Gaius Julius Caesar[a] (/ˈsiːzər/; 12 or 13 July 100 BC –
15 March 44 BC), known by his cognomen Julius Caesar, was a
Roman politician and military general who played a critical role in
the events that led to the demise of the
Roman Republic and the rise
of the Roman Empire. He is also known as a notable author of Latin
In 60 BC, Caesar,
Pompey formed a political alliance that
Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass
Populares were opposed by the
Optimates within the Roman
Senate, among them
Cato the Younger
Cato the Younger with the frequent support of
Cicero. Caesar rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in
Roman Republic through a number of his accomplishments, notably
his victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC. During this
time, Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the Channel
and the Rhine, when he built a bridge across the
Rhine and crossed the
Channel to invade Britain. Caesar's wars extended Rome's territory to
English Channel and the Rhine. These achievements granted him
unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of
Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of
Crassus in 53 BC. With the
Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate
ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to
Rome. Leaving his command in
Gaul meant losing his immunity from being
charged as a criminal for waging unsanctioned wars. As a result,
Caesar found himself with no other options but to cross the Rubicon
with the 13th Legion, leaving his province and illegally entering
Italy under arms. Civil war resulted, and Caesar's victory in
the war put him in an unrivalled position of power and influence.
After assuming control of government, Caesar began a programme of
social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian
calendar. He gave citizenship to many residents of far regions of the
Roman Empire. He initiated land reform and support for veterans. He
centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually
proclaimed "dictator in perpetuity", giving him additional authority.
His populist and authoritarian reforms angered the elites, who began
to conspire against him. On the
Ides of March
Ides of March (15 March)
44 BC Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators
led by Gaius Cassius Longinus,
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus and Decimus Junius
Brutus. A new series of civil wars broke out and the
constitutional government of the Republic was never fully restored.
Caesar's adopted heir Octavian, later known as Augustus, rose to sole
power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set
about solidifying his power and the era of the
Roman Empire began.
Much of Caesar's life is known from his own accounts of his military
campaigns and from other contemporary sources, mainly the letters and
Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust. The later
biographies of Caesar by
Plutarch are also major
sources. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the
greatest military commanders in history.
1 Early life and career
2 Consulship and military campaigns
2.1 Conquest of Gaul
2.2 Civil war
3 Dictatorship and assassination
3.1.1 Political reforms
3.3 Aftermath of the assassination
4 Personal life
4.1 Health and physical appearance
4.2 Name and family
4.2.1 The name Gaius Julius Caesar
4.2.2 His family
4.3 Rumors of homosexuality
5 Literary works
7 Chronology of Caesar's life
8 See also
10.1 Primary sources
10.1.1 Own writings
10.1.2 Ancient historians' writings
10.2 Secondary sources
11 External links
Early life and career
Main article: Early life and career of Julius Caesar
Gaius Marius, Caesar's uncle
Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed
descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas,
supposedly the son of the goddess Venus. The family originated from
Alba Longa, twenty miles south of Rome. The cognomen "Caesar"
originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor who was
Caesarean section (from the
Latin verb to cut, caedere,
caes-). The Historia Augusta suggests three alternative
explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair (Latin
caesaries); that he had bright grey eyes (
Latin oculis caesiis); or
that he killed an elephant (caesai in Moorish) in battle. Caesar
issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored
this interpretation of his name.
Despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not especially
politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of
their political fortunes in the early 1st century BC. Caesar's
father, also called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of
Asia, and his sister Julia, Caesar's aunt, married Gaius Marius,
one of the most prominent figures in the Republic. His mother,
Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of
In 85 BC, Caesar's father died suddenly, so Caesar was the head of
the family at 16. His coming of age coincided with a civil war between
Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both
sides carried out bloody purges of their political opponents whenever
they were in the ascendancy. Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius
Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated to be the
new high priest of Jupiter, and he was married to Cinna's daughter
Following Sulla's final victory, though, Caesar's connections to the
old regime made him a target for the new one. He was stripped of his
inheritance, his wife's dowry, and his priesthood, but he refused to
divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding. The threat
against him was lifted by the intervention of his mother's family,
which included supporters of Sulla, and the Vestal Virgins.
in reluctantly and is said to have declared that he saw many a Marius
in Caesar. Ironically, the loss of his priesthood had allowed him
to pursue a military career, as the high priest of Jupiter was not
permitted to touch a horse, sleep three nights outside his own bed or
one night outside Rome, or look upon an army.
Caesar felt that it would be much safer far away from
Sulla should the
Dictator change his mind, so he left
Rome and joined the army, serving
under Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia and Servilius Isauricus in
Cilicia. He served with distinction, winning the Civic Crown for his
part in the Siege of Mytilene. He went on a mission to Bithynia to
secure the assistance of King Nicomedes's fleet, but he spent so long
at Nicomedes' court that rumours arose of an affair with the king,
which Caesar vehemently denied for the rest of his life.
Hearing of Sulla's death in 78 BC, Caesar felt safe enough to return
to Rome. He lacked means since his inheritance was confiscated, but he
acquired a modest house in Subura, a lower-class neighbourhood of
Rome. He turned to legal advocacy and became known for his
exceptional oratory accompanied by impassioned gestures and a
high-pitched voice, and ruthless prosecution of former governors
notorious for extortion and corruption.
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla stripped Caesar of the priesthood
On the way across the Aegean Sea, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates
and held prisoner. He maintained an attitude of superiority
throughout his captivity. The pirates demanded a ransom of 20 talents
of silver, but he insisted that they ask for 50. After the
ransom was paid, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and captured the
pirates, and imprisoned them. He had them crucified on his own
authority, as he had promised while in captivity—a promise that
the pirates had taken as a joke. As a sign of leniency, he first had
their throats cut. He was soon called back into military action in
Asia, raising a band of auxiliaries to repel an incursion from the
On his return to Rome, he was elected military tribune, a first step
in a political career. He was elected quaestor for 69 BC, and
during that year he delivered the funeral oration for his aunt Julia,
and included images of her husband Marius in the funeral procession,
unseen since the days of Sulla. His wife Cornelia also died that
year. Caesar went to serve his quaestorship in Spain after her
funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC. While there, he
is said to have encountered a statue of Alexander the Great, and
realised with dissatisfaction that he was now at an age when Alexander
had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively little.
On his return in 67 BC, he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of
Sulla, whom he later divorced in 61 BC after her embroilment in the
Bona Dea scandal. In 65 BC, he was elected curule aedile, and
staged lavish games that won him further attention and popular
In 63 BC, he ran for election to the post of Pontifex Maximus, chief
priest of the Roman state religion. He ran against two powerful
senators. Accusations of bribery were made by all sides. Caesar won
comfortably, despite his opponents' greater experience and
Cicero was consul that year, and he exposed Catiline's
conspiracy to seize control of the republic; several senators accused
Caesar of involvement in the plot.
After serving as praetor in 62 BC, Caesar was appointed to govern
Hispania Ulterior (modern south-eastern Spain) as
propraetor, though some sources suggest that he held
proconsular powers. He was still in considerable debt and
needed to satisfy his creditors before he could leave. He turned to
Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of Rome's richest men.
Crassus paid some
of Caesar's debts and acted as guarantor for others, in return for
political support in his opposition to the interests of Pompey. Even
so, to avoid becoming a private citizen and thus open to prosecution
for his debts, Caesar left for his province before his praetorship had
ended. In Spain, he conquered two local tribes and was hailed as
imperator by his troops; he reformed the law regarding debts, and
completed his governorship in high esteem.
Caesar was acclaimed
Imperator in 60 and 45 BC. In the Roman Republic,
this was an honorary title assumed by certain military commanders.
After an especially great victory, army troops in the field would
proclaim their commander imperator, an acclamation necessary for a
general to apply to the Senate for a triumph. However, he also wanted
to stand for consul, the most senior magistracy in the republic. If he
were to celebrate a triumph, he would have to remain a soldier and
stay outside the city until the ceremony, but to stand for election he
would need to lay down his command and enter
Rome as a private
citizen. He could not do both in the time available. He asked the
senate for permission to stand in absentia, but Cato blocked the
proposal. Faced with the choice between a triumph and the consulship,
Caesar chose the consulship.
