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Caesar, Iulius

, or, as the name is written in English, Julius Caesar, was born on the 12th of July, in B.C. 102 or 100. The latter date rests upon the statement of several ancient authorities, but Mommsen has shown that the earlier date is more probably correct. The Caesar family was of patrician stock. It belonged to the proud gens of the Iulii, who traced their ancestry back to the very beginning of Roman history. In the century between B.C. 160 and 60, several Caesars held public offices, at least four being honoured with the consulship.

Of the youth and education of Iulius Caesar little is known excepting that he was under the instruction of the distinguished teacher of grammar and rhetoric, M. Antonius Gnipho , who for a time taught in his home. Though allied by descent with the aristocracy, he was brought into relation with the popular party through the marriage of his aunt Iulia with the great leader Marius. In B.C. 83, he himself married Cornelia, the daughter of Marius's most ardent supporter, Cinna. This vexed Sulla , who, regaining the ascendency at Rome the following year, ordered Caesar to divorce her. Unlike Pompey and Piso, who put away their wives at Sulla 's bidding, Caesar boldly refused. Sulla confiscated his property, and revoked the priesthood of Iupiter, which had been conferred upon him through the influence of Marius. As his life was now in danger, he went into hiding, hotly pursued from place to place by Sulla 's emissaries. After a time his friends, aided by the Vestal Virgins, succeeded in securing pardon for him from Sulla , who is said to have granted it with the remark that Caesar would some time be the ruin of the aristocracy, for in him there was many a Marius. Soon afterwards, desirous of gaining the military experience considered necessary for a young Roman of rank, he joined the staff of M. Minucius Thermus, who was besieging Mytilené. Here he saved the life of a fellow-soldier, displaying so great bravery that he was honoured with a civic crown. After Mytilené fell he entered the service of P. Servilius in Cilicia; but immediately on hearing of the death of Sulla , in 78, he returned to Rome.

The following year Caesar introduced himself to public notice by bringing a charge of provincial extortion against Gnaeus Dolabella, who had been proconsul of Macedonia. Though unsuccessful, in 76 he was invited to accuse Antonius of similar misconduct in Greece. Antonius also was acquitted, but the young prosecutor gained great popularity and a considerable reputation for oratory by his pleas. He now started for Rhodes, to pursue the study of oratory under Molo. Near Miletus he was captured by pirates, and was detained on the island of Pharmacusa until he could get together a ransom of fifty talents (over $55,000). Having been set at liberty, he procured ships, captured the pirates, took them to Pergamus, and crucified them, thus carrying out a threat which he had jestingly pronounced when with them. He spent a short time at Rhodes, and then passed over to Asia, where he rendered gallant service against an army of Mithridates. In the winter of 74-73, he returned to Rome, having been chosen to fill a vacancy in the college of pontifices. He now threw himself into political life with an energy that yielded to no opposition and a reckless liberality that hesitated at no expenditure. He was affable to every one, and no applicant for aid went away empty-handed. He soon exhausted his inheritance, and became deeply involved in debt; but his popularity was unbounded. Having taken a stand in opposition to the Sullan constitution and the aristocracy, he received the offices in the gift of the people in regular succession. In 67, he was quaestor, serving under Antistius Vetus in Further Spain. In 65, he was curule aedile, with M. Bibulus as colleague. Extravagant expenditures upon games and buildings raised his popularity to the highest pitch. He increased the power and influence of the popular party in many ways, but by no single act did he kindle the enthusiasm of the populace more than by privately restoring the trophies of Marius, which had been destroyed by Sulla , and replacing them by night on the Capitol. Marius's veterans crowded around them with tears and shouting. The Senate, notwithstanding the formal denunciation of Marius as a public enemy, was obliged to yield to the popular feeling and leave them in the place of honour.

