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Why was the real-life Julius Caesar--not the character from the play Julius Caesar--so...

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brandih | eNotes Employee

Posted October 16, 2013 at 7:53 PM via web

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Why was the real-life Julius Caesar--not the character from the play Julius Caesar--so successful? 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:19 AM (Answer #1)

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Julius Caesar was a brillant tactician and politician. As a young man, Caesar joined the military because he there was some conflict between him and Rome's dictator Sulla. After Sulla died, he returned and lived for a time in Rhodes. But, during his travels, Caesar was kidnapped. Displaying negotiation and counter-insurgency tactics, Caesar swayed his captors to raise his ransom. Then, he organized an attack upon them by a naval force; the pirates were subsequently captured, then executed. Furthering his reputation as a formidable man, Caesar formed a private army and fought Mithradest VI, a king who had declared war on Rome.


After his vitories, Caesar returned to Rome and commenced work with Pompey under whom he held several key government positions. Later, Caesar was able to align himself with the powerful Crassus, a Roman general who had served under the rule of Sulla. Crassus was a man who offered political support to Caesar, who gladly formed this political alliance and delighted in the power it gave him. In fact, this action was the perfect impetus to Caesar for- greater domination as this wealthy man offered both financial and political support for Julius Caesar. And, over the years as Crassus and Pompey began to be at ends with one another, Caesar, yet the great negotiator, ameliorated their conflicts and a Triumvirate was formed with the three men.

A most clever tactician and politician, Julius Caesar manipulated people by staging riots to get his way. Moreover, he had no problem with exercising brutality. For instance, he waited until one opponent's water supply went dry, he then ordered the survivors' hands cut off. But, most cleverly, while he was exacting these measures and conquering Gaul, Caesar had his political agents acting for him in Rome. After Crassus died, Caesar fought Pompey in Egypt. Returning to Rome, Caesar was crowned Emperor. About Caesar's accomplishments in Rome, one source states,

Caesar relieved debt and reformed the Senate by increasing its size and opening it up so that it better represented Romans as a whole.

Clearly, Caesar was brillant, employing many tactics and political moves that men in contemporary times yet utilize. While destroying his enemies, Julius Caesar was able to use them first, then unify and reorganize Rome, create an empire, and relieve debt.

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