Consulship and military campaigns
Military campaigns of Julius Caesar
Military campaigns of Julius Caesar and First
A denarius depicting Julius Caesar, dated February–March 44 BC—the
Venus is shown on the reverse, holding Victoria and a scepter
A Roman bust of
Crassus in the Louvre, Paris, France
In 60 BC, Caesar sought election as consul for 59 BC, along with
two other candidates. The election was sordid – even Cato, with his
reputation for incorruptibility, is said to have resorted to bribery
in favour of one of Caesar's opponents. Caesar won, along with
conservative Marcus Bibulus.
Caesar was already in Crassus' political debt, but he also made
overtures to Pompey.
Crassus had been at odds for a decade,
so Caesar tried to reconcile them. The three of them had enough money
and political influence to control public business. This informal
alliance, known as the
First Triumvirate ("rule of three men"), was
cemented by the marriage of
Pompey to Caesar's daughter Julia.
Caesar also married again, this time Calpurnia, who was the daughter
of another powerful senator.
Caesar proposed a law for redistributing public lands to the poor—by
force of arms, if need be—a proposal supported by
Pompey and by
Crassus, making the triumvirate public.
Pompey filled the city with
soldiers, a move which intimidated the triumvirate's opponents.
Bibulus attempted to declare the omens unfavourable and thus void the
new law, but he was driven from the forum by Caesar's armed
supporters. His bodyguards had their ceremonial axes broken, two high
magistrates accompanying him were wounded, and he had a bucket of
excrement thrown over him. In fear of his life, he retired to his
house for the rest of the year, issuing occasional proclamations of
bad omens. These attempts proved ineffective in obstructing Caesar's
Roman satirists ever after referred to the year as "the
consulship of Julius and Caesar."
When Caesar was first elected, the aristocracy tried to limit his
future power by allotting the woods and pastures of Italy, rather than
the governorship of a province, as his military command duty after his
year in office was over. With the help of political allies, Caesar
later overturned this, and was instead appointed to govern Cisalpine
Gaul (northern Italy) and Illyricum (southeastern Europe), with
Transalpine Gaul (southern France) later added, giving him command of
four legions. The term of his governorship, and thus his immunity from
prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the usual one.
When his consulship ended, Caesar narrowly avoided prosecution for the
irregularities of his year in office, and quickly left for his
Conquest of Gaul
Main article: Gallic Wars
The extent of the
Roman Republic in 40 BC after Caesar's conquests
Caesar was still deeply in debt, but there was money to be made as a
governor, whether by extortion or by military adventurism. Caesar
had four legions under his command, two of his provinces bordered on
unconquered territory, and parts of
Gaul were known to be unstable.
Some of Rome's Gallic allies had been defeated by their rivals at the
Battle of Magetobriga, with the help of a contingent of Germanic
tribes. The Romans feared these tribes were preparing to migrate
south, closer to Italy, and that they had warlike intent. Caesar
raised two new legions and defeated these tribes.
In response to Caesar's earlier activities, the tribes in the
north-east began to arm themselves. Caesar treated this as an
aggressive move and, after an inconclusive engagement against the
united tribes, he conquered the tribes piecemeal. Meanwhile, one of
his legions began the conquest of the tribes in the far north,
directly opposite Britain. During the spring of 56 BC, the
Triumvirs held a conference, as
Rome was in turmoil and Caesar's
political alliance was coming undone. The
Lucca Conference renewed the
First Triumvirate and extended Caesar's governorship for another five
years. The conquest of the north was soon completed, while a few
pockets of resistance remained. Caesar now had a secure base from
which to launch an invasion of Britain.
In 55 BC, Caesar repelled an incursion into
Gaul by two Germanic
tribes, and followed it up by building a bridge across the
making a show of force in Germanic territory, before returning and
dismantling the bridge. Late that summer, having subdued two other
tribes, he crossed into Britain, claiming that the Britons had aided
one of his enemies the previous year, possibly the Veneti of
Brittany. His intelligence information was poor, and although he
gained a beachhead on the coast, he could not advance further, and
Gaul for the winter. He returned the following year,
better prepared and with a larger force, and achieved more. He
advanced inland, and established a few alliances. However, poor
harvests led to widespread revolt in Gaul, which forced Caesar to
leave Britain for the last time.
Vercingetorix throws down his arms at the feet of Julius Caesar,
painting by Lionel Royer. Musée Crozatier, Le Puy-en-Velay, France.
While Caesar was in Britain his daughter Julia, Pompey's wife, had
died in childbirth. Caesar tried to re-secure Pompey's support by
offering him his great-niece in marriage, but
Pompey declined. In 53
Crassus was killed leading a failed invasion of the east.
on the brink of civil war.
Pompey was appointed sole consul as an
emergency measure, and married the daughter of a political opponent of
Triumvirate was dead.
Though the Gallic tribes were just as strong as the Romans militarily,
the internal division among the Gauls guaranteed an easy victory for
Caesar. Vercingetorix's attempt in 52 BC to unite them against Roman
invasion came too late. He proved an astute commander,
defeating Caesar in several engagements, but Caesar's elaborate
siege-works at the
Battle of Alesia
Battle of Alesia finally forced his surrender.
Despite scattered outbreaks of warfare the following year, Gaul
was effectively conquered.
Plutarch claimed that during the Gallic
Wars the army had fought against three million men (of whom
one million died, and another million were enslaved), subjugated
300 tribes, and destroyed 800 cities.
Main article: Caesar's Civil War
Further information: Alexandrine war, Early life of
Cleopatra VII, and
Caesar's soldiers (legionaries of this time did not wear lorica
segmentata, as pictured, but rather lorica hamata)
In 50 BC, the Senate (led by Pompey) ordered Caesar to disband his
army and return to
Rome because his term as governor had finished.
Caesar thought he would be prosecuted if he entered
Rome without the
immunity enjoyed by a magistrate.
Pompey accused Caesar of
insubordination and treason. On January 10, 49 BC, Caesar crossed the
Rubicon river (the frontier boundary of Italy) with only a single
legion, the Legio XIII Gemina, and ignited civil war. Upon crossing
the Rubicon, Caesar, according to
Plutarch and Suetonius, is supposed
to have quoted the Athenian playwright Menander, in Greek, "the die is
cast". Erasmus, however, notes that the more accurate Latin
translation of the Greek imperative mood would be "alea iacta esto",
let the die be cast.
Pompey and many of the Senate fled to the
south, having little confidence in Pompey's newly raised troops.
Pompey, despite greatly outnumbering Caesar, who only had his
Thirteenth Legion with him, did not intend to fight. Caesar pursued
Pompey, hoping to capture
Pompey before his legions could escape.
Pompey managed to escape before Caesar could capture him. Heading for
Spain, Caesar left
Italy under the control of Mark Antony. After an
astonishing 27-day route-march, Caesar defeated Pompey's lieutenants,
then returned east, to challenge
Pompey in Illyria, where, in July 48
BC in the battle of Dyrrhachium, Caesar barely avoided a catastrophic
defeat. In an exceedingly short engagement later that year, he
Pompey at Pharsalus, in Greece.
Cleopatra and Caesar, 1866 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme
This mid-1st-century-BC Roman wall painting in Pompeii, Italy, showing
Venus holding a cupid is most likely a depiction of
Cleopatra VII of
Ptolemaic Egypt as
Venus Genetrix, with her son
Caesarion as the
cupid, similar in appearance to the now lost statue of Cleopatra
Julius Caesar in the Temple of
Venus Genetrix (within the
Forum of Caesar). The owner of the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus at
Pompeii walled off the room with this painting, most likely in
immediate reaction to the execution of
Caesarion on orders of Augustus
in 30 BC, when artistic depictions of
Caesarion would have been
considered a sensitive issue for the ruling regime.
In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator, with
Mark Antony as his
Master of the Horse
Master of the Horse (second in command); Caesar presided over his own
election to a second consulship and then, after 11 days, resigned this
dictatorship. Caesar then pursued
Pompey to Egypt, arriving
soon after the murder of the general. There, Caesar was presented with
Pompey's severed head and seal-ring, receiving these with tears.
He then had Pompey's assassins put to death.
Caesar then became involved with an Egyptian civil war between the
child pharaoh and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, Cleopatra.
Perhaps as a result of the pharaoh's role in Pompey's murder, Caesar
sided with Cleopatra. He withstood the Siege of
Alexandria and later
he defeated the pharaoh's forces at the Battle of the
47 BC and installed
Cleopatra as ruler. Caesar and Cleopatra
celebrated their victory with a triumphal procession on the
the spring of 47 BC. The royal barge was accompanied by 400
additional ships, and Caesar was introduced to the luxurious lifestyle
of the Egyptian pharaohs.
