
ry-:.. -- E.lst r)f Gt'!l!nWrCh
fi' ........,
s, .. us

l 1 \
He'pCcks i+
a-r1tt\.Q -
V! 0Vtr tl

cf i.SthlSIS .




Dianne Hennessy
Caesar is said to have been tall, fair, and
well-built, with a rather broad face and
keen, dark-brown eyes. His health was
sound, apart from sudden comas and a
tendency to nightmares which troubled
him towards the end of his life; but he
t,, .. epileptic fits while on cam-
pc He was something of a dandy,
always keeping his head carefully
trimmed and shaved and he has been
accused of having certain other hairy
parts of his body depilated with tweez-
ers. His baldness was a disfigurement
which his enemies harped upon, much
to his exasperation, but he used to
comb the thin strands of hair forward
from his poll [head], and of all the
honours voted by the Senate and
People, none pleased him so much as
the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath
on all occasions-he constantly took
advantage of it. His dress was, it seems,
unusual: he had added wrist-length
sleeves with fringes to his purple-striped
senatorial tunic, and the belt which he
it was never tightly fas-
lt., .ed-hence Sulla's warning to the
aristocratic party: 'Beware of that boy
with loose clothes!'
Statue of Caesar
Background, early career and
GaiusJulius Caesar is probably one of the best-
known figures of the ancient Roman world. He was
a general, a politician, a statesman and a writer. He
became enormously powerful in ancient Rome.
Ultimately, his use of power cost him his life.
Time of upheaval
Caesar was one of the great leaders in
the last century of Republican Rome.
The period after 133BC was one of
upheaval where many of the corner-
stones of Roman politics were chal-
lenged. The Senate, institution of the
noble and often wealthy, well-known
Romans (the patricians), had gained
great power and prestige over many
centuries. It was to become weak, at
the mercy of strong generals whose
armies now swore allegiance directly
to them first, and to Rome second.
Tribunes of the people were elected
by the plebeians (not patricians) tradi-
tionally to defend the rights of the
people against decisions made by
other magistrates. Tribunes had the
power of veto, 'to stop' laws being
passed, but had often become the
clients (supportive allies) of powerful
leaders as they sought power for
themselves. When Caesar came to his
first public position, entering at the
beginning of the cursus bonorum (see
p218) in 69BC, Roman politics had
already changed dramatically-and it
was never to be the same again.
Family background
While speaking at the funeral of his
aunt and wife, Caesar claimed descent
from the gods.
During his quaestorship he made the
customary funeral speeches from the
Rostra in honour of his aunt julia and his
wife Cornelia; and while eulogising
julia's maternal and paternal ancestry,
did the same for the Caesars too. Her
mother, he said, was a descendant of
kings, namely the Royal Marcians, a
family founded by the Roman King
Ancus Marcius; and her father, of
gods-since the julians (of which we
Caesars are a branch) reckon descent
from the Goddess Venus. Thus julia's
stock can claim both the sanctity of
kings, who reign supreme among
mortals, and the reverence due to gods,
who hold even kings in their power.
Caesar's parents were from two
important Roman families-the
Julian and the Aurelian. Although the
Julian family was patrician it is
unlikely that a member of the family
had ever been a consul; Caesar's own
father was only ever praetor. This
changed when Caesar's aunt Julia
married Marius, a man known as a
novus homo (new man) but who held
the consulship seven times in his life.
The Aurelians were part of the ple-
beian nobility, with many consuls in
their family. In 83BC, Caesar followed
the course of many ambitious
Romans and married into a fine patri-
cian family. When he married '
Cornelia, he entered the family ..
known as the Cornelii and his father-
in-law became Cinna, who had been
consul four times.
Champion of the people
Both Marius and Cinna had a strong
influence on the young Julius Caesar.
Although both were from the senator-
ial class they strongly opposed the
dictator Sulla, who tried to reassert
the Senate as an unquestionable force
in the state.
Julius Caesar's background assured
him some success in Roman politics.
While his early career was unspectac-
ular, members of the aristocracy-his
peers-became troubled when, like
his uncle Marius, Caesar became a
champion of the people (populares) .
Caesar 215
Gaius Marius
Study the sources
One way of trying to understand
the people of the past i1! to
conjure up an image of them in
your mind. Study the statue of
Caesar opposite and r ad the
accompanying desa;iption from
Suetonius. V''hat assumptions can
you make about the character of
Caesar from this evidence?
Go to the library and l.ook up
Sulla and Marlus. What changes
did 'tney make. to tbe Roman
anny {MarillS) and th Roman
government (Sulla)?
What influenee did they have on
Caesar in his earlyy m:s?
Research the career of Marius.
How had he 'used the people'?
Wha might aesar learn tram
his uncle's cateer?
36; and havlngheld no public office,
Pompey fsniade consul; as q:msuls, Pompey
and reduce powers of: senators
in law courts
of. a bill.to grant amnesty t<HheloUowm cifLi!P.idus ana
Sertorlous; meuiber of:COUegeof,l'ontl:ffs.
66 :Pompey given eastern COJllJlland. agaiost

After victories and judicious settlements, Pompey
returns from the East the most wealthy and powerful
man in Rome; Senate refuses to ratify his settlements
and give land to veterans
60 Enters into political pact with Caesar and Crassus-
the 'First Triumvirate'; he gains what the Senate has
denied him
Quaestor in Further Spain; goes tGJ Tra!15padane Gaul where he has a
strong patron-client base; member of College of Pontiffs
Supports the Manilian Bill giving additional powers to Pompey; member
, _ __ of College of Pontiffs . .
..... , .....
..... -- - . . ; .......... -;::;;,
: --. _ -: -.. . : - S 1 "":;;
] oins the First Triumvirate
Campaign against the Parthians
Becomes praetor; divorces Pornpeia because of Clodius' sacrilegious acts in
Caesar's horne; Pontifex Maxirnus
Formation of the 'First Triumvirate'; Pontifex Maxim us
Proconsul; military action against the Helvetii and Ariovistus and his
Germans; Pontifex
Sfro4d exped.itlon to Britain; campaigns in northern Gacl; Proconsul and

; Pontifex Maxim us; assassinated on March 15th

218 Part 3 Rome
Review and analyse
pp2l6-17 whrth over-views the life
and achievements of Caesar and
the tWO men most dosely ltSStDd-
ated with. him and then coni-plete
the following tasks-:
each of the elected poSitions
held by et;t$ What respcm-
sibilitie were wtth
each J?OSiti:on:? (Wnt; J,o_9k at th
'cursus honorum'.)
Which of the three men most
closely followed the traditional
road. to power as set out in the
cursus bonorum? How long did
his road to power take? What
introductory positions did he
hold in the early stages of his
rareer before he moved onto the
.rsus bonorum?
Which of the three men followed
the most 'extraordinary' path to
power? Why did you choose
him? Which most significant
events in his eal'ly career brought
him to prominence? Which
elected positions did he hold
before he. was elected to the con-
How did Caesar create strong
connections with important
people in Rome? Provide some
examples from the timeline.
At what point the careers of
these men seem to come
What events do you think
hrought about the disintegration
i. their friendship?
Prepare five important, questions
about Caesar wbich when
answered will help you under-
stand his life and the events that
influenced him.
Extended wdtingtask
What were the similarities and
differenceS: between the way
Pmmpey, E:rasslts ii.Iild 'C<!c:!S3it
came to hold supreme power in
the. early stages of their
Caesar's family tree
One appointed
for 6 months in
time of serious war
or great trouble at
Two every
Updated citiZEn lists;
examined eligibility of senators;
had other auditi ng duties
Minimum age 43
Two elected
Highest magistrate In matters of war
and peace
Could command an army
Could govern a province as an ex-consul
Minimvm age 40
Eight elected
Looked alter the law
Could govem a fJrovlhce after holding this office
Cool(! command an army
CJtill.us Caesru: = Marcta LAurelrius Cotta= 'l
C Julius Caesar= Aurelia
1 = Cornelia
3 = Calpumia
Julia Julia
Social position and status
Caesarfs G5ftii.ci?ll pesitlior:rs
n:wil1g: ilil pe oaesru:
b:.el<:l a rrumQ!21' of\aff!lC.ial ,
tlie:tmaclitl nat R:amiu\
f!>afl;i:,w ''y re I;)&Wt"!n a set aut itt tae
eutsus hen.onum.

ae :Wascane et:the twenty C!}uaes 0rs
in68B J?Oilitian
ali:JiJssiom. tb the . et'l<l;te)t He was
ts Ule o
SJ!?ain, Jiis m.$ cllrty
Vf!l t . C)dmirust:eF jUS;ti, .
Cun.ile aedlle
:was eUlluie aedile tn 651lC
w.h:.e!ll 11e fatlil0Us l'or the'
an}Ciulil t of be spe.o.t on
{i!'Qblic game a)ld pul!),lic buUdlngs.
Po !V'Iaximus
Oae11at: was:PeJ!1:1rifex itJ.
ihi$ Ja.ela for life
ano iJ,gf.eat'f;lruH ef
an:li au therley<' t& deCide ques-
tions- of .sa recllaw. Tlie P0n1lifex
MaXimus could (lli(})ose:..the ,estal
Virgins a:t).d atllTI.eeti:Ogs 0f
vbe clllliate wP,exe ad0P"
tietts w.e-recwnfirmed.fi.O:d whelie:
w.tfu validat'ecl. !FheYsntil" 'lt
tlhe real heir t0 the
anaf'entuellgioas pow:ex: .df rhe kings
Caesar's rise to power
Plutarch relates the following story
about Caesar:
In Spain, when he was at leisure and
was reading from the history of
Alexander, he was lost in thought for a
long time, and then burst into tears. His
friends were astonished, and asked the
reason for his tears. 'Do you not think',
said he, 'It is a matter for sorrow that
while Alexander, at my age, was already
king of so many peoples, I have as yet
achieved no brilliant success?'
pf Rome. His 0ffi.ce was the :Regijl,,
t11te king's 1tilie
an<l he lived l0se \;lyma
house that was state ptopercy.
Caesat in
offthe senior ials. otmome:
Caesa:r tga,k t heOJil@f)ttunity t0
attak hiS Of1p0Mnts (ewecJa11Y'
and t0 c.l lop a bl:ea! b in
between ancl
the enate. caesar's real r ward
from hls JelU) a pllaet(:>t
63BC ' @i0 , b.e w.as
of r Spailil.
Caesar was' Gonst I ilil S9BG. Some
historiaT)s .believe ltblat thete was a
greaw :of iem:sla a :t
R!i>nl; l\1 iin .any y.r
s.int.e tlte (!}f Sulla.
the ef the elll:ler
. con,9ull Bibulus
and mp c0:n,.
d1Jeted away b:om t:he
put a),J tl:lellegts)a-
llh.e iidemli>elis ef:
tllM;:iist Triumvirate.
erans wereplaced at Caesar's
Jaws, we'te pas'sed
a .Provincial
Suetonius gives a totally different
picture of Caesar's power nine years
later, in 60BC, when Caesar was
standing for election to the consul-
The province of Western Spain was now
allotted to Caesar. He got rid of the
creditors who tried to keep him in Rome
until he had paid his debts, by providing
guarantees for their eventual settle-
ment. Then he took the illegal and
unprecedented step of hurrying off
[from Rome] before the Senate had
either formally confirmed his appoint-
ment or voted him the necessary funds.
Caesar 219
aHewlng the p'u:bllati.Ofl
0fi ail pa}:>l :ar laws, SM8cto:r.ial: nesl)-
lutloru and other.imp0rtan:t1
letiru apd J.aws
irn the pteV'i<r} ,.e;

Fat most ftemans ltym,g lm l1e
R' p:ubll<!n t?eniofil., holding the
e0fisuJ.sbip woula have meant
they had r:eacbed :tlcle peak of
o<iTeeF. GaesaJr wem t one step
furt'beJ when.tre was elec.ted diei1B-
t'0{. :i'n .)!0me.Qn felir ,,
eynaf!y (Ol11lfe .in .. A diotatar
G tJSat had :eam,plefecontt'01 o
e. as Caesar was
assassimated of senatars
w:ho lat'er became known as-'

aters1, because 't;l1ey beljeved
Caesar ha.d fr.l!>h'l the91
fl(,ld lllt!ler. ttm,eb; 11lght'te Otuly:par-
tieipate ln'ga\(e.r:mp.ent
Caesar ainem aClii otfloe at
'ead'iest-p0ss1ble age: Wbat does
this teti y<Dfi about 0aesar?
W.t:J1c:h 0ltice do yeJl
Roman,. peeple
,. Resear0h';Ute r($pensUJllitit!S
i,nv0l'Vedin each office Md the
pQ':\lVer lt bw ght ta tlile h0lder.
Which elected posltio.tt do y u
think gave Caesar the great ,t
Question the sources
What does Plutarch reveal about
Look back at the timeline. What
had Caesar achieved up to this
time (69BC)?
According to Suetonius, what
methods of acquiring power were
used by Caesar? What was the
attitude of the Senate to Caesar in
these matters?
220 Part 3 Rome
Aristocratic Gallic warriors' swords
; the form of govern-
ment and all its Jaws
Questions for discussion
1 Read Sueto.nius and explain what
is meant by each of the follow-
'he took the illegal and unprece-
dented step'
'not waiting until he had been
'to demand a triumph'.
2 What concerned the Senate
about Caesar's choice of
'running mate'?
What did the Senate do to
make sure Caesar's influence,
if elected consul, would be
3 Where is the Po River? Why
would the Senate be nervous
about any hint of a revolt of
colonists there?
What is a gladiatorial display?
Why would the Senate be
anxious about having large
numbers of gladiators in Rome
in 65BC?
He may have been afraid of being
impeached while still a private citizen, or
he may have been anxious to respond as
quickly as possible to the appeals of our
Spanish allies for help against aggres-
sion. At any rate, on his arrival in ~ p a i n
he rapidly subdued the Lusitanian
mountaineers, captured Brigantium, the
capital of Galicia, and returned to Rome
in the following summer with equal
haste-not waiting until he had been
replaced-to demand a triumph and
stand for the consulship. But the day of
the consular elections had already been
announced. His candidacy could there-
fore not be admitted unless he entered
the City as a civilian; and when a general
outcry arose against his intrigues to be
exempted from the regulations govern-
ing candidatures, he was faced with the
alternative of forgoing the triumph or
forgoing the consulship.
There were two other candidates: Lucius
Lucceius and Marcus Bibulus. Caesar
now approached Lucceius and sug-
gested that they should join forces; but
since Lucceius had more money and
Caesar greater influence, it was agreed
that Lucceius should finance their joint
candidacy by bribing the voters. The
aristocratic party got wind of this
arrangement and, fearing that if Caesar
were elected Consul, with a colleague by
his side known to be easily led, he would
stop at nothing to gain his own ends.
The aristocratic party authorised Marcus
Bibulus to bribe the voters as heavily as
Lucceius had done. Many aristocrats con-
tributed to Bibulus's campaign funds,
and Cato himself admitted that this was
an occasion when even bribery might be
excused as a legitimate means of preserv-
ing the Constitution. Caesar and Bibulus
were elected Consuls.
Popular support
Suetonius is saying quite clearly that
the Senate had become very wary of
Caesar. Since the people had given
him support in his election to the
pontificate in 73BC, Caesar had
shown that he was prepared to look to
the people for support whenever pos-
sible. There are other examples of
Caesar trying to gain support from
the people at many times throughout
his career.
Both Plutarch and Suetonius tell us
that, after laying down his quaestor-
ship in 68BC, Caesar visited the
colonists beyond the Po River who
were discontented with their lack of
citizenship. The Senate believed that
Caesar supported an armed revolt to
further their cause. Later, as aedile in
65BC, Caesar put on a huge gladiator-
ial display and games in Rome to
honour his father, who had died
many years earlier. The Senate was so
concerned at the number of gladiators
being used that they passed a 'hurried
bill' limiting the number of gladiators
allowed to be kept in Rome.
Caesar went even further when, in
6SBC, he had statues and monuments
of his uncle Marius and his victories
displayed around the streets of Rome,
even though the Senate had forbid-
den such actions. These activities paid
off: the people elected Caesar Pontifex
Maximus in 63BC. He had used his
earlier offices wisely and had effec-
tively courted the people's favour. The
position of Pontifex Maxim us held
great prestige in Rome and was very
important to Caesar. In achieving this
goal, Caesar defeated two other candi-
dates, both of whom had already held
the consulship. The Senate certainly
had reason to fear Caesar: what might
happen if such popularity were
misused by an unscrupulous man?
:the Cataline Conspiracy
In 63BC the consul Marcus 1Fui'Uus
Cicero uncovered a plot to over-
throw the government. In a
delivered to the Senate, he named
the leader, Cataline, and called! for
prompt action:
I wish, Constrifilt fathers, to be merci-
ful. I wish not to seem lax wtrlen the
perils of the state are so great, btJt
now I condemn myself for inaction
ancl remissness. There is in Italy a
camp of enemies of tlrte Roman
people, situated in the passes of
Etruria, their number is increasing
daily. But if, Catiline, I shall order you
to be seized, to be executed, I shall
have to fear, I suppose, not that all
respectable people may say I acted
too tardily, but that someone may say
that I acted too cruelly!
Caesar spoke in the Senate. But
he did not speak i:r1 favour of
Cicero's call for execution. Caesar's
softer recommendations made him
suspect in the eyes of many sena-
tors. He said:
The greater of those who
have their opinions bef0re
me have dwelt upon the horrors of
war, .the wretched fate of the con-
quered, what was the purpose of such
speeches? Was it to make you detest
the conspiracy?
Review and analyse
F0r fW
Senate, I h0 tortures s.uffl
oiemfta tM. ofihese men;
mast ememJ.<)et em) h171at
w11tich laaJilJ1lens
De I thefil recommend th.e pris--
oners ee allt5we.d tp
c;..atqliltle' fCl)re:es? By m nsrlihi ,
my tlJieit 90olls
lzre <1M tllam-
selveslbe kepf impdsaoecl irrthe
strMgest G>f title free f0wr\s; f 11her,
thalf10 one shall
<'Ease to 'the senate or, it before
the llf)der !\)aim ef !:mira!!} cm-
sideR;id by tl<le Senate. to 11\ave
a!iJ.ains:t welfare' 0fllrle amd

a acl'v.ic fair, an1
ll)'UJilJ)J@Iite<il se fiom of tlia
Senat:e, bat ear ancl
\ a' lialte o'! 'eiiM_s "\'as nat
a1 ys red', sowe o.t
\$at a
part'at'-.tib.e ..fiis.speech

@t)1e,r han.d
. to his uxmeit.
C4esat etnm,ed t0
the se.o.ate.
to'Cl ar J,tira,set( qt any
t<l!):S, 1!1 e femed f0t b:is
J 'sa i ty and t\he Senate
.. Look back over the chapter so far. What support had Caesar mustered in
the 20 years prior to his election as consul? You could draw up a table using
these headings.
Year Action by Caesar Who would have liked this, or gained
from it and therefore given their support
to Caesar?
" Why did his actions during this time cause such great concern among
Caesar 221
call'lng'far hls:.rdeas .
Wb<Jt , t a<!l.es
rec0mmeod Cata.line and

Wfullt: dbes Caesar
do,es Cae:;M
s view tell us
about jilli? p,eu1d fie p s "bW be
f);l'VOUL ilt'J'l ;wy'
.th1;t>ugh. his ug
What argtiinents.cdulrt me
mountea against Caesar's ugges-
rule of three; each
membe; known as
222 Part 3 Rome
'111 .6dm&tw.e
@ll.esar j@i!litel!l P m._pey an.d 'Cl!a5$1:J.S iitl
all! known a$ fue
co sui
ifhe lirlumv:lrjtt_e'
eac.h af the ffu'llowfng to
e,atl$ m0tlv.r;s lJ.ll
joirilrtg tne all.ikRGe. YG!,!. nrig!it 0
Jlke to
1-Velleilrs Paterculus
was ih Cl0n-
sulship that there
Gnaeus and Marcus
ifl I .
power pr6yed to City
t<)Ci1te w.aflc! an(!J, at
to eactt df the triumvii'S.
of this t:>eeq;tm

d.ellayed am ef'l,.
ael r.O eas.

a : alre,.ady manY ,stlll J!aised
Qlljje\ilti0ns; Gae.sar a:greec:t :t'ci> it l!leC!luse
lie rftalis!:ld ih rnakira.g this
sian ho tllile.prestl_!ecot
woMC!l incr.ell!le and by
on the odium [clis-
liie 1':\is own whi1'1
that by the iAf!Uetrce of
migl'ltad'iieve a plate ofprHrt;iinen(!e
the stateWhiafil tte 1710tJ:feefl
able to reach

a tie of
cemented lbetweep an<d1
In weade{.l
]l!llia, ae at:'s dawglifer;.

In toe mearttlme had
and ppwerr bjl. nis
WC\r, was'askir1SJ tf;te Se ate-
t0 ratify.. r1Umel'@l.l tmatult.e
ha<fl. gl'anted to princes, .<inl:l
clttes. Most Sel'i\atorts, t]0wever

by eJil'o/, and espe-
dally l!.weulll!lt whG> haC! hela the
cartlm11nd before
Pdmp '11 1 who ed tl1af the'
victory<Was his, he had
kil:lg for Pampa)! in a state of' extreme
etassus With
LuctilltJS iii!
ana madl!'
frie1:1ds With Gaesaf promtsecl
1,md r eath soppart him for the c::on-
sl:llship. 1ihh latter tnereupen brought
trassus intofrfendly witli
Sa hese tl;\ree rpQst
men pe-ofed their This <toali-
tio171 the Ron:tan treated of
n a l1oOk (tl\e three-
andBibultrs were E;l!acted
Gonsuls, but tf:l'e arlstooratstcmtinwed
>toi infli:len.c.e by
inq.thatwli!Elf.l h'e and l'ialll
What do the sources tell us about the motives for the formation of the First Triumvirate? Complete this table using
the sources.
Author of source
Velleius Peterculus
Cassius Dio
Pompey's motives
Had argued with the
Senate over the slow-
ness of their actions in
approving his arrange
ments in the East.
Crassus' motives
Was not a supporter of
Pompey's requests in the
Senate but was brought
into the partnership by
Caesar's motives
His prestige would grow
alongside the others if
he was a member of part-
nership. lie would also
benefit if Romans
believed that Pompey
was the controlling
"' Some historians blame the Senate for the formation of the First Triumvirate. What do you think?
"From the sources, do you think any one of the members of the triumvirate (triumvirs) was more powerful than
the others?
"Do you think any of the authors of the sources show a particular bias in their writing'? You might like to use a
Classical Dictionary to find out some information about the authors.
in absentia
absent from, to do
something in one
place being in
Caesar 223
to the consulship
Caesar's attempts to win the consulship met with
many difficulties. He had been voted a triumph for
his military successes in Spain (which brought
great wealth to Rome) but did not have the time to
return with his army to Italy, prepare and celebrate
his triumph and then enter Rome as a civilian to
stand for the consulship.
Caesar unsuccessfully requested per-
mission from the Senate to stand for
the consulship in absentia-the
perfect compromise from his point of
view. He was forced to forgo his
triumph and put all his efforts and
whatever finances he could raise into
the consular elections.
The Senate then added insult to
injury when it announced the con-
sular provinces for 58BC. So as not to
favour any particular person, the
Senate traditionally allocated
provinces before the consular elec-
tions took place. Believing that Caesar
would be elected consul, the Senate
nominated 'the woods and pastures'
as the province for the two consuls,
the highest government officials.
This, of course, was a means of
denying Caesar an army! In due
course, Caesar was elected consul,
with Bibulus as his partner.
Caesar set to work as consul, hon-
ouring the promises to his colleagues.
But he could not run the risk of
failure. Caesar's plan was clear: his
promises must be kept; his own future
must be secured; his other legislative
work must be carried out. He would
not tolerate any individual or any
institution standing in his way.
Caesar's consulship was going to be
an eventful one!
The Senate (since no one called it
together and it was not lawful tor one
consul to do so without the consent of
the other) assembled at the house of
Bibulus, but did nothing to counteract
the force and preparation of Caesar.
They planned, however, that Bibulus
should oppose Caesar's laws, so that
[the Senate] should seem to be over-
come by force rather than to suffer by
their own negligence. Accordingly,
Bibulus burst into the forum while
Caesar was still speaking. Strife and
turmoil arose, blows were given, and
those who had daggers broke the fasces
and insignia [marks of office], of Bibulus
and wounded some of the tribunes who
A legionary
224 Part 3 Rome
tn tlie erti;a t, AJtpinn
tell ot and
tacties em p-Joyed to c<ro:-x 0ut llli>.
wotk as csnsut
Caesar, who wa a m'a,ste'F !ilf
lati<m; made speeczlileshll tllle StlCJale' in
tf;le of concerd Bibulus,
bet'Ei'el') tbem rrii!!M
results fer state. 'As h,ewas
believed te,lf>eslnee(e, Sibull!is-was
th"ewn off biS"gl!larcl, Whlle he'
was Ullf!lreparecl ar.acl unsusp>ectlng
Caesar get a large of
smldlers ifll rei,ldiness btl1)ught
befere tbe Senate measures for the
ot the poor by the.distribl.ltiom ef
Gnaeus Pompeius, known to us as
Review and write
Choose the four most impor-
tant events as described by
J\nT"Jian and develop short,
p newspaper headlines to
sum them up.
., Appian's description of what
happened in Rome during 59BC
could be an idea for a Holly-
wood movie. Retell the events
as explained by Appian as a play
or as a series of diary entries.
" Do you think Caesar planned to
use violence in Rome in 59BC?
Explain your opinion by referring
to Appian's extract and the events
listed in the table opposite.
., Study the table. What do you
think Caesar was trying to
achieve in his first consulship?
ll'rt;! to 'the he.,;t
ot tl:'iis lancl es@e.ciaJij reuliid
which was leased the pul:lJic:: '
j, ' F , \
pestew ap:tna
whe e . he of" at least
Gtiildrer:l, by Whic_h he
beught fQr Mlmlelf the favp.ur e'f a
multitude fmr
sand, beihg tliose Who ha'd three
cbiiCJren eacl1
eame fo.Ward at oAce.
AS OP.J!lesed his metion
he be indignantat their
injustiG:e, ah'CI out of Senate
and dicl not CQJWe.ne' it f;or tl;te
remainder' af thl'! year, b1,1t
the peof?!le fr<!lfli the ln a public
assembly he askt=!d'Pompey and
stood around him ... Then Cato was sum-
moned to the spot, and being a young
man, forced his way to the midst of the
crowd and began to make a speech, but
was lifted up and carried out by Caesar's
partisans [Caesar's supporters,
Caesarians]. Then he went around
secretly by another street and again
mounted the rostra; but as he despaired
of making a speech, since nobody would
listen to him, he abused Caesar roundly
until he was again lifted up and ejected
by the Caesarians, and Caesar secured
the enactment of his laws.
The plebeians swore to observe ttlese
laws for ever, and Caesar directed the
Senale to do the same. Many of them,
incl uding Cato, refused, and Caesar
proposed and the people enacted the
death penalty to the recusants [those
who refuse to obey the laws]. Then they
became alarmed and took the oath,
including the tribunes, for it was no
longer of any use to speak against it
after the law had been confirmed by the
others ... The people furnished [Caesar]
a guC>rd to protect him against conspira-
tors, and Bibulus abstained from public
business altogether, as though he were
a private citizen, and did not go out of
his house for the remainder of his official
term .
[Caesar] brought forward new laws to
win the favour of the multitude, and
what bey ffioV,Jht about his,
prqpos q lal. gave their
' /(, r
!tn peqJi>le,came to1the

