The Roman Empire is associated with no other personality as much as with Julius Caesar. He went through the Roman civil service career, achieved victories in campaigns and led the Republic in the time of the dictatorship.
Birth and family:
Caesar was born on July 13, 100 BC. in Rome as the son of Julier, a respected Roman patrician family. Especially his family was that they were not necessarily rich compared to the other nobility or otherwise engage in great political engagement.
The beginning of his political career:
84 BC Caesar married his first wife, Cornelia, by which he entered the political opposition of the populares, the antipode of the optimates, who were considered the precursors of the conservative nobility with the dictator Sullas. In the same year he was also appointed for the god Jupiter as high priest (flamen dialis). After Sullas ordered the divorce of Caesar from Cornelia, he refused and left Rome.
He joined the Staff of the Propresor and Governor of the Province of Asia, today's territory of Turkey, Marcus Minucius Thermus and earned his first experience in the Roman military.
78 BC he joined the staff of Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus as an officer, who was hunting for pirates in the areas between present-day Turkey and Greece.
After the death of Sulla Caesar, however, could return to Rome, where he joined the subordinate magistrate of the Republic as a public prosecutor and shortly afterwards on the charge against the former confidant of Sullas Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella for blackmail attracted attention.
Although Caesar lost the process, his reputation by no means harmed. In order to avoid hostility from the followers of Sulla, he left Rome again and went on a study trip. However, on the way to Rhodes Caesar came around 75/74 BC. into the captivity of pirates. After paying a high ransom, he was freed, organized an army of mercenaries and fought deadly revenge on the pirates.
The rise in politics:
73 BC The rise of Caesar began within the political system of the then Roman Republic. He was first elected to the priesthood of the pontifices, 69 or 68 BC. he had already reached the lowest official stage in Rome with the bursary and could be admitted to the Senate. With this office and the death of his first wife Cornelia, he served in Spain under the Proprätor Antistius Vetus.
On his return from Spain to Rome, he married Sulla's granddaughter Pompeia, whose wealth he used for his purposes, especially to advance politically, he used. So he was 65 BC. the office of the Curulian Aedil (temple guardian), with which he could hold magnificent games that, although he increased his reputation, but also highly indebted. Two years later, Caesar was elected to the office of the high priest (Pontifex Maximus), which was usually withheld only Consulares deserved (former consuls). As already in the office of the Aedar, Caesar was here also supported by his friend and patron Marcus Licinius Crassus (one of the richest inhabitants of Rome).
62 BC the rise went on by Caesar was elected to the office of praetor (higher official career). In the same year, however, Caesar's marriage to Pompeia in the so-called Bona Dea scandal (a feast in the house of Caesar in honor of the goddess Bona Dea, in which Publius Clodius Pulcher disguised as a woman to see his beloved, historian suspected Pompeia to see ) divorced.
His largest political task began Caesar subsequently, when he went to Spain as a governorship (Proprätur) and not only compensated his finances in the fight against Iberer resident in northern Portugal, but also made a name as a military strategist. With these conditions, he was now able to apply for the highest political office of the consulate. For this he left shortly before the end of his term as Proprätur back to Rome.
Caesar's time at the consulate:
His entry into the consulate was marked by the interests alliance with his close companions Marcus Licinius Crassus (brought money) and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (military, successful commander) and the enactment of laws over the heads of other members and sometimes even against the Constitution , The laws ultimately served mainly the interests of Pompey and his sphere of influence in the east of the empire.
Since he had to expect after his time in the consulate as a private person with an indictment on the part of the opposition, Caesar obtained with the help of his followers a post as governor in Illyria on the Balkan Peninsula for an unusually long 5 years.
Caesar's time in Gaul:
Caesar's service in Illyria was short, since after the death of the actual Promagistrat for Gaul Caesar whose office in 58 BC. took over. This was the highest office Caesar had possessed, for now he had the means to set up his own legions and carry out campaigns to restore his prestige in Rome.
After the invasion of Helvetia from the territory of present-day Switzerland to the Roman frontier, Caesar saw his justification for his military campaigns. He defeated the Helvetii, pushed the Germanic tribes north again to the eastern border of the Rhine, and defeated the bravest of all Gallic tribes, the Belger.
Again, through contacts with his close friends in Rome, Caesar was able to extend his term of office for another 5 years. So he had plenty of time to expand his conquests and annex the entire western area of the Rhine from the Celts.
56 BC his officer Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus defeated the Venetians in Brittany and thus secured Caesar for the greater part of Gaul.
The year 55 BC was marked by the conflict with the invading Germanic tribes of the Usipeter and Tenkterer. This began with a truce that was disturbed by incidents between the Teutons and the Gallic auxiliary troops and Caesar gave rise to the Germanic chiefs to order. These were immediately arrested and the rest of the Germanic troops destroyed or pushed behind the Rhine.
Taking advantage of the situation, Caesar also crossed the Rhine with his legions to launch the first punitive expedition against the Teutons, which lasted only a short time. In the same year Caesar also began with the translation of his legions to Britain and there to the Thames penetrated until he retired back.
Two years later, he led the second punitive expedition across the Rhine, which caused astonishment in Rome, because Caesar went to unknown and unexplored territory.
At the end of 54 BC There was the first uprising against the Roman occupiers in Gaul. Although this could be defeated, made in the following year, however, for further tensions and revolts against the Romans. From the year 52 BC. especially the ringleader Vercingetorix, the prince of the Arverner, talked about himself, as he cut off the Roman troops supplies and could cause heavy casualties. Spurred on by his success, Vercingetorix changed his tactics from defensive warfare to offensive, but suffered severe defeats, forcing him to retreat to Alesia. Caesar left the city to besiege large-scale, knocked out both escape attempts and a Entsatzheer. After the resistance was broken, Vercingetorix surrendered in 46 BC. executed in Rome and secured Roman rule for several hundred years.