Cleopatra were not married. Caesar continued his
Cleopatra throughout his last marriage—in Roman
eyes, this did not constitute adultery—and probably fathered a son
Rome on more than one occasion,
residing in Caesar's villa just outside
Rome across the Tiber.
Late in 48 BC, Caesar was again appointed dictator, with a term of one
year. After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt,
Caesar went to the Middle East, where he annihilated the king of
Pontus; his victory was so swift and complete that he mocked Pompey's
previous victories over such poor enemies. On his way to Pontus,
Caesar visited Tarsus from 27 to 29 May 47 BC (25–27 Maygreg.),
where he met enthusiastic support, but where, according to Cicero,
Cassius was planning to kill him at this point. Thence, he
proceeded to Africa to deal with the remnants of Pompey's senatorial
supporters. He quickly gained a significant victory in 46 BC over
Cato, who then committed suicide.
After this victory, he was appointed dictator for 10 years.
Pompey's sons escaped to Spain; Caesar gave chase and defeated the
last remnants of opposition in the
Battle of Munda
Battle of Munda in March
45 BC. During this time, Caesar was elected to his third and
fourth terms as consul in 46 BC and 45 BC (this last time
without a colleague).
Dictatorship and assassination
A Roman bust of
Pompey the Great made during the reign of
BC - 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70-60 BC, Venice National
Archaeological Museum, Italy
While he was still campaigning in Spain, the Senate began bestowing
honours on Caesar. Caesar had not proscribed his enemies, instead
pardoning almost all, and there was no serious public opposition to
him. Great games and celebrations were held in April to honour
Caesar’s victory at Munda.
Plutarch writes that many Romans found
the triumph held following Caesar's victory to be in poor taste, as
those defeated in the civil war had not been foreigners, but instead
fellow Romans. On Caesar's return to
Italy in September 45 BC, he
filed his will, naming his grandnephew Gaius Octavius (Octavian, later
Augustus Caesar) as his principal heir, leaving his vast
estate and property including his name. Caesar also wrote that if
Octavian died before Caesar did,
Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus would
be the next heir in succession. In his will, he also left a
substantial gift to the citizens of Rome.
During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional
Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken
down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had
become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent
principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the
army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing
political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption
had spiralled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained
by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system that
had made its members rich.
Between his crossing of the
Rubicon in 49 BC, and his assassination in
44 BC, Caesar established a new constitution, which was intended
to accomplish three separate goals. First, he wanted to suppress
all armed resistance out in the provinces, and thus bring order back
to the Republic. Second, he wanted to create a strong central
government in Rome. Finally, he wanted to knit together all of the
provinces into a single cohesive unit.
The first goal was accomplished when Caesar defeated
Pompey and his
supporters. To accomplish the other two goals, he needed to ensure
that his control over the government was undisputed, so he assumed
these powers by increasing his own authority, and by decreasing the
authority of Rome's other political institutions. Finally, he enacted
a series of reforms that were meant to address several long-neglected
issues, the most important of which was his reform of the
Bronze bust of Julius Caesar, posthumous portrait of the 1st century
AD, Altes Museum, Berlin
When Caesar returned to Rome, the Senate granted him triumphs for his
victories, ostensibly those over Gaul, Egypt, Pharnaces, and Juba,
rather than over his Roman opponents. Not everything went Caesar's
way. When Arsinoe IV, Egypt's former queen, was paraded in chains, the
spectators admired her dignified bearing and were moved to pity.
Triumphal games were held, with beast-hunts involving 400 lions, and
gladiator contests. A naval battle was held on a flooded basin at the
Field of Mars. At the Circus Maximus, two armies of war captives,
each of 2,000 people, 200 horses, and 20 elephants, fought to the
death. Again, some bystanders complained, this time at Caesar's
wasteful extravagance. A riot broke out, and only stopped when Caesar
had two rioters sacrificed by the priests on the Field of Mars.
After the triumph, Caesar set out to pass an ambitious legislative
agenda. He ordered a census be taken, which forced a reduction in
the grain dole, and decreed that jurors could only come from the
Senate or the equestrian ranks. He passed a sumptuary law that
restricted the purchase of certain luxuries. After this, he passed a
law that rewarded families for having many children, to speed up the
repopulation of Italy. Then, he outlawed professional guilds, except
those of ancient foundation, since many of these were subversive
political clubs. He then passed a term-limit law applicable to
governors. He passed a debt-restructuring law, which ultimately
eliminated about a fourth of all debts owed.
The Forum of Caesar, with its Temple of
Venus Genetrix, was then
built, among many other public works. Caesar also tightly
regulated the purchase of state-subsidised grain and reduced the
number of recipients to a fixed number, all of whom were entered into
a special register. From 47 to 44 BC, he made plans for the
distribution of land to about 15,000 of his veterans.
The most important change, however, was his reform of the calendar.
The calendar was then regulated by the movement of the moon, and this
had left it in a mess. Caesar replaced this calendar with the Egyptian
calendar, which was regulated by the sun. He set the length of the
year to 365.25 days by adding an intercalary/leap day at the end of
February every fourth year.
To bring the calendar into alignment with the seasons, he decreed that
three extra months be inserted into 46 BC (the ordinary
intercalary month at the end of February, and two extra months after
November). Thus, the
Julian calendar opened on 1 January 45
BC. This calendar is almost identical to the current Western
Shortly before his assassination, he passed a few more reforms. He
established a police force, appointed officials to carry out his land
reforms, and ordered the rebuilding of
Carthage and Corinth. He also
Latin rights throughout the Roman world, and then abolished
the tax system and reverted to the earlier version that allowed cities
to collect tribute however they wanted, rather than needing Roman
intermediaries. His assassination prevented further and larger
schemes, which included the construction of an unprecedented temple to
Mars, a huge theatre, and a library on the scale of the Library of
He also wanted to convert Ostia to a major port, and cut a canal
through the Isthmus of Corinth. Militarily, he wanted to conquer the
Dacians and Parthians, and avenge the loss at Carrhae. Thus, he
instituted a massive mobilisation. Shortly before his assassination,
the Senate named him censor for life and Father of the Fatherland, and
the month of
Quintilis was renamed July in his honour.
He was granted further honours, which were later used to justify his
assassination as a would-be divine monarch: coins were issued bearing
his image and his statue was placed next to those of the kings. He was
granted a golden chair in the Senate, was allowed to wear triumphal
dress whenever he chose, and was offered a form of semi-official or
popular cult, with
Mark Antony as his high priest.
Main article: Constitutional reforms of Julius Caesar
La clémence de César, Abel de Pujol, 1808
The history of Caesar's political appointments is complex and
uncertain. Caesar held both the dictatorship and the tribunate, but
alternated between the consulship and the proconsulship. His
powers within the state seem to have rested upon these
magistracies. He was first appointed dictator in 49 BC,
possibly to preside over elections, but resigned his dictatorship
within 11 days. In 48 BC, he was reappointed dictator, only this
time for an indefinite period, and in 46 BC, he was appointed
dictator for 10 years.
In 48 BC, Caesar was given permanent tribunician powers,[not in
citation given] which made his person sacrosanct and allowed him to
veto the Senate, although on at least one occasion, tribunes did
attempt to obstruct him. The offending tribunes in this case were
brought before the Senate and divested of their office. This was
not the first time Caesar had violated a tribune's sacrosanctity.
After he had first marched on
Rome in 49 BC, he forcibly opened the
treasury, although a tribune had the seal placed on it. After the
impeachment of the two obstructive tribunes, Caesar, perhaps
unsurprisingly, faced no further opposition from other members of the
When Caesar returned to
Rome in 47 BC, the ranks of the Senate had
been severely depleted, so he used his censorial powers to appoint
many new senators, which eventually raised the Senate's membership to
900. All the appointments were of his own partisans, which robbed
the senatorial aristocracy of its prestige, and made the Senate
increasingly subservient to him. To minimise the risk that another
general might attempt to challenge him, Caesar passed a law that
subjected governors to term limits.