CIVIL 0-1 1
Wilfi.at 'did il Sill .1!10 ta ro<)J(e
Bil!>ulus-think be was pre_pated ta
werk Mth bim 1n partners
did Gaesar '
tg t)le. Senate?
yt.nen the Senators 0ppased ffis
Law; what dtCI ) ae'S.ru: Q:o?
What hlnts da we h.a:ve ai
p-ot rttial
caused all of Pompey's acts to be rati-
fied, as he had promised him. The
knights (also called equestrians), who
held the middle place in rank between
the Senate and the plebeians, and were
extremely powerful in all ways by
reason of their wealth, and of the
farming of the provincial revenues
which they contracted for, and who
kept for this purpose multitudes of very
trusty servants, had been asking the
Senate for a long time to release them
from a part of what they owed to the
treasury. The Senate regularly shelved
the question. As Caesar did not want
anything of the Senate then, but was
employing the people only, he released
the publicans from the third part of
the ir obligations. Forthis unexpected
fa vour, which was far beyond their
deserts, the knights extolled Caesar to
the skies. Thus a more powerful body of
defenders than that of the plebeians
was added to Caesar's support through
one political act. He gave spectacles and
combats of wild beasts beyond his
means, borrowing money on all sides,
and surpassing all former exhibitions in
lavish display and splendid gifts, in con-
sequence of which he was appointed
governor of both Cisalpine and
Transalpine Gaul for five years, with a
command of four legions.
APPIAN, CIVIL WARS, 2.2.1 2- 14
59BC .(January-.May}
Publication of records of aeSll!
senatorial procedures and
public events Uanuary)
First agrarian bill: Caesar to
land to be bought up at the Senate
market value and
redistributed to the poor,
to ex-soldiers or to
Pompey's veterans
commission of twenty to
be established to administer
all work
clause included requiring all
senators to take an oath to
observe the bill
Clodius adopted in
plebeian family (March)
Caesar as
To allow the ordinary
people insight into
decisions made by senators
win popular support
fulfil one part of
obligation to Pompey
provide additional
support for himself
from ex-soldiers
To allow Clodius to
become tribune in 5813C
maxim us so that he could carry out
presiding over his plans against Cicero
curiate assembly
Asiatic tax-farmers
received back third of what
they paid for their contract
curiata) for
law togo
Ptolemy Auletes recognised Caesar
as King of Egypt (April)
Lnw.on extor"on which caesar
was dltectud
Pompey's 'eastern Vatinius
settlement' ratified (May)
Second agrarian bill:
ager publicus in Campania Caesar
which was leased to wealthy
tenants to be reclaimed and
redistributed to th.e poor,
particularly those with three
or more children (May)
Caesar's provincial command Vatinius
amended to provide Caesar
with two new provinces:
Cisalpine Gaul
for five years. This was
later further amended to Pompey
include Transalpine Gaul
Fulfil obligation to
Crass us
To provide stability to a
reign which had been in
jeopardy since 80BC
r:urthl:!r on.qptltllntcs
To fulfil obligations to
To benefit the urban poor
or the rural landless
To provide Caesar with
a provincial command
which offered an army
command, a chance for
military glory and
Caesar used this as
political propaganda
Bill passed
Senate objected to
bill so Caesar took
it directly to the
plebeian assembly
(concilium plebis),
which he continued
to do from this time
Bibulus treated
violently in the
assembly and
refused to take part
in public business
Bill passed
Bill passed
Clodius adopted

Equestrians were
'won over' to Caesar
Bill passed
Caesar and Pompey
and possible Crassus
were paid huge
sums to agree to this
Bill passed
qquesWah supJ? xt
as they
wete not mcluded In
Support of
and his veteran
soldiers assured
Bill passed
Great animosity
among the
optimates towards
the 'Triumvirs'
Bill passed
Caesar got the
command he so
dearly wanted
Caesar 225
Motives ._nd methods
TI11e fallaWIJi!g'l1st
demonshates:tl;ie exteat t() wmcl'l
Caesar.:wolll<i acbleve
obje fives. his ot the
stltutiQil, ana hi
{'Q r tl bfrfiself of pposf-,
"When refusea1J;>
agree to lli& agrarian bill tqok
it ta the.:Re.1pt_e thi ugh
1lhel)leQ,e an as embl and <lld
net us_e lllile S6Ji11itit tlgaH1.
He sett1p in p.ubli! :i\ conversa-
tion. witfh Pli>mQeY: whetel:n
rledared hl:s :intentiJn
t0 u,se violence if"any ,.resistance
te bill aTQ .
!J. p fi11ed the'ci'by M n
soldiru:s an.d l'telo evezyene
do.wn by-fe.rce
The violent treatment of
Bibulus 11t the ass-embly :w;he.n
be ca1ne to speak t
agradafl bill was a warllililg to
J:t0 l'XJ1gf.)t h11:ve G<llfl"md-
ered pealting ut. rFriJ:>I.Ines
wer and 'at0 was
After beins driv.en n0n:1
forum, i\fri'ulus reftlsed te leave
own t1.0rrre, t1rn fu!
was the llea:vens.
bhe as etn.bty conttnued
.rn.eet to pass it
waS aeliag l!lllO ns.tittltlQ:m.albf,
'Flre iJI.gililiian l'Jit was made law
ev:en though it . !:!d b en vetaed
lt' the
1':\tlt go:.ta Senate
metiags cf0r fear mf Pompey's
A _pri:Va): elmzea Wh6 BbtfSed
Pomp G>'\!er the pCiJWer he.lnehi
wa bashed so b -
. Fql F-W Q_e.
alma sf c1 i:ed .
\" '
'59BGmr Wer'e reeil!t t c)f
t - -'.e:verits surr0undln:g-the mlro-
duction 0f the fttst agca:r.ia.I'llaw.
"Chey set the'l!eeqe.ef aesro{ co.n-
sulship: leaq(!ct qt\id<l,y
tpattl:uw t 1:!
226 Part 3 Rome
platform or stage
for public speaking
Question the source
Read the foli0W1ng e:xtract and
decide who it was that the popu-
lation blamed tnost for what
Cicero calls 'this present state of
r its'. How de> you account fOJ,'

Investigate the relationship of
either Cicero or Cato with Caesar
up to this time.
Cicero-in Rome to Atticus in Epirus
Nothing was ever so scandalous, so
and so objectionable to
everyrankand class of men. young or
old as this present state far
more so than I expected ... upon my
soul it is more so than I could wish.
The popular party have taught even
the moderate men to hiss. Bibulus is
Caesar's consulship-the
second half
The partnership of Caesar and Bibulus
had become very unpopular by
Caesar prepares for Gaul
After his appointment to the province
of Gaul for five years, Caesar spent the
remainder of his consulship year
making arrangements for his depar-
ture from Rome. These arrangements
included protection of his legislation
and his position while away in his
province, and military preparations in
readiness for his provincial command.
He also had to leave trusted allies in
key positions in the Roman govern-
And it was decided that the consuls for
the ensuing year [58BC) should be Piso
[Lucius Calpurnius Piso], the father-in-
law of Caesar, and Gabinius [Aulus
Gabinius, tribune of 67BC), who was
the most extravagant of Pompey's
flatterers .
As Caesar saw that he would be away
from home a long time ... he gave his
daughter in marriage to Pompey,
although she was betrothed to Caepio,
because he feared that even a friend
exalted to the sky, t hough I don't
know why ...
To my infinite sorrow, my pet,
Pompey; has shattered his own repu-
tati'on. They have no hold on anyone
by affection: and I am afraid they may
find it necessary to. try the effect of
fear. I do not quarrel with them on
account of my friendship for him,
though I refrain from showing
approval not to stultify all my previous
actions. I keep to the high-road. The
popular feeling can be seen best in
the theatre and at public exhibitions.
For at the gladiatorial show both the
leader and his associates were over-
whelmed with hisses: at the games in
honour of Apollo the actor Diphilus
made an impertinent attack on
Pompey, 'By our misfortunes thou art
might become envious of his great
success. He also promoted the boldest
of his partisans to the principal offices
for the ensuing year. He designated his
friend Aulus Gabinius as consul, with
Lucius Piso as his colleague, whose
daughter, Calpurnia, Caesar married,
although Cato cried out that the empire
was become a mere matrimonial
agency. For tribunes he chose Vatinius
and Clodius Pulcher, although the latter
had been suspected of an intrigue with
the wife of Caesar himself during a reli-
gious ceremony of women.
(Note: Vatinlus was not the tribune for SRBC as mentioned
here- he had held thal office in 59llC. It was Vatinius who
had put the law to help Caesar secure 'the gover-
norship of Gaul'.)
In the opening weeks of 58BC,
Caesar's two main opponents had
been dealt with by Clodius: Cicero
had been forced into exile and Cato
had been offered a provincial
command to Cyprus which, as a true
patriot, he felt he could not refuse.
Caesar the proconsul
In 59BC, Caesar was voted four legions
for his proconsulship. He was allowed
to appoint his own legates (usually
Great,' ... At Caesar's entry the
applause dwindled away; but young
.. Curio, who followed, was applauded
as Pompey used to be when the consti-
tution was still sound. Caesar was
much annoyed: and it is said a letter
flew post has.te to Pompey at Capua ...
Things are in a most disturbed condi-
tion. I used to think it would be best
silently to ignore their doings, but I
am afraid that will be impossible. The
public cannot put up with things, and
yet it looks as though they would
h;we to put up with them. The whole
people speak now with one voice, but
the unanimity has no foundation but
common hate ...
members of provincial governors' staff
but used by Caesar as commanders of
his legions) and was provided with an
allowance appropriate to a force of
this size. By S3BC, Caesar increased
his number of legions to eleven.
It is difficult to assess exactly what
Caesar had in mind when Gaul was
voted to him. Certainly he wanted
military glory, which this province
could readily provide, along with the
opportunity to improve his financial
standing. But we can only guess to
what extent he planned the extension
of the Roman Empire to include all of
Caesar in Gaul
The area known as Gaul was far larger
than the existing Roman provincial
holdings. Many different tribes lived
there. One of these tribes, the Aedui,
was a 'friend of Rome' and even
though their land lay well to the
north of Transalpine Gaul, the Roman
governor was permitted to enter into
this 'Free Gaul' territory in support of
Rome's ally.
The Helvetii, a tribe to the north of
Transalpine Gaul, requested permis-
sion from Caesar to move west
through this Roman province as part
Atlantic Ocet;n
of their migration to the Atlantic
coast. Caesar refused to comply, pro-
voking the Helvetii to threaten the
Aedui and thereby provide Caesar
with his cause for interference in
affairs outside his province. The
Helvetii were defeated in battle and
sent back to their homeland.
The Germans were another migra-
tory group. Led by Ariovistus, this
group had allied itself to two powerful
tribes, the Suebi and the Sequani, and
was infiltrating Gaul at a great rate.
Soon Ariovistus' demands for
Aedui hostages and his encroachment
onto the land of the Sequani came to
be viewed as a potential threat to
Rome. Caesar stepped in, defeating
Ariovistus in battle.
So ended Caesar's first proconsular
year. His second proved to be even
more successful.
After these events Caesar had every
reason to suppose that Gaul was at
peace again. The Belgae were
defeated, the Germans driven out,
and the Seduni in the Alpine region
conquered. Therefore, after the begin-
ning of winter, he set out for Illyricum
in the east, to visit the tribes there
also and to become acquainted with
the country. Caesar describes this
journey in Gallic War, 3.7.
Medit-erranean Sea
Caesar 227
Review and research
Mal<f.a copy ef the map ef Gaul
below (j:he larger the better . Use
the information hex to develQp a
series of annotations_ wbich
show Caesar's aetlvities in the
varieUS.J?atts of hls ptovince. You
may Wlsh to oarry out further.
research, and add futther. Lnforma-
tien to your map. Asyou read
furl!herJn l!bis you will be
asked-to ctdd mor Information to
your map.

- ....

an armed force of
6000 soldiers
.. -
." official position held
; by consul who went
: away as governor
'l, after year of office
.. ,.

Caesar's provincial domain
228 Part 3 Rome
I Rome during Caesar's absence
Rome in S8BC was still under the shadow of the
violence of the previous year. The legislation of
S9BC was largely secure, the new consuls had been
hand-picked and opposition was dealt with effec-
tively. To understand events in Rome during
Caesar's absence, we must examine the roles of two
key people: Cicero and Clodius.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a member
of the senatorial group known as the
optimates. He worked his way to
prominence in Rome by following the
honorum even though he was
a no, .... s homo. He made a name for
himself through his speeches in the
Roman courts. The pinnacle of his
career came with his consulship in
63BC, when he was acclaimed the
'saviour of Rome' for bringing the
Cataline Conspirators to 'justice'.
Until 59BC, he had been a strong sup-
porter of Pompey. Cicero's pre-emi-
nence was recognised by Caesar, who
tried to entice him to join the faction
organised to force Caesar's legislation
through the processes of government.
Cicero often voiced his disgust at the
methods employed by the triumvirs
to impose their will on the state. His
great disappointment was Pompey. In
62BC, however, Cicero had made an
arch enemy, P Clodius Pulcher.
Clodius and sacrilege
Publius Clodius Pulcher was a patri-
cian. He started his career as a member
of staff for his brother-in-law, Lucul-
lus, who commanded an army in
Armenia. When Lucullus' army
mutinied, Clodius did not stand at his
side. For this he should have been
prosecuted but he was not. Cicero
accused Clodius of all manner of
wickedness, and he may have been
correct. But the act for which Clod ius
gained great notoriety in Rome was
his involvement in sacrilege.
In 62BC, the year of Caesar's prae-
torship, Clodius was accused of invad-
ing the place where a sacred religious
ceremony open only to women was
being held. The ceremony, held at the
home of Caesar, was considered to
have been defiled or corrupted.
Rumours spread through Rome that
Clodius, dressed in female clothes,
had gone to the house to continue his
affair with Caesar's wife Pompeia.
Caesar divorced his wife even
consulting her and Clodius was
brought to trial by the distinguished
senator, Cato. Further charges were
added: incest with his sister and pro-
voking mutiny against Lucullus.
During the trial Clodius claimed he
was not even in Rome, but Cicero tes-
tified that he had seen Clodius on the
very evening in question. The jury,
bribed by Crassus, acquitted Clodius.
Three years later a plebeian family
adopted Clodius and he was elected to
the tribuneship for the year 58BC.
Clodius as tribune
Very early in 58BC while Caesar's
army was preparing to leave Rome for
Gaul, Clodius put before the people a
bill calling for the passing of the
death sentence on any person who
had put to death a Roman citizen
without proper trial. The law was to
be made retrospective. This was aimed
directly at Cicero, who, as consul in
63BC, ordered the death of five of the
conspirators who joined Catiline in
his attempt to overthrow the govern-
ment. Cicero left Rome immediately.
Cato, who had accepted the governor-
ship of Cyprus, was also out of the way .
Clodius continued to win favour
with the people. He gave them free
corn and controlled Rome with his
armed gang, constantly intimidating
In 5 7BC, Clod ius was out of public
office and the consulship was no
longer controlled by Caesar. A rival
gang had been created, led by a new
tribune, Milo, and Rome was often in
open conflict. Cicero was recalled to
Rome and the friendship between
him and Pompey was renewed. The
great grain shortage prompted a law
to be passed in the Senate, giving
Pompey complete control of the corn
supply for five years, and providing
him with a fleet and an army.
The forum of Caesar, Rome
..studl the
B'y; 5'illC fi1at aesar had
beer). ?!way kC\ln:t t01l> lbag.
l'!e was l,)el,og.a th'eSen,ate.
Anew meeti:Qgfwith his
was W letl, {atel'i cles$\il;fe 1he
new and ll.tl>w iliese
were fom1aHsed back'i,ri
hereftl>re WhenTCae$.arJ cfl:Jssea thg
A!ps and spent:the wiliiter in iur:a, a
g,r.eat cmwlil of ordinar\Y meA -arrd
women tt:iere ,jn eag!'!r lilaste
tlil s-ee him, r.nelfl <i!f
Pemr.e)! and Crasscts, arid a t\undr,eCI
aJd c:)f pre onsl!llsanq
praetqr-s Were.$een af Caesar's door.
AcG"ori:Jii'Jgl,y, . . 'fil led al1 tl:le rest"With
the hapes ar:t them with
mlilny, al'ld ent rway; but
betWefll' lil1rnse,lf, P.p1:npey, an,c::l
Crassu the f!il llbwln!!J Wtl
made: tWo stan(:l'fpr the
Gaesar was
their Cl:\ntiidacy larg
of his V.Gte

!\iS (.1$ the.y .. were .

were ta
es t6
Caesar returns to Gaul
During Caesar's absence, trouble was
brewing in Gaul. When he returned
to his province in 56BC, revolts had
to be put down in Aquitania and in
the land of the Veneti and the Venelii.
In SSBC, attempts by German tribes
to cross the Rhine and migrate into
Gallic territory were stopped ruth-
lessly by Caesar-the Germans never
tried to cross the Rhine border again.
All of this was overshadowed,
however, by Caesar's decision to
invade Britain.
The first Roman invasion of Britain
in SSBC was poorly prepared and
achieved little. The second, in 54BC,
had greater military success but there
were no long-term benefits; Caesar
returned to Gaul claiming victory hut
did not return to Britain.
amd ar111ies, <if.ld comflr.rn
prbYinces to nir:n
ey.eat.S. Wfien all tllis was
publicly it gcive displeasure to
th al')p
Ma'rc!!ll inus rdse jn the.a and
asked. P;oh':lfWY. a d their
faee!i lwbether
eal'ildil;latesforthe censulship. AS1the
maj0rlty them
answer, Pompey did so flrst, .and said
l:le wauld a
date;i'cmd l;}e woultlJnot; but
iii rtH>re po1itl Clhswer,
for lile;said me,wouldtakEfthil:heVef
e:etme he the ght Wc:)l.ild be for the
advantage 0f commenwealth.
By. sueh a path they made thflft way1
inta the office they sought, n0r'even
theA did behave cJeaeAtl}'i
But fftst 0 all, while the peaple were
ca!itimg .tht;lir,yetesfqr'tlie elecction tilf
.at0 (e tile PemJ!ley d!s--
tl:te' assembly
inawsr:iici' 1!1 .emen -aniit after c::orrupt-
, r f
lng tl7ie money, Ehey
daimel:l V.atjpiws praet'er !.filstea!lf a'f
1!1-y meansofTrepomus,:q-
The Gauls unite against Caesar
Caesar's arrival in Gaul and settle-
ment in winter quarters signalled the
opening of a new campaign. Having
split his forces, Caesar had played into
the hands of the Gallic leader
Ambiorix (from the northern of
the Eburones) who attacked one of
the camps and killed fifteen cohorts
and two commanders. In the follow-
ing year, the Eburones felt the full
Caesar 229
tneg- intreduc,ed laws
ac.cerdl!lg the cantin-
uea Hts prei21lirlc_e$ to 'aesariar a
second term 0f fi ve years/gave
tr"lSSus SJ'111a and tlile
the .ar.thians
and ta 'Pofllpey
himself thl!l whele o Africa,
Spain:;, 11md four le)10m$; af. these he
tent two Caesaf!, -at h s for
the war in Gat.IL Bl!l,t although Grassus
weht out to his at th.e expira-
tioA of I) Is constjlship, Pompey
opened l'lis,theatrfl and held gymmas
tlc:amd llii4.Sical cqntests at Its dedica-
tloli}, a Aid ce.IJibats 0f \Af,lld
in whid\ five hundred lions
Were killecl
and aoove all, an
a hiTJilst
POMPfiY. sl-2
.,Wl\(.ltrdid b,.tclumv:iueql:lite
ffe!P this n w
1Tl w at WQS ere! the ID!!thOds
emplayQ t0 a'Cb1,eve b..e qbjel!
"fives of tile 'firittm"li'IJS enilooceiit
"<WhiCh triurnvtl', ao W tl11:lnk,
se!]!tr by to be the
ro0st paw:e$1?. '
weight of Caesar's wrath, but the Aristocratic Gallic soldier's helmet
leader remained out of his grasp.
Caesar's work in Gaul, which he
believed he had completed some
years earlier, now had to begin again.
By 52BC, individual Gallic tribes had
risen against the Romans and been
beaten by the highly skilled Roman
army. In 52BC, Vercingetorix, a leader
from the Arverni tribe, unified the
Gauls and became a real menace to