Caesar was charged with complicity in both the Catilinarian conspiracies, but evidence is wanting. In 62, he was praetor, carrying himself with great firmness and discretion amid scenes of violence. The following year he governed the province of Further Spain with distinction, both as a civil administrator and as a general. He subdued several tribes and captured the city of Brigantium, in the extreme northwestern part. At the expiration of his year of office he came back to Rome with ample means to satisfy his creditors. In 60, he was chosen consul for 59, the aristocracy making every effort to secure the election of Bibulus as his colleague to offset his influence. About this time he brought about a reconciliation between Pompey and Marcus Crassus, entering with them into the coalition known as the First Triumvirate. These ties were strengthened further by the marriage of his daughter Julia to Pompey. During his consulship he was influential in promoting the interests of Pompey and Crassus; at the same time he kept his standing with the people, and was especially serviceable to the important body of equites. Instead of the usual proconsular command for one year, he easily obtained the governorship of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyricum, and Transalpine Gaul, of which only the southeastern portion had been subdued, for five years, together with the control of four legions. During the next nine years (58-50), Caesar was engaged in the conquest of Transalpine Gaul. Summers were devoted to military operations; but when possible he spent a part of the winter in Cisalpine Gaul, in close communication with his friends at Rome. In 56, he again reconciled Pompey and Crassus, who met with him at Luca; in 55, his command was continued for five years longer. The conquest of Gaul was no easy matter, both from the advancement of its civilization and the character of the country (see Gallia); but Caesar accomplished it, in a series of campaigns which, for variety and skill of tactics as well as unremitting energy of movement, are unsurpassed in the annals of warfare. He twice bridged the Rhine and invaded Germany; twice also he crossed over to Britain, reducing the tribes along the southeast coast to nominal subjection. By the year 50, Gaul was completely conquered, and well on the way towards complete organization as a Roman province.

Coin of Iulius Caesar as Dictator.

The death of Iulia, Pompey's wife and Caesar's daughter, in 54, and that of Crassus a year later in the East, broke the common bond between the two great military leaders and put an end to the compact of the triumvirate. Pompey, viewing with jealousy and alarm the victorious career of his younger rival, entered into an alliance with the aristocratic party, and endeavoured to check the increasing power of Caesar by means of senatorial enactments. In his interest the Senate, early in B.C. 50, passed a decree that each of the commanders should give up a legion for the Parthian War. As Pompey had lent one of his to Caesar in 53, this was now demanded back. Although the intent of the whole matter was clearly to weaken Caesar, he gave up Pompey's legion and one of his own as directed; but the troops, instead of being despatched to the East, were placed in camp at Capua. It became clearer every day that Caesar's friends were powerless to obtain for him the recognition and privileges to which he was justly entitled; that the senatorial party and Pompey would scruple at nothing to gain the advantage over him. While his commission prevented him from entering Italy, and no dispensation from it was granted, Pompey was permitted to administer an important command in Spain through lieutenants, and at the same time remained at Rome. The climax was reached early in January, B.C. 49, when the Senate, amid great uproar, decreed that Caesar should disband his army by a certain date, under penalty of being considered a public enemy if he failed to do so; and that the magistrates should take measures to provide for the security of the State. The tribunes M. Antonius and Q. Cassius, who had in vain interposed their veto, were obliged to flee, and took refuge with Caesar, calling upon him to defend the inviolable sanctity of their office. War was now inevitable.

With the vigour and despatch characteristic of his previous military operations, Caesar at once crossed the river Rubicon, the southern boundary of his province. Within three months he was master of the whole of Italy, Pompey and the more zealous adherents of the aristocratic party having fled to Greece. He now set out for Spain, and soon dispersed the forces of Pompey there, meanwhile gaining possession of Sicily and Sardinia also, through his lieutenants Curio and Valerius. In Africa and Illyricum his officers were less successful; but on his way back from Spain he forced the surrender of Massilia, which in his absence had withstood a siege at the hands of Trebonius and Decimus Brutus. By this time Pompey had gathered a large army in Greece, and had also a powerful fleet at his service. Nothing daunted, Caesar crossed the Adriatic in January, 48, and with a far inferior force tried to blockade his opponent at Dyrrachium. Being unsuccessful, and also reduced to straits for supplies, he withdrew into Thessaly. Pompey followed, over-confident. The decisive battle was fought on the plain of Pharsalus, in Thessaly, August 9th, B.C. 48. Pompey had 47,000 infantry and 7000 cavalry, Caesar barely 22,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry. But superior generalship and discipline, and the courage of despair, won the day against greater numbers. Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was immediately murdered. When the news of the victory reached Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator for a year, and other offices also were conferred upon him, so that, under the forms of the old constitution, he possessed absolute authority.