In 46 BC, Caesar gave himself the title of "
Prefect of the Morals",
which was an office that was new only in name, as its powers were
identical to those of the censors. Thus, he could hold censorial
powers, while technically not subjecting himself to the same checks to
which the ordinary censors were subject, and he used these powers to
fill the Senate with his own partisans. He also set the precedent,
which his imperial successors followed, of requiring the Senate to
bestow various titles and honours upon him. He was, for example, given
the title of "Father of the Fatherland" and "imperator".
Coins bore his likeness, and he was given the right to speak first
during Senate meetings. Caesar then increased the number of
magistrates who were elected each year, which created a large pool of
experienced magistrates, and allowed Caesar to reward his
Caesar even took steps to transform
Italy into a province, and to link
more tightly the other provinces of the empire into a single cohesive
unit. This addressed the underlying problem that had caused the Social
War decades earlier, where individuals outside
Italy were not
considered "Roman", thus were not given full citizenship rights. This
process, of fusing the entire
Roman Empire into a single unit, rather
than maintaining it as a network of unequal principalities, would
ultimately be completed by Caesar's successor, the emperor Augustus.
In February 44 BC, one month before his assassination, he was
appointed dictator for life. Under Caesar, a significant amount of
authority was vested in his lieutenants, mostly because Caesar was
frequently out of Italy. In October 45 BC, Caesar resigned
his position as sole consul, and facilitated the election of two
successors for the remainder of the year, which theoretically restored
the ordinary consulship, since the constitution did not recognise a
single consul without a colleague.
Denarius (42 BC) issued by Cassius Longinus and Lentulus Spinther,
depicting the crowned head of Liberty and on the reverse a sacrificial
jug and lituus, from the military mint in Smyrna
Near the end of his life, Caesar began to prepare for a war against
the Parthian Empire. Since his absence from
Rome might limit his
ability to install his own consuls, he passed a law which allowed him
to appoint all magistrates in 43 BC, and all consuls and tribunes in
42 BC. This, in effect, transformed the magistrates from being
representatives of the people to being representatives of the
See also: Assassination of Julius Caesar
Ides of March
Ides of March (15 March; see Roman calendar) of 44 BC, Caesar
was due to appear at a session of the Senate. Several Senators had
conspired to assassinate Caesar. Mark Antony, having vaguely learned
of the plot the night before from a terrified liberator named
Servilius Casca, and fearing the worst, went to head Caesar off. The
plotters, however, had anticipated this and, fearing that Antony would
come to Caesar's aid, had arranged for
Trebonius to intercept him just
as he approached the portico of the Theatre of Pompey, where the
session was to be held, and detain him outside (Plutarch, however,
assigns this action to delay Antony to Brutus Albinus). When he heard
the commotion from the Senate chamber, Antony fled.
According to Plutarch, as Caesar arrived at the Senate, Tillius Cimber
presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother. The
other conspirators crowded round to offer support. Both
Suetonius say that Caesar waved him away, but Cimber grabbed his
shoulders and pulled down Caesar's tunic. Caesar then cried to Cimber,
"Why, this is violence!" ("Ista quidem vis est!").
The senators encircle Caesar, a 19th-century interpretation of the
event by Carl Theodor von Piloty
At the same time, Casca produced his dagger and made a glancing thrust
at the dictator's neck. Caesar turned around quickly and caught Casca
by the arm. According to Plutarch, he said in Latin, "Casca, you
villain, what are you doing?" Casca, frightened, shouted, "Help,
brother!" in Greek ("ἀδελφέ, βοήθει", "adelphe,
boethei"). Within moments, the entire group, including Brutus, was
striking out at the dictator. Caesar attempted to get away, but,
blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him
as he lay defenceless on the lower steps of the portico. According to
Eutropius, around 60 men participated in the assassination. He was
stabbed 23 times.
According to Suetonius, a physician later established that only one
wound, the second one to his chest, had been lethal. The
dictator's last words are not known with certainty, and are a
contested subject among scholars and historians alike. Suetonius
reports that others have said Caesar's last words were the Greek
phrase "καὶ σύ, τέκνον;" (transliterated as "Kai su,
teknon?": "You too, child?" in English). However, for himself,
Suetonius says Caesar said nothing.
Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over
his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators. The version
best known in the English-speaking world is the
Latin phrase "Et tu,
Brute?" ("And you, Brutus?", commonly rendered as "You too,
Brutus?"); this derives from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar,
where it actually forms the first half of a macaronic line: "Et tu,
Brute? Then fall, Caesar." It has no basis in historical fact and
Shakespeare's use of
Latin here is not from any assertion that Caesar
would have been using the language, rather than the Greek reported by
Suetonius, but because the phrase was already popular when the play
was written, as it appears in Richard Edes's
Latin play Caesar
Interfectus of 1582 and The True Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke
& etc. of 1595, Shakespeare's source work for other plays.
The Death of Caesar, Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1867
According to Plutarch, after the assassination, Brutus stepped forward
as if to say something to his fellow senators; they, however, fled the
building. Brutus and his companions then marched to the Capitol
while crying out to their beloved city: "People of Rome, we are once
again free!" They were met with silence, as the citizens of
locked themselves inside their houses as soon as the rumour of what
had taken place had begun to spread. Caesar's dead body lay where it
fell on the Senate floor for nearly three hours before other officials
arrived to remove it.
Caesar's body was cremated, and on the site of his cremation, the
Temple of Caesar
Temple of Caesar was erected a few years later (at the east side of
the main square of the Roman Forum). Only its altar now remains.
A life-size wax statue of Caesar was later erected in the forum
displaying the 23 stab wounds. A crowd who had gathered there started
a fire, which badly damaged the forum and neighbouring buildings. In
the ensuing chaos, Mark Antony, Octavian (later
Augustus Caesar), and
others fought a series of five civil wars, which would end in the
formation of the Roman Empire.
Aftermath of the assassination
The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death
precipitated the end of the Roman Republic. The Roman middle and
lower classes, with whom Caesar was immensely popular and had been
since before Gaul, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats
had killed their champion. Antony, who had been drifting apart from
Caesar, capitalised on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to
unleash them on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking
Rome himself. To his surprise and chagrin, Caesar had named
his grandnephew Gaius Octavius his sole heir (hence the name
Octavian), bequeathing him the immensely potent Caesar name and making
him one of the wealthiest citizens in the Republic.
The crowd at the funeral boiled over, throwing dry branches,
furniture, and even clothing on to Caesar's funeral pyre, causing the
flames to spin out of control, seriously damaging the Forum. The mob
then attacked the houses of Brutus and Cassius, where they were
repelled only with considerable difficulty, ultimately providing the
spark for the civil war, fulfilling at least in part Antony's threat
against the aristocrats. Antony did not foresee the ultimate
outcome of the next series of civil wars, particularly with regard to
Caesar's adopted heir. Octavian, aged only 18 when Caesar died, proved
to have considerable political skills, and while Antony dealt with
Decimus Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavian
consolidated his tenuous position.
To combat Brutus and Cassius, who were massing an enormous army in
Greece, Antony needed soldiers, the cash from Caesar's war chests, and
the legitimacy that Caesar's name would provide for any action he took
against them. With the passage of the lex Titia on 27 November 43
Second Triumvirate was officially formed, composed of
Antony, Octavian, and Caesar's loyal cavalry commander Lepidus.
It formally deified Caesar as Divus Iulius in 42 BC, and Caesar
Octavian henceforth became Divi filius ("Son of a god").
Because Caesar's clemency had resulted in his murder, the Second
Triumvirate reinstated the practice of proscription, abandoned since
Sulla. It engaged in the legally sanctioned murder of a large
number of its opponents to secure funding for its 45 legions in the
second civil war against Brutus and Cassius. Antony and Octavian
defeated them at Philippi.
Julius Caesar Octavianus, Caesar's adopted heir
Mark Antony formed an alliance with Caesar's lover,
Cleopatra, intending to use the fabulously wealthy Egypt as a base to
dominate Rome. A third civil war broke out between Octavian on one
hand and Antony and
Cleopatra on the other. This final civil war,
culminating in the latter's defeat at Actium in 31 BC and suicide in
Egypt in 30 BC, resulted in the permanent ascendancy of Octavian, who
became the first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus, a name
that raised him to the status of a deity.
Julius Caesar had been preparing to invade Parthia, the Caucasus, and
Scythia, and then march back to
Germania through Eastern Europe. These
plans were thwarted by his assassination. His successors did
attempt the conquests of
Parthia and Germania, but without lasting
Divus Julius and Caesar's Comet
Julius Caesar was the first historical Roman to be officially deified.