230 Part 3 Rome
Coin portrait of Verclngetorix
ten cohorts made
up a legion
Questions for discussion
What methods af
can you detect Ca.esar employing
at this time? What was he tt1ffig
to achieve?
Wl\ich of people was
sru: try:.!.ng to reaeh wltlr each
measl.rre tii,ken? Ffow effective
wonld you expectr each t0 be?
Review and analysis
Add this 'lt'lew to your
annotations on yoi.tti:t;lap Ciif
Investigate e:llt'he siege ef
Alesln or Uxell0clunU1!1'1.. Prepare
twQ news,;repott:.'l,. eoe:fm: fhe
Gauls and the other 'f!()r the
Vercingetorix vs. Caesar
Vercingetorix suggested to the Gauls
that they burn their homelands to
stop the Romans using them as a
source of food. The policy was
adopted, with the exception of the
city of Avaricum: a decision which
proved to be a tragic mistake, as the
Romans besieged the town and mas-
sacred the inhabitants. Reverses fol-
lowed for Caesar, but his revenge
came at the town of Alesia into which
Vercingetorix had moved a large
force. It was here that the Roman
expertise in siege warfare was used
most effectively. Caesar set about
encircling the town with rows of
trenches, a series facing Alesia and
another facing outwards. Into these
he placed various devices (similar to
those pictured on p231) to reduce the
possibility of anyone escaping and
any reinforcements arriving. The
Romans were encamped in the centre
of these rows of trenches so that they
could fight a force from both direc-
tions simultaneously if necessary. For
days they did just that. Eventually the
siege was successful and Vercingetorix
last stand at Uxellodunum
But the conquest of Gaul was not fin-
ished. To the south west the last
important stand took place at
Uxellodunum in 5 lBC. Once again
siege works were constructed, but the
people inside the town could easily
maintain themselves indefinitely and
their position on a hill made it impos-
sible for the Romans to gain a victory.
Caesar finally cut off the townspeople
from their sources of water, forcing
them to surrender.
Results of the victory
By the end of 5 lBC, Caesar's conquest
of Gaul was over. In nine years he had
achieved a great deal. Suetonius tells us:
He reduced to the form of a province
the whole of Gaul enclosed by the
Pyrenees, the Alps, the Cevennes, the
Rhine, and the Rhone-about 640 000
square miles [1 658 000 sq km]-except
for certain allied states which had given
him useful support; and exacted an
annual tribute of 400 000 gold pieces.
Caesar was the first Roman to build a
military bridge across the Rhine and
cause the Germans on the farther bank
heavy losses. He also invaded Britain, a
hitherto unknown country, and
defeated the natives, from whom he
exacted a large sum of money as well as
hostages for future good behaviour. He
met with only three serious reverses: in
Britain, when his fleet was all but
destroyed by a gale; in Gaul, one
of his legions was routed at Gergovia
among the Auvergne mountains; and
on the German frontier, when his gener-
als Titurius and Aurunculeius were
ambushed and killed.
Response in Rome
In Rome, Caesar's successes were pub-
licised widely.
He began building a new Forum with
the spoils taken in Gaul, and paid more
than a million gold pieces for the site
alone. Then he announced a gladiatorial
show and a public banquet in memory
of his daughter julia-an unprece-
dented event; and, to create as much
excitement among the commons as
possible, had the banquet catered for
partly by his own household, partly by
the market contractors ... He fixed the
daily pay of the regular soldiers at
double what it had been, for all time.
Whenever the granaries were full he
.. would make a lavish distribution to the
army, without measuring the amount,
and occasionally gave every man a
Gallic slave.
Caesar had even freely lent money
to influential people in Rome, such as
Cicero; the fortune Caesar had made
in Gaul was now going to work for
him in Rome! Caesar's documenta-
tion of his experiences in Gaul had
been sent in instalments to the
Senate. Now he released all seven
books of his Gallic Wars to tell the
people of the hardships he and his
men had suffered and the great
rewards brought to Rome with the
conquest of Gaul.
Caesar 231
Influence, contribution and achievements
Steps to civil war
While Caesar had been in his province, the situa-
tion in Rome had become very fragile. A number
of events occurred which eventually placed Caesar
at loggerheads with Pompey and the Senate and
brought about the civil war of 49-45BC.
Caesar crosses the Rubicon
Caesar had repeatedly offered to make
concessions, including, finally, the
dismissal of all but two legions, if the
Senate would adhere to the law allow-
ing him to stand for the consulship.
As tribune, Curio had worked tire-
lessly for Caesar but he had only
delayed the inevitable. In January of
49BC, the Senate met again and voted
that Caesar had to disband his army
or be declared a public enemy. As the
consular elections were held in the
middle of the year, this course would
leave Caesar open to criminal pro-
ceedings if he did not hold an official
position. Two of the new tribunes
attempted to veto this bill, but a state
of emergency was declared, and
Caesar was proclaimed an enemy
unless he complied. The tribunes and
any senatorial supporters of Caesar
left Rome to join him.
Although the Rubicon was little
more than a stream to the north of
Italy, it provided the boundary
between Caesar's province and Italy.
Caesar's decision to cross it was illegal
because he could not enter Italy with
an army and so this became the signal
for the outbreak of civil war.
The civil war
The civil war lasted for three and a
half years and was fought throughout
the Roman Empire. As you read this
brief outline of the major events
follow the war on the map on p234.
Pompey and his supporters sailed to
the east (March), leaving Caesar in
Italy. Caesar faced a hostile Senate but
still made sound arrangements for the
security of Italy (April). Before h ~ left
for Spain, Caesar had set up strong
defensive points on both land and
A roman siege tower
'Wild ass' for discharging large stones
232 Part 3 Rome
e What were the main steps to Civil War?
,. Three key people died at this time. Who were they? What was their relation-
ship to Caesar? Why did each death bring Rome closer to civil war'!
., Had Pompey and Caesar always been equal in accordance with the agreement
at Luca of 56BC? Where can you see their equality and inequality?
"In 52BC, Milo was condemned to death for his role in the murder of Clodius.
Even though Milo was defended by Clodius' enemy Cicero, the verdict had to
be approved by Pompey. Later that same year many of Clodius' supporters were
also brought to trial and condemned. These trials were brought about by the
strong anti-Caesar section of the Senate. Comment on the role played by the
Senate and its leaders in this year and other years leading to the outbreak of
civil war. Could the Senate have played a more conciliatory role? What actions
might the Senate have taken to avoid the forthcoming conflict?
Question the sources
Source 1-Suetonius, julius Caesar,
Since the Senate refused to intervene
on his behalf in a matter of such
national importance, Caesarcrossed
into Cisalpine Gaul, where he held his
regular assizes (meetihgs), and halted
at Ravenna. He was resolved to invade
Italy ,if force were used against the tri-
buli)es of tlile people wino had vetoed
the Senate's decree disbatildiAg his
army by a given date. Force was, in
effect, used and the tribunes fled
towards Cisalr.>ine Gaul which became
Caesar's pretext for launching the Civil
War. Additional motives are suspected,
however: Pompey's comment was
that, because Caesar had insufficient
capital to.carry out his grandiose
schemes or give the people all that
they had been encouraged to expect
on his return, he chose to create an
atmosphere of pol' ical confusion.
Another is that he dreaded
bav:ing to account for the irr,egt.llarities
of his first cornsulship, dcu'ing which h:e
had disr!=!garded auspices and vetoes,
and defied the comstitution; for .
rv:tarcus Cato hacl often swern to
impeach him as sbon as the legions
were disbanded, .. Caesar overtook his
advance guard '!t the riv,er Rubicon,
whic!;l formed the frontier between
and Italy. Well aware how critical
a decisionk onfronted him, he turned
to liis staf.f, Femarking: 'We fiJ1ay still
draw back but, once across that little
bridge, we shall have to fight it out.'
Source 2-Caesar, Civil War I, 9. 2-6
(Caesar to Pompey, a private
'I have always', I said, 'put my good
ljlame and honourt first and have
regarded them as more valwable than
life itself. What distressed me was to
find that my enemies in the most
insulting manner were taking frorn
me a privilege that had been granted
to me by the Roman people; I was
being deprived of six months of my
command and was tleing dragged
back to Rome although the people
ratified tire proposal that I should
be allowed to stand for the consulship
at the next elections without being
personally present. Nevertheless for
the sake of the state I accepted this
infringement of my rights and attack
upon my honour with a good grace.
But when I sent a letter to the Senate
proposing that both sides should
disband their armies I failed even to
gain this point.
Tmops are being raised all over Italy;
two legions, stolen from me on the
Why did Caesar cross the Rubicon and throw Rome into civil war?
Read the sources to ascertain the reasons for Caesar's crossing of the
Rubicon and complete a table like the one below.
Author Reason given Explain the Is the reason What had occurred
reason in valid?
your own words
to provide Caesar
with this reason'!
''Using the excerpt from Caesar's Civil War, say briefly in your own
words what you think Caesar is trying to tell Pompey.
" Compare the reasons Caesar alludes to in Civil War for the crossing of
the Rubicon, with what Suetonius lists for us. How might you account
for the differences?
What reasons do you think Caesar might have had for including this
section in his account of the civil wars?
the three sources provided, which would you accept as the most rel.i -
able? Why'?
Caesar 233
pretext that they were to be used
against Parthia, are still in the country;
the whole state is under arms. How
can all this be explained except on the
assumption that there is a plan to
destroy me? Yet for the sake of the
state I am stiH prepared to make any
concession and to put up with any-
thing. I propose that P.ompey should
go to his provinces, that both of us
sholiliCI disband o11r armies, that
everyone in Italy should return to civil-
ian life, that the state should be freed
from fear, that the hoiCling of free
elections and the general control of
affairs should be handed over to the
Senate and the Roman people. In
order that this should be dome witli as
'little trot.'lble as !possible and on fixed
terms which should be ratified by
oath, I prepose that either P.ompey
should come nearer to me or else
should allow me to come nearer to
him. A conference betweeo the two of
us would have the effect of settling all
Source 3-Cicero, Atticus, 8.11
(Cicero to his friend Atticus)
Pompey never had this notion and
least of all in the present cause.
Absolute power is what pe and
Caesar have sought; thei r aim has
not been to secure the happiness
and honour of tHe community.
Pompey lias not abandonee Rome,
beca11se it was innpossible to defend,
nor Italy on forced compulsion; lOut it
was his idea from the ftrst to plunge
the world into war, to stir up barbafi-
ous princes, to bring savage tribes>
into Italy under arms, and to gather
a huge army. A sort of Sulla's reign
liJas long been his object, and is the
desire of rmany of his companions.
Ot' do you think that mo W,reer:ment,
no compromise between nlm alild
Caesar was possible?
Why, it is possible today: but neither
of them looks to hap:>piness. Both
want to be kings.
234 Part 3 Rome
Caesar as 'dictator of the fourth time'
Caesar as 'perpetual dictator'
The Roman Empire during Caesar's time
o..__-====--.;7,;00 krn
sea. He left Rome in April and sailed
west for Massilia. In Spain, his army
campaigned for forty days and was
successful against some of the
strongest Pompeian forces. Caesar
returned to Rome in September, after
detouring to Placentia in Cisalpine
Gaul to put down a mutiny of his
own soldiers. In other areas of the
empire, however, he did not achieve
such success. In Africa, Curio and his
troops were killed (late September).
Caesar remained in Rome for eleven
days and was elected consul for 48BC
(having previously been appointed
dictator) and worked on producing a
solution to the debt problem.
Caesar left Italy in January from
Brundisium and sailed to the east,
landing in Epirus. From here two
major battles were fought: the first in
March at Dyrrachium in which
Pompey was successful and the
second in April at Pharsalus where,
according to Caesar, Pompey faced a
great deal of internal squabbling. The
Pompeian forces at Pharsalus out-
numbered the Caesarian, but through
tight discipline and Caesar's quick
U t i c a ~
. .Rusplna
Uztta 'titi"apsus '
Medlt-erqmean Sea
r a ding of Pompey's tactics, Caesar
achieved an overwhelming victory.
Pompey escaped, but was not to fight
an ther day.
Pompey sai led to Egypt via Lesbos
where he met up with his wife and his
son, Sextu . aesar followed and on
his arrival in Alexandria (October) he
wa presented with Pompey's head.
Before long Caesar found himself
blockaded in Alexandria (Novem-
' ae ar met the young a-regent of
Egypt, Cleopatra, while awaiting the
arriva l of a rel ieving force. During bis
stay in Egypt h confirmed the joint
rule of leopatra and her brother-
husband, but th latter was kill.ed in
lh battle to res ue .aesar and his
men. Alexandria finally surrendered
to aesar, and that summer Cleopatra
gave birth to aesar's son . aesar left
Egypt in April to return to Rom via
the East. On his way he settled Syria
and Tarsus and many other troubl
p ts, and defeated King Pharna es of
the.B spborusattheBattl ofZela.
On his arrival in Rome
(September), Caesar became dictator,
Research activity
In "the 'Ywe1ve . .Suetenins ii e.f
Caesat's actual and Jilrqjected re{o,r.m pr0grams. Read fuliu.s Caesar 4.0-44
carefully and answe.( lihe following 11_luestions.
Write a list of all eaesar'ueforms.
Who would benefit most fr0m each reform? Who w:ould benefit least?
Can you dete t an,y pa:ttit:;ular lilirect;.0n that Casar: was
for soeiety and fol'lli.mseJ.f?
If you had been would yQu nave instituted the same kind o r.ef,orm
package? v"ihy or why not?
an office granted to him for one year
in his absence. He was met with
chaos. Violence in Rome had to be
quelled with armed force, resulting in
great loss of life. Also, Caesar's veter-
ans had enough of military service
and had gone on a rampage in Cam-
pania. Before leaving Italy again,
Caesar had restored peace and filled
vacant official positions with his
Caesar entered the last stage of this
war in Africa. He was successful at
Ruspina (November) and again in
Uzita Oanuary-February) but the deci-
sive victory came at Thapsus (April)
where his soldiers turned the battle
into a massacre. So great had been the
loss of life that Caesar and his army
simply walked in and took the last site
of Pompeian resistance, Utica, with-
out any bloodshed.
The dictatorship
Caesar was awarded the dictatorship
on four separate occasions: 49BC for
eleven days; late 48BC for one year;
mid-46BC for ten years (but the posi-
tion had to be renewed each year);
and at the end of 45BC for life.
Even though he held this office
and the great power it encompassed
for a long time, it should be remem-
bered that Caesar was rarely in Rome
for an extended period of time before
October 45BC.
I The assassination of Caesar
In 44BC, Caesar was making preparations for
another campaign, this time to settle the Parthian
situation. He was dictator for life and had already
nominated the officials who were to maintain the
reins of government, both in Rome and the
provinces, for the next two years. But Caesar was
never to leave the shores of Italy again.
On 15 March, a date known to us as
the Ides of March, Caesar was brutally
assassinated. The conspiracy was
widespread, with some sixty people
Some of the conspirators had
fought with Pompey during the civil
war but had been accepted back into
the governing circles of Rome; others
had fought alongside Caesar. Most
notable among their ranks were
Marcus Brutus, Gaius Cassius,
Decimus Brutus and Gaius
Trebonius-men who held prominent
positions in Rome.
Caesar 235
Review and analyse
Using hhe information p'tov;ided
on theGivil wat (49-46BC) -draw
up your own:ttmelihe showing
tbe seguenee of ev.erits. Copy tbe
map provid cl. &nd: show Caesa,r
and -pempey's d1,1ring
the dvil Highlight ll)ajor
In groops, hJv:estlgate 0ne ef the
majo battles fought by Caesar 'in
the d;vU ax period. Share your
find.lngs with the restoft.heclass.
Coins of Brutus made to
commemorate Caesar's death
236 Part 3 Rome
Question the historians
Why would IJb,ese people ihvolve
Ut.em$elves frt su ,b. an a:c:t of tteach-
ecy? Con11lder t!lre'0.pirtians af these
three twentf,ellh-eentury
on the I;Ila :the:q., in
w0rk given by ea:cb
autlh.0.t fillt:'tb: . a'sssiuati0n <iff
l'llttoriiiP 'Grant'
A dicl;at0r was ffli!Jjhtft-, 11
enaugh. It Was str<\nge fhat Caesar.,
for all his jnsi'gbt, dtd not treuble to
discern that a dictator
ruling bx reh[lc}.te i:<l)171t(01 Wa$ se
tot.JI.d nqt lile
enduref!. Of r,e't:n0te
(' . ar,ew tile
liisto.rian 2--JJ Balsdon
leacleJis of' tne were
lclealist$, men wl o not 0nly resented,
res publica
the republic
as a personal thirig; the arre-
gance 0f Caesar, bt:itwh'i:l re-cegnised
that, with alil/e, .autoctacy
wouli31 take rytora.and more stifling
gnlp on 'f9!3Y. believed, irrthe
nobility 0f hea$, tbat
rej'!)Ublkanism eauld sa11ed.
'/UUI/S Q!!;s4i!:AND R0fl(le lh Z
Historian 1--'M Gelzer
Although he(hadfolloWers 0f lower
rank, wh0 sePJea him with limitless
admirati<m, ancl <!:ould count on l1is
alillong his peers hefounct
no saw in h1m more thap
tf,e.fi:lrtherer 0f their owl') sel ish
ambitlcihs.,. flOne Who, corwinced of
:tf;le.Aecessi 'tj Gf
1:lis pslltic;;al 'w!lJrk,
liiecame wlllir)g pitla,rs 0f flis, rule. Here
we carr.ie t0 a poin(that sl 0u)d b_e
carefullY noter.I.'Whereas aesar
duri'ng his earlier career and well
'o Uiledvll War E!xplaineq and
his p'Oii'cy byWord and pen, i;)e
Caesar's enemies
Caesar had certainly made staunch
enemies. Several factors contributed
to this:
He had enlarged the Senate from
600 to 900 and had brought into
this institution many people from
outside Rome.
He had increased the numbers of
praetors from six to sixteen, aediles
from four to six, and quaestors from
twenty to forty. This may appear to
provide greater opportunitie for
those wishlng t pursue a political
areer, but Caesar had been a war led
th right t ' recomm nd' people to
these positions. Hence he sur-
rounded himself with supporters
who owed their political existence
to him. And indeed many were pro-
moted in preference to other more
senior or supposedly more deserving
All senators had to swear an oath of
allegiance to Caesar personally.
Coins minted for circulation in
Rome had Caesar's head on them.
kept sUent. his ultimate plans, so
thatttlese.'qtn only be inferred"from
actians and
more er less well attested
Jrcumstc;mces had so ord<iliJ']ed that
a11 was demandetf'ef h m to
the ef how he
futiure of the res and this
question in fact c!lrove im il')t0 a'
carrer, sinGe it was p.osed with par
ticular expectation :he did n0t
te fulfil. He Wished' to resolve
the dilemm(l by leaving for thewar
agalnstthe Parthians. But already ta0
much hacl happened whi<::h revealed
his intentions, He risen too high
alwa}!s to keep his before
.tRe !Tlanr signs ef <:>ppqsltion. One
also forms the impression he
eventually lost his p-atien'ce and. would
not for the new order to grew to
This had broken with the tradition
to commemorate only the dead in
this manner.
There were widespread rumours in
Rome that Caesar intended to have
himself declared king, an office
viewed with total disgust since the
abolition of the kingship centuries
Caesar openly treated the ancient
constitutional institutions with con-
'the conspirators believed they
were tight and that they w re acting
for th good of Rome and the empire.
They beUev d that their a tlon w uld
not be viewed as a crime but as a
means of saving the Republic.
Class discussion
n .
Had ea:esarllJ.:tsus-ed his pow:er, or
w:as he"metelo/' a xealis wlile knew
that.ltome-couid onty mat:nta.in the
i held by moving h1 a
4Wcit ntdbecfiian?
' . -
Assessment and legacy
The career of Gaius Julius Caesar was the turning
point for Rome. The methods he employed to
achieve his position of power, the skills he showed
as a military leader, and the use he made of the
power he finally wielded completely changed
Rome. Caesar had come to supreme power in 59BC
and was dead fifteen years later. Many would say
this is a statement of his failure, but he left many
legacies to Rome.
Caesar the general
It would be impossible to consider an
assessment of Caesar's achievements
without saying something about him
as a commander. Caesar was un-
trained in warfare and is criticised by
some as using the military only as a
stepping stone to political greatness.
That may be correct, but he was also
an innovator in the art and science of
war. He introduced the 'non-return-
able' slimline javelin which could
pass through shields and armour. In
the Battle of Alesia, Caesar had a force
of 65 000 against 80 000 Gallic tribes-
men and fought off another 250 000
in an innovative siege complex.
Caesar was respectful of those with
greater military expertise than himself
and would listen to those whom he
had placed in positions of command.
He could never have achieved such
success without a loyal army and that
loyalty had to be earned.
Caesar the empire builder
When Caesar became consul in 59BC
the Roman Empire was large. It
included Sardinia, Sicily, most of
Spain, Macedonia including Achaia,
Asia, Cilicia and two small areas of
Gaul (Transalpine and Cisalpine).
Caesar extended this territory when
he was proconsul in the 50s and later
in the Civil War. Caesar's ten years in
Gaul, where he fought seven cam-
paigns, resulted in the creation of a
new province that extended right up
to the coast of France, called Gallia
Comata. While he was quaestor in the
60s he extended the area of Further
Spain. After Pompey died, Caesar had
to reconquer large parts of the eastern
empire once secured by Pompey. It
was here that Caesar defeated
Pharnaces and made his famous state-
ment 'I came, I saw, I conquered'.
Later, in 46BC trouble started in
the African province where two of
Pompey's sons, Gnaeus and Sextus,
had amassed a considerable force.
Caesar left Rome and went to Africa
to campaign, settling this trouble spot
with a victory at Thapsus followed by
the creation of a new province, Africa
Nova. This was followed at the eQd of
the year with a Spanish campaign,
when yet again the Pompeians and
their forces were beaten at the Battle
of Munda, and Spain was reorganised. Caesar's death mask
Caesar took great credit for the state
of the empire, celebrating triumphs
for victories in Gaul, the East, Africa
and Spain.
By the time Caesar died in 44BC he
had extended Further Spain and
Cilicia, created Gallia Comata, Africa
Nova, and reaffirmed Rome's position
in Nearer Spain, Narbonese and
Cisalpine Gaul, Bithynia-Pontus, Asia
and Africa. Impressed by these con-
quests, the rest of the empire
remained firm.
Caesar 237
238 Part 3 Rome
Opening up the Roman gov-
ernment to citizens of non-
patrician and non-Roman
One of the outcomes of Caesar's deci-
sion to extend the numbers in the
Senate (to 900) was the first opportu-
nity for the government to better
reflect the diverse Roman community.
He allowed men ('centurions, scribes,
sons of freedmen, newly enfranchised
aliens') who were often leaders in
their own communities or profes-
sions, some who were Italian and
others of native extraction, to be part
of the Roman government. The jokes
that were told about the number of
Gauls (trousered men) who could not
find the Senate House is probably an
exagg-eration but gives a clear indica-
tic ' historians that some Gauls
had gained access to senatorial status.
Men whose fathers had been killed
and their names removed from the
Senate lists years earlier by the censors
because their property had been taken
from them during the horrific pro-
scriptions of the 90s and 80s were also
reinstated. Certainly these citizens
owed their new-found position to
Caesar but they outlived him in
Wtite 01!>i1:ttar,y.
. r:-.. Jebra e Gil:esat's aehievroel'lts
Qr.ed: . <li%
.televist'On ouadi0.
j , 1 ,
was yom mend. Write tile
speedl.yeu. will glv:e at his
Caesar the administrator
Suetonius (Julius Caesar 40-44) pro-
vides a long account of the laws
Caesar enacted largely during his
periods of dictatorship. These cover
many areas of life and can be read in
their entirety. What is interesting is
the sheer volume of legislation and
the general fairness of its tone. Most
notable were Caesar's arrangements
for debt relief. Most people had their
debts reduced by about one quarter-
not as much as the debtors had hoped
for but what the creditors could
accept without any backlash. He
introduced measures to amend the
problems with the calendar; to
change the composition of juries; to
limit the number of slaves in rural dis-
tricts, and more. A large number of
these reforms were retained in
concept if not to the very word.
Caesar the builder
Caesar the author
Caesar was also a man of words.
Cicero praised him highly both as an
orator and as a writer:
His aim was to provide source material
for others who might wish to write
history, and perhaps he has gratified the
insensitive, who may wish to use their
curling-tongs on his work; but men of
good sense he has deterred from
His flowing and engaging style of
writing and the comprehensibility of
his works has been applauded for
many years.
In the last paragraph of Caesar:
Politician and Statesman, Gelzer poses
a rationale to explain Caesar to us.
Read it and then make your own
assessment of Caesar, the man and his
His ambition soared so high because he
was conscious of his power to become
the master of the Empire. He had never
believed in the ideologies of the opti-
mates and populares which he had
encountered on his entry into political
life. A born enemy of the optimates, he
regarded demagogy as no more than
the means to an end. On his way to
power he did not meet men who could
impress him. He only saw selfishness
and envy, and eventually emerged from
Caesar was not a 'significant monu-
ment builder, but he did leave some
memory of himself in stone. Between
54BC and 46BC, at great cost to
himself, Caesar began the Forum
Julium, an extension of the Roman
Forum, and the Temple to Venus
Genetrix to whom Caesar traced his
family heritage. In 46BC he com-
pleted the reconstruction of the
Capitolium which had been burnt
down in 83BC; in 44BC he had the
Basilica Julia dedicated in an unfin-
ished state and the gardens he
bequeathed to the people of Rome
were laid out. It would appear that
Caesar had many plans to fix his mark
on Rome in this fashion but time was
.. a life of continuous and bitter conflict as
not on his side.
a cynic who assessed all relationships
only according to their political value
and, judging the others by himself,
could not believe that their res publica
could still be to them something other
than 'a mere name without body and
form'. This does not lessen the guilt of
his murderers, but we can at least
understand that things happened as
they did.
Caesar 239
Revision exercises
1 Which goddess did Julius Caesar's family associate itself with? How
did he capitalise on this connection?
2 What do we know of Caesar before his first consulship in 59BC?
3 What evidence do we have that Caesar was feared before his consul-
ship of 59BC?
4 Why did Caesar form the First Triumvirate?
5 In what ways could the acts of Caesar in his first consulship of 59BC
be regarded as illegal?
6 What did Caesar's excursion into Britain achieve?
7 How did Caesar defeat the Gauls?
8 What were the key steps which made the civil war inevitable by
9 Why did Caesar cross the Rubicon?
10 How was Pompey defeated in the civil war?
11 How did Caesar extend the Roman Empire?
12 Relate the details of any two battles that show that Caesar was a great
13 What reforms did Caesar legislate during his terms of dictatorship?
14 What titles and honours were accorded Caesar during his dictatorship
years? What powers or status did they confer on Caesar?
IS What indications do we have in Suetonius and Plutarch that Caesar
may have been trying to be king?
16 Why was Caesar assassinated?
17 What building projects were initiated or planned by Caesar?
18 What role did the tribunes of the plebeians play in achieving and
maintaining power for Caesar?
19 Who was Cato? What role did he play in placing Caesar at odds with
the Senate?
20 What legacy did Caesar leave Rome?

caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu
Page 1 of 15
C q; us

;.c / y', :O>l \
by Jona Lendering "c -\-e._ d...o .. - .
Caius Julius Caesar (July 13, 100- March 15,44 BCE), statesman,$eneral and author, famous lcl<rd..r
for the conguest of Gaul (modern France and Belgium) and his subsequent ;:oup d' et:<t.
. . 7 .
:..tJj L- I '2..
Youth (100-82) ( '.t! ...