Coin of Iulius Caesar.

Having followed Pompey to Egypt, Caesar was there for a time in great danger on account of the disturbance known as the Alexandrine War, which arose from a dispute regarding the succession. He placed Cleopatra on the throne, and in the spring of 47 proceeded to Pontus, where he defeated Pharnaces, a son of Mithridates, near Zela, announcing the victory at Rome in the famous despatch, Veni, vidi, vici, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Early in 46, he crossed over to Africa, crushing the remnants of the senatorial forces there at the battle of Thapsus, April 6. Returning to Rome, where his supremacy was no longer disputed, he treated his former opponents with unlooked-for clemency, and inaugurated several salutary reforms, among which not the least important was the rearrangement of the calendar. The sons of Pompey gathered an army in Spain, which he defeated at the battle of Munda, March 17th, B.C. 45. During the ensuing months, Caesar's powers as a civil administrator had full scope. His projects, few of which were destined to be realized, were characterized by statesmanship of a high order, which has come to be the more admired the better it has been understood. But he was not beyond the reach of malice and envy. A conspiracy was formed against him; the leaders of it were Marcus Brutus and Cassius. The conspirators were actuated by different motives—some, no doubt, by personal jealousy and hatred; others by a patriotic desire to restore the old republican constitution; a few, perhaps, by ambitious designs upon the spoils of State. On the 15th of March, B.C. 44, as Caesar was entering the hall connected with Pompey's theatre to attend a meeting of the Senate, he was set upon, and fell pierced by twenty-three wounds.

Caesar holds a unique place in the history not merely of Rome, but of the world. In his time the government of Rome had been found wholly inadequate to meet the administrative demands of a great empire. More and more the military became

Iulius Caesar. (Statue in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome.)

paramount to the civil power in the State, and the old-time balance of political parties gave place to violent strifes between successful generals. The perpetuation of the Roman government demanded centralization of authority. Cherishing the ambition to become the great political leader of his generation, Caesar became supreme, not by usurpation, but by the natural exercise of extraordinary executive abilities under political conditions which admitted of no alternative between anarchy and absolutism. He appears to have had a truer insight into the needs of his country than any of his contemporaries. His genius was not, as often represented, merely destructive, but was constructive as well. After his death, Rome had no peace or prosperity till political authority was again concentrated in the hands of Augustus. But this many-sided man was great not merely as a statesman. As a general he is ranked in the same class with Alexander, Hannibal, and Napoleon; as an orator he was reckoned in his day second only to Cicero; and as a writer he has long since received a place among the world's greatest masters. Tall, with fair complexion and expressive black eyes, sensitive in regard to his appearance and neat to the verge of effeminacy, gracious in address and Epicurean in both tastes and beliefs, in external characteristics he might have passed for a man of the world, at home in the gay society of a luxurious capital. But in ambition, in energy, in the ability to form plans and to bring things to pass, he belied all appearances, and has probably made a deeper impression upon humanity than any other man that has ever lived.

With the exception of a few fragments, Caesar's speeches have perished. A like fate has befallen his poems, most of which were composed in early life, and his treatise on grammar, in two books. Among other writings that were published was a tract written in opposition to Cicero's panegyric on Cato , in two books (see Anticatones); a treatise on astronomy, and a collection of witticisms. Only his invaluable “Memoirs” are extant—“On the Gallic War” (De Bello Gallico), in seven books, and “On the Civil War” (De Bello Civili), in three books, the former published probably in B.C. 51. These works are written in a simple, concise, straightforward style, remarkably free from military technicalities of the sort to trouble the reader. They were no doubt designed to justify the author in the eyes of his countrymen, but their credibility on the whole is not thereby seriously impaired. An eighth book was added to the Gallic War by Aulus Hirtius; and unknown authors extended the Civil War by narratives concerning the Alexandrine, African, and Spanish wars.