Caesar in the civil war and the downfall of the Republic:
In 53 BC Caesar's close confidant Marcus Licinius Crassus fell with almost his entire army of 40,000 legionnaires in the war against the Parthians. At the same time, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus turned away from him due to the rising power of Caesar and approached the opposition in the Senate. Caesar, however, wanted until 48 BC. Promagistrat for Gaul remain in order to then be elected to the consul in Rome and so again deny a charge that would threaten him as a private person still threaten. However, through skillful political actions, the Senate was allowed to deprive Caesar early of his command of his legions and to ask him to dissolve them. Caesar, on the other hand, wanted this only on the condition that Pompey's legions were dissolved, which the Senate denied, since Pompey was the legitimate leader of his legions, Caesar from 49 BC. but not after the end of his term. As the only way Caesar saw only with his legions in the Civil War to draw.
So he passed on January 10, 49 BC. with the approximately 5,000-strong thirteenth legion (Legio XIII Gemina) the border river Rubicon, which separated Italy from the province of Gallia cisalpina, the border with Italy towards Rome. Pompey had been tasked by the Senate with the defense of the Republic, but could not quickly enough own troops set up to face Caesar. So he vacated the city of Rome with the few legionaries he had and many political Caesar enemies. Caesar could march so without a fight in Rome.
After escaping from Pompey to Brindisi, Caesar did not opt for the persecution because a fleet would have had to be built first. Instead, he turned his attention to the remaining in the remaining empire legions of Pompey. First, he hit Spain, where he destroyed 7 legions.
In the year 48 BC Caesar was then elected back to the consul. He then crossed the Adriatic Sea with some 15,000 legionnaires to fight against Pompey. In Dyrrhachium, however, he suffered a defeat and had to retreat to Thessaly. A little later, at the Battle of Pharsalos on August 9, Caesar was able to beat the legions of Pompey decisive, Pompey to flee and was after the victory de facto sole ruler of the Roman Empire.
Pompey fled after his defeat to Egypt, where he was ordered by the counselor of King Ptolemy XIII. was murdered and whose head Caesar was later handed over to her arrival in Egypt.
Contrary to his plans Caesar was dragged into Egypt in the political power games there. This was not to neglect the love affair with Queen Cleopatra, on whose side Caesar, after her expulsion from the throne by her brother, beat. So he had in the Alexandrian war, including in Alexandria, with his 4,000 legionaries to face the Egyptian army. Only after the arrival of reinforcements and some tactical moves he could beat the army. As Cleopatra's brother drowned on the run, their power solidified in Egypt and later gave Caesar a son named Ptolemy Kaisarion.
After Egypt was secured, Caesar continued his campaigns to secure the Roman Empire and the removal of the remaining Pompeians. First he defeated Pharnakes II of Pontus in a 5-day campaign, plundering in the Roman provinces of Asia Minor.
He then moved to the African War, where on April 6, 46 BC. in the battle of Thapsus, the republican Senate troops struck under Metellus Scipio and Cato the Younger. 45 BC He struck the last battle in Spain, where he destroyed the sons of Pompey in the Battle of Munda.
The road to dictatorship and Caesar's death:
Already on his return from Egypt, Caesar was appointed by the Senate instead of a consul for the dictator for 10 years. After defeating Pompey's last legions in Spain and returning to Rome, he became the dictator perpetuus. This last step of a year-long overruling of the Senate and the suspension of existing law, Caesar let the smoldering conflict with the opposition and the Caesar enemies to overflow. Under the leadership of Marcus Iunius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, a conspiracy was formed with the aim of killing Caesar and thus allowing Rome's freedom to come into force again.
Thus, on March 15, 44 BC. during a senate meeting in the theater of Pompeius Caesar killed by the conspirators with a total of 23 dagger thrusts.
The goal of the conspiracy to kill Caesar could be enforced, but the restoration of the Roman Republic could not be enforced in the subsequent civil war. After the seizure of Caesar's adopted son Octavian, he completely eliminated the Republic and created the Roman Empire.
Interesting to know:
In the campaign against Pharnakes II of Pontus in the Roman province of Asia Minor, which lasted only 5 days, Caesar gave the so far known saying veni vidi vici
(I came, I saw, I won).
You can find the right literature here:
Caesar: Life of a Colossus
Tracing the extraordinary trajectory of the great Roman emperor’s life, Goldsworthy covers not only the great Roman emperor’s accomplishments as charismatic orator, conquering general, and powerful dictator but also lesser-known chapters during which he was high priest of an exotic cult, captive of pirates, seducer not only of Cleopatra but also of the wives of his two main political rivals, and rebel condemned by his own country. Ultimately, Goldsworthy realizes the full complexity of Caesar’s character and shows why his political and military leadership continues to resonate some two thousand years later.
Julius Caesar: A Life From Beginning to End
A little over 2000 years ago a man named Julius Caesar changed the world. Even if you had never heard of him his lasting legacy has no doubt had an impact on your life. No doubt, even the very calendar that you use is based upon the system he created, with the month of July bearing his name. So who was this man that singlehandedly changed the course of history?
An authoritative portrait of the iconic leader from ancient Rome evaluates him as a military strategist and ambitious conqueror, providing additional coverage of his lesser-known contributions as a priest, family man, and advocate for the working class. 25,000 first printing.