.:'?_(x ;, . , .,.;
../ 7'-r tu rn lt_Cc..f
When Caius Julius Caesar was born, the leading man in Rome was Cains Marins, had saved
the Roman Republic several years before by defeating two German tribes, the Teutones (102) and
the Cimbri (101). The connections between the Marius and Julius families were close: Marius
Jwas married to a sister ofCaesar's father. So, Caesar belonged to a powerful family.

J His called Marius a popularis. It is unclear what this label means (for some
speculations, see below), but modern historians tend to believe that it means that Marius tried to
./ reach his political aims via the People's Assembly. The opposite group, the optimates, played the
political game m ilie senate. 'b'-} \c-Cl..c::ll ,
-\o..-,\,e.., - .. ... ,...
When Caesar was still an infant, Marius lost much of his earlier popularity, and eventually left
Rome to travel in Greece and Asia Minor, hoping for some new command. However, Marius was
still influential, and in 92, Caesar's father was elected praetor (a magist rate whose most important
function was the administration of justice). In 91, the praetor served as a governor in As
tliererore:-u1a:t theyoung Caesar was outside Italy when the Social War
This war originated in the fact that the Roman allies in Italy had never received a fair share in the .
spoils of the Roman empire, which included in those days Andalusia, southern Castile, K "'"'
the Provence, Italy, the Dalmatian coast, Greece and Macedonia, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Crete and
modern Tunisia. The Italians had fought to conquer the Mediterranean world, but did not get the
benefits of it. In 91, they rebelled. Marius was appointed general and had some success; more
in1portant, however, were the victories of Sulla, a man who was considered to be one of the
optimates. By diplomatic ways, Rome divided the rebels: Lucius Julius Caesar (an uncle) t V
promised Roman citizenship to those Italians who had remained faithful, and in 89 a similar'faw
promised citizenship to those who gave up fighting. c
Seizing the opportunity, king Mithridates V of Pontns attacked Asia Minor. The inhabitants of
this province had welcomed their liberators, and had murdered many Italians and Romans. It is
unknown where Caesar's family was in those days: it is certain that Caesar's father was no t6nger
Asia's governor. The Romans wanted revenge, and the Senate appointed Sulla as a general in this l
First Mithridatic War. After his departure, Marius was the same command by the
People's Assembly. Sulla marched on Rome (First Civil War), Marius fled to Africa, and Sulla
went to Asia Minor again, where he defeated Mithridates:Uuring Sulla's absence, Marius
returned, massacred all his enemies, had himself elected consul but died a few days later.
From now on, Caesar's life was in danger: after all, he Marius's =.ffis s:ety
did not grow when his father died (85) and the victorious Sulla returned from Asia (82).
However, the young man had had a fine education by one of Rome's most important professors,
Marcus Antonius Gnipho, who was also the teacher of the orator Cicero. Caesar was married to
Cornelia and had a daughter, Julia.
... ,'\
S\..)\\o..'s. '? ? Oct.A'-.
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu , _
? \, I 5eA.c.
. ")
Page 2 of 15
After his return, SullaJ:tad OriginaUy, dictatorship was an, \::SS...._j. '1
extraordinary magistracy, perhaps best translated as "strong man", and "dictatorship" had nothing
to do with tyranny. However, Sulla's exercise of the office gave rise to our present meaning of (' o\
the word: wishing to exterminate t uta s, Sulla changed the constitution by curtailing the ( .llJY-> or-
rights of the People's Assembly. Many people were slain: Marius's ashes were scattered in the ( ()Afs.....,.J.
Tiber. Since Caesar was only eighteen years old, Sulla decided to be kind, and ordered Marius'
? 7?nephew to divorce from his wife, as a of his loyalty to the new regime. Although the
alternative was banislunent (or worse),_ Su 1 the young man's \..
dedication t biB bride, pardoned him, iiiid prophesied tha "in this young man '"ffi"ere is more than _....,
one arius" - + .. Qv-u_ ; . pro\. _ .4.-,op

Early career (81-59)
\ (:\0 'S' '-h
Between 81 and 79, Caesar seiYed in Asia Minor on the personal staff of Marcus Minucius
Thermus, who was praetor in Asia Minor. Caesar-was sent on a diplotnatic..,niission to king
,of.Bitf!XJ\ia seems to have had a love affair with this rulei; during the conquest
of the island Lesbos, Caesar gained a prize for bravery (corona civ-(a); later,. he was captured by
pirates, and payed the usual ransom, 25 talents (500 kg) of silver. \)\,)'o\''- ....
When Sulla died (78), Caesar felt save to return to Italy, where he started a career as a criminal
lawyer. This was a normal thin to do and Caesar sta fTOm o . In 75, he went to
Rhodes or further and again he was captured by pirates, who asked the usual tariff.
Caesar demanded this prize (after all, he was an aristocrat) and promised to kill his
captors. After the ransom was payed, Caesar manned some ships, defeated the bandits and had
them crucified. After this incident, he continued his studies.- '\
_ 'llhey W@re intel\fUpte.d, .ltawevet;, ofPontus attacked Asia Minor a second time \
Jf,u Qg his QWU 4ritiative and Caesar .raised. a small army and defended. some towns,
giving the effi.cial Roman cemmander Lucullus tinte to organize, an anny anO. attaCk Mithridates '4
in Pantus. Being a war hero by now, returned to RC)Iye 'in 73 A career as a general and a f
pqlit clan liad started.1r .-
In 63,_he was (/_Uf!.esto and served m Arldalusta. (A quaestor was an officer who
detached to a provincial ggyeroor and whose financial .) Before (laesatls \ .
w-l,de:w ,and he. a in which he praised his and h'
This was a way of clamnng Manus' inhentance. That Caesar had developed political
ambitions is shown by an incident in Spain: in Gades he saw a statue of Alexander the Great, and
remarked that he had as yet performed no memorable act, whereas at his age -33 years old- ?
Alexander had already conquered the whole world.- 4 or 4- D \. \
After his return fhun. Spain, Caesar was elected aedite (in 65) and responsible for '!bread and
circuses" great that the RomM mob would.t:emembeJ:..bis.. . P'""'=-"; ..J<::.
way,, asl'a Qe J!l!ffiifaris,,he 'wOUld their votes in t'iie eople's 1\.Ssembly.-:J,
"') Thissame year, he was accused of complicity in a plot to murder the consuls, but he was not
- sentenced. The leader of the plot, one Catilina was able to continue his career as a social Cro. ... s'-l s
reformer.- v\e_
u \P
Two later, to be or higb. priest. paid
-/ large bnbes. In this capaCity, he proposed a moerate hne agamst the followers ofCattlma, who
had made a second attempt to seize power. This second conspiracy was discovered by the consul
Cicero, who had Catilina's followers executed at the instigation of Cato the Younger, a
representant of the traditionalist wing of the optimates. Caesar's opposition to the death penalty
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu Page 3 of 15
again te(l)resents-liis oUo'es, and pro'fa.blyhe knew more about the plot than he liked to
show.-\o v"'
o..\ \ Se--)' \MJ
<.;, ... '--"() 6 Af' '
, Ne was elec.teapraetcfM and t-he.opttmates became nervous for the first time, .
c.o l' with This time, they managed to rise
l't" ,)\,cY"'accusations against Caesar, who they said was involved in a desecration of certain secret
ceremonies. These ceremonies of the so-called Good Goddess were celebrated exclusively by

women in the house of the pontifex maximus, but a man had been able to The
\ (' optimates argued that the high priest must have been involved too, and Caesar's only way to
prevent larger troubles, was to divorce his wife.- \-A.. .- ........
Q:. -{"Z- ,...... .:;; .. ..,.(> \ c.. \-...
Caesar was bankrupt by now. He had paid for the games of65, the lobby for the pontificate in 63
and had paid much money to get out of the Good Goddess affair. Marcus Licinius Crassus, the
richest man in Rome, paid Caesar's debts (830 talents, 17,500 kg silver) and Caesar had himself
elected governor of Andalusia._ CS> p:::... ...;..... -- ...
Until now
'1 u"'f ambitions ..
to have been , to
an immunity agamstprosecuticm.-
Spanish War gives a foretaste W3rs. There was some unrest in the
province, under the of restoring order, Caesar captured several towns, looted them,
and made a lightning attack along the west-coast (through modem Portugal) and plundered the
silver mines of Gallicia. When a town was under siege, and surrendered, it was nonetheless
ravaged. As a Caesar returned
_ bein abk.to sponsor aJnbhy..for both the con_s_Wate_and *-
the right to enter MillY. in an offi:,cial Of these two, the
riumph would give him most populari , bu, he C!!SU1shi_Jt was a necessi!}l,;__he was likely to be
prosecuted as a war ct LancLthtul y:To revent a..law. uit was an office. Having both
was impossible, as Cato the ounger ad announce e ay of the consular elections, and no
account of Caesar's candidacy could be taken unless he was a private citizen. Caesar was forced
to forego his triumph in order to avoid losing the necessary consulship. b '-'-\- ._. +

I \ lr ' .
Caesar's consulship (59) c; (' '::
However, Caesar's consulship was december 60 he was elected to the highest
office in the Roman RepublicJiis colleague was Bibulus, one of oTthe
mea:surescaesar an Bibulus took were the publication of the proceedillgsofthe Senate, a <:1
reorganization of the taxes, and a law against extortion. However, the two consuls were not on V'
speaking terms, and at a certain moment Caesar _had .his the Forum. Next day, '
Bibulus complained in the Senate, but Caesar's armed bodyguard sure that no one dared to
? support the poor consul. when one of Caesar's
proposals, Caesar had him dragged from the Senate's building and taken off to prison.-

-\--:> o."o\ d.
Usually, the senate (i.e., the optintates) assigned a prov1Qg__e to ea.ch e.onsul vyhere they were
suppose_ to him, the senators took care that """u.. '--- '<s.
..Jt of the smallest importance would be the _consUl: r.o
J not run lettmg Caesar a _ of an_a:m .
.2 _by to use the more adequate term
that was coined by the histori Li (59 BCE- 17 CE), a conspirac between the three leading
i The other two citizens implied in the conspiracy were the rich banker Crassusancfthe
t. - - bu+--
r - "1' . CvAll" \),
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu '3 v 4 of 15
generalissimo Gnaeus Pompeius, better known as
Crassus had started as a colonel in Sulla's army, and had been able to make lots of money under
b.'-* \ kl
his regime. In 1;_ as p_ra(!.!or, .. had j_he revolt __ La:ter,ne
had been involved in the Catiline conspiracies. Caesar had already paid back his debt to Crassus,
but still had some moral oblig_ation to the man who had se<;ured Spanish command.
leadin He had started his career in Sulla's army, had later \.-..<:L.D.
suppressed a rising of followers of Marius in Spain and had co-operated Q:assus in finishi.ng
o:ffSpartacus' revolt. Later, he had defeated the after 66 he was given Lucullus'- ... W
command against Mithridates. Pompey had defeated the king of Pontus decisively and had forced
him to commit suicide; after this, Pompey had annexed Syria and invaded Palestine, where he had
captured Jerusalem. !_iis soldie!!.-9alled him "Pompey the Great", and rightly so: he had doubled
? Rome's annual income and added vast territories to th e ire. In 62, Pompey had returned, and .
was at odds with the enate ecause of its tardiness in ratifying his organization of the East.
/, - .......,\.o , ...... , ........ ..
triumvirate gave something to all its members. In the first place, they decided that no step
lj \ j should be taken in suit ..
married Ciesars ---
Ciailghterlulia;Caesar married Calpurnia, whos;-father Piso had been a close fTiend ofCrassus.
Caesar saw to the swift ratification orPo'mpey's oriental acts. An agrarian law passed the Senate,
distributing land among the urban poor and Pompey's soldiers.
Most important was a law on the provincial commands, which gave Caesar the provinces
Cisalpine Gaul (i.e., the plains along the river Po), lllyricum (the Dalmatian coast), and
Transalpine Gaul (the Provence) for the years 58-54. In these provinces, there were four legions.
was an army unit of some 5.;{)00 soldiers.) Protected by his office as a cornma.ilder and
by these troops, wouJ.d be safe against his enemies.- - \ .....
o...+ "tr.;'\O.......a.
Early in 58, Caesar left Rome; his father-in-law Piso, who was consul, took care of his affairs in
the capital.'- '"" P'"'- 7 --- -
. . '"'
q, Wars in Gaul (58-52)- u \-\-o.J..- -\ ,4,. a-'
. ".i'"'\
:::-{J..f a whole consisted of a multitude of states of different ethnic origin. In the Iron Age, their
. cultures had started to resemble each other, largely by processes oftrade and exchange.
C. ftl The Greeks and Romans called all these people Celts or Gauls. In the fourth century, Gallic
D warriors had settled along the Po and had invaded Central Italy (capturing Rome in 387). Most
Z t" 3 people in Italy were afraid of new Gaulish invasions.
t .::


1 1
was probably not a gross exaggeration to say that the states of Gaul waul hav become \ I...Hl
9 L\l Roman or wo d be un 1 d r ceed to attack !tal . If the Romans were
Q) :::>- afraid of the Gauls, thttfwere terrified of the Germans. an invasion of
Gaul was a Maybe Caesar was not blind to traae: the Rhone-Saone-Rhine-
corridor was the most important trade route in pre-industrial Europe and a taste for Roman o::>S uc.....\-.. v
luxuries had already started in the Gaulish states along the Rhone and Saone. British tin was eo,. '-J
traditionally transported along the rivers Garonne and Seine.
Caesar's military base was the valley of the Rhone, which had been Roman from 123 onwards. In
the valley of the Saone, the Aedui were faithful allies. When Caesar became governor of this

3 ) '-
,.., .
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu . Page 5 of 15
d \.u\.d-.AL ,._ - 'b\.c.--.>
region, the Helvetians (a nation in modern Switzerland) had decided to invade the region along
the Rhone and Saone, and it was obvious to Caesar that if he was able to defeat these roaming
Germans, he could impress the Senate. Besides, a victory over the Germans would place him on
the same rank as his uncle Marius. This is exactly what happened: after raising two extra legions,
he defeated the Helvetians, once when they were crossing the Saone and a second time in the
neighbourhood of the capital of the Aedui, Bibracte. After these victories, the Gauls are said to
have asked Caesar to help them pushing back Germans, who had crossed the Rhine and settled in
Alsace. Again, Caesar was victorious, and winter quarters were built in the neighbourhood of the
battle field, in modern Besancon.

f Caesar spent his winter in Cisalpine Gaul, having an eye on the city of Rome and giving orders to
Q j Piso. Until now, the wars in Gaul had been successful, but not special. During the winter of
! f 58/57, Caesar must have conceived larger plans, and rumours that the Belgians had decided to
. attack the Roman invaders were a good excuse to conquer all states in Gaul. Again, Caesar raised
two legions, and together with the other troops, he surprised the Belgian nation of the Remi,
who lived in modem Reims. His -presence prevented the Rerni from taking part in the Belgian
o t attack on the Romans, and as it turned out, the Rerni even sided with Caesar. As a result, the
.,! ,. other Belgians decided to attack a Rernian town that was situated on the boards of the river
"'f Aisne. Caesar, however, defended the town, and then stroke at the Belgian tribe ofthe Nervians,
5 _. who lived along the Somme. In a battle, they were annihilated: barely 500 oftheir army of60,000
o/ : survived. Along the Sambre and the Meuse, the Romans inflicted comparable losses upon the
J Aduatuci in two battles. During the same year, a smaller Roman army had gone to the west of
[J modern France, and demanded subjection of the nations in Normandy and Brittany. After his
"ff .>t 1 Belgian campaign, Caesar's army followed, and winter quarters were established along the Loire.
v (1 Meanwhile, in Rome, public thanksgiving lasting fifteen days were decreed by the Senate: no one
had been granted this honour before.
1.1 Now that all Gaul had at least nominally submitted to Rome, Caesar spent the winter in lllyricum,
c. but when he had crossed the Alps, the Gauls from Brittany rose against the Romans (56). Caesar
J 11 ordered ships to be built, and spent some time in Italy, where he met Pompey and Crassus in
( S Lucca: the triumvirs decided to continue their conspiracy against the Roman Republic and agreed
.1 that Caesar's generalship in Gaul would be prolonged until 50, December 31 . This was an
)l v extraordinary command, and Caesar's fellow-conspirators demanded in return Caesar's support to
R 'j be consuls in the next year, 55. Caesar agreed, and having secured his position, he crossed the
\.- !/J Alps and in the summer a naval battle took place, in which the Bretons were defeated. Caesar's
colonels took charge of mopping up expeditions in Aquitaine and Normandy.
(\\ Next year, Caesar accomplished two feats that must have shaken his Italian audience with
excitement. First, Caesar's engineers bridged the Rhine, showing the Germans that the Romans
were invincible. Actually, the destruction of German towns was little short ofterrorism. Having
impressed the Germans, the Gauls, and the Senate, Caesar turned to the west, where a large fleet
was ready to carry Caesar's armies to Britain, where a short campaign took place. Even though

the Britons were backward and still retained the primitive social system of chiefdoms (i.e., there
were no states), the senate was duly impressed by the general who had reached the edges of the
earth. The consuls in Rome, Crassus and Pompey, were compelled to decree a thanksgiving of
twenty days.
In 54, Caesar invaded Britain again. He defeated the chief of the Britons, Cassivellaunus, in a
battle near modern London and crossed the Thames. In Essex, some scientific experiments were
carried out: from measurements with a water clock, Caesar's explorators learned that the nights in
Britain were sltorter than on the continent. After this expedition, winter quarters were build
among the Belgians.
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu Page 6 of 15

In the winter Caesar was faced with a serious crisfs;>as the winter camps were built
far from each o wo legions were annihilated by a rising, led by Ambiorix. Though CaesariJJ
remained in control, it was obvious that Gaul was anything but conquered. Another cloud
appeared on the ho.rizon: from Rome came the message As her
will mourned his daughter, but as a politician he must have understood that the friengship 1f'
wlthPompey was no longer certain.
- .... - - --"--
When the uneasy winter was over, Caesar must have decided to teach the Belgians a lesson for
once and for all. The Nervians, who had already been decimated, were victims of naked
aggression, after which the Menapii in the marshlands along the Rhine experienced the same
? horrors. (When this genocide became known in Rome, Cato exclaimed that Caesar ought to be
handed over to the Germans.) A second Rhine crossing followed, and German tribes were forced

to go with the current to the empty country ofthe Menapii (later, these migrants were known as
Batavians). After these atrocities, winter quarters were build between the Seine and the Loire.
@saw an even more serious rising than that of the winter of 54/53. For the first time, almost all
nations in Gaul united under one commander, Vercirt etori nly the Belgians, still lamenting
the disaster of the year before, remained aloo . Caesar was forced to defend himself he had to
recall his armies from the north, and meanwhile tried to hold the south. V ercingetorix decided to
drive away the Romans by cutting them off from forage and supplies: the Gauls therefore
destroyed their towns, and stored everything in a few impregnable towns. Their army would
attack the Romans when they laid siege to these strongholds. This tactic would force the Romans
back from Gaul into the Provence. However, the Romans managed to take Bourges, killing
39,000 Gauls. The Gauls remained optimistic, and ttven the Aedui, Caesar's allies, rebelled. Soon
after their insurgence, the Romans failed to take Gergovia. Meanwhile, the legions from Belgium
on their way to the south found their ways barred by the Gauls, but in Paris, they crossed the
Seine and three days later they contacted Caesar's defeated army. Having his armies united,
Caesar was able to block V ercingetorix in a formidable fortress called esiaJThis site was too
high to be stormed, so Caesar had to starve his enemies, who had lots of food.
The Romans decided that they could wait, and built enormous fortifications (the remains of which
have survived). First, they build one line to keep in 80,000 Gauls; then, a second line to defend
the Romans against 240,000 warriors of the Gaulish rescue force, that was besieging the
besiegers. Terrible things happened: the Gauls sent away their wives and children, and the
JSL Romans refused to let them pass their lines. They were starved to death between the lines. In the
:J .(l)
c l. _.. end, Roman fortifications proved superior to Gaulish numbers, and Vercingetorix surrendered.
: The wh.9le-oGaul was now GQ!J uered. Three million people had been. Gaul before
'\ /, O_!le had beenJrille<l an one wlien he
.... _x le_!tj!.LiQ. Caesar himself wrote in his Commentaries on the War in Gaul that peace had been
brought to the whole of Gaul. I! see that this was the peace graveyard. -
1 p ?.'

fCivil wars (51-45) =-
Jl c
r When Caesar was in Gaul and organized the conquered territories, Pompey and Crassus tried to
j j. enlarge their power too. Pompey was successful: in 52, he was elected "consul without
\..- j o colleague", and he yielded dictatorial authority. Crassus, however, was unfortunate: after his
Q.. v1 J
, consulship, he became governor of Syria with special prerogatives, and was defeated by the
2 Parthians, who lived in modern Iraq. They murdered the Roman general by giving him what he
j had desired most, gold: the precious metal was liquified and poured into his mouth.- \ .
t i q Crassus's death, Pompey and Caesar remained, and the en te feared civil war, from
Q & i Cr -=- ('>" -;>c_. '-"'

. caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu Page 7 of 15
')I 01--..\d.. \..) \ f> - co 'W:u-.A
)).1 a 1!!_1g woulg arise...An overwhelming majority in the Senate ( 400 against 22) wished both S:.