He was posthumously granted the title Divus Iulius or Divus Julius
(the divine Julius or the deified Julius) by decree of the Roman
Senate on 1 January 42 BC. The appearance of a comet during games in
his honour was taken as confirmation of his divinity. Though his
temple was not dedicated until after his death, he may have received
divine honours during his lifetime: and shortly before his
Mark Antony had been appointed as his flamen
(priest). Both Octavian and
Mark Antony promoted the cult of
Divus Iulius. After the death of Antony, Octavian, as the adoptive son
of Caesar, assumed the title of Divi Filius (son of a god).
Health and physical appearance
Bust of Julius Caesar, posthumous portrait in marble, 44-30 BC, Museo
Pio-Clementino, Vatican Museums
Based on remarks by Plutarch, Caesar is sometimes thought to have
suffered from epilepsy. Modern scholarship is sharply divided on the
subject, and some scholars believe that he was plagued by malaria,
particularly during the Sullan proscriptions of the 80s. Several
specialists in headache medicine believe that instead of epilepsy, a
more accurate diagnosis would be migraine headache. Other
scholars contend his epileptic seizures were due to a parasitic
infection in the brain by a tapeworm.
Caesar had four documented episodes of what may have been complex
partial seizures. He may additionally have had absence seizures in his
youth. The earliest accounts of these seizures were made by the
biographer Suetonius, who was born after Caesar died. The claim of
epilepsy is countered among some medical historians by a claim of
hypoglycemia, which can cause epileptoid seizures.
In 2003, psychiatrist Harbour F. Hodder published what he termed as
the "Caesar Complex" theory, arguing that Caesar was a sufferer of
temporal lobe epilepsy and the debilitating symptoms of the condition
were a factor in Caesar's conscious decision to forgo personal safety
in the days leading up to his assassination.
A line from Shakespeare has sometimes been taken to mean that he was
deaf in one ear: Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf. No
classical source mentions hearing impairment in connection with
Caesar. The playwright may have been making metaphorical use of a
Plutarch that does not refer to deafness at all, but rather
to a gesture Alexander of Macedon customarily made. By covering his
ear, Alexander indicated that he had turned his attention from an
accusation in order to hear the defence.
Francesco M. Galassi and Hutan Ashrafian suggest that Caesar's
behavioral manifestations—headaches, vertigo, falls (possibly caused
by muscle weakness due to nerve damage), sensory deficit, giddiness
and insensibility—and syncopal episodes were the results of
cerebrovascular episodes, not epilepsy.
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder reports in his
Natural History that Caesar's father and forefather died without
apparent cause while putting on their shoes. These events can be more
readily associated with cardiovascular complications from a stroke
episode or lethal heart attack. Caesar possibly had a genetic
predisposition for cardiovascular disease.
Suetonius, writing more than a century after Caesar's death, describes
Caesar as "tall of stature with a fair complexion, shapely limbs, a
somewhat full face, and keen black eyes".
Name and family
The name Gaius Julius Caesar
Main article: Gaius
Julius Caesar (name)
Latin alphabet of the period, which lacked the letters J and
U, Caesar's name would be rendered GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR; the form CAIVS
is also attested, using the older Roman representation of G by C. The
standard abbreviation was C. IVLIVS CÆSAR, reflecting the older
spelling. (The letterform Æ is a ligature of the letters A and E, and
is often used in
Latin inscriptions to save space.)
In Classical Latin, it was pronounced [ˈɡaː.i.ʊs ˈjuːl.i.ʊs
ˈkae̯sar]. In the days of the late Roman Republic, many historical
writings were done in Greek, a language most educated Romans studied.
Young wealthy Roman boys were often taught by Greek slaves and
sometimes sent to
Athens for advanced training, as was Caesar's
principal assassin, Brutus. In Greek, during Caesar's time, his family
name was written Καίσαρ (Kaísar), reflecting its contemporary
pronunciation. Thus, his name is pronounced in a similar way to the
pronunciation of the German Kaiser.
In Vulgar Latin, the original diphthong [ae̯] first began to be
pronounced as a simple long vowel [ɛː]. Then, the plosive /k/ before
front vowels began, due to palatalization, to be pronounced as an
affricate, hence renderings like [ˈtʃeːsar] in Italian and
[ˈtseːzar] in German regional pronunciations of Latin, as well as
the title of Tsar. With the evolution of the Romance languages, the
affricate [ts] became a fricative [s] (thus, [ˈseːsar]) in many
regional pronunciations, including the French one, from which the
modern English pronunciation is derived. The original /k/ is preserved
in Norse mythology, where he is manifested as the legendary king
Caesar's cognomen itself became a title; it was promulgated by the
Bible, which contains the famous verse "
Render unto Caesar
Render unto Caesar the things
which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's". The title
Kaiser in German and
Tsar or Czar in the Slavic languages. The
Tsar in nominal power was Simeon II of Bulgaria, whose reign
ended in 1946. This means that for two thousand years after Julius
Caesar's assassination, there was at least one head of state bearing
Main article: Julio-
Claudian family tree
Claudian family tree
Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder
Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder (proconsul of Asia in 90s BC)
Mother Aurelia (one of the Aurelii Cottae)
First marriage to Cornelia (Cinnilla), from 84 BC until her death
in 69 or 68 BC
Second marriage to Pompeia, from 67 BC until he divorced her
around 61 BC over the Bona Dea scandal
Third marriage to Calpurnia, from 59 BC until Caesar's death
Julia, by Cornelia, born in 83 or 82 BC
Cleopatra VII, born 47 BC, and killed at age 17 by
Caesar's adopted son Octavianus.
Posthumously adopted: Gaius
Julius Caesar Octavianus, his great-nephew
by blood (grandson of Julia, his sister), who later became Emperor
Cleopatra and her son by Julius Caesar,
Caesarion at the Temple of
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus (born 85 BC): The historian
Plutarch notes that
Caesar believed Brutus to have been his illegitimate son, as his
mother Servilia had been Caesar's lover during their youth.
Caesar would have been 15 years old when Brutus was born.
Junia Tertia (born ca. 60s BC), the daughter of Caesar's lover
Servilia was believed by
Cicero among other contemporaries, to be
Caesar's natural daughter.
Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus (born ca. 85–81 BC): On several
occasions Caesar expressed how he loved Decimus Brutus like a son.
This Brutus was also named an heir of Caesar in case Octavius had died
before the latter.
Ronald Syme argued that if a Brutus was the natural
son of Caesar, Decimus was more likely than Marcus.
Grandson from Julia and Pompey, dead at several days, unnamed.
Cleopatra VII, mother of Caesarion
Servilia, mother of Brutus
Eunoë, queen of
Mauretania and wife of Bogudes
Gaius Marius (married to his paternal aunt Julia)
Mark Antony (his relative through Antony's mother Julia)
Julius Caesar (his third-cousin)
Julius Sabinus, a
Gaul of the
Lingones at the time of the Batavian
rebellion of AD 69, claimed to be the great-grandson of Caesar on the
grounds that his great-grandmother had been Caesar's lover during the
Rumors of homosexuality
Roman society viewed the passive role during sexual activity,
regardless of gender, to be a sign of submission or inferiority.
Suetonius says that in Caesar's Gallic triumph, his soldiers
sang that, "Caesar may have conquered the Gauls, but Nicomedes
conquered Caesar." According to Cicero, Bibulus, Gaius Memmius,
and others (mainly Caesar's enemies), he had an affair with Nicomedes
IV of Bithynia early in his career. The tales were repeated, referring
to Caesar as the Queen of Bithynia, by some Roman politicians as a way
to humiliate him. Caesar himself denied the accusations repeatedly
throughout his lifetime, and according to Cassius Dio, even under oath
on one occasion. This form of slander was popular during this
time in the
Roman Republic to demean and discredit political
opponents. A favorite tactic used by the opposition was to accuse a
popular political rival as living a Hellenistic lifestyle based on
Greek and Eastern culture, where homosexuality and a lavish lifestyle
were more acceptable than in Roman tradition.
Catullus wrote two poems suggesting that Caesar and his engineer
Mamurra were lovers, but later apologised.
Mark Antony charged that Octavian had earned his adoption by Caesar
through sexual favors.
Suetonius described Antony's accusation of an
affair with Octavian as political slander. Octavian eventually became
the first Roman Emperor as Augustus.