Bibliography.—The chief sources for the life of Caesar are his own writings and the works of Cicero (particularly the Letters), Sallust's Catiline, the biographies by Plutarch and Suetonius, and the treatises on Roman history by Velleius Paterculus, Appian, and Dio Cassius. The ancient authorities are examined with much painstaking by Drumann, in his Geschichte Roms (vol. iii.); worthy of mention, also, is the extended treatment of Caesar in Mommsen's History of Rome (vol. iv. of the English translation), in Duruy's History of Rome (vol. iii.), and in Merivale's History of the Romans under the Empire (vols. i., ii.). Special works are: Napoleon III., Histoire de Jules César (2 vols., with valuable atlas, Paris, 1865; English translation, New York, 1865); Delorme, Cäsar und seine Zeitgenossen (deutsch, bearbeitet von Doehler, Leipzig, 1873); Froude, Caesar: a Sketch (New York, 1884); and Fowler, Julius Caesar and the Organization of the Roman Empire (New York, 1892). For the history of Caesar's campaigns: Rüstow, Heerwesen und Kriegführung Cäsars (Nordhausen, 1862); F. de Saulcy, Les Campagnes de Jules-César dans les Gaules (Paris, 1865); A. von Göler, Caesars gallischer Krieg und Theile seines Bürgerkrieges (2d ed., Freiburg and Tübingen, 1880, reprinted 1884); Stoffel, Histoire de Jules César: Guerre civile (2 vols., with atlas of twenty-four plates, Paris, 1887); Judson, Caesar's Army (Boston, 1888); and Fröhlich, Das Kriegswesen Cäsars (Zürich, 1891). Useful, also, in this connection are: Rüstow, Atlas zu Caesars gallischem Kriege (Stuttgart, 1868); A. von Kampen, XV. ad Caesaris de Bello Gallico Commentarios Tabulae (Gotha, 1879); Jal, La Flotte de César (Paris, 1862); and especially Desjardins, Géographie historique et administratrive de la Gaule romaine (4 vols., Paris, 1876-93). For Caesar's writings, see Fallue, Analyse raisonnée des Commentaires de Jules César (Paris, 1862); and Trollope, The Commentaries of Caesar (Philadelphia, 1880). For the extant portraits of

Site and Ruins of Caesarea in Samaria.

him, see Bernoulli, Römische Ikonographie (vol. i., pp. 145-181).

The MSS. upon which the text of Caesar's Commentaries is based fall into two classes, known as α and β. The α group seems to be more faithful to the original form, but contains only the Gallic War; the best representatives are: a MS. of the ninth or tenth century at Amsterdam (A), three of the tenth century (B, C at Paris, R in the Vatican), and one of the eleventh century (M, also at Paris). The MSS. of the β class include also the Civil War with the continuations, the best being a Paris MS. of the eleventh or twelfth century (T), a Vatican MS. of the twelfth century (V), and one of the thirteenth century, at Vienna. Critical editions of Caesar's works are by Nipperdey (Leipzig, 1847) and Dübner (2 vols., Paris, 1867); convenient text-editions by Nipperdey (4th reprint, 1884); Dinter (3 parts, Leipzig, 1864-76; 2d ed. of Gallic War, 1884), and Hoffmann (2d ed., Vienna, 1888); critical editions of the Gallic War by Frigell (Upsala, 1861), Holder (with useful index, Freiburg, 1882), and Kübler (vol. i., Leipzig, 1893). Among the numerous annotated editions are those by Kraner (Berlin; de Bel. Gal., 15te verbesserte Aufl., von W. Ditten berger, 1890; de Bel. Civ., 10te umgearbeitete Aufl. von Hofmann Fr., 1890), Doberenz (Leipzig, umgearbeitet von Dinter, de Bel. Gal., 9te Aufl. 1890-92; de Bel. Civ., 5te Aufl., 1884), Rheinhard (Stuttgart; de Bel. Gal., 7te Aufl., herausg. von S. Herzog, 1892>), Moberly (Oxford; Gallic War, 2d ed., 1878; Civil War, 1880), and Peskett (Cambridge; Gallic War, 5 vols., 1878-82; Civil War, Book I. 1890), Allen and Greenough (Boston; Gallic War, 1887), and Kelsey (Boston; Gallic War, 7th ed., 1894). Of the several lexicons to Caesar, Meusel's Lexicon Caesarianum (Berlin, 1887-93) and the Lexicon Caesarianum by Menge and Preuss (Leipzig, 1890) are the best. A brief bibliography of the more recent literature dealing with Caesar's works is given in Teuffel's History of Roman Literature. 195, 196 (Eng. tr. by Warr, 1892).

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