'\ t/\ 1 dynasts to lay down their extraordinary commands before the consular elections in December 50. \oc:i).
\ (The question if this was lawful remains unanswered: in 52, the Peoe!e's f'to-JV"'.
' Caesar to IUD for consul without being After some deliberations, Po pey obeyed the
.of"\.Q_, \a.tt_
He was in a better position than aesar If the latter obeyed, he was no longer immune to
(( Cato had charged him with war in and many rel!lembered
\J Caesar's first consulship War. lfCaesar_ refused to ooey, wotil( be declared an
enetiiiQI the would be forced to appomt a commander wtth plenary powers,
OOid it was not hard to see who tl'lis general would be.- vv' ....... .
January 7, over his d.. ,-s,.
"(f\ new governor. Caesar heard the news m Ravenna, and knew that he had to e a cEim-
between ]!gsecuti2P aH,d the dignity of wa.r.. over the a ' S 1 Mt..

chose to rebel, quoting his favourite poet Menander, "the die is cast". On January
/'::,., \,.. \.- 10, his army advanced to Rimini, where Caesar could control the passes across the Apennines: in
/. doing so, he crossed the Second _
- War. Caesar's perspectives did not look great: rune of his legions were in Gaiil .
As it turned out, the Senate h.ad made a disastrous mistake. It had believed that the issue was f'i\ '.
between a rebel and the legitimate rulers, and had expected that the towns ofltaly would sem1. .. Y 010
troops in defence of the authority of the Senate and the Roman People's liberties. But Italy was
sceptical about its champions, and showed no enthusiasm to defend the constitution. For Caesar'@
r soldiers, on the other hand, everything depended on this one campaign: if they failed, they would[:;\,
never receive their pension. Unable to raise armies, the Senate was helpless. Two weeks after the,]! rr
start of the Civil Caesar was master ofltaly and had hunted his enemies to the heel ofltaly
from where Pompey and many senators fled to Greece (March 17).
did not waste his.J.ime. The was clear:@e Senate. had seven legions in_Spain
J. witho_!!t ommander, was in Greece army. . .::. at:..:. ta:;;..: c=k:-'th = e"" arm y
fi!]t. When_he entered Rome, Caesar pardoneomstead of massacred his enerrues and a
new would authorize Caesaes aqts. Before it had assembled, Caesar was already

" on his way to Spain, in the meanwhile proposing a law to give Roman citizenship to the
1 inhabitants of Cisalpine After picking up his legions in the neighbourhood of Marseilles,
--Q Caesar crossed the Rhone 'and the Pyrenees, and defeated the Spanish anny in the Battle of
I r;erda, close to modern Barcelona. Caesar showed sparing the commanders
and di.b.aru:fing the 'de(eat.ed...kgions.. He rushed to Corduba, where two legions (commanded by
W ..J.. Varro) submitted to Caesar. Aj:ter his return, Caesar was made dictator: he had been out of
Romeforthreemonths. oq. t-N-Jc....L..-
(__ Meanwhile, Pompey was in Greece, and by drawing upon the resources of the eastern provinces
\ l and client kings, he managed to raise an army of eight legions and a fleet of 3 00 ships,
commanded by Bibulus. Now he was able to return to Italy. This was precisely what Caesar
feared, and in despite the risk of winter navigation, he got seven legions across the Adriatic.
Pompey was not surprised and blocked Caesar in Dyrrhachium (modern DDrres). Caesar was in
\ an awkward position, but in March 48 at last Marc managed to reinforce Caesar with
four legions. The united army managed to break through Pompey's lines, crossed the 4'8
Pindos-mountains and defeated the pursuing Roman army ne harsalus (August 9 . Almost
6,000 soldiers wer ed and when Caesar surveyed the battle field and saw the bodies of the
dead senators, he said: it \.,.? '? "j. c.. .......,
Pompey survived the Battle ofPharsalus, and went to Egypt, followed by Caesar. When Caesar
\,.c '-0 C-\- c..J.,cl.. k
.....,.;, . ..,.._,-\ l <::!.f"d...sv
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu Page 8 of 15
arrived, he learned that Pompey had been executed by soldiers of the ten year old king Ptolemy
Xill, who hoped to gain Caesar's support in his quarrel with his older sister Cleopatra VTI. It
turned out differently: Caesar was furious that he was not given the chance to _I) ardon Pompey. U I P
When Caesar met Cleopatra, he was captivated by the girl's charms and chose her side in the
Alexandrine War: Caesar's soldiers arrived in the spring of 47 and defeated Ptolemy. The boy's
body was found in the Nile.
Having pacified Egypt, Caesar and Cleopatra spent two months on a honeymoon cruise on the
Nile. Then Caesar hurried off to Asia Minor, where Pharnaces, the son ofMithridates, had
challenged Roman authority. He was defeated in a rapid campaign at Zela (
I came, I saw, I
Havin defeated Pompey and having calmed Egypt and Asia, in the course of the
summe (4 he dictator was e to return to . orne. I'"\ .:J.... -s ....... - ....... '-d-
,- - '?
r. -. .....:s::u" .
. ..............\\
\)omestic policy (47-44)
There were insurrections: in the spring oaesar defeated the R<wublicans at Thapsus in
Africa. Cato the Younger committed suicide, because he did not want Caesar to pardon him.
Being on the spot, Caesar annexed some ofthe territories king Juba. The wars
aesar celebrated four trium hs: e had defeated +
and% a. n , however, aesar ha to suppress a final revolt in Spain, led by a son
of Pompey. In th"e battle ofMunda, Caesar was viet for the last e.- 'au ,...d.'
l ..... \
-Q..9 .\o At t1Q!!le, he showed The Roman mob had received free com doles:

reduced the number from322,000 to The po.or were offered a new .... ...,
life overseas, where he ordered c1tres like Carthage and Connth to be rebuilt and founded new \,-.Q_,
towns, such as Aries and Seville. The soldiers of the civil wars also received small farms; his own -\.r'j::Y
soldiers he paid an additional silver talent (21 kg or the equivalent of26 year's pay). In Asia ..lc}
MQ:lor and Sicily, he introduced a new system of which protected the subjects from
I a..r ;sa.v-\ I
Debts were a serious problem, because interest had been sky-high during the Civil Wax. Caesar
disappointed radical reformers (like Marcus Caelius Rufus) who had expected a total
canceUation. Caesar decreed, however, that the debtors should satisfy their creditors according to
a valuation of their possessions at the price which they had paid for them before the war,
deducting whatever interest already had been paid. This arrangement wiped out about a fqurth
part of the debts.
Many public works were carried out in Italy. Most famous is the Forum of Caesar, a kind of
shopping complex in the commercial centre of Rome. On the old forum, the political heart of the
empire, he rebuilt the speaker's platform, the court house, and the Senate's building. (While the
Senate's building was under construction, the Senate gathered in the Theatre of Pompey, which
was outside the city, where Caesar's army could control its meetings.) Varro, the commander of
Pompey's army in Corduba, was appointed head of a state library; to ensure that Rome would be
a centre of learning, Caesar conferred privileges to all teachers of the liberal arts.
As a legislator, Caesar prepared standard regulations for the municipal constitutions and
proposed a law against extravagance. The Jews .. who had helped him in the Alexandrine War-
were protected. He even planned a codification of all existent Civil Law (a project not executed
before 438 CE). Most remarkable is the reorganization ofthe calendar: the Republican year had
counted 355 days, the deficiency made up by randomly adding an extra month. With the advice of
Cleopatra's astrologer, Caesar added four extra months to the year 46, decreeing that from
January 1, 45 our calendar (365.25 days) was to be used.
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu
tP \.....0- \..>-.
Page 9 of 15
The empire had been run by a government that had consisted of 600 senators (who served as
judges), several magistrates, several governors, and their personal staff. Caesar recognized the/
need to enlarge the government. He enlarged the number of senators from 600 to 900, rose the
praetores from eight to sixteen, the aediles from four to six, and the quaestores from twenty to
forty. The last measure granted some justice in provincial taxation, but did not establish a serious
professional bureaucracy as yet. - lou+-.
,.... ,....--e <....\...4....- .IV'>+
Caesar's most important policy was his lavish granting of citizenship: those who were subjected
by the Romans could receive a set of extra civil rights and a small share in the benefits of empire.
During the Social War, the Italian allies had received this Roman Citizenship from Caesar's uncle;
Caesar extended the privilege first to the Gauls along the Po, and later to some Gauls that he
had subdued. The inhabitants of many individual towns received the privilege too. To the dismay
of the old aristocracy, Caesar even started to recruit new senators from outside Italy.- o... rr .
ku-rt b uf
Constitutional problems
((o fV\-CL OJ\. ... c,..) 0?
I+- -
most important problem. however, was that et.ful: the Roman Republic
__f 1 was an oligarchy in which the powers were shared among the senators. Even though the Senate
was defeated, oligarchic sentiments were strong, and Caesar had to find a way to make his rule
tolerable. His clemency was important, but nothing more than a precondition to this.- id> del
3 <t It is possible that Caesar wanted to evade the question by leaving Rome and starting a :; .
i 1\- military campaign. In the spring of 44, an expeditionary force was on its way to the east, where

1 Crassus's death had to be avenged. Its temporary commander was the son of Caesar's niece Atia,
-:f the young Caius Octavius. Caesar was to follow his legions and planned to attack the Parthians.
1 Of course, success in the east would not have solved the problem_ 'o .e.d...' ""' A'"'
--71 !L. u.- Q.. ........ \...., '"""-
J J Another way was to behave himself as a king, without actually using this title. The only kings the
Romans knew, were the oriental kings, and therefore Caesar used their symbols to show his I \
power. His statue was placed among those of the legendary Roman kings, he was allowed to .........,. cv+
_;...._ wear a purple robe, he was given the surname Father of the Country, sat on a raised couch in the I"CM.A-..
theatre and on a golden throne in the Senate, coins showed his portrait,.. and a temple was erected \o _
to Caesar's Clemency: its first priest was Marc Antony. When people wanted to approach him, c.J.d

them without rising. On the other hand, he refused to wear a crown, but was satisfied Q.f' 1""
tb a laurel wreath to cover his bald head. lr.c-l\
man constitutional law allowed one way to exercise personal rule: the dictatorshi . Caesar was
made dictator after his return from Tierda; in October 48 he was again appointed, in 46 }Je became
dictator for ten years and in 44 for life. This was, however, not a solution, since the aictatorship
lfad already been misused by Sulla, and even though it was a legal construction, it smelled like _
G( blood. A permanent consul shill seemed to be a better response to the situatton., and-indeed:-'
Caesar had himse lected consul in 48, 46, 45 and 44 with Marc Antony). He also \--
experimented with Pompey's t e consulship without colleagpe (1_?). Again, this
\ ,_.;work: although repeated consUlships were not unconstitutional, occupying a magistrature OS 1 '+'-'
V \ permanently made it impossible for the aristocrats to show their importance. And indeed, many t" 1
people's feelings were hurt. In the last weeks before his death, Caesar seems to have found a
'-'lcP solution: he accepted the powers of several magistratures without occupying the magistratures S' 1..1 I
J themselves. In this way, Caesar could control the government without interfering with the careers
of the nobles. The settlement by the emperor Augustus in 27 BCE shows that this solution could
havebeenacceptable. \
o>'-v'L....- C..
However, many Roman senators refused to resign themselve
s. \,...Q._J.. '"' u \c::..J'.
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu Page 10 oflS
than sixty joined the conspiracy led by Caius Cassius and Marcus Brutus. They decided to kill the
dictator when the Senate would meet on March 15.
On this day, Caesar was ill, and he decided to stay at home with his wife Calpurnia, who was
discomforted because of some nightmares. Brutus' brother Decimus Brutus, however, visited the
couple and implored Caesar not to disappoint the waiting senators. On his way to Pompey's
theatre, several people handed over requests: Caesar held them in his left hand, intending to read
them after the meeting. Accordingly he did not read a notice revealing the plot.
As he sat down on his raised couch and had received the senators who had gathered about him to
pay their respects, Lucius Tillius Cimber came forward to make a request. He told Caesar that his
brother was in jail and when Caesar started to reply that clemency was his usual policy, Tillius
unexpectedly caught Caesar's toga.
"Be careful, there's no need to use force!", Caesar grumbled and asked his guard to take away the
man. However, before the guard could interfere, another senator, Casca, stabbed the dictator just
below the throat. Then, his victim understood what was happening, and he caught Casca's arm
and run through it with the only weapon he could find, his pen. As Caesar tried to leap on his
feet, he was kicked and stopped by another wound. When Caesar saw that he was surrounded by
men with daggers, he knew he would not survive. He wrapped his head in his robe and covered
the lower part of his body with a part of his toga, and was stabbed with twenty three wounds, not
uttering a word.
All the conspirators made off, and Caesar lay lifeless at the feet of a statue ofPompey. For hours,
nobody dared to come close, until three common slaves put his corpse on a litter and carried him
home, with one arm hanging down.
Caesar's inheritance ( 44-2 7)
.; The conspirators wanted to restore the Republic, but instead, another round of horrors followed.
troops; there were politicians who aspiredtOcaesar's a:utocratic power; and they
were prepared to use the troops. C.a ,- \'1\ . A. \d..J...J.-. t
Marc Antony, the consul, was now the official head of the state, and his first act was the
confiscation of Caesar's papers and treasury. Then, he secured the co-operation of the
commander of Caesar's troops outside Rome, Lepidus. Having the men and the money, he could
negotiate from strength, and dictated the murderers a compromise: they were to receive amnesty,
while Caesar's acts were to be respected, and he would be worshipped as a god. At the end of the
day, Marc Antony was in charge of the city. - bl.A - -....J c::>":> d..') cJ. ........, .
\, V I 4
_...//K That very day, Piso opened the testament of his son-in-law. It contained precisely the material
that Marc Antony needed: Caesar left his gardens as a park to the city of Rome, and gave every
inhabitant a large amount of money. Several days later, Caesar's corpse was burned on the forum.
The Roman mob saw the blood-stained cloak, and heard of the money that was to be distributed
among them. Then, Marc Antony delivered the funeral oration, in which he inflamed their
emotions: shortly after the assault, Caesar's murderers had to escape from the city that they had
wished to liberate.
There was one minor cloud on Marc Antony's horizon: Caesar had left three quarters of his estate
to his great-nephew Octavius, who was with the army in the east. Most important, Caesar had
adopted him as a son, which meant that the eighteen ears old Octavius had to change his name
and would from now on be called Cains Juli Caesu Octavianus, i.e. Caesar from the

caesar.html at Page 11 oflS
Octavius family. The boy decided to return to Italy, and demanded his share, which Antony had
already confiscated. At first, nobody seemed to notice the boy, except for Caesar's veterans, but
Caesar Octavianus couldn't pay them. However, the soldiers were enthusiast and loved the new
By accident, Decimus Brutus was governor of Cisalpine Gaul, and Marc Antony had reason to
fear his troops. Therefore, he left Rome to drive away Decimus Brutus. While Marc Antony and
\ " v) Decimus Brutus were fighting at Modena, the Senate convened, and Cicero held several
'f-Y speeches in which he tried to incriminate Marc Antony, pointing out that the consul would return
cJ with an army. This, he argued, was the moment to restore the Republic, and Caesar Octavianus
()':" A might be used ("we must praise him, give him a then put him away"). The Senate
agreed, and even though Caesar Octavianus was no nineteen they gave him a military
command. He didn't disappoint the Senate: in two batt es, e defeated Marc Antony, who fled
lr with difficulty across the Alps, where he managed to gain the support of all troops in Spain in
cl Then, Caesar Octavianus showed that actually, he had used Cicero: he marched on Rome
cr.; and demanded the consulship. Again, the Senate had to yield to a revolutionary leader with an
' . cf In control of the city, Caesar Octavianus declared Marc Antony's compromise to be illegal and
l)\CY outlawed the murderers of his father. Then, unexpectedly, he decided to sign peace with Marc
he had learned that it was impossible to defeat the IIJ:an who
but they could destro}: the if they managed to defeat who
possessed some troops in the east. In and Cassius were defeated at the
northern shore of the Aegean Sea. J-l..n . ? o.r ? . . .1 _ l _ _j
.. ,
Marc Antony, Caesar Octavianus and Lepidus fom1ed divided the
Mediterranean: Marc Antony received the east, Le_pi@s Afri9a and the rest was to Caesar
Octavianus'l;i. Unlike the first triumvirate, which was a private contract, this was an official c..sv,.
magistracy, and the People's Assembly and the Senate ratified a bill giving these three men

dictatorial powers. Cicero this bill, but a murderer took care of him. 9rm@Y, the
\o") 1 \
\? ':) l"o.tY)-\.-, -.1.-. 'S \- \t- I
Caesar Octavianus was a brave man; he had appreciated political realities; and he was a skilled
diplomat. But his successes would not have been this dazzling if his name had not Been Caius
Julius Caesar, and ifhe had not been able to claim to be the son of a god.,...
More successes were to come: !n his propaganda, he was able to present the situation as a choice .' .
between liberty and stable government. Lepidus was simply appointed pontifex maximus, and will
probably have been glad that he managed to survive. Marc Antony fell in love with Cleopatra,
and launched a disastrous expedition against the Parthians. It was easy for Caesar to
present Marc Antony's acts as sacrificing Roman interests to an oriental mistress. Julis
Caesar's heir defeated Marc Antony in a naval engagement offthe Greek coast, the Battle of

Now, it was Caesar Octavianus's turn to make monarchy acceptable, and he found the way that
Julius Caesar had merely guessed: in 27, he laid down his triumviral powers, saying that he was
content with the honour of restoring the Republic. He would be content with the name Augustus
("the exalted one"). In fact, Caesar Augustus accepted the powers of magistratures (like
consulship) without occupying the magistratures themselves. In this way. he managed to control
the government behind a republican facade, backed by strong arnlies. - "'-,....,.. 0!) \ <:>-\-
('1'\0;"'\ , "' RPYI"-\. - (-> r , ,....., .
Caesar Augustus turned out to be the true heir of his divine father: many of Julius Caesar's plans
were now implemented. The most important of these was the granting of citizenship to people
cY> .}o ,...s>
caesar.ht.ml at www.cs.uh.edu .o(oY'" c _ \c__ Page 12 of 15
"".e.- \ (<o .- J I
who did not live in the first century BCE the Roman Republic changed into a
Mediterranean empire, and Julius Caesar speeded up this process; Caesar Augustus was the _
executorofthiswill. \ \
'<::, \ . - ,.e -
Evaluation _.7'\ .,--., ,
1 ....... cs+-
Julius Caesar stimulated the transition ofthe Roman Republic into a Mediterranean empire, t- "3rcl.
bringing the fruits of empire (relative peace and modest prosperity) to some sixty million people.
This conclusion brings us to the final question: was Caesar responsible for this reformation? The
conquest of Gaul, the war a ainst Pompey and the autocracy of Caesar are events that move so
sWift and sure as to appear as aesar had a deliberate lan to start a monarch as an answer to

s-, ...... v" 4

Some historians have chosen this perspective, and the most eloquent ofthese historians
German Theodor Mommsen ( 1817-1903 ), in his Roemische Geschichte.
one of the founders ofthe liberal Deutsche Fortschrittspartei (German
Progressive Party) and cultivated a bottomless hatred for the conservative Prussian nobility, and
his view of the fall of the Roman Republic was coloured by his deep-rooted disillusionment with
German liberal politics. The populares were, in Mommsen's view, a political like his own
people's party; as a corollary, the optimates represented the Roman conservatives, who showed a
remarkable resemblance to the Prussian nobles. Caesar was, for Mommsen, the incarnation of the
"heroic legislator" (an idea of the French political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau): Caesar
had swept away the pieces o a corm t nobility and had created an em ire that served the needs
of its inhabitants. In its constitution monarc y and democracy were balanced - something
Mommsen wouid have appreciated in his own country.
Mommsen wrote that Caesar's
aim was the highest which a man is allowed to propose himself- the political, ?
military, intellectual, and moral regeneration of his own deeply decayed nation. :.
The hard school of thirty years' experience changed his views as to the means by
which this aim was to be reached; his aim itself remained the same in the times of his
hopeless humiliation and of his unlimited plenitude of power, in the times when as
demagogue and conspirator he stole towards it by paths of darkness, and in those
when, as joint possessor of the supreme power and then as monarch, he worked at
his task in the full light of day before the eyes of the world. . .. According to his
original plan he bad purposed to reach his object . . . without force of arms, and
throughout eighteen years he had as leader of the people's party moved exclusively
amid political plans and intrigues - until, reluctantly convinced of the necessity for a
military support, he, when already forty years of age, put himself at the head of an
A century later, the judgment pronounced in this florid prose is dated. No historian will agree that
Caesar was the leader of a people's party that can be compared to Mommsen's liberal ....
Fortschrittspartei . But 1t cannot be denied that many of Caesar's measures indeed seemed to
protect the ordinarY" people against the selfish policy oft.he nobles: this can easily be illustrated by
pointing at Caesar's measures on taxation and citizenship. It is, impossible to establish if
the im ro of the osition of the eo le was Caesars aim or ust a way to establish a strong
aseforapersonalregime.- prol.o f -fu-/.....J"""'-
The latter is the opinion of great historians like Eduan81855-1930) and J ,r"me
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu Page 13 of 15
Carcopino, who maintained in their Caesars Monarchie und das Pinzipat des Pompejus (1919)
and Histoire Romaine (vol. 2, 1936) that since his youth, Caesar's sole aim was the establishment
ofan oriental monarchy in v... c +a pto.ul"c..l4 ...
Wlten these books appeared, the German historian Matthias already shown that
perhaps it was wrong to focus on Caesar's policy: men make history, but not in the circumstances
of their choosing, and Caesar was perhaps nothing but an exponent of a larger process. Gelzer
thought that it was wrong to regard men -even powerful men like Caesar- as initiators of social
changes: these had to have deeper causes. In his book on the nobility of the Roman Republic (Die
Nobilit, t der R "mischen Republik, 1912), Gelzer pointed out that the fall of the Republic was
not just the establishment of a monarchy by one man (consciously striving at it or not), but a
_social revolution in which the old, Roman atistocracy was replaced by a new oligarchy ti;t' c:::M.d
enroled its members from all arts of ltaty and even the provinces. For this process, Gelzer --h .e,p
coined the tenn R"miscbe Revolution. ' +- 1 \. fr

This title was borrowed by Oxford professor who in the '4- '
Anglo-Saxon world is considered to be one of the greatest historians of his age. His book on the
111e Roman Revolution appeared on the very day that the Second World War broke out, and this c:J.a'-""'
is significant for its contents: being confronted with tyrants lih Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini,
Syme was unable to share Mommsen's enthusiasm for one-person xule. As his title shows, Syme
agreed witb Gelzer's thesis that Caesar was an exponent of a larger process, in which the old
aristocracy was replaced by a larger nobility. C. o..u - '-'
- \....:Jo.....o o--"t\
Gelzer, however, had created a new problem: if we are to regard Caesar's acts as part of a ll.fger -\-
process, we must explain how this process came into being. In spite of his declared ignorance of
sociology, Syme borrowed the concept of competitive elitism frorri Mommsen's brilliant pupil
Max Webel" (1864-1920) . Competitive elitism was Weber's concept of democracy: there were
several factions, who were contending with each other to gain power, and (combinations of)
these factions balanced each other. The people that mattered were the elite of the fac , and it
has been argued that Weber in fact vin cated ) <: 1'1\ A
inion that the Late Ro eed several competing elites: he
pointed at the Licinius family, who grouped around Lucullus a rassu the kinsmen Cato;
relatives and of course In his
reconstruction of the events, the optimates an'itpupurares were not political parties (as
Mommsen had thought): these words signified two approaches to legitimacy. Qptimates thought
'\,.... that a decision was legitimate when it was made in the Senate, the populares tried to reach their
rums in the People's Assembly, The family-factions that Syme postulated were free to use both
.ways, and in fact did use both ways. The Julian faction had a tendency to have its policy validated
in the People's Assembly, but in 49 Caesar was anxious to receive ratification in the Senate; on
'0 the other hand, Cato's faction used optimate ways, but Cato was not above increasing the number
of recipients ofthe corn dole.
}- Caesar, in Syme's opinion, was a Roman aristocrat who was able to surpass his fellow aristocrats
y because he found support outside Italy. He did not have a "policy", he simply wanted to be the
first among his equals. Caesar's lavish distribution of citizenship was an important step in this
J revolution, which Caesar of course did not control.- \.o'J 0
V Syme writes

"They would have it thus," said Caesar as he gazed upon the Roman dead at
Pharsalus, half in patriot grief for the havoc of civil war, half in impatience and
resentment. They had cheated Caesar of the true glory of a Roman aristocrat - to

- )C ___,
caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu e \-o ..._\.--<. Page 14 of 15 \, k -e
contend with his peers for /macy, not to destroy them. His enemies had the laugh
of him in death. Even Pharsalus was not the end. His former ally, the great
Pompeius, glorious from victories in all quarters of the world, lay unburied on an
Egyptian beach, slain by a renegade Roman, the hireling of a foreign king. Dead,
too, and killed by Romans, were Caesar's rivals and enemies, many illustrious
consulars. . . . Cato chose to fall by his own hand rather than witness the domination
of Caesar and the destruction of the Free State.
That was the nemesis of ambition and glory, to be thwarted in the end. After such
wreckage, the task of rebuilding confronted him, stem and thankless. Without the
sincere and patriotic co- operation of the governing class, the attempt would be all
in vain, the mere creation of arbitrary power, doomed to perish in violence .. .
Under these unfavourable auspices, ... Caesar established his Dictatorship ..... In
the short time at his disposal he can hardly have made plans for a long future or laid
the foundation of a consistent government. Whatever it might be, it would owe
more to the needs of the moment than to alien or theoretical models.
At the moment, most historians will agree with Syme and disagree with Mommsen. On the other
hand, it can be argued that Syme's "factions" resemble the cliques that run a university, like
Oxford. Syme's belief in family loyalty seems not very realistic and has already been challenged.
Future generations of historians will certainly find new ways to evaluate Caesar.
Caesar's writings -

Writing in the second century CE, the Roman author Suetonius still knew many of Caesar's
publications, such as a book On analogy and a collection of speeches In reply to Cato. A poem 4-
The voyage described Caesar's journey from Rome to Spain, when he was governor of Andalusia. \\ .
These works are now unknown. In Suetonius' days, other publications were already lost: a
tragedy Oedipus, a collection of apophtegms and a poem or speech In praise of Hercules.
The only publications that can still be read, are his fascinating C ommemaries on the 1-Vut in
h[1 {/o (;'ul/icoLand his Commentaries on the Civil War. The first text was written in Gaul,
and contains seven books, each covering a single year from 58 to 52. An eighth book carries the \-Q
story to the outbreak of the Civil War, but is written by one Hirtius (who is perhaps also the v
author of The Spanish War). In these books, Caesar is his own herald: in a simple and
compressed style, he shows himself involuntarily fighting necessary wars.
Most entertaining is the biography by Suetonius, which is the first of the Lives of the twelve
Caesar ' iographer was in charge of the imperial archives under the emperor Hadrian (who
rule 117-138 : this capacity, Suetonius had access to probably the best possible information.
He uses it critically: for example, about Caesar's death circulated a story that he had expected the
assault, but was shocked to discover that Brutus was one of the conspirators, and that his last
words were "You too, my son?". Suetonius makes clear that he has some doubts about this
anecdote .
.nl a>- someone's life is a meaningless thing to do, unless there is some moral to be learned.
)(' Suetonius' moral is clear: if a man has the total freedom and the absolute power of a Roman
":;;\.fo' \ emperor, he must be strong indeed if he wants to remain honest. To show this, he is fond of
r stories about cruelty and sexual deviations. Of course, this makes him one of the most interesting

caesar.html at www.cs.uh.edu Page 15 of 15
authors of antiquity, but sometimes he seems to portray his emperors a nuance too black. _,
.. ,.

c. . a_e:. o ") r s \V'""'

