Julius Caesar Reference

Julius Caesar

(Comprehensive Guide to Military History)

Article abstract: Military significance: Caesar demonstrated in the conquest of Gaul and in his victories in the Roman civil wars that when properly led, the Roman legionnaire was vastly superior to other contemporary forces. His writings on these wars greatly influenced military history.

A member of a large and very old family that had fallen from influence at Rome, Julius Caesar was related by marriage to the great military innovator Gaius Marius. In his early career, Caesar escaped Sulla’s violent proscriptions of Marius’s supporters, then gravitated toward the party of Pompey the Great as Pompey dissolved the Sullan reforms. Heavily in debt, he served as praetor in Further Spain during 61 b.c.e. and satisfied his creditors by a showy but unremarkable campaign. Returning to Rome, he formed a compact (the First Triumvirate) with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus and claimed the consulship for 59 b.c.e.

As consul, Caesar secured the governorship of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum for five years. The Senate later added Transalpine Gaul, and his governorship was extended for another five years in 56 b.c.e. Caesar took up his post early in 58 b.c.e. He now had an army under his command. His appointment clearly included only northern Italy and the southern, coastal regions of Gaul; however, to advance his position at Rome, Caesar ignored the long-standing, senatorial principle of strategic defense and began to bring all of Gaul under Roman authority. He defeated the Helvetii, a Gallic tribe in what later became Switzerland, at the Battle of Bibracte in 58 b.c.e. His actions resulted in one of the largest acquisitions of territory in the history of Rome, the penetration of Roman culture and government into most of Western Europe, and the first...

(The entire section is 730 words.)

As a Writer

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

0111205837-Caesar.jpg Julius Caesar (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Gaius Julius Caesar (SEE-zur) is better known as a leader than as a writer. However, his histories were models of the simple expository style of composition. Born into a Roman patrician family, he was required to prepare himself for political or military service to the state. He determined upon the military life because a relative, Marius, was the leader of the populrs, the more democratic of the two groups who struggled for control of the state at the time. He was tutored in Greek and Latin literature and rhetoric. When his father died, Caesar at sixteen assumed the toga virilis. He was made a priest of Jupiter during the temporary triumph of the populrs led by Marius and Cinna after the civil war that followed the social war of 90-89 b.c.e. He married Cinna’s daughter Cornelia, but when the optimts party led by Sulla assumed power, he was ordered to divorce her. Refusing, he fled to Asia Minor to join the Roman army under Thermus and there received the highest military award for valor. When he learned of Sulla’s death in 78 b.c.e., he returned to Rome. To further his political career, he studied rhetoric at Rhodes under Molon, and then he slowly advanced himself in Roman politics by supporting the common people to increase his popularity and by revising the popular assembly. He was made quaestor in 68 b.c.e. and, through bribery, pontifex...

(The entire section is 473 words.)