Julius Caesar in History
Julius Caesar was born on July 13, 100 BC. He was a controversial figure of ancient Rome. A military general and a Roman politician, he changed the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar greatly changed Rome’s economy and significantly enlarged Rome’s territories, which made the Roman Empire one of the largest in history.
Julius Caesar was a very talented individual who had mastered different areas of knowledge, along with being very popular with the common people of Rome. He had won their trust when he borrowed large amounts of money to host games or parties to entertain the people (Trueman, Chris, historylearningsite.co.uk/ancient-rome/julius-caesar). This also made him popular with the poor people of Rome. To strengthen his popularity, he created an alliance called the First Triumvirate, which included a military leader, Pompey, the richest man in Rome, Crassus, and the man popular with the common people, himself (Wasson, Donald, First Triumvirate). After some years of the alliance, Crassus died, which led to the crumbling of the First Triumvirate. Pompey and Caesar went into a civil war, where Caesar was the victor (Wasson, Donald, First Triumvirate). After this civil war, Julius Caesar made himself a dictator for life.
During his rule as dictator, the economy of the Roman empire was permanently changed. It greatly improved during his rule. One of the major changes he made to Rome’s economy was dealing with the debt that was scattered across Rome. After the civil war broke out, real estate values collapsed, and lenders demanded repayment of loans. This led to a shortage of coins because people stored what they could. To solve this issue, Julius Caesar created a law where one person could not store large amounts of currency. He also declared that repayment of property would be at its pre-war value. People were not required to pay the interest payments that were due since the beginning of 49 B.C. Tenants were not required to pay rent for a year. (Fife, Steven, Caesar As Dictator: His Impact on the City of Rome).
Another major problem he addressed to improve Rome’s economy was the enormous amount of unemployment across Rome. To solve this problem, he put thousands of people to work in Rome and throughout Italy. Many new buildings were constructed, which not only created employment opportunities, but also greatly enhanced the look of Rome (Fife, Steven, Caesar As Dictator: His Impact on the City of Rome). A new Senate-House was constructed which replaced the building that was burned down after Clodius died (Kent, Zachary, 117). He made transportation easier by building new canals and increasing the size of the harbor in Ostia, which would allow better use of the Tiber River (Kent, Zachary, 117). Rome’s aqueducts carried water into the city from the countryside. Caesar planned to build another man-made channel, which would add more fresh water to the city’s supply. This project would provide employment to many people for over twenty years. (Kent, Zachary, 117). Throughout Italy more roads were built, which also created employment opportunities. The poor were allowed to settle in Rome’s colonies overseas (Fife, Steven, Caesar As Dictator: His Impact on the City of Rome). He even allowed citizenship to some foreigners.
His greatest achievements were however as a Roman General. Through his conquests, he greatly expanded the Rome’s borders. One of his major accomplishments was the defeat of the Gallic tribes and the conquest of Gaul which consists of most of modern day France and Belgium. The tribes of Gaul were known to be fierce warriors and seemed undefeatable. However Caesar was a brilliant general and craved for the glory that the conquest of Gaul would bring him. In the first six months of this reign as Governor of the province of Gaul he fought and defeated the warlike Helvetii, who lived in what is now modern day Switzerland and Germans who were planning to invade Gaul (Kent, Zachary, 53). Later Caesar successively defeated two fierce Belgian tribes, the Nervii and the Aduatuci (Kent, Zachary, 58). In two years Caesar had crisscrossed Gaul and every Gallic tribe that fought him was defeated. Such was his success that Gauls along the coast submitted to Roman Rule. The grateful Romans gave him a public thanksgiving for fifteen days, an honor no other Roman general was bestowed with (Kent, Zachary, 60). Later in 52 B.C. he crushed a Gallic rebellion led by their charismatic king Vercingetorix (Kent, Zachary, 83). He led a successful campaign into Germany and crushed the Germanic tribes as a show of strength to prevent further invasions into Gaul by the Germans.
In this campaign to cross into Germany he built a bridge across the river Rhine which was an engineering marvel. This feat so demoralized the Germans that they retreated to the forests even before the Romans invaded. He was the first Roman who built a bridge across the Rhine to fight and conquer the Germans (Tranquillus, Gaius, 25). In late summer of 55 B.C. Caesar led a large fleet into Britain (Kent, Zachary, 67). The first raid lasted only for eighteen days as his cavalry could not arrive due to a storm that forced the ships to turn back to Gaul. However, In the spring of 54 B.C. Caesar led a second raid into Britain that led to the Romans reaching the northern banks of the Thames river leading to the British king Cassivellaunus requesting a peace treaty (Kent, Zachary, 71). Later a Civil War broke out between Caesar and Pompey in 49 B.C. After multiple battles, Caesar through brilliant generalship crushed Pompey and his large number of legions in 48 B.C. in the battle of Pharsalus which led to him becoming the sole leader of Rome (Kent, Zachary, 101). Caesar later captured large parts of Northern Africa after defeating the combined armies of the rebel General Scipio and King Juba of Numidia in 46 B.C (Kent, Zachary, 112).
Caesar’s successes in Gaul, and his other military conquests resulted in him collecting large quantities of gold. He sold it for silver, in Italy and the provinces, at two-thirds of the official exchange rate (Tranquillus, Gaius, 34). This made him very rich and it also made Rome rich. His skill in military strategy enabled him to win all of the battles he had faced (Cadwell, Winston, Caesar and his Impacts on Rome). Caesar took care of his army veterans by rewarding them with huge bonuses, for their loyalty to and service to him (Kent, Zachary, 116).This also led to extra expense. To manage the huge expenses that Rome faced, Caesar discovered new sources of income. He heavily taxed the rich men and also cities in Asia, Spain, and Egypt. He took possession of the lands, houses, and furniture of his enemies to pay off debts. (Kent, Zachary, 116).
Julius Caesar not only became extremely popular with the common people, but he also became the most powerful man in Rome. This caused jealousy amongst the Senators who thought that Caesar had become too powerful and they plotted his death. Julius Caesar was assassinated in March 15, 44 BC. After his death, Rome went into a civil war for many years which divided the population between the supporters of Julius Caesar and the people against him. During his time as dictator, Caesar relieved Rome of its debt issues, fixed unemployment issues, and made Rome arguably a better place. Not only did Rome gain a stronger economy, it also became a powerful empire.