Julii Caesaris quae exstant (1678)
During his lifetime, Caesar was regarded as one of the best orators
and prose authors in Latin—even
Cicero spoke highly of Caesar's
rhetoric and style. Only Caesar's war commentaries have survived.
A few sentences from other works are quoted by other authors. Among
his lost works are his funeral oration for his paternal aunt Julia and
his Anticato, a document written to defame Cato in response to
Cicero's published praise.
Poems by Julius Caesar
Poems by Julius Caesar are also mentioned
in ancient sources.
A 1783 edition of The Gallic Wars
The Commentarii de Bello Gallico, usually known in English as The
Gallic Wars, seven books each covering one year of his campaigns in
Gaul and southern Britain in the 50s BC, with the eighth book written
Aulus Hirtius on the last two years.
Commentarii de Bello Civili
Commentarii de Bello Civili (The Civil War), events of the Civil
War from Caesar's perspective, until immediately after Pompey's death
Other works historically have been attributed to Caesar, but their
authorship is in doubt:
De Bello Alexandrino (On the Alexandrine War), campaign in Alexandria;
De Bello Africo (On the African War), campaigns in North Africa; and
De Bello Hispaniensi (On the Hispanic War), campaigns in the Iberian
These narratives were written and published annually during or just
after the actual campaigns, as a sort of "dispatches from the front."
They were important in shaping Caesar's public image and enhancing his
reputation when he was away from
Rome for long periods. They may have
been presented as public readings. As a model of clear and direct
Latin style, The
Gallic Wars traditionally has been studied by first-
The texts written by Caesar, an autobiography of the most important
events of his public life, are the most complete primary source for
the reconstruction of his biography. However, Caesar wrote those texts
with his political career in mind, so historians must struggle to
filter the exaggerations and bias contained in it. The Roman
Augustus began a cult of personality of Caesar, which
Augustus as Caesar's political heir. The modern
historiography is influenced by the Octavian traditions, such as when
Caesar's epoch is considered a turning point in the history of the
Roman Empire. Still, historians try to filter the Octavian bias.
Many rulers in history became interested in the historiography of
Napoleon III wrote the scholarly work Histoire de Jules
César, which was not finished. The second volume listed previous
rulers interested in the topic. Charles VIII ordered a monk to prepare
a translation of the
Gallic Wars in 1480. Charles V ordered a
topographic study in France, to place in
Gallic Wars in context; which
created forty high-quality maps of the conflict. The contemporary
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent catalogued the surviving
editions of the Commentaries, and translated them to Turkish language.
Henry IV and
Louis XIII of France
Louis XIII of France translated the first two
commentaries and the last two respectively; Louis XIV retranslated the
first one afterwards.
Main article: Caesarism
Julius Caesar is seen as the main example of Caesarism, a form of
political rule led by a charismatic strongman whose rule is based upon
a cult of personality, whose rationale is the need to rule by force,
establishing a violent social order, and being a regime involving
prominence of the military in the government. Other people in
history, such as the French
Napoleon Bonaparte and the Italian Benito
Mussolini, have defined themselves as Caesarists. Bonaparte did not
focus only on Caesar's military career but also on his relation with
the masses, a predecessor to populism. The word is also used in a
pejorative manner by critics of this type of political rule.
Main article: Cultural depictions of Julius Caesar
Bust in Naples National Archaeological Museum, photograph published in
Bust in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples
Julius Caesar from the British Museum
Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar, Rimini, Italy
Chronology of Caesar's life
Et tu, Brute?
Julius Caesar (name)
Julius Caesar, a play by William Shakespeare (c. 1599)
Veni, vidi, vici
^ The Classical
Latin spelling and reconstructed Classical Latin
pronunciation of his name is CAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR,
pronounced [ˈɡaː.i.ʊs ˈjuː.li.ʊs ˈkae̯.sar]. His
titulary name was
Imperator Gaius Iulius Gai(i) filius Gai(i) nepos
Caesar Patris Patriae "Commander Gaius Julius Caesar, son of Gaius,
grandson of Gaius, Father of his Country",
pronounced [ɪm.pɛˈraː.tɔr ˈgaː.i.ʊs ˈjuː.li.ʊs
ˈgaː.i.iː ˈfiː.li.ʊs ˈgaː.i.iː ˈnɛ.poːs ˈkae̯.sar
ˈpa.trɪs ˈpa.tri.ae̯] (Suetonius,
Divus Julius 76.1). Official
name after deification in 42 BC: Divus Iulius ("The Divine
^ Dates in this article are given in the
Roman calendar before 1
January 45 BC, and in the
Julian calendar as observed in
Rome on and
after that date. There is some dispute over the year of Caesar's
birth. Some scholars have made a case for 101 or 102 BC as the
year of his birth, based on the dates that he held certain
magistracies, but scholarly consensus favors 100 BC. Similarly,
some scholars prefer 12 July, but most give 13 July. Goldsworthy, p.
30, Ward, Heichelheim, & Yeo p. 194. For a source arguing for 12
July, see Badian in Griffin (ed.) p.16
^ After Caesar's death, the leap years were not inserted according to
his intent, and there is uncertainty about when leap years were
observed between 45 BC and AD 4 inclusive; the dates in this
article between 45 BC and AD 4 inclusive are those observed
Rome and there is an uncertainty of about a day as to where those
dates would be on the proleptic Julian calendar. See Blackburn, B and
Holford-Strevens, L. (1999 corrected 2003). The Oxford Companion to
the Year. Oxford University Press. p. 671. ISBN 978-0-19-214231-3
^ Keppie, Lawrence (1998). "The approach of civil war". The making of
the Roman Army: from Republic to Empire. Norman, OK: University of
Oklahoma Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-8061-3014-9.
Suetonius (121). "De vita Caesarum" [The Twelve Caesars]. University
of Chicago. p. 107. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30.
More than sixty joined the conspiracy against [Caesar], led by Gaius
Cassius and Marcus and Decimus Brutus.
^ Plutarch. "Life of Caesar". University of Chicago. p. 595.
...at this juncture Decimus Brutus, surnamed Albinus, who was so
trusted by Caesar that he was entered in his will as his second heir,
but was partner in the conspiracy of the other Brutus and Cassius,
fearing that if Caesar should elude that day, their undertaking would
become known, ridiculed the seers and chided Caesar for laying himself
open to malicious charges on the part of the senators... [dead
^ Tucker, Spencer (2010). Battles That Changed History: An
Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO. p. 68.
^ Froude, James Anthony (1879). Life of Caesar. Project Gutenberg
e-text. p. 67. Archived from the original on 9 December
2007. See also: Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Julius
6; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.41; Virgil, Aeneid
^ Tacitus, Annales, xi. 24.
^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.7. The misconception that Julius
Caesar himself was born by Caesarian section dates back at least to
the 10th century (
Suda kappa 1199). Julius wasn't the first to bear
the name, and in his time the procedure was only performed on dead
women, while Caesar's mother Aurelia lived long after he was born.
^ Historia Augusta: Aelius 2.
^ Goldsworthy, p. 32.
^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Plutarch, Caesar 1, Marius 6; Pliny the Elder,
Natural History 7.54; Inscriptiones Italiae, 13.3.51–52
^ Plutarch, Marius 6
^ a b Plutarch, Caesar 1; Suetonius, Julius 1
^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.54
^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.22; Florus, Epitome of Roman
^ "Julius Caesar". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012.
^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Plutarch, Caesar 1; Velleius Paterculus, Roman
^ Canfora, p. 3
^ William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities: Flamen
^ Suetonius, Julius 2–3; Plutarch, Caesar 2–3; Cassius Dio, Roman
^ Suetonius, Julius 46
^ Again, according to Suetonius's chronology (Julius 4). Plutarch
(Caesar 1.8–2) says this happened earlier, on his return from
Velleius Paterculus (Roman History 2:41.3–42)
says merely that it happened when he was a young man.
^ Plutarch, Caesar 1–2
^ Plutarch, Caesar
^ Thorne, James (2003). Julius Caesar: Conqueror and Dictator. The
Rosen Publishing Group. p. 15.
^ Freeman, 39
^ Freeman, 40
^ Goldsworthy, 77-78
^ Freeman, 51
^ Freeman, 52
^ Goldsworthy, 100
^ Goldsworthy, 101
^ Suetonius, Julius 5–8; Plutarch, Caesar 5; Velleius Paterculus,
Roman History 2.43
^ Mouritsen, Henrik,
Plebs and Politics in the Late Roman Republic,
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 97.
