Noah Caraballo

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Introduction

“It is said that when pirates told him he would be ransomed for twenty talents, Caesar claimed he was worth at least fifty.” –Mark Anthony
Known for having one of the greatest war minds in history, Julius Caesar also has quite the reputation for being just a tad bit conceded. There are many tales of how Caesar outsmarted his opponent in battle but there are equal to, if not more, stories of Caesar saying or doing something that is completely out of proportion. Yes he conquered many tribes and was lovers with Cleopatra VII, but did you know that without him we wouldn’t have the months July and August?. Julius Caesar, being conceded, named the month July after himself and the month August after his adopted heir Augustus. These are just some of the audacious episodes in the life of the world’s greatest general.

Personal Background

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Born in July 100 BC in Rome Julius Caesar was first introduced to Rome, Caesar was born into a patrician family including his mother Aurelia Cotta and father Gaius Julius Caesar. At only 16 years old Caesar’s father died which forced him into being the head of the family, when he became leader he was also in the middle of a war between his uncle and rival, from there Caesar married his uncle’s allies daughter Cornelia. Sadly soon after Caesar was forced to flee Rome due to being a target of a new regime which forced him to leave his wife, soon after Caesar joined the army and became an honorable soldier receiving a medal after saving a fellow soldiers life. But whilst he was attending the war his wife Cornelia died, when he got word of the event Caesar returned to Rome and became a lawyer, but not for long. From there Caesar began to see himself in a bigger light, as seen in the event of his capture by some pirates, when they ransomed him for 20 silver talents Julius demanded that they raise the ransom to 50 while also ensuring that when he was freed that he would return to the pirates and have them killed, which is a statement that he followed through with. As a leader Julius was one to make conditions equal to all those below and above him, though there were very few to be higher than the king, Caesar after making an appearance at his aunt’s funeral he went to war and upon returning, was elected 5th consulship and also was made dictator for life. Also following his return he married the granddaughter of his uncle’s ally, Pompeia. Sadly, with great power comes great responsibility. In Caesar’s case great power came with the loathing of friends and proteges. In 44 B.C he was stabbed to death at the steps of the senate house, ending both his marriage, and his great reign in Rome, leaving him in the history books as one of the greatest war minds ever.

Personality Traits

Julius Caesar is known to many to be one of the greatest war minds in history and is also one of the most well known people to come out of the Roman era. But what many people do not know is that Caesar was very well known to be one of the most self-centered man in history, he is also very greedy and was quite cocky during his wars. Unlike many men who are constantly talking about how amazing they are at a certain activity but then turn out to become quite bad at it, Caesar was able to live up to those expectations, and even sometimes go beyond those expectations. Being battle smart was only half of what he was capable of, he was also known for being very book smart, being up to date with history while also writing himself into there, figuratively not literally of course. Yes Caesar had some good traits but he also contained some bad features, as previously mentioned he was just a bit conceited, or full of himself, as an example mentioned in the intro paragraph when he was captured by pirates and being held for ransom, the initial amount was 20 silver talents but Caesar believed that he was worth more than that and demanded that the amount be raised to 50 talents(Mark), he continuously nagged and nagged until they finally did raise the amount, also adding to his whole backing up his promises, whilst in captive he constantly told the men that held him captive that upon release he would hunt them down and murder them in revenge. The men, who showed practically nothing but gratitude towards the leader of Rome, took the threat as joke, but because Caesar is a man of his word upon release he did exactly that, though when the pirates were caught Caesar did show some gratitude for their kindness while he was in holding by making their deaths relatively quick. Their dead bodies did not share the same fate as their still alive ones for after they passed he had them crucified. Selfish acts like such are actually one, if not the one, of the reasons that he was assassinated by his own senators, including Marcus Junius Brutus, and Gaius Longinus.

Obstacles

Julius Caesar, like many others, did not have the perfect life. Though portrayed as a perfect man, he suffered many obstacles in life just like other human beings. Due to the account of him being a leader, many of his problems were for
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the most part magnified to a higher degree, you’ll see as we go on. Caesar’s first obstacle in his life was when he was 16 years old and his father Gaius Julius Caesar had passed away(Mark), from that moment he became the head of the family
and began his reign as the powerful ruler Julius Caesar. His reign did not last very long for he married the daughter of Lucius Sulla, a high profile member of the Populares. Caesar soon after became the target of Lucius and was forced to flee Rome. He returned some time later after his wife Cornelia had died and it was dubbed safe for him to return to Rome. Caesar went some time without any complications in his ruling for some time, I would account for the time he got captured by the pirates but I think I already nailed that into the dead horse. He came across his first big obstacle was in his Conquest of Gaul, he was successful in capturing the tribes but in Rome everything was going bad. In the words of Joshua Mark “The First Triumvirate had disintegrated. Crassus was killed in battle against the Parthians in 54 BCE and, that same year, Julia died in childbirth.”(Mark) So whilst Caesar was in Gaul his partner Crassus died and his wife at the time died, also leaving his daughter to live without any parents for some time. Then adding to that problem he was forced to return to Rome, “This could mean Caesar could be prosecuted for his actions when he was consul.”(Mark). Caesar also started a war with the Rubicon but that wasn’t very challenging. From that battle Caesar met Cleopatra, and had a son, beyond that all that is left is the death of Caesar, killed by his own senators including his heir. Caesar was also said to have health problems but that was only a rumor.

Historical Significance

Julius Caesar was, and still is, a very well known leader/ruler. Many believe that Julius is to be one of the greatest leaders to ever grace Rome, he had what many believe to be the greatest war mind of history. Not only
Roman but as a whole in general, thus leaving some big shoes to fill both on the battlefield and on the strategy field. Caesar’s main significance was in Rome, as to be expected, one of his first historical presences was when he formed “the first dictatorship since the kings of Alba Longa.”(Lover) In the time of Caesar’s leadership Rome was a republic, the senators that ruled the country were generally older rich men, by generally i mean that they all were, Caesar came from a relatively poor family that so happened to not be from a senatorial family. For this reason Caesar was not a very liked man by the senators, this did not mean much in a pride standpoint because the citizens loved Caesar, sure it had something to do with the fact that they could relate more to him the other leaders. This reason too is why Caesar changed Rome from a Republic to an Empire, or at least assisted in the changing process. Many of his other significances dealt with his battles which we have covered in the previous sections. Though is another significant action that Caesar dealt in his lifetime, this was the addition of the two months August and July, Caesar created July for himself and August for his nephew Augustus, thus destroying the beautifully crafted calendar that was in place before. Haven’t you ever wondered why October is the tenth month instead of the eighth.


History.com staff. "Julius Caesar". history.com. 2009. Web. 16 Jan. 2015
http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/julius-caesar

Isherwood, Charles. "The political lessons of Julius Caesar". NYTimes.com. 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/theater/the-political-lessons-of-julius-caesar.html?_r=0

Mark, Joshua. "Julius Caesar". ancient.com. 28 April 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2014
http://www.ancient.eu/Julius_Caesar/