Another moralist is the Greek author Plutarch who was a few years younger than Suetonius and
covered more or less the same ground. His bi1.. is meant as a counterpart to a Life of
Alexander the Great: consequently, the moral is totally different, namely that Greeks and Romans
have much more in common than they want to admit.
These two biographies give us the outline of Caesar's life, a mere skeleton. It should be given
flesh with other information, for which Caesar's own writings are very important.
The correspondence Cicero his Letters to Atticus is \...9.....;>
private correspondence an gives us first-rate about the political life in Rome in
Caesar's days. As these letters were rediscovered during the reign of Caesar's descendant Nero ( .nP-
(who ruled 54-68 CE), several unbecoming letters about Caesar were not published. The same.
selection was made in the collections of Cicero's Letters to Friends and Letters to Brutus. 1 J
Cicero's speeches are very informative, especially On the provinces for the consuls, For
A farce flu!:., For Ligarius and the Philippic speeches against Marc Antony. A very amusing
sketch of public morals In Caesar's days is Cicero's speech For Marcus Caelius
On Caesar's behaviour in 63, our most important source is Tlte c 'ari/ine ( 'mzspiracv by Caesar's
partisan Sallustius. Perhaps he is also the author of a Letter to Caesar, in which the author
suggests scme reforms.
The books on Caesar by the historian Livy have not survived, but excerpts are still extant. It is
possible to say that Plutarch must have used this text when he wrote his biographies: his Life of
Caesar has already been mentioned, but biographies of Hmtl..(.\ ( lflo the Youll!{"l' , 'icao,
0 Afarc Amon and J>omuer are most informative too. In the third centwy, the historian
Dio b 'Sed his description of the fall of the Roman Republic (books 36-44 of his
1story) on Livy. For the struggle over Caesar's inheritance, he is the most important source.
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214 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
(a) Describe Julius Caesar's reforms.
(b) Evaluate the significance of the Gallic Wars in the career of Julius Caesar.
10 marks
15 marks
(a) Describe Julius Caesar's reforms. 10 marks
Caesar's reforms were wide-ranging, addressing short-term and long-term domestic and provincial problems
of the Roman republic and its empire. Many of the political, social, economic and administrative ills of Rome
had been ignored or exploited for generations. Caesar was the first to present a coherent platfonn of reform.
Many of his reforms were 'popular' but were not intended to win popularity; he was also capable of
statesman-like reforms that were actually unpopular. Some of his reforms can be considered 'enlightened' and
it can be argued that he foreshadowed the basic form of the empire.
Caesar addressed economic and financial problems by stabilising Rome's degraded currency and reduced
rising debt and interest by offering a compromise between debtors and creditors that gave impetus to the
economy by putting money back into circulation.
Caesar attempted to satisfy the ambitions of Rome' s political elite by providing new career opportunities by
increasing the numbers of praetors, aediles and quaestors. He also increased the number of Senators. He
courted unpopularity in Rome by enrolling Italians, Spaniards and Gauls as Senators. This reform meant the
Senate's deliberations had significance beyond the Italian peninsula.
Caesar addressed Rome's urban problems. He created local government structures and established
qualifications for municipal magistrates and town councils throughout the empire. He supplemented the grain
dole but reduced the number eligible to receive it after conducting a census. He slowed the movement of the
landless poor to Rome by legislating that one third of the labourers on large estates had to be free men, not
slaves. He redistributed public land in Italy as small fam1s .
Caesar dealt with legal matters. He reformed the civil law code, selected the most essential laws and
published them. He also stabilised the judicial system, ensuring equal numbers of Senators and equestrians
served on juries. The penalties for severe crimes were increased.
In the provinces Caesar reformed the tax collection system, appointing state officials and establishing a land
tax to replace the tithe. To ensure good governance, he reduced the terms ofproconsulars and other provincial
magistrates. He began an official process ofRomanisation by widening the base of citizenship to include the
Italian allies, Cisalpine and Transpadene Gaul. Important native leaders and provincial cities were now
represented in Rome. He established 20 overseas colonies for veterans and the poor. This upgraded the
advantages of citizen status and guaranteed reserves of trained ex-soldiers and future recruits. He introduced
a variety of citizenship and colonial rights for satellite Roman cities and towns.
Caesar planned major public building programs, providing aqueducts, draining marshes and improving port
facilities from Africa to Corinth. To inspire and spread Greco-Roman culture he established public libraries,
collecting and classifying Greek and Latin literature. Caesar constructed new buildings in the Roman forum
and introduced a solar calendar which allowed the Roman religious calendar to be followed correctly.
Those who criticised Caesar's actions as Dictator did not attempt to reverse his reforms after he was
murdered. This suggests that Caesar's reforms were both relevant and appropriate.
HSC Exam questions and answers 215
(b) Evaluate the significance of the Gallic Wars in the career of Julius Caesar. 15 marks
Caesar's success as a commander in the Gallic Wars was the most signii1cant event of his career. It brought
him into direct opposition to Pompey for precedence in the Roman Republic.
The choices that Caesar made that precipitated the civil war and his dictatorship arc the main criteria used by
historians to pass judgment on his career. There were many other aspects to Caesar's career that were
important. His family background and connections to the Optimates on his mother's side, and the Marians on
his father's side of the family, gave him the responsibility and opportunity to pursue a political career and
provided a potential popular clientele. There were also very real liabilities when Sulla returned to Rome.
Caesar was able to survive the proscription of Sulla by making some sort of 'deal' which saved his life and
took him to the East. His election as Pontifex Maximus showed his great popularity and electoral appeal and,
perhaps, potential for attaining a position of influence and power. In 60 BC his election as consul saved his
career from the opposition ofCato and allowed him to broker the triumvirate. His victory in the civil war,
against all the odds, ensured he survived the attempts of his enemies to prosecute him for illegalities during his
consulship. However, none of these events has the same significance as Caesar's decision to declare war on
the Roman Republic and this was a direct result of his successes in Gaul.
1 he continuing wars in Gaul saved Caesar from his enemies in the short term. They allowed him to justify
holding proconsular imperium for a prolonged period. This may have affected the way he conducted and
reported the war, using his Commentaries to remind Romans how important it was to retain him as proconsul
in Gaul. This kept his accusers at bay and enabled him to avoid becomingprivatus. This kept him out of the
courts and kept his political career alive.
In the longer term, Caesar's successes in Gaul ensured him popularity, wealth and influence. He won a
military reputation on a par with Pompey. In Gaul he fought 30 pitched battles in which he captured one million
men and 800 towns.He added enormous resources to Rome's empire by conquering an area twice the size of
Italy, with a population larger than Spain and great resources and potential for trade and development. The
Julian 'faction' now had an enormous potential client base. Caesar accumulated great wealth in Gaul which
enabled him to buy political services at Rome on a scale comparable to Crassus and Pompey. He had a loyal
and experienced arn1y willing to follow him. He was successful and considered 'lucky'; he was a proven
'winner'. This made him a potential rival to Pompey for pre-eminence in the Republic.
(;aesar's successes in Gaul made it inevitable that he would appear as a rival to Pompey. The attendance of
,mpey and Crassus at Luca in 56 BC, as described by Plutarch, suggests that Caesar was becoming the
major partner in the amicitia by that stage. Pompey's attitude and personal aims changed after this meeting;
he sought a consulship and proconsulship. He equipped himself with an army, provinces and imperium.
Crassus reacted similarly with disastrous consequences. Pompey eventually took the opportunity to abandon
his arrangement with Caesar and embarked on a period of unprecedented supremacy. He held imperium as
proconsul for both Spains, which he governed by proxy through legates; he was allowed a sole consulship. He
held a special commission for ensuring the grain supply with a form ofmaius imperium. His marriage to
Cornelia of the Metelli placed him at the head of the Optimates. The legislation that Pompey introduced tore-
establish his position as Caesar's better eventually inspired Caesar's drastic decision to stand up against these
inuriae and invade Italy.
Caesar's success in the Gallic Wars was at the heart of the civil war. It created the circumstances and rivalry
that inspired it and provided the means by which Caesar was able to successfully prosecute the civil war.
I, '
~ '
Chapter 7
Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar is perhaps the most famous of all Romans. His life and career are controversial subjects.
Scholars are divided over his role in the fall of the Republic and the significance of his legacy for the
origins of the Roman Empire.
Many of the sources are decidedly hostile and their interpretations and conclusions must be examined
critically. Some of the ancient verdicts about Caesar, and their modem versions, cannot be sustained
from the evidence, especially those which accuse him of acting only from ambition and vanity.
There is ambivalence as well; many critics, both ancient and modem, while condemning his motives,
acknowledge Caesar's outstanding abilities and accomplishments .
.. chronology of Julius C a ~ s a r Terms and concepts
~ r Events
amicitia Political alliance, often sealed by
Born in Rome
Marriage to Cornelia, daughter of Cinna
auctoritas Personal authority, based on reputation
and accomplishments.
'Interview' with Sulla, sent to the East.
clementia Clemency, act of pardon. May have
Returned to Rome carried a sense of obligation for the pardoned.
Captured by pirates
dignitas Reputation, 'good name', personal
Elected Pontifex Maximus
Served as quaestor in Spain
gloria Accumulated achievements that a family
Married Pompeia, granddaughter of Sulla
could celebrate and use to remind others of their
pedigree and record of service to the state.
Elected praetor
imperium Power and authority to command an
Governed Spain as pro-praetor
60 Formed amicitia with Crassus and
nobile Roman political elite, families that had
Pompey - First Triumvirate
secured the consulship.
optimates Senatorial clique, the 'best' men.
Married Calpumia, daughter of Relied on combined family connections and
L.Calpumicus Piso influence for advancement.
Marriage of Caesar's daughter Julia to
paterfamilias Head of a family who controlled
all aspects of family life, of all members of the
Proconsul I Governor of Gaul
extended family.
Gallic Wars patronus Patron, head of a network of clients.
Crosses the Rubicon, begins Civil War
potestas Power to carry out the duties of political
48 Civil War, campaigns in Greece and Egypt
Entered into a form of marriage with
sacrosanctitia Sacrosanctity, immunity from
Cleopatra VII
violence or prosecution; given to tribunes
4(, Made Dictator for 10 years
senatus consultum ultimum Final decree of the
Sole Consul, declared Dictator for life
Senate empowering magistrates, usually consuls, to
Assassinated on the Ides of March
restore order by any means available - martial law.
124 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
Geography and resources of
Rome and its provinces
By the beginning of the first century BC, Rome
dominated Italy and was at the centre of an empire
that extended around the Mediterranean.
Most of this empire had been won in response to
conflict and competition with Carthage during the
previous century, particularly in the western
Mediterranean, where Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Spain
and parts of North Africa were ruled and exploited
as Roman provinces.
In 133 BC Rome inherited the Kingdom of Pergamon
from which it created the lucrative province of Asia.
The empire provided Rome with a great range of
resources including grain, gold, silver, copper, iron,
marble, timber, horses, and the human resources of
slaves and auxiliary troops.
Control of this empire provided Rome with immense
wealth in material and human terms and placed it at
the centre of a dynamic trading network which
extended from the Atlantic coast to India and China.
Overview of Roman political
and social structures
Patricians and plebeians
There was a historical division in Roman society
between the patricians, a small group of families that
claimed great antiquity, and the plebeians, the majority
of the people.
In the early Republic, the patricians had exclusive
access to political power and enjoyed a status above
ordinary people.
A series of legal and social struggles between the
patricians and the plebeians resulted in political, military
and most religious offices being opened to all citizens.
By Caesar's time, the priveleges that had once
divided the classes had been dissolved by both law
and convention.
New social divisions emerged during the first centuries
of the Republic, based on membership of the Senate.
This allowed the wealthiest families, both patrician
and plebeian, to form an elite.
Within this elite, the distinction ofbeing elected consul,
set those families apart from the others. These families
were the no biles.
Equestrians (Equites)
In these centuries the equestrians emerged as a class
based on wealth. In a state where most citizens served
in the army as infantry, those who could a rli 11 'In It
the equestrians, were set apart.
This equestrian class became Rome's busiu
and commercial brokers. They had a vesk'd
interest in stability in both Italy and the provl ll
peace was good for business.
There was tension in the state between the
who wielded power and the
generated wealth. Some politicians exploill'il
tension for their own ends.
An important feature of Roman politica I I i k
patronage, a system in which the rich and pow 1
acted as patrons of the less rich and powerful. I
was a many tiered system with the clients
levels of society acting as patrons of those in
lower levels.
The relationship was based onfides, good faith, nt
than law. Clients gave deference and respl'l'l
patrons in return for services provided.
Together, class and patronage created com pi it nl
and extended 'families' which became the hu
structures of Roman society and political life.
Political structures
The political structures of the Republic attempll'd u
balance the interests between the classes and to It
the power available to individuals and groups.
The power to make laws was shared by II
assemblies of the people and an assembly ol' lh
experienced and wealthy, the Senate.
The power to enact and enforce the laws was gi v 11
by the people to magistrates who were el c t t
annually and shared power with a colleague. 1
rarely did any man hold sole office or power.
Two annually elected consuls held supreme power
peace and war. Financial, judicial and civic powl:t
and responsibilities were managed by
magistrates such as praetors and quaestors.
In 49 BC to balance the influence of the Senate :11
the magistrates, the plebeians elected and Pmn'""'
ten tribunes. Their role was to represent and proll't:
the interests of the plebeians with both the Scnat .
and the magistrates.
The plebeian leaders were to be sacrosanrl
(untouchable) during their year term of office.
combined power of the plebeians guaranteed
tribunes' safety.
It was customary to wait until qualified by age II
begin a political career. The accepted hierarchy o
offices and the accompanying age qualification!
controlled progress up the succession of offin':
known as the cursus honorum. (See Fig 7.1)
Julius Caesar 125
min. age
Authority, duties
Voted by Comitia
Bearer of imperium- supreme civil and military magistrate. Commanded army,
presided over Senate meetings, enacted Senate decisions, carried out the chief
elections. Assigned as governor (proconsul) after term of office.
Voted by Comitia
Bearer of imperium- urbanus (city) praetor was the supreme judge in civil cases.
The peregrinus ('foreign') praetor dealt with procedures relating to foreigners.
Praetors could lead an army, summon Comitia Centuriata , introduce new laws.
After Sulla, all headed courts before becoming governors (proconsuls).
Voted by Comitia
Bearer of potestas - responsible for maintenance of temples, streets and traffic,
public buildings, water supply, market regulations and distribution of the corn
dole. Arranged festivals and games. The office entitled imagines to be displayed
at funerals.
Voted by Comitia
Bearer of potestas- Financial and administrative magistrates for Rome and the
provinces: responsible for public records, treasury, assistant to governors,
paymaster & war booty supervisor on campaign. Automatically became Senators
after term of office. Could command military if necessary (as propraetor).
Figure 7.1 The succession of offices known as the curs us honorum, after Sulla's 'restoration'.
llrovincial offices
The Roman state was essentially a city-state where
political privileges were limited to a citizen elite. The
rt:sponsibility for governing a vast empire created
111ajor problems for this city-state structure.
In response to the demands of an expanding empire,
llic Romans increased the number of lesser
111agistrates and employed ex-magistrates as
ndministrators and governors of areas that were ruled
11s provinces.
' Provincial commands and governorships offered
opportunities for the powerful to increase their wealth
1111d influence.
( )verview of significant political
~ military developments
hll' most of the 2nd century BC, Rome was involved
111 a series of wars in northern Italy, Sicily, Africa,
Spain, Greece and Syria. This long period of conflict
11 11d a lasting impact on political affairs at Rome.
' l11 response to these dangerous times the Senate,
whilh was filled with ex-magistrates, provided
11'111krship from the most experienced and able men
'"'"iL1ble. These 'best' men, Optimates, were given
illld accepted the responsibility for guiding Rome
tl111111gh its dire situation. The Senate's prominence
"11;; so well accepted during this century that it
hnn1nc a convention to give the Senate precedence
IIIJ'',vcrning the state.
Members of the most powerful senatorial families,
the Optimates, relied on their connections to advance
their political careers. A family like the Comelii, for
instance, provided 30 or more Consuls during the
second century.
The institutions of patronage, clientship and marriage
combined to allow a small number of families to
dominate the state. Once peace returned to Rome's
empire, this convention was soon tested.
Some families and individuals who were not favoured
by the Optimates chose a different course of action
for political advancement. These families used the
power that was available through the people's
assemblies and the tribunes.
In the name of the people, the Populares used the
tribunate to attempt to redress the Senate's dominance
of the Republic. These attempts usually coincided
with the advancement of their interests and careers.
One family, the Sempronii Gracchi, attempted to use
the tribunate and the people's suppmt to carry out a
revolutionary platform of social reforms, funded by a
wider distribution of the wealth from the recently
acquired province of Asia.
The response from their opponents, the Optimates,
was staunch and violent. The Gracchi brothers were
murdered while serving as tribunes.
By issuing decrees that authorised the killing of the
Gracchi as enemies of the state, the Senate had
sanctioned violence as a tactic in political life.
126 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
Another leader of the Populares who challenged the
authority of the Optimates was Gaius Marius, uncle
of Caesar. A successful military commander and
consul, Marius was forced to take action in the name
of the Senate against his own supporters and clients.
His credibility was destroyed and he withdrew from
political life.
Rise of military leaders
During the century of war there wa need for, but
also opportunities for military leaders. Usually only
those in office as consul or praet r or those qualified
by previous experience, were granted imperium, the
power to lead an army. In times of danger however,
conventions were ignored in the interests of the state's
During the war against Hannibal for example, men
were given power without hol.ding official office and
commands were extended b yond normal limits.
These situations were soon examples of what could
be achieved outside the normal channels. Great
wealth, honour and fame were the rewards for a
successful military commander.
In 90 BC the Italian allies (socii) declared war on
Rome. They had served in Rome's armies but were
frustrated by Rome's failure to grant them citizenship
Rome fought desperately to survive. Even Marius
was welcomed from retirement to assist his former
subordinate Cornelius Sulla, among others, to put down
this Social War.
To end the war, the Romans were forced to grant
various levels of citizenship to the towns and cities of
Loyalty to military commanders
The Italian allies were a real threat to Rome because
they had been trained and armed as Roman
legionaries. A century of war had required many
Italians to serve in Roman armies for long periods.
In the wars in North Africa and against the Germans
and Gauls, Marius had solved Rome's manpower
problem by opening service in the army to the urban
poor and unemployed. He introduced new equipment
and training to ensure Rome had a reliable army.
In so doing he professionalised the army and
effectively transferred the allegiance of the legions
from the state to their immediate commanders.
Successful commanders brought not only glory to their
men, but rewards of booty and land.
The relationship between the new armies and their
commanders became a major force in the Roman
Military commands became increasingly l \1 h
as sources of political power and, as a cons 'I'
became potential sources of conflict.
Civil war
In 88 BC the Senate appointed the consul SulfA 11
command against the King ofPontus, Mithridul
who was threatening the provinces in the Ealll.
When Sulla left Rome for the East in 87 BC, M1u
with the support of the tribune Sulpicius, u. \
11 1
people's assembly to overturn the Senate's d t II
and to reassign the command to himself.
Sulla responded by marching his army to Romo 1
taking control ofthe state. Marius and his suppllll
fled. Sulla killed Sulpicius and restored the S 'II 1
authority before setting out for the East again.
In late 87 BC Marius, and the recently deposed ' I 11
Cornelius Cinna, raised an army and marchctl t 11
Rome. Marius appointed himself and Cinna as 't 11 1
for 86 BC. Sulla's supporters were mercil I
proscribed. Marius died very soon after enterinH hi
seventh consulship. Cinna remained as the ruler 1
Rome until his death in battle in 84 BC.
Sulla returned victorious from the East. He in al I
Italy and destroyed the Marians at the Battle ol' th
Colline Gate outside Rome in November 82 BC. II
later ruthlessly proscribed the opponents of the 11111
and the supporters of Marius and Cinna.
Sulla became dictator of Rome and instituted ref(> I tH
which restored the power of the Senate, restored lh
principle of annual and collegiate magistracies, mul
effectively curbed the power of the people and lh
Family background and position
Divine origins
The Julian family was one of the oldest Patriciun
families in Rome, able to trace their ancestry to thu
beginnings of Roman history.
According to family tradition, they claimed descent
from Aeneas, the surviving member of the Trojan
royal family, who escaped with his father and son
Julus and settled in Latium.
Aeneas and Julus eventually became closely
associated with the official story of the founding of
Rome through their descendants, particularly Rhcu
Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus.
According to the legend, Aeneas was also the son
of the goddess Aphrodite, associated with Venus by
the Romans, and Romulus the son of Mars. This
ancestry allowed Julius Caesar to claim both royal
and divine descent.
Links with Marius
The Julians were noble but there had not been a
consul in the family for many years.
Early in the 1st century BC, Caesar's aunt Julia
married Gaius Marius, who became Rome's greatest
hero, winning victories in Africa and defeating Gauls
and Germans who had threatened to overrun Italy.
~ Dming thi s peri d Madu had been allowed to hold
con ecutive consulships, ignoring a lawt ha1 required
a ten year interval between consulship . He had al so
been elected consul in absentia without retuming to
Rome, another illegality.
1 Mar; .. " had overcome opposition from the ruling
factl . in the Senate by mobilising support from the
people, through the assemblies.
1 When Caius Julius Caesar was born on 12/13
Quintilius (July) 100 BC, his uncle Marius was holding
the consulship for the fifth consecutive year.
Sextus Julius Caesar m. Marcia
Julia ~ - Caius Marius
C. Marius (Consul)
Julius Caesar 127
Immediate family
Caesar's father was a Roman politician who was
elected praetor in 92 BC and served as governor in
the province of Asia from 90- 89 BC. He must have
been a man of substance because he was allowed to
marry well. He died without attaining the consulship.
Close relatives of Caesar, Sextus and Lucius, both
held consulships, in 91 BC and 90 BC respectively.
Lucius Julius Caesar was Censor in 89 BC and the
author of the Julian Law. His younger brother, Caius
Julius Caesar Strabo was aedile in 90 BC.
These brothers were among Rome's leading
politicians, but eventually died for their opposition to
Marius. This split in the family indicates that it was
particularly active politically.
Caesar's mother Aurelia was a member oftheAurelii
Cottae, one of the richest and most influential plebeian
families in Rome. His cousins, the Aurelii Cottae
brothers, were successful politicians of this period.
That such a powerful and influential family would be
interested in allying itself with the Julians, suggests
that the Julians were a family rising to prominence.
Julia I m. C.Cinna
Julia II m. M Atius Balbus
C. Julius Caesar m. 1. Cornelia Atia m. C. Octavius
2. Pompeia
3. Calpurnia 1.
Octavia m. 1. C.Ciaudius C. oJavius
(Augustus) Julia m. Pompeius Magnus Marcellus
(Pompey) 2.M.Antonius
Figure 7.2 Julian Family Tree
~ a r l y life and education
( 'aesar's early life would have been spent in the family
tlomus in Subura in Rome and in other houses owned
I y his uncles and cousins. He may have accompanied
his father when he went as governor to Asia.
The sources suggest that his mother, Aurelia, was a
consistent and powerful influence in his life. One of
his uncles, an Aurelii Cottae, was also a possible
II is family would have expected him to have a political
rurcer, at least as successful as his father, and to
(Mark Antony)
maintain the family name and reputation.
At hi birth it would have been expected lbat, with
Marius influence and support he would reach the
bi ghe t offices in the state.
When. Mar:ius ' career crashed per hap the family
accepted a lesser goal. This may explain Caesars
enrolment a. a priest of Jupiter a prestigious positi n.
but one which precluded a military or political career.
AfterMariu ' r eturn to public favour dtuing the Social
War and bi coup in lhe 80 BC perhaps the famil y
changed its mind again.
128 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
Caesar's abilities as a writer, orator and lawyer,
suggest that he had received the education expected
for a member of an aristocratic Roman family.
From the age of 7, boys were taught reading and
writing in both Latin and Greek and basic arithmetic.
At 12 they were taught Latin and Greek grammar,
using Homer and Virgil.
As a teenager Caesar was educated by the grammarian
M. Antonius Gnipho, one of Rome's most important
professors, who was also the teacher of Cicero. Caesar
would have also been trained in rhetmic.
Paths to power
As a child, Caesar was enrolled as Flamen Dialis, the
chiefpriestofthe cult ofJupiter, a prestigious position,
which according to Cicero, was unlikely to be a 'path to
power' . Caesar was supposedly prevented from taking
up this priesthood by the return of Sulla.
Caesar was elected Pontifex Maximus in 63 BC a
position which carried great prestige and a number
of privileges, including an office in the Forum and a
residence nearby.
This election surprised his opponents who expected
that one of the more experienced or more well-known
of the Optimates candidates would win.
Caesar immediately made his opponents aware of
the range of powers and influence he possessed as
Pontifex Maximus by threatening prosecutions, under
religious sanction, of those who had persecuted
supporters ofMarius.
Marian connections
Caesar's connection by marriage to Marius and Cinna
was a double-edged sword. It ensured him a ready
clientele, but also the automatic opposition of the
During the early years of his career he took every
opportunity to remind the people of his Marian
background to mobilise the support that this connection
should provide.
At the funerals of his aunt Julia and his wife Cornelia
Caesar delivered eulogies in which he reminded the
people of his political pedigree. On both occasions he
flouted recent laws by exhibiting trophies and the
death masks of Marius and Cinna.
Political alliances
Caesar had many attributes of the successful Roman
politician, but in his early career he lacked one essential
element, wealth.
He solved this problem by entering into a polil
relationship with and becoming a client of
extremely wealthy Roman patron, Marcus Licinlll
Crassus, one of Sulla's supporters.
Described as the wealthiest man 'in the worlil'
Crassus had recently added to his vast fortliiW h
claiming and buying the land of those proscribed 111\
Sulla's return to Rome.
Crassus promoted Caesar's career in anticipation I IIIII
the young man would be a valuable asset to him wit 11
he began to hold office or military commands.
Caesar was first engaged and possibly married t 1
Cossutia, the bearer of a large dowry from a wcahlt
plebeian family. In about 87/86 BC the engagement
marriage was ended. If Caesar was to be priest 11l
Jupiter, he would have to marry a patrician.
In 84 BC Caesar married Cornelia, daughter ofC'illiHI
who had succeeded Marius and now held th '
consulship. Caesar was now son-in-law of the rul tt
of Rome. This would become a liability when Sul111
returned to Rome. Caesar and Cornelia had n
daughter, Julia, then Cornelia died.
In 68 BC Caesar married Pompeia, a granddaughter or
Sulla who brought with her a large dowry. He divorced
her in 61 BC after a scandal about her relationship with
Clodius who had been accused of sacrilege.
As part of the amicitia that he arranged in 59 B< ',
Caesar married Calpurnia, daughter of L. Calpurniu
Piso, who subsequently served as consul in 58 B( .
Caesar later entered into some sort of marriage with
Cleopatra VII Queen of Egypt during his stay there ill
48 BC. She came to Rome in 46 BC and Cacsur
reportedly acknowledged her child Caesarian as his st 111,
Caesar was well-known, if not notorious, for thu
number and frequency of his affairs with significant
Roman women, among them Servilia, mother ofBruliiH
the future assassin.
Early political career to 60 BC
There are contradictions in the sources about
Caesar's early political career. The tradition is thai
the young rebel, refusing Sulla's demand that he
divorce his unacceptable wife, Calpumia, narrowly
escaped death and went into exile in the East.
His subsequent service in the army in Mytilene and
Cilicia and the award for bravery he received do not
support this story.
Caesar survived Sulla's return to Rome in 82 B('
because he co-operated or compromised with Sulla ~
regime; there is no other credible explanation for Sull11
allowing Caesar, nephew ofMarius and son-in-law
ofCinna, to live.
When Sulla retired, Caesar retumed to Rome. He
was invited to join Sertorius in his efforts to rescind
some of the Sulla's laws, however Caesar did not
support Sertorius.
Caesar prosecuted a number of prominent Sullan
supporters for various charges of extortion. These were
not successful, but were public and well- reported.
76 BC in the East
Caesar set out to complete his education at Rhodes.
While in the East, he also arranged the integration of
the kingdom ofBithynia into the empire. This included
some intervention against Mithridates VI of Pontus,
who disputed Rome's claim to Bithynia.
Caesar spent the next two years involved in actions
11St pirates in the East, including the famous episode,
reported with different details by Plutarch and Suetonius,
where he was captured by pirates but, after seeming his
own release, returned to capture them.
Cursus honorum
In 73 BC Caesar returned to Rome and gained a
seat on the college of priests and soon after was
elected as a military tribune.
Caesar publicly supported Gn. Pompeius Magnus
(Pompey) in his efforts to restore the powers and
prestige ofthc people's tribunes.
I le spoke before the assembly in favour of amnesty
lor Marians and supported the Lex Plotia recalling
lhe supporters ofLepidus.
II is aunt Julia and his wife Cornelia died and were
given public funerals. Caesar delivered the eulogies
which he made reference to Cornelia's husband
C'inna and his uncle Marius.
In 69 BC he was elected quaestor and served in
1:urther Spain.
( 'lient base
< ln his return to Rome after serving in Spain, he
negotiated with the people of Cisalpine Gaul in their
quest for citizenship north of the Po River,
sl rengthening his client base.
I It: returned to Rome and married Pompeia, grand-
d:ntghter ofSulla and distant relative ofRome's most
powerful man, Pompey. She offered a large dowry.
I k reputedly embarked upon a series of affairs with
1l1c wives of Rome's famous and powerful men,
including Pompey and Crassus.
! l11 (, 7 BC he supported the tribune Gabinius' campaign
II 1 have a special command against the pirates given
lo Pompey.
Julius Caesar 129
In 66 BC he entered the Senate.
He supported tribune A. Manitius' campaign to have
Pompey appointed to the command against
Mithridates and Tigranes.
As curator of the Via Appia, Caesar spent large sums
of money, which he borrowed, to upgrade the oldest
of Rome's main roads.
Public popularity
In 65 BC Caesar served as aedile. Though heavily
in debt, he maintained an extravagant public lifestyle.
He provided spectacular games and entertainments.
He assembled so many gladiators that the Senate
became fearful of his private army and passed a law
to limit the number that could be housed in Rome.
Caesar's popularity increased, but so did his debts.
Contrary to the law of Sulla, Caesar restored Marius'
victory trophies to the forum.
He supported the award of full citizenship for
Cisalpine Gaul and the proposed annexation ofEgypt.
In 64 BC Caesar supported tribune Rullus' law to
redistribute land and move some of the city population
back to rural areas.
In 63 BC Caesar was elected Pontifex Maximus,
chief priest of state cults, this was a life-long office
which carried an official residence and great authority
and dignity.
Caesar showed the power of his new office by
prosecuting Rabirius for killing the tribune Satuminus
in I 00 BC. Although a mock trial, it reminded his
enemies how much power and authority the ancient
laws gave him as Pontifex Maximus.
Conflict with the Optimates
Caesar was implicated in the conspiracy of the
unsuccessful consular candidate L.C. Catalinus
(Catiline) , but evidence proved there was no
connection. The consul Cicero actually suppressed
this evidence at first. Nonetheless, Caesar spoke in
the Senate against the death penalty for Cataline and
his supporters.
In 62 BC Caesar served as praetor. He attacked the
Senate leader, Q.L. Catullus for corruption and
supported Metellus Nepos' call for Pompey's return
to restore order.
Caesar caused so much concern among the
Optimates that the Senate dismissed him for causing
public disturbances. He was reinstated after popular
He divorced Pompei a after a scandal associated with
sacrilege by Clodius. Caesar's family had to be above
suspicion, as did all such families.
130 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
61 BC Governor of Spain
As governor of Spain Caesar managed to recoup
his fortune and pay off his debts to Crassus.
He at o revealed a talent for military command. He
led successful campaigns and was hailed imperator
by his troops.
He was entitled to apply to celebrate a triumph on
his return to Rome in 60 BC.
Role in the First Triumvirate
Caesar wrote to the Senate requesting a triumph on
his return to Rome in 60 BC. He also requested the
right to stand for the consulship of 59 BC, in absentia,
while he waited outside Rome for his triumph. This
was unconventional, but not illegal.
The Optimat refused to support Caesar's application.
Tbey believed that they could prevent Caesar's possible
election success by making him choose between the
triumph or the con ulship, predicting he would not give
up the honour of a triumph.
Caesar surprised the Optimates by returning to Rome
to present himselffor the election.
The Optimales then used bribery in the consular
eJections to ensure the election of their candidate
Marcus Bibulus. Bibulus and Caesar were elected
consuls for 59 BC.
Knowing he would be consul for 59 BC, Caesar
offered a political alliance, amicitia, to Crassus and
Pompey, to secure his position and minimise the
opposition expected from the Optimates.
Crassus and Pompey had needs Caesar could satisfy.
Crassus wanted tax concessions and a provincial
command; he also needed an ally against Pompey
for the future. Pompey wanted his Eastern Settlement
ratified and land for his veterans.
In a secret alliance, Caesar guaranteed both men their
immediate needs. In turn, they gave him the support
of their clients, their wealth and prestige. Cicero, who
had also been approached refused to join the triumvirate.
The Senate fearing Caesar s ambition, denied him
command of an army by announcing that the consu I
of 59 BC, instead of taking up the usual provincial
appointments, would be given the ' woods and
pastures' of Italy as their proconsu I at provinces.
Laws to satisfy Pompey and Crassus
As consul, Caesar forced the Senate to give back to
the Asiatic tax-farmers one third of the sum they had
paid for their contracts. This was of great benefit to
Crassus and the Equestrians involved.
Caesar introduced an act to provide land It
Pompey's veterans. The senate rejected it so he 1 1
it to the assembly. Caesar's colleague Bibulus,
the Optimate Cato, tried to obstruct the act. ( 'u
used a detachment ofPompey's veterans to deal lit
the opposition. The act was passed and became II
Bibulus, who had been assaulted, withdrew IH I t
political life, effectively leaving Caesar as sole ou tl
The tribune Vatinius, supported by Pompey's v htlltt
forced the acceptance of Pompey's Ea!ll 11