ISBN 0-521-79100-6 For context, see Plutarch, Julius Caesar, 5.4.
^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.43; Plutarch, Caesar 7;
Suetonius, Julius 13
Catiline War 49
^ Kennedy, E.C. (1958). Caesar de Bello Gallico. Cambridge Elementary
Classics. III. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
p. 10. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
^ Hammond, Mason (1966). City-state and World State in Greek and Roman
Political Theory Until Augustus. Biblo & Tannen. p. 114.
ISBN 9780819601766. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
Suetonius (2004). Lives of the Caesars. Barnes and Noble Library of
Essential Reading Series. Translated by J. C. Rolfe. Barnes &
Noble. p. 258. ISBN 9780760757581. Retrieved 26 December
^ T.R.S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the
Roman Republic (American
Philological Association, 1952), vol. 2, pp. 180 and 173.
^ Colegrove, Michael (2007). Distant Voices: Listening to the
Leadership Lessons of the Past. iUniverse. p. 9.
ISBN 9780595472062. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
^ Plutarch, Caesar 11–12; Suetonius, Julius 18.1
^ Plutarch, Julius 13; Suetonius, Julius 18.2
^ Plutarch, Caesar 13–14;
^ Cicero, Letters to Atticus 2.1, 2.3, 2.17; Velleius Paterculus,
Roman History 2.44; Plutarch, Caesar 13–14,
Suetonius, Julius 19.2; Cassius Dio, Roman History 37.54–58
^ Suetonius, Julius 21
^ Cicero, Letters to Atticus 2.15, 2.16, 2.17, 2.18, 2.19, 2.20, 2.21;
Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 44.4; Plutarch, Caesar 14, Pompey
Cato the Younger
Cato the Younger 32–33; Cassius Dio, Roman History 38.1–8
^ Suetonius, Julius 19.2
^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2:44.4; Plutarch, Caesar 14.10,
Cato the Younger
Cato the Younger 33.3; Suetonius, Julius 22;
Cassius Dio, Roman History 38:8.5
^ Suetonius, Julius 23
^ See Cicero's speeches against Verres for an example of a former
provincial governor successfully prosecuted for illegally enriching
himself at his province's expense.
^ Cicero, Letters to Atticus 1.19; Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the
Gallic War Book 1; Appian,
Gallic Wars Epit. 3; Cassius Dio, Roman
^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 2; Appian, Gallic
Wars Epit. 4; Cassius Dio, Roman History 39.1–5
^ Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus 2.3; Suetonius, Julius 24;
Plutarch, Caesar 21,
^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 3; Cassius Dio,
Roman History 39.40–46
^ Black, Jeremy (2003). A History of the British Isles. Palgrave
MacMillan. p. 6.
^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 4; Appian, Gallic
Wars Epit. 4; Cassius Dio, Roman History 47–53
^ Cicero, Letters to friends 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.10, 7.17; Letters to his
brother Quintus 2.13, 2.15, 3.1; Letters to Atticus 4.15, 4.17, 4.18;
Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 5–6; Cassius Dio,
Roman History 40.1–11
^ Suetonius, Julius ; Plutarch, Caesar 23.5,
Crassus 16–33; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 46–47
^ "France: The Roman conquest". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 6, 2015. Because of chronic
internal rivalries, Gallic resistance was easily broken, though
Vercingetorix’s Great Rebellion of 52 bce had notable
^ "Julius Caesar: The first triumvirate and the conquest of Gaul".
Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved
February 15, 2015. Indeed, the Gallic cavalry was probably superior to
the Roman, horseman for horseman. Rome’s military superiority lay in
its mastery of strategy, tactics, discipline, and military
engineering. In Gaul,
Rome also had the advantage of being able to
deal separately with dozens of relatively small, independent, and
uncooperative states. Caesar conquered these piecemeal, and the
concerted attempt made by a number of them in 52 bce to shake off the
Roman yoke came too late.
^ Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 7; Cassius Dio,
Roman History 40.33–42
^ Aulus Hirtius, Commentaries on the Gallic War Book 8
^ "Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, by Plutarch
^ Suetonius, Julius 28
^ Plutarch, Caesar 32.8
^ Thomson, D. F. S.; Sperna Weiland, Jan (1988). "
Erasmus and textual
scholarship: Suetonius". In Weiland, J. S.
Erasmus of Rotterdam: the
man and the scholar. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill. p. 161.
^ Plutarch, Caesar 35.2
^ Plutarch, Caesar 42–45
^ Roller, Duane W. (2010). Cleopatra: a biography. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 9780195365535, p. 175.
^ Walker, Susan. "
Cleopatra in Pompei?" in Papers of the British
School at Rome, 76 (2008): 35-46 and 345-8 (pp. 35, 42-44).
^ a b Plutarch, Caesar 37.2
^ a b Martin Jehne, Der Staat des Dicators Caesar, Köln/Wien 1987, p.
^ a b Salisbury, Joyce E (2001). "
Cleopatra VII". Women in the ancient
world. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 52.
^ Suetonius, Julius 35.2
^ Caesar: a history of the art of war among the Romans down to the end
of the Roman empire, with a detailed account of the campaigns of Caius
Julius Caesar, page 791, Theodore Ayrault Dodge, Greenhill Books,
1995. ISBN 9781853672163
^ Paul: The Man and the Myth, page 15, Studies on personalities of the
New Testament Personalities of the New Testament Series, Calvin J.
Roetzel, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999.
^ Julius Caesar, page 311, Philip Freeman, Simon and Schuster, 2008.
^ Plutarch, Caesar 52–54
^ Martin Jehne, Der Staat des Dictators Caesar, Köln/Wien 1987, p.
15-38. Technically, Caesar was not appointed dictator with a term of
10 years, but he was appointed annual dictator for the next 10 years
^ Plutarch, Caesar 56
^ Plutarch, Caesar 56.7–56.8
^ Appian, The Civil Wars 2:143.1
^ a b c Abbott, 133
^ a b c Abbott, 134
^ a b c Suetonius, Julius 40
^ Cassius Dio, Roman History 43.19.2–3; Appian, Civil Wars 2.101.420
^ a b c d e f g h i J.F.C. Fuller, Julius Caesar, Man, Soldier,
Tyrant", Chapter 13
^ Diana E. E. Kleiner. Julius Caesar,
Venus Genetrix, and the Forum
Iulium (Multimedia presentation). Yale University.
^ Mackay, Christopher S. (2004). Ancient Rome: A
Political History. Cambridge University Press. p. 254.
^ Campbell, J. B. (1994). The Roman Army, 31 BC–AD 337. Routledge.
^ a b c d e f g Abbott, 136
^ a b c d e Abbott, 135
^ a b c d e Abbott, 137
^ Abbott, 138
^ Huzar, Eleanor Goltz (1978). Mark Antony, a biography By Eleanor
Goltz Huzar. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-0-8166-0863-8.
Plutarch – Life of Brutus". Classics.mit.edu. Retrieved 28 April
^ "Suetonius, 'Life of the Caesars, Julius', trans. J C Rolfe".
Fordham.edu. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
^ Plutarch, Life of Caesar, ch. 66: "ὁ μεν πληγείς,
Ῥωμαιστί· 'Μιαρώτατε Κάσκα, τί
^ Woolf Greg (2006), Et Tu Brute? – The Murder of Caesar and
Political Assassination, 199 pages – ISBN 1-86197-741-7
^ Suetonius, Julius, c. 82.
^ Suetonius, Julius 82.2
^ From the J. C. Rolfe translation of 1914: "...he was stabbed with
three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at
the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus
rushed at him, he said in Greek, 'You too, my child?".
^ Plutarch, Caesar 66.9
^ Stone, Jon R. (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of
London: Routledge. p. 250. ISBN 0-415-96909-3.
^ Morwood, James (1994). The Pocket Oxford
(Latin-English). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
^ Dyce, Alexander (1866). The Works of William Shakespeare. London:
Chapman and Hall. p. 648. Quoting Malone
^ Plutarch, Caesar 67
^ "Temple of Caesar". Anamericaninrome.com. Retrieved 8 January
^ Florus, Epitome 2.7.1
^ Suetonius, Julius 83.2
^ "Suetonius, Life of Caesar, Chapters LXXXIII, LXXXIV, LXXXV".