settlement in the Senate.
Caesar passed a second land law, giving public I 11111,
held under lease in Campania, to the poor.
Caesar's use of physical force in politics mad\1 1
imperative that he avoid becoming a private citi 1 11
again. If he did he would then be at the mercy of h
opponents, who would charge him in the courts lit
his illegal activities.
Secures wider support
Caesar negotiated an agreement with Ptol ' Ill
Aleutes, Pharaoh of Egypt, in which his rule w t
recognised by Rome, in return for a huge donation,
Caesar, Pompey and Crassus employed the peopl '
favourite, P. Clodius to help deal with their
As Pontifex Maximus, Caesar transferred Clotli\1
from the ranks of patricians to the plebeians so 1 hut
he could serve as tribune, giving the Triumvirate un
ally in the Popular Assembly.
Caesar secured Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum for fivo
years as proconsul with four legions. The death ul
the governor of Transalpine Gaul, allowed Pompl.ly
to that it be added to Caesar's provin
which the Senate reluctantly approved.
Caesar organised the election of his father-in-law
M.C. Piso and his friend and supporter, Gabinius, UN
consuls for 58 BC.
Cicero described Caesar's consulship as disgraceful,
and scandalous, but also noted that Cato's stubborn
opposition to Caesar had been a blunder.
Plutarch defended Caesar's actions, pointing out thut
Senatorial opposition and short-sightedness had lcll
him little alternative than to act as he did.
aesar was the lynchpin of the amicitia, the political
partnership that has become known as the 'First
Triumvirate'. When aesar was not present, Crassus
and Pompey engaged in competition and rivalry.
In 56 BC Caesar had to intervene to prevent conflict
between his partners. The conference he called at
Luca re-established the partnership and satisfied the
rivals' concerns. Caesar's daughter Julia married
Pompey to consolidate the arrangement.
The Gallic Wars
In 58 BC Caesar entered the provinces of Gaul, an
area without political unity, where rival Celtic tribes
fought each other and nearby Germanic tribes.
The Helvetii tribe decided to migrate to Westem Gaul,
which meant the passage of more than 300 000 people
tluough Caesar' provin e.
Caesar bl eked the advance of the Helvetii and forced
them northward inlo the territory of the Sequani and
the Aedui. After victorious battles, he forced the
Helvetii back to their own territory.
Caesar also forced the Germanic chief Ariovistus and
his Suebi tribe back across the Rhine into Germany.
Caesar left troops in Outer Gaul ('long-haired' Gaul
to the Romans) in the territory of the Sequani while
he wintered in Cisalpine Gaul.
L ... npaigns and tactics
Caesar is accused by some of fabricating and
exploiting the threat to Gaul. The pre ence of more
than 300 000 migrating Gauls needs o fabricati n. Tbe
threat to Rome's allies and peace was reaJ.
Julius Caesar 131
His subsequent decision to pacify Gaul also attracts
criticism as being unnecessary.
Caesar's considerations included:
-the need to pacify one of Rome's largest and
most important provincial areas
- the need to enhance his reputation through
military victory
- the auctoritas and support that an army of
veterans could give him in the future
- a successful campaign in Gaul would provide
enormous wealth and a vast clientele for future
political campaigns.
Caesar took the offensive in Gaul, responding to
revolts quickly and mthlessly.
Most tribes submitted as Caesar approached. His
legates accepted the submission of tribes as far north
as the Atlantic.
When necessary, he did the unexpected. For example,
he built a bridge across the Rhine which enabled him
to punish German tribes in 55 BC, and he crossed the
channel to Britain in both 55 and 54 BC.
Sambre X
X Alesla
against Veneti
1 . . ...._..,.,-
Gerg "
X BattleSites
figure 7.3 Caesar's campaigns in Gaul 58-50 BC
132 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
Siege of Alesia
In 52 BC Vercingetorix unified the Gallic tribes in
central Gaul to rise against Roman control.
Caesar travelled through thick snow to meet the rebels.
He lost the initial engagements, but captured the tribal
capital at A varicum and killed the entire population.
Caesar also lost the next battle at Gergovia, where
he attacked rather than besieged the city, the usual
Roman strategy.
The next battle was fought at Alesia, a stronghold
with high walls and 170 000 defenders. This time
Caesar besieged the city, constructing a ring of
elaborate fortifications.
These works, built within sight of the enemy, showed
the training and discipline of the Roman army in action.
They included ditches to prevent cavalry attacks, a
double ditch, one filled with water, and ramparts with
palisade and towers. There were seven camps and
23 defence works in a circuit of 17 kilometres.
Vercingetorix summoned his Gallic allies to attack the
besieging Romans.
Caesar responded by building a second ring of
defence, roughly parallel with the first, against the
expected attack from the relief army. It made a circuit
of21 kilometres.
The relief army arrived and attacked the Romans.
However, Vercingetorix, the tactical leader, could not
communicate with them, and without his leadership
the attacks failed.
Caesar resisted the attacks of the relief army and it
Vercingetorix surrendered to Caesar and was held in
captivity until he was displayed six years later in
Caesar's triumph.
Caesar was conciliatory in his final arrangements with
the defeated. He imposed a moderate tribute and tribes
were allowed to retain their own organisation.
Results of the Gallic Wars for Caesar
Caesar established his military reputation in Gaul. He
fought 30 pitched battles in which he captured
1,000,000 men, killed 1,192,000 and captured 800
He added to Rome's empire an area twice the size
ofltaly, with a population larger than Spain, as well
as vast resources for trade and development.
Caesar now had an enormous client base and a
military reputation to rival that of Pompey.
He accumulated great wealth which enabled him to
buy political services at Rome on a scale comparable
to Crassus.
He also had a devoted army willing to follow him
Relationship with his army
Caesar served in the army in various capacities llllll
was decorated for bravery before he was giVl'll
command of an army in Spain in 61BC.
There are many reports of his physical endurnlll'Q
while on campaign, and of his inspirational c mitt 1
during battles.
He forged a personal relationship with the troops who
served under him in Gaul and during the Civil WtU'.
He was a successful commander who inspired hili
men with confidence. He looked after them and ditl
not waste lives in futile attacks or actions.
He took an interest in all things military. He was skilled
in logistics He contributed an improvement to tho
design of the legionary's chief weapon, the pilum.
He was, like most Roman generals, committed to thl!
offensive strategy but was tactically very competent,
being able to change tactics during a battle to dcnl
with contingencies as they arose.
His soldiers were loyal to him as their commander
and depended on him for the settlements and rewardPI
they expected at the end of campaigns and terms of
He is ranked as one of history's great soldiers and
generals. After the victory in the Civil War, Caesar
stated that without the loyalty of his army he would
have been lost.
Relationship with the Senate
The Senate had shown their fear of Caesar's
popularity in 59 BC when they voted him the 'woodH
and pastures' as his proconsular province, thuH
denying him command of an army.
He was not welcome when he entered the Senate in
66 BC. He was not a member of the Optinwtes, and
at times he was accused of not showing proper respect
for the Senate.
He was prominent in debate on a number of occasions
and seems to have been influential from the outset of'
his senatorial career.
Plutarch tells us that Caesar was attended by the
'most illustrious' men in Rome, including about 200
senators at Luca in 56 BC. This suggests that Caesar
had significant support in the Senate.
When the crucial Senate vote on Curio's motion was
taken in 50 B regarding the ompromi e Caesar
proposed, the number of votes he received again
shows there was con. iderabl e support fi r Caesar.
Caesar gained a number of extraordinary powers and
offices from the Senate after 49 BC, although by this
time the Senate, while legally convened, did not include
Caesar's enemies who had left Rome.
Steps to war
The First Triumvirate was weakened in 54 BC with
the death of Caesar's daughter Julia, wife ofPompey.
Caesar offered his grand-niece Octavia as a new
wife to Pompey, and he offered to divorce his own
wife to marry Pompey's daughter. Pompey refused
both offers. The death of Crassus in 53 BC marked
the official end of the Triumvirate.
Caesar needed to stay in office to avoid prosecution
as a private citizen by his enemies. He devised a plan
by which he could stand for the consulship of 48 BC
without leaving his province or surrendering his
imperium. Thi . was upported by Pompey.
ae ar supported extending Pompey's imperium in
Spain fo1 'five years. This was unconstitut ional but
was advocated by the tribune Curio, whose support
Caesar had bought.
1p y inlr duced a law to ensure an interval of
live years between , ervice as c nsul and taking up a
procons ul <1 r c mmancl. This threatened Cae ar
becau e it meant that even if ele ted con ul for 4
B , hew uld have to bee me a private citizen in 47
B , and as a private citizen he was able to be
prose utetl II r his use of fore when h wa c n ul.
urio used hi s tribuni ian veto and suggested that
both Caesar and Pompey should surrender their
imperium and provinces. Many senators supported
this proposition.
Consul C. Marcellus carried a motion to force Caesar
to give up his command but it was vetoed by Curio.
In December, Curio carried a motion (370-22) that
both Pompey and Caesar should resign their
commands. A deadlock ensued.
Without official sanction, consul Marcellus gave
mpey the charge to defend the state against
Caesar. Pompey accepted.
Attempts at compromise
Caesar made several attempts at compromise and
as late as 1st January 49 BC, he offered to resign his
command if Pompey did likewise. The consuls
refused to allow a vote on the offer and the Senate
allocated Caesar's provinces to others.
Metellus Scipio proposed that Caesar should be
declared a public enemy unless he surrendered his
command. The proposal was passed, but vetoed by
Marc Antony.
On 7 January Caesar's tribunes were warned to
leave the Senate, which then passed the Emergency
Decree, senatus consultum ultimum.
( 'aesar, who had been willing to compromise on all
lhings other than his future and his dignitas, had to
ad or accept prosecution and the subsequent loss of
dignitas .
Julius Caesar 133
On 10 January 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon,
the stream that formed the boundary between Gaul
and Italy, advancing on Italy in the name of the Roman
people and their tribunes.
Caesar's role in the civil war
49 BC
Caesar crossed the Rubicon into Italy.
Unable to raise armies, the Senate was helpless.
Pompey and the consuls left Rome.
Caesar drove Pompey the length of the Italian
peninsula. Caesar's losses were light and there
were no confiscations or plundering by his
Pompey reached Brundisium where he escaped
by sea.
Within two months Caesar was master of Italy.
Pompey and the majority of the senators fled to
Greece, making their main headquarters in
Thessalonika, with a second base at
Dyrrachium in Illyria.
Caesar entered Rome, pardoned his enemies,
and called the Senate to authorise his actions.
He also proposed a law granting Roman
citizenship to the inhabitants of Cisalpine Gaul.
Caesar decided to attack the senatorial forces
in Spain where there were seven legions. He
defeated two ofPompey's commanders,
Afranius and Petreius, at Ilerda within 40 days.
Caesar showed clemency, sparing the enemy
commanders and disbanding the defeated
legions. On the way back to Italy, he besieged
some of Pompey's troops at Massilia and they
surrendered to him.
Caesar sent legions to Africa under Curio
where they were defeated by King Juba of
Numidia. Curio was killed, two of Caesar's
legions were destroyed and Rome's corn supply
was threatened.
Caesar was made dictator.
In Greece, Pompey raised an army of 9 legions
and a fleet of300 ships. Additional legions were
on their way. He prepared to return to Italy.
Caesar, aware of Pompey's intentions, assembled
11 legions at Brundisium to cross the Adriatic to
attack Pompey before he reached Italy.
134 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
48 BC
Caesar was made consul (II)* with P. Servilius.
He relinquished his dictatorship of 49 BC after 11
Despite the difficulties of winter navigation,
Caesar crossed the Adriatic with seven legions to
attack Pompey. Caesar's navy was defeated and
the remaining four legions could not be ferried to
Illyria. Pompey and Caesar remained at
Dyrrachium where they built large fortresses
facing each other.
Antony managed to reinforce Caesar with the
four legions.
Opposition in Rome led by Caelius Rufus and
Cornelius Dolabella was repressed by Antony
who sent troops into the Forum.
Caesar was defeated in the campaign of
Dyrrachium. He decided to march inland, cross
the Pindus Mountains and face Pompey's
pursuing army in Greece.
Caesar defeated Pompey at the Battle of
Pharsalus. Almost 6,000 of Pompey's soldiers
were killed, and when Caesar surveyed the battle
field strewn with bodies of the dead senators, he
remarked: 'They would have it thus'. 24 000 of
Pompey's forces were captured.
Pompey was killed in Egypt after fleeing from
Caesar arrived in Alexandria to learn that
Pompey had been murdered by soldiers of King
Ptolemy XIII, who hoped to gain Caesar's
support in his quarrel with his older sister
Cleopatra VII.
47 BC
Caesar was made dictator again for one year.
Caesar met Cleopatra and chose her side in the
war with her brother, Ptolemy XIII.
Caesar defeated Ptolemy XIII in the Alexandrine
War and made Ptolemy's younger brother king,
although Cleopatra, as co-regent, was the
effective ruler.
Caesar moved to Asia Minor, where
the son ofMithridates ofPontus, had challenged
Roman authority. Caesar defeated Pharnaces,
the victory remembered in the famous epign1111
veni, vidi, vici - 'I came, I saw, I conquered'.
Caesar returned to Rome. His opponents, the ln!il
republican diehards, many of whom had been
pardoned, regrouped in Africa while he was in
Caesar crossed to North Africa.
46 BC
Caesar was made consul (Ill)* and dictator for
another 10 years.
Caesar defeated a large Pompeian army at
Thapsus in North Africa. Cato, the defeated
commander and one of Caesar's most prominent
enemies, committed suicide.
Caesar annexed some of the territories of the
Numidian king Juba.
Caesar returned to Rome.
Caesar celebrated a quadruple triumph over Gau
Pontus, Egypt and Africa.
Caesar headed to Spain to suppress a revolt led
by the sons of Pompey.
45 BC
Caesar was made consul (IV)*
Pompey's sons were defeated at Munda.
Caesar's strategy and the skills and endurance (
his soldiers had defeated the forces of Pompey i
battles around the Mediterranean. Caesar was
now undisputed master of the Roman Empire.
Caesar was made dictator for life.
Caesar returned to Rome and celebrated a
triumph for his victory in Spain.
*Numerals II, III and IV refer to Caesar's 2nd,
3rd and 4th consulships.
Julius Caesar 135
A relatively small group of families who formed a
senatorial clique. They considered themselves to be
the 'best' of the best.
While they claimed to be the defenders of the
Republic, it was a republic that gave them almost
exclusive access to high office and subsequently to
the dignitas, gloria and auctoritas that could be
gained by a successful military or political career or
lucrative provincial command.
They exercised their power through access to the
consulship, primacy of voting and debate in the
Senate and the Assembly of Centuries. They were
capable of using any tactic to gain their ends.
Marcus Porcius Cato, a leader of the Optimates was
an implacable enemy of Caesar.
As tribune in 62 BC, he tried to win popular support
by increasing the number eligible for the corn dole.
He opposed Crassus in 61 BC and frustrated
Pompey's settlement as well.
He opposed Caesar 'obstinately' . He wanted Caesar
brought to trial for his actions as consul in 59 BC and
attempted to replace Caesar in Gaul.
He followed Pompey to Greece in 49 BC and after
Pharsalus went to Africa.
He committed suicide at Utica in 46 BC rather than
be pardoned by Caesar.
Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus was the Optimates'
candidate and Caesar's consular colleague in 59 BC.
He was also Cato's son in law.
He tried to use his consular power to block Caesar's
legislation program.
He was threatened by Caesar's supporters and
eventually announced his intention to remain at
home and check the auspices.
He fought alongside Pompey in the Civil War.
Figure 7.3 Caesar's enemies and supporters
lersonal relationships
.lulia was Caesar's daughter by his wife Cornelia.
.lulia was married to Pompey in 59 BC as part of the
;IITangements of the political amicitia organised by
lu.;r father.
The love that developed between Julia and Pompey
111 this marriage of convenience was an important
dement in the success of the amicitia.
I kr death after a miscarriage played an important
p;11"t in the eventual breakdown of the amicitia
lwlween Caesar and Pompey.
The second highest ordo, or 'class', of Rome.
Originally they were men able to afford a horse, so
they served as cavalry.
In the Republic they were usually characterised as
the finance or business class. In the late Republic
they had responsibility for, sometimes control of, the
Both Populares and Optimates politicians courted
their support at different times but no political
consistency emerged.
They could be a disruptive element in their
opposition to the Senate but had a great deal in
common with the senatorial class.
Gaius Sallustius Crispus, tribune of the plebs in 52
BC, opposed Cicero and Milo. It is alleged he had an
affair with Milo's wife. He was expelled from the
Senate and exiled.
As dictator, Caesar recalled Sallust from exile, and
gave him command of a legion in 49 BC.
Sallust was praetor in 46 BC and later governor of
Africa. After being accused of extortion he retired
from public life to write history.
His histories deal with the moral decline of Rome,
particularly the nobility and its values. He highlights
the struggles of the Gracchi, Marius and Caesar
against the power of the nobles.
The populus
Caesar was the champion of 'the people' . Much of
his career was aimed at gaining their support and
associating himself with the popular tradition of his
uncle Marius.
There is no questioning Caesar's commitment to the
plight of the Roman people. He addressed a
significant number of their problems in his reforms.
Cleopatra VII
Cleopatra was a Ptolemaic descendant of the
Macedonians who had conquered Egypt with
Alexander. Cleopatra wanted to prevent her kingdom
from being made part of the Roman Empire.
The Romans had wanted to 'conquer' Egypt for some
time and were waiting for an excuse to intervene.
When Pompey was killed by her brother's agents,
Cleopatra saved Egypt and her own position by
coming to an arrangement with Caesar. Their
relationship was obviously more than political.
Caesar acknowledged her child Caesarian as his son.
Caesar left Romans in Egypt to support Cleopatra.
Egypt's future as a Roman possession was probably
inevitable from this point onwards.
136 HTA Ancient H is1ory Study Guide
Marcus Junius Brutus, the assassin, shared his name
with the traditional founder oftheRepublic.
Brutus had supported P ompe:y during the Civil War,
yet Caesar showed him dementia on two occasions.
Seneca makes the judgement that 'although in other
respects Brutus was a great man', he was wrong to
have killed Caesar.
Details from his correspondence with Cicero suggest
he was much less than tile 'noblest' of Romans.
Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony)
Antony was a Julian, a capable military commander
who joined Caesar's staff in Gaul in 54 BC. He was
tribune in 49 BC defending Caesar's cause.
He was Caesar's magister equitum, (second in
command), while Caesar held the dictatorship during
much ofthe civil war.
Antony often represented Caesar in Rome while he was
on campaign. He may !lave been out of favour for a
time, but served as Caesar's consular colleague in 44BC.
The assassins made sure they separated Antony from
Caesar before they killed Caesar in 44 BC.
Antony led the campaign to punish the assassins. He
may have assumed that he would be Caesar's heir. It
appears he made use of Caesar' s papers without legal
Marcus Tullius Cicero was, like Marius, a 'new man',
the first of his family to hold the consulship. He was
the foremost lawyer and orator of his day.
He considered himself tile saviour of the state because
he had uncovered and thwarted the Catiline
'conspiracy' in 63 BC.
He had a rather optimistic and naive view of the
Republic. His ideal was to re-establish a harmony of
the state, between Senate and people that he believed
had existed at some time in the past.
Caesar may have offered him the opportunity to join
the partnership, or triumvirate, with Crassus and
Pompey. If this is so, Cicero declined.
He had a grudging respect for Caesar's abilities but
feared his motives. He was a great friend of Pompey
but feared his motives as well.
He eventually joined Caesar who paid off Cicero's
brother' s debts. He may have been aware of the plot
to kill Caesar.
He did his best to mend the state after Caesar's death;
unfortunately he miscalculated by promoting the young
Octavian to offset Antony's ambitions .
He was killed in the proscriptions of the Second
Impact of Caesar's personal It
on his career
There is a tradition that Caesar was ambitious 11
desired power. It is implied in many accounls 11
these personal characteristics drove his carcc1 11
explained his actions.
There is no reason to believe that Caesar was 11
more ambitious than any other Roman nobile. Tlu
is no reason to believe that he sought power wil h 11
more determination than his contemporaries, r a s ~
Pompey, Cicero or Cato. Much of this tradition is d
to Plutarch's portrayal of Caesar as an Aristoll'll
tragic hero, a man with a 'fatal flaw'.
Caesar was ambitious. As a Roman nobile he \1
expected to at least maintain his family's name 11
reputation by his own achievements in politics 11
military service. As paterfamilias and patron//.\'
a host of clients, his personal dignitas could nol
separated from the Julian family's name a
reputation. The need to be successful was l c s ~
personality trait than a family responsibility.
Many of the criticisms of Caesar can be explained
examining his actions in terms of the 'ideals' th:1
late Republican Roman would have tried to embo'
gravitas, severitas, fides, dementia etc.
He was expected to act in certain ways in cerl.
situations. This was not the product of pride, arroga1
or ambition, but what was expected of a Roman nob
Caesar had great ability and determination.
displayed pragmatism and an ability to take chanc
These characteristics made him a formidable sold
and politician. He was most certainly more success
than most of his contemporaries. But this does 1
mean his personal ambition was extraordinary.
Caesar was a very able man in a range of are
Even enemies like Cassius and Cicero were fon
to acknowledge his qualities and abilities.
Caesar's success and prominence should be attribu
to greater ability, not greater ambition or desire.
Significance of his writings
Caesar's works were powerful, well-writ
narratives. However they can also be seen as perso
propaganda, written to publicise and explain Caes:
actions for his Roman audience.
Caesar wrote two main works, the Gallic War :
the Civil War. Cicero praised Caesar's writing
its style and use of everyday language.
The Gallic War gave information about Gallic ;
British customs, as well as the military campai
against them. The daily chronicle enabled Caesa
keep Rome infonned of his achievements. It was also a
means by which Caesar ensured that his province would
be seen in need of a proconsular presence, thus possibly
prolonging his own governorship.
His books on the Civil War give his perspective on
events, especially his motives for invading Italy. They
include a discussion of the legality of the Senate's
actions and the issuing of the Senatus Consultum
Ultimum to Pompey. The account and explanation
differ considerably from Cicero's account.
The office of dictator was a temporary, extraordinary
magistracy created to deal with a military crisis, but
it had been used in the past for domestic crises.
The term of office was a maximum of six months,
one campaign season, but could be renewed.
Dictators were not elected, but nominated by a consul
on the proposal ofthe Senate. A law oftheAssembly
ratified the appointment.
The dictator held undivided military and legal
authority, without sanction, at home and abroad. The
dictator was known as magister populi, master of
the people/ infantry, and he chose a magister equitum,
master of the cavalry, as his subordinate.
Julius Caesar 137
The office had not been used for anything but
ceremonial purposes since the late 2nd century BC.
Caesar was awarded the dictatorship on four separate
occasions: 49 BC for 11 days; late 48 BC for one
year; mid 46 BC for 10 years, but it had to be renewed
each year, then at the end of 45 BC, he was made
dictator for life.
Caesar's annual dictatorship was no different from
Sulla' s, but the subsequent grant of 10 years and then
lifetime dictatorship was unconventional and
technically unconstitutional.
Policies and reforms
Many problems that had been ineffectively dealt with
or ignored during the previous century received
immediate attention when Caesar was in the position
to carry out reforms.
He conducted his reforms using the conventional
devices of the Roman state: the edict, the senatorial
decree and popular law.
As a personal commitment to his supporters, he restored
the rights of those who had been proscribed by Sulla.
Figure 7.5 outlines Ceasar's reforms and their impacts
relating to Italy and the Empire, while Figure 7.6
outlines his major domestic reforms.
Reform Details Impact
The lex Julia Municipalis legislated for a uniform system of Increased their loyalty to Caesar and
local government for all enfranchised Italian towns. increased stability within the empire.
These towns managed their own affairs, elected their own
senate and magistrates.
Mandated the building of Roman towns in provinces, with Extended the process of
fora, basilica, courts, schools and theatres, as a physical 'Romanisation' .
manifestation of Rome's greatness.
Caesar did away with the inefficient and unpopular system of Reduced corruption would increase
contracting out provincial tax collection by transferring the loyalty to Caesar. {This measure was
responsibility from private publicani to state officials. Land unpopular with the Roman senators).
taxes replaced the tithe system in Asia and Sicily.
Caesar's reforms challenged the power
/\dmi nistration
Governors were no longer to milk the provinces to make
and privilege of a group of Roman
their own fortunes. The terms of proconsulars and other
families and allowed the rest of Italy
provincial magistrates were reduced to prevent abuse.
and the provinces to share in power.
He granted Roman citizenship to all of Cisalpine Gaul and Addressed the resentment of Italian allies
Transpadene Gaul. He extended Roman citizenship to who were disenfranchised from the
II. franchise
important native leaders in Spain and Gaul. Franchises benefits of Rome's rule. Citizenship
(voting rights)
were also granted to colonial cities such as Lisbon and secured their support for Roman rule and
Cadiz. enhanced the province's status.
Founded around 20 overseas colonies for veterans and the Settled problems of overpopulation in
poor, mainly in Carthage, Corinth and Spain. Colonies with Rome. Helped to settle outlying areas
sufficient Roman settlers received upgraded citizen status, of the empire. He thus provided land
including in many cases the citizen's right of appeal against for his hungry veterans. Resettlement
corrupt or tyrannical magistrates. guaranteed reserves of trained ex-
1 :olonies
Up to 80 000 of Rome's poor and unemployed were resettled soldiers to pacify the new territory and
in the new colonies. The colonies were granted a variety of guaranteed recruitment from their
citizenship and colonial rights, creating satellite Roman cities offspring for the future. Increased
throughout the Mediterranean and the East. Rome's influence throughout the Empire.
II!JUre 7.5 Caesar's Reforms relating to Italy and the empire
138 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
Civil laws
As Pontifex Maximus converted the lunar calendar
to a solar calendar of 365.25 days from 1st January
number annual magistracies:
praetors from 8 to 16, aediles from 4 to 6 and
quaestors from 20 to 40. Half the magistrates would
be elected, the other half Caesar would nominate.
Increased the number of senators to 900 by enrolling
Italians as well as Roman citizens from Spain and
Gaul, many of whom were his clients.
Ensured that equal numbers of senators and
equestrians, were responsible for legal administration
and judgments.
Penalties for severe crimes were made more severe;
eg in murder cases, he introduced the confiscation of
the whole of the criminal's property.
Granted citizenship to doctors and educated men.
ad to accept nd, at pre-war , in
settlement of debts, as assessed by arbitrators.
A portion of the built-up interest was deducted on
debts that, extending over years of civil chaos, would
bankrupt debtors if repaid in full.
Reinstated an old law limiting how much cash a
citizen could hoard. Put money from war spoils into
the Treasury and reformed the degraded currency.
He issued coins in his own image, but they were
coins based on a sound economic basis.
Raised the pay of his soldiers, from 120 to 225
denarii, having already given them extra rewards.
e us person to uild new
public structures in the Forum.
Planned a large library and commissioned scholars
to collect and classify Greek and Latin books.
Planned to drain city marshes, extend the harbour at
Ostia, cut a canal through the Isthmus at Corinth and
build a highway from the Adriatic across the
nnines to the Tiber.
Legislated that at least one third of the labourers on
the large estates had to be free men, not slaves.
Most of the remaining 'public land' in Italy was
broken up to create individual small farms.
an exact census popu on
based on the results, the free distribution of grain was
re-regulated, reducing the total number of recipients
from 320,000 to 150,000, not exceeded in the future.
Lex created a I government to
help manage Rome's urban problems e.g. use and
maintenance of Rome's streets.
It also set minimum standards for the qualifications
of municipal magistrates and town councillors
th hout and the e ire
a mass ,
often contradictory laws, accumulated over centuries, by
selecting the most essential laws and publishing them.
Forbade the meeting of clubs and collegia, except for
trade guilds and Jewish synagogues.
Introduced Jaws against excessive display of luxury.
Figure 7.6 Caesar's domestic reforms
Festivals corresponded with seasons.
The Julian calendar has endured, almost
unch to the
Increased opportunity for s in Rome
and abroad, these new opportunities for
plebeians and equestrians relieved some of
the tensions of Roman political life. Also
broke the power of senatorial cliques.
Senators from Gaul and Spain gave the
Senate's edicts significance beyond Italy.
Created a more representative and stable
court system.
Wealthy men had been able to escape
with exile. Caesar made them more
Educated men were enticed to Rome.
Len rs were assured some, not all,
their loan and profits; debtors were allowed
easy terms to repay without losing property or
These measures put money back into
circulation, put the currency on a sound basis
and helped stabilise the economy.
Images and legends were ideal means of
propaganda for Caesar's regime.
This ensured Caesar had a secure and
loyal military force.
me rst al' forum,
the Julian Forum. This relieved overcrowding
in the Forum.
The scope of these works demonstrated
Caesar's genuine statesmanship.
Reduced the incentive to idleness and
ensured jobs for poor, free men.
Slowed the drain of landless men into
It also regulated and controlled a source
of political tension.
More nt oversight of the needs of
the urban populace.
Improved the quality of local government
Removed potential for civil strife.
Luxury was seen as a corrupting influence,
although the impact of the law was limited.
Assassination of Caesar
Motives for the assassination
In 44 BC Caesar was both consul and dictator for life.
At the Lupercalia, Antony attempted to crown Caesar.
Caesar refused, but many of his opponents believed
he was aiming to make himself king.
There is no doubt he was looking for a solution to the
problem of how to maintain a position that was
consistent with the Roman constitution.
His recent interaction with the Hellenistic world may
have suggested a monarchy was the solution. He had
minted coins with his own image on them in the
Hellenistic tradition.
Ironically, as Pontifex Maximus, he was living in a
royal residence and performing the religious duties of
the Roman kings.
Inner of his death
At this time the Senate met in Pompey's theatre on
the Campus Matiius - the Curia was being rebuilt
after being burnt down in civil unrest during 52 BC.
On the Ides of March (15
'), Caesar was to announce
details ofhis plans for a campaign against Parthia which
would take him away from Rome for some time.
A group of Senators isolated Caesar on the pretext
of presenting him with a petition and stabbed him
numerous times.
One of ihe blows thought to be fatal was delivered
by Marcus Brutus, one of the organisers of the plot.
Many of the 60 conspirators were ex-Pompeians
whom Caesar had pardoned under his policy of
Impact of his death
")ublic reaction was at first muted by the murderers'
defence and references to the rights of 'tyrannicide',
the killing of tyrants.
Caesar's supporters were cautious until they realised
there was no wide-spread support for the murderers.
A n ~ o n ~ unleashed a violent public reaction by
dehvenng a eulogy over Caesar's blood-stained body
and later by reading Caesar's will publicly in the
Roman Forum.
A temple was built on the spot where Caesar's body
was laid and Caesar was deified.
Events followed that brought the Republic to its end.
Julius Caesar 139
Impact and influence on his time
Caesar had an enormous impact on his time.
He brokered a political amicitia, the First Triumvirate,
which signalled the end of the Republic.
He added more territory and more people to the empire
by conquest than any previous military commander.
The wars he fought set a standard of military
excellence in warfare that others have ever since
aspired to emulate.
He plunged Rome into a civil war, perhaps for the
sake of his personal reputation.
He was accorded more honours than any previous
Roman leader.
His wide-ranging reforms formed the basis for the
empire which followed
He was deified after death.
Assessment of his life and career
By any standards, Caesar was extremely successful.
He attained the highest offices in the state, using both
conventional and unconventional methods.
He was an outstanding politician and advocate.
He was an outstanding orator and writer.
He was a successful military commander, entitled to
use the title lmperator.
Emperors were called Caesar (in the forms of Kaiser,
Czar) thousands of years later.
Men such as Napoleon and Douglas Macarthur, in
their own quest for glory, were admirers and conscious
imitators of Caesar.
The range of his interests and abilities was so varied
that Caesar is often described as a genius.
His apparent commitment to do unpopular things that
he felt were for the good of Rome, revealed
statesmanship that was unusual in Rome's political histmy.
His enemies grudgingly admired his talents and
abilities. He was capable of surprising them. Even
Cassius wrote to Cicero during the Spanish campaign
to the effect that he much preferred Caesar and his
well-known policy of clemency to Pompey junior, whom
he characterized as stupid, arrogant, vain and cruel.
Throughout his career, Caesar displayed
determination and ruthlessness which later led to
charges of dictatorship.
We can never know exactly what motivated Caesar,
beyond his desire to exceed the reputation of all other
Romans. Was there a genuine commitment to reform-
or were his reforms simply a means of extending his
power over the 'mob'?
140 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
Caesar's reforms gave Rome a chance of achieving
a settled domestic and imperial regime.
Ancient and modern images
and interpretations of Caesar
Caesar has many enemies in the ancient sources.
His untimely death deprived him of the opportunity to
ensure a 'succession'. This had a disastrous impact
in the short term.
There is a received tradition, thm1 his contemporaries
in particular, that is critical or his actions and motives.
How valid is it to charge Caesar with singk-handedly
ending the Republic? What were its chances or
continuing as it was? What was Cato's vision for
Rome's future?
The successes and failures of Caesar's career
provided an exemplar for the career of his heir,
Caesar left a solid body oflegislation that helped lay
the legal and political groundwork for the empire.
Augustus' remarkable political and social
achievements are his own, yet he built in every
direction upon Caesar's reforms.
It seems that in their judgements or Caesar, his
contemporaries mixed valid criticisms with clements
of the resentment and envy that many or I hem felt.
Figure 7.7 oulliJJcs the intcrprcl<ttions ol' Caesar
provided in the ancient sources.
M. Tullius Cicero
Date Interpretation
Wrote 'Letters' to his friends, genemlly hostile to Caes<Jr but t11uy illu111in<1l0.
106-43 BC the late Republic. It is obvious from these thCJt wnll-piCJr;orl r;onlclll JH>rmi<)!i
regarded Pompey and Caesar CIS to the future of tile
r---- -----1 -- -
C. Julius Caesar
C. Sallustius
Crisp us
100-44 BC
86-35 BC
1----------- --
M. Annaeus
L. Mestrius
Plutarch us
39-65 AD
<50 AD
Wrote Gallic War and Civil W?<r commentaries, considered rrow, llwn, <ls
excellent example of 'everyday' Latin composit ion. Obviously had il
propaganda value for self-promotion, but uesorvc sorne <Jtlr:nlinn if;., lnvnl of
objectivity is sought. The justification of C< es<l r's actions in 8C and l1i:;
analysis of Senate 'illegalities' arl:l worth noting.
Tribune 52 BC, expelled from Senate 50 1:3C for his '11101 als'; joined C<1cs;1r in
49 BC. Describes Cato and Caesar CIS of the !Jubilc;w. M;1y
give more balanced treatment than other more well -rc]gar<ind sorrrcus.
Glaring inaccuracies. He WCIS not a historian. He chose to report wh:11 suilnd
his purpose and 'powers' as a rhetorician.
Wrote a series of parallel 'Lives' for 'education' and !mining in rhr:torir; Not r1
historian. The Oxford Classical Dictionary describes him us ' t<:mlalising &
treacherous' to the historian. Very often events are preserve<i, but his
conclusions about motives of those involved need to be treated with CZllllion.
r---------1-----r----- --
C. Suetonius
Tranquil us
c. 69 AD
Wrote c.121/2 AD 'Lives of the Caesars' , he was an 'encyclopedist' who
reported everything, including gossip. The organisation of ' biography' is
a good indication of his purpose. Compares well and usefully with
Very often events are preserved, but care is needed with hi s conclusions
about the motives and intentions of those involved.