Ancienthistory.about.com. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 28 April
^ Osgood, Josiah (2006). Caesar's Legacy: Civil War and the Emergence
of the Roman Empire. Cambridge University Press. p. 60.
Augustus 13.1; Florus, Epitome 2.6
^ Warrior, Valerie M. (2006). Roman Religion. Cambridge University
Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-521-82511-3.
^ Florus, Epitome 2.6.3
^ Zoch, Paul A. (200). Ancient Rome: An Introductory History.
University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 217–218.
^ Florus, Epitome 2.7.11–14; Appian, The Civil Wars 5.3
^ Florus, Epitome 2.34.66
^ Plutarch, Caesar 58.6
^ Cicero, Phillipic ii.110:
Cicero refers to the divine honours
of : "...couch, image, pediment, priest" given to Caesar in the
months before his assassination.
^ According to Dio Cassius, 44.6.4.
^ Plutarch, Caesar 17, 45, 60; see also Suetonius, Julius 45.
^ Ronald T. Ridley, "The Dictator's Mistake: Caesar's Escape from
Sulla," Historia 49 (2000), pp. 225–226, citing doubters of
epilepsy: F. Kanngiesser, "Notes on the Pathology of the Julian
Dynasty," Glasgow Medical Journal 77 (1912) 428–432; T. Cawthorne,
Julius Caesar and the Falling Sickness,” Proceedings of the Royal
Society of Medicine 51 (1957) 27–30, who prefers Ménière's
disease; and O. Temkin, The Falling Sickness: A History of Epilepsy
from the Greeks to the Beginnings of Modern Neurology (Baltimore
1971), p 162.
^ Seymour Diamond and Mary Franklin, Conquering Your Migraine: The
Essential Guide to Understanding and Treating Migraines for all
Sufferers and Their Families, (New York: Fireside, 2001), 19.
^ Bruschi, Fabrizio (2011). "Was Julius Caesar's epilepsy due to
neurocysticercosis?". Trends in Parasitology. Cell Press. 27 (9):
373–374. doi:10.1016/j.pt.2011.06.001. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
^ McLachlan, Richard S. (2010). "Julius Caesar's Late Onset Epilepsy:
A Case of Historic Proportions". Canadian Journal of Neurological
Sciences. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences Inc. 37 (5):
557–561. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
^ Hughes J; Atanassova, E; Boev, K (2004). "Dictator Perpetuus: Julius
Caesar—did he have seizures? If so, what was the etiology?".
Epilepsy Behav. 5 (5): 756–64. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2004.05.006.
^ Gomez J, Kotler J, Long J (1995). "Was Julius Caesar's epilepsy due
to a brain tumor?". The Journal of the Florida Medical Association. 82
(3): 199–201. PMID 7738524.
^ H. Schneble (1 January 2003). "Gaius Julius Caesar". German Epilepsy
Museum. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
^ Hodder, Harbour Fraser (September 2003). "
Epilepsy and Empire,
Caveat Caesar". Accredited Psychiatry & Medicine. Harvard, Boston:
Harvard University. 106 (1): 19.
^ William Shakespeare,
Julius Caesar I.ii.209.
^ Plutarch, Alexander 42; Jeremy Paterson discussing Caesar's health
in general in "Caesar the Man," A Companion to Julius Caesar
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), p. 130 online.
^ Galassi, Francesco M.; Ashrafian, Hutan (29 March 2015). "Has the
diagnosis of a stroke been overlooked in the symptoms of Julius
Caesar?". Neurological Sciences. 36 (8): 1521–1522.
^ Suetonius, Life of Caesar 45: excelsa statura, colore candido,
teretibus membris, ore paulo pleniore, nigris vegetisque oculis.
^ Anderson, Carl Edlund. (1999). "Formation and Resolution of
Ideological Contrast in the Early History of Scandinavia" (PDF).
Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2007. . PhD thesis,
University of Cambridge, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse &
Celtic, p. 44. (308 KB)
^ Plutarch, Brutus 5
^ Ronald Syme, "Bastards in the Roman Aristocracy," pp. 323–327.
Thomas Africa thought Syme had recanted this view; see "The Mask of an
Assassin: A Psychohistorical Study of M. Junius Brutus," Journal of
Interdisciplinary History 8 (1978), p. 615, note 28, referring to
Sallust (Berkeley, 1964), p. 134. This would appear to be
a misreading, given Syme's fuller argument twenty years later in "No
Son for Caesar?" Historia 29 (1980) 422–437, pp. 426–430 regarding
the greater likelihood that Decimus would be the Brutus who was
^ Tacitus, Histories 4.55
^ Suetonius, Julius 49
^ Suetonius, Julius 49; Cassius Dio, Roman History 43.20
^ Catullus, Carmina 29, 57
^ Suetonius, Julius 73
Augustus 68, 71
^ Cicero, Brutus, 252.
^ Edward Courtney, The Fragmentary
Latin Poets (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1993), pp. 153–155 and 187–188. See also Poems by Julius
^ T.P. Wiseman, “The Publication of De Bello Gallico,” Julius
Caesar as Artful Reporter (Classical Press of Wales, 1998).
^ Canfora, p. 10-11
^ Canfora, p. 10
^ Canfora, pp. 11-12
^ Caesarism, Charisma, and Fate: Historical Sources and Modern
Resonances in the Work of Max Weber. Transaction Publishers. 2008.
^ Canfora, pp. 12-13
Dickinson College Commentaries: Selections from the Gallic War
Forum Romanum Index to Caesar's works online in
Latin and translation
Julius Caesar at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about
Julius Caesar at Internet Archive
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Ancient historians' writings
Appian, Book 13 (English translation)
Cassius Dio, Books 37–44 (English translation)
Plutarch on Antony (English translation, Dryden edition)
Plutarch: The Life of
Julius Caesar (English translation)
Plutarch: The Life of
Mark Antony (English translation)
Suetonius: The Life of Julius Caesar. (
Latin and English,
cross-linked: the English translation by J. C. Rolfe)
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Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer
Consul of the Roman Republic
With: Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus
Title last held by
in 81 BC
Dictator of the Roman Republic
in 48 BC
Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus
Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior
Consul of the Roman Republic
With: Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus
Quintus Fufius Calenus
in 49 BC
Dictator of the Roman Republic
in 46 BC
Quintus Fufius Calenus
Consul of the Roman Republic
With: Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
in 47 BC
Dictator of the Roman Republic
as Dictator in perpetuity (in 44 BC)
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
Consul of the Roman Republic
Consul of the Roman Republic
With: Mark Antony
Publius Cornelius Dolabella
as Dictator (in 44 BC)
Dictator in perpetuity of the Roman Republic
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius
Pontifex Maximus of the Roman Religion
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
historiography of the fall
Tribune of the Plebs
Frontiers and fortifications
Decorations and punishments
Conflict of the Orders
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Younger
Quintus Curtius Rufus
Seneca the Elder
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Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Eusebius of Caesaria
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Dion and Brutus1
Fabius and Pericles1
Lucullus and Cimon1
Lysander and Sulla1
Numa and Lycurgus1
Pelopidas and Marcellus1
Philopoemen and Flamininus1
Phocion and Cato the Younger
Pompey and Agesilaus1
Poplicola and Solon1
Pyrrhus and Gaius Marius
Romulus and Theseus1
Sertorius and Eumenes1
Agis / Cleomenes1 and
Tiberius Gracchus / Gaius Gracchus
Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus1
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1 Comparison extant
2 Four unpaired Lives
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Decline and fall of the Western Empire
715 BC: Numa Marcius
509 BC: C. Papirius
449 BC: Q. Furius
431 BC: A. Cornelius Cossus
420 BC: S. Minucius
390 BC: M. Fabius Ambustus
332 BC: P. Cornelius Calussa
304 BC: P. Cornelius Scipio Barbatus
254 BC: Ti. Coruncanius
243 BC: L. Caecilius Metellus
221 BC: L. Cornelius Lentulus Caudinus
213 BC: M. Cornelius Cethegus
212 BC: P. Licinius
180 BC: M. Aemilius Lepidus
150 BC: P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum
141 BC: P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio
132 BC: P. Licinius
Crassus Dives Mucianus
130 BC: P. Mucius Scaevola
114 BC: L. Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus
103 BC: Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus
89 BC: Q. Mucius Scaevola
81 BC: Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius
63 BC: C. Julius Caesar
44 BC: M. Aemilius Lepidus
12 BC: C.
Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus
12 BC - AD 375: Held by the emperors.
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