Appianos of
Cassius Dio
c. 116 AD
229 AD
Sources obvious but annalistic, reported year by year, probably based on Livy
and Polybius. Ethnographic in fonn, reports characteristics of people and
times, unreliable on the Republic. Preserved some material on the Civil War.
History exists only for years 68- 10 BC. Yearly accounts, probably based on
Livy. Generally considered unreliable on Republican events and affairs.
Reporting of early 'Empire' is suspect, coloured by own experience of
absolutism under the later emperors.
Figure 7.7 Ancient interpretations of Julius Caesar
Modern interpretations
Shakespeare has a lot to answer for! To portray
Caesar as a man driven by pride or arrogance is to
misunderstand entirely or misrepresent the sense of
personal dignitas of a Roman noble of hi times.
T ri sk all in pursuit of personal glory was the ' duty' of
a patrician; fam i I y and personal immortality depended
n making an impact on Rome s history. Tlus was as
tme for icero, Brutus r ato, as it was fi r Caesar.
When aesar 's assassin claimed that they had
restored /ibertas, what did they mean?
Bmtus issued a coin showing the symbols ofliberty and
associated the act with the expulsion of the'tyrant'
Tarquin in 509 BC, and the establishment of the Republic.
The I ittle we know of opposition to Augustus during
the early years of his principate suggests that liberty
for Senators meant the opportunity to pursue their
right to <l politi cal career in the Republic with the
nltimatc gotll of power and re1utatio11. Like Augustus'
permanent consul. hip, aesar s di ctat or hip and hi s
control oflhc CIII 'SIIS hrmorum reduced opportunit ies
for Senators, their clients and families. The motives
for Caesar's murder may, in one sense, be described
as pride and ambition.
[n the Victo.-ian era Caesar's career was reported
positively, ortcn in terms that suggested something
approaching a 'cult ofpersonality' . According to this
view, Roman society was out of control and heading
Julius Caesar 141
for destruction; Caesar grasped control and restored the
balance that made the empire possible.
This appealed to those powers that were building
modem empires which they hoped would last for
centuries also. The titles 'kaiser' and ' czar' have an
obvious connection to this perspective.
During the 1930s and 1940s with the experience of
modem dictators like Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin, the
view was distinctly different.
Caesar was almost inevitably portrayed as a ruthless
political adventurer. The idea of a political opportunist
exploiting chaotic political conditions to impose his
own will was familiar and, for liberals, distinctly out
of fashion. This view of Caesar was powerful and
pervading for some decades, especially through the
works of Syme and Gelzer.
In the 1970s and 1980s there were more balanced
interpretations, particularly in the work of Michael
Grant whose influence was important.
Meier ' s biography of Caesar, written in the 1980s.
is often criticised for not being biographical enough,
but it does attempt to place Caesar's career and
actions within the context of Roman politics and
Modern soldiers, Macarthur and Fuller for instance,
have used comparison to Caesar as a benchmark,
favourably and unfavourably, for their own
of the
of the
Julius Caesar
Figure 7.8 Modern interpretations of Julius Caesar
Mass murderer
of the
142 HTA Ancient History Study Guide
More recent views of Caesar have been broadcast
in the media through documentary series on television
and on the internet.
The more dramatic views, such as that of Andrew
Wallace-Hadrill, admiringly portray Caesar as a
'mafia bully-boy', ruthless and unrelenting in his
pursuit of power and influence. Others, such as Keith
Hopkins, attempt to explain Caesar's career in the
context of his times and broader Roman history. The
best documentaries include both perspectives.
Caesar brought extraordinary qualities, lacked by all
his ambitious contemporaries, to his eventual control
of the state.
His legislation as Consul and the reforms as Dictator
seriously attempted to redress wrongs long ignored
by the self-interested oligarchs who claimed that he
had destroyed 'liberty' single-handedly.
In the judgment of historians, Caesar's legislation is
often neglected or undervalued. Scholars usually
concentrate on his dictatorial acts or his military
achievements. One does not exist without the other.
Ancient sources
Caesar, The Civil Wars, Loeb Classical Library,
Heinemann, London, 1966
Caesar, The Gallic War, Loeb Classical Library,
Heinemann, London, 1979
Works by Julius Caesar available online at r ~ j c c l
Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/author/
Cassius Dio, Dio s Roman History, Vol3, Loeb
Classical Library, Heinemann, London, 19 54
Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic, Penguin
Classics, Harmondsworth, 1973
Suetonius, Twelve Caesars, Penguin Classics,
Harmondsworth, 1979
Modern sources
Adcock, F., Julius Caesar as Man of Letters,
Archon Books, Hamden, Conneticut, 1956
Gelzer, M., Caesar:Politician and Statesman, Basil
Blackwell, Oxford, 1969
Grant, Michael, The Twelve Caesars, Scribner, New
York, 1975
Yavetz, Zwi, Julius Caesar and his Public Image,
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983
Meier, C., Caesar a Biography, Fontana Press,
London, 1996
Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar, Weidenfeld and
Nicolson, 2006
Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesars Civil War 49-44 BC',
Routledge, New York, 2003
Syme, R., The Roman Revolution, Oxford
University Press, New York, 1968
Canfora, Luciano, Julius Caesar: The Life and
Times of the Peoples Dictator, translated by Marian
Hill and Kevin Windle. University of California Press,
Berkeley and Los Angeles, California 2007
Wyke, Maria (ed)., Julius Caesar in Western
Culture, Blackwell, 2006
Great Commanders: Julius Caesar
The Caesars: Julius Caesar, BBC
Rome: Power and Glory, Educational Services, Discovery