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As a person who was cherished but also resented by many, Julius Caesar left a valuable impression on those during his lifetime, and even to this day. Although Caesar was a skillful leader who helped extend the Roman Republic, in reality, he was a greedy, immoral man who used the factors of manipulation in order to bring himself to success.
Born on July 12, 100 BC, Julius Caesar’s birth was said to have “marked the start of a new era” (“Julius Caesar Biography,” 2014) in parts of Roman History. He was born into an influential family, primarily due to his family’s relations with Gaius Marius, the savior of the Roman republic. A few years afterward, with the influence of his family, Julius Caesar’s father became praetor in 92 BC. Later in the year, he and his family moved out of Rome so that his father could serve as governor of Asia Minor (Lendering, 2018). While it isn’t shown in history how Caesar’s father used his power to gain these positions, he clearly desired to move up in society. This reveals that Caesar’s father was power hungry, manipulative, and greedy, which means Caesar must have picked up his father’s ambitions.
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In addition, Caesar was an immoral man who married several wives and had love affairs with many women. Caesar married his first wife, Cornelia in 84 BC and had a child named Julia. “Cornelia was the daughter of a prominent member in the Popular faction”(“Gaius Julius Caesar,” n.d.) Cornelia’s dad was Cornelius Cinna who was a powerful leader of Rome. Therefore, it is possible Caesar married Cornelia in order to gain an influential role in society. While his feelings for her may have been genuine, he most likely married Cornelia for her wealth. Also, Caesar forced his daughter Julia to marry Pompey, a man of a much older age for the sealing of the First Triumvirate (Wasson, 2016). This was because Crassus was one of the wealthiest men in Rome and Pompey was a well-known hero who had defeated Mithridates. Therefore, Caesar married Julia to Pompey in order to have a good relationship with the two powerful men. Later on, Caesar lost the life of his wife Cornelia in 69 BC. He married a second time to a woman named Pompeia who was the granddaughter of Sulla. Just the same as Cornelia, Pompeia came from a powerful family. However, Caesar decided to divorce Pompeia after suspecting that she cheated on him for Publius Clodius. While Caesar was married to Pompeia, he had a mistress named Servilia (“Julius Caesar,” 2019). Although Pompeia ended up cheating on Caesar afterward, it still remains unethical to love another woman while being married. Caesar marries Calpurnia, his third and last wife even though she was of a much younger age. “Caesar also remarries once again to Calpurnia, the daughter of a leading member in the Popular faction” (“Gaius Julius Caesar,” n.d.). This was a repetitive pattern of Caesar marrying women who were born into rich and successful families. During this marriage, not only did Caesar have a mistress, but also took it one step further by having a child with her. The mistress was Cleopatra and Calpurnia was heavily disappointed to hear of this. Therefore, Caesar was a selfish and immoral man who cheated on his wives and married women for political power.
The First Triumvirate formed due to each man’s separate motives. The reason why Caesar joined was not only so he could be elected consul, but also so that he could later become proconsul of Gaul(Wasson, 2016). He allied himself with these people only for their power. If they had been in a different position, he probably wouldn’t have even talked to them. It’s logical to conclude that Caesar only saw people for the advantages they supply, rather than the personalities they have. With their personal resources, ambition, and contacts, they achieved their goals and more. When Caesar’s consulship ended in 58 BC, Caesar and his army traveled through the Alps and began his conquest Gaul. In 56 BC, Julia died while giving birth, which caused the ties holding the triumvirate together to loosen(“Gaius Julius Caesar.”, n.d). They barely had a relationship after Julia’s death. It’s probable that didn’t even care for Pompey except for the benefits he provided. Further proving that Caesar only cared for power. After Crassus’ and Pompey’s co-consulship in 55 BC, Pompey became governor of Spain and ruled it from Rome through deputies. During this time, Crassus gained command of the army. Unfortunately, in 53 BC, he was decapitated by the Parthians in the Battle of Carrhae. With Crassus dead, nothing held the alliance together and the downfall of the Triumvirate began. In 59 BC, Caesar and his forces returned to Rome. Pompey, on the other hand, received command of the Roman army, and by this time was seething with hatred for Caesar Ultimately, these factors led to civil war. Pompey and his army soon left Rome to head to Greece, Caesar’s forces following not too far away. Eventually, they met in 48 BC at the Battle of Pharsalus. The battle ended with a victory for Caesar. Pompey fled to Egypt where he was beheaded and presented to Caesar. Eventually, Caesar returned to Rome in 46 BC, the same year he was named dictator.
Even though Caesar was an unethical person, he was overall an influential and compelling leader. An effective speaker with high potential and responsibility, Caesar had countless attributes and was practically capable of doing everything; allowing the people of Rome to love and appreciate him as their leader. His expertise in numerous fields such as military strategy, politics, and coordinating contributed to his success and growth. Not only this, but Caesar also had an admirable personality which people valued greatly. Being a man who took risks for the success of Rome, he was also particularly generous and open-minded with his men. During the time spent with his soldiers, he learned every soldier’s name that fought by his side, enduring the same experiences he had (“8 leadership lessons..” 2015). In return, his army gained confidence together through their personal connection with Caesar. As a child, he had high political aspirations and often befriended people, giving himself connections and flexibility. Eventually, his connections with those in power allowed him to become dictator of Rome by 44 BC. During his reign, these political connections aided his political career. Caesar had also improved the growth of Rome and its economy. However, his dictatorship didn’t last long, as he soon met his end in the same year.
On the day of March 15th, Julius Caesar left Rome to fight in a war in current day Iraq. While he was occupied, he chose his trustworthy assistants to regulate the Empire. However, his senators became furious finding out they had to follow orders from Caesar’s assistants, along with the fact that they already loathed following Caesar’s beck and call (“The Ides of March: Julius Caesar is murdered,” 2018). If the senate detested Caesar, he must have done something to earn this much animosity. They hated listening to him, so he probably mistreated them. Taking this into consideration, one could assume that Caesar had an inflated ego. After all, humans only mistreat others if they feel that they should be, or are more superior than the people they target. As a result, Cassius Longinus, one of the senators, planned to plot against him, and at the same time recruited many senators along with his brother-in-law, Marcus Brutus, to conspire with him. From Cassius’s perspective, he generally believed that he could do better than Caesar and that he wasn’t worthy of his title. Whether if it really was because Caesar thought too highly of himself, or if it was just that Cassius felt jealousy, it is impossible to know. However, if Cassius was able convince so many people into joining his conspiracy, it’s likely that the rest of the senators and citizens also had something against Caesar. “The fact that the general populace seems to treat Caesar as if he is some kind of god greatly troubles Cassius. He is intent on preventing the general from achieving greater power and has, with a number of other conspirators who share his sentiment, decided to get rid of him” (Nightingale, 2017). As a result, Cassius resented him for long and for once saw his chance to finally earn his recognition. Furthermore, Cassius’s plot was well thought out and he always had a reason for his actions. He knew that Brutus was a very respected man to most senators and also had a close bond with Caesar. Thus, recruiting him would make his conspiracy validated, if such an honorable person like Brutus were to join in, since people knew that he’d never base his actions on greed. On the morning of Caesar’s meeting with his senators, he abruptly decided to not attend. This might’ve possibly meant that Caesar felt suspicious and suspected “rumors of conspiracy” (Strauss, 2018) since he had received a warning about the Ides of March a month earlier. Decimus, a close friend of Caesar whom he’d trusted, was also involved with the conspiracy. “Decimus was different. He always fought for Caesar, never against him, and so he held a place in Caesar’s inner circle” (Strauss, 2018). However, if Decimus was close friends with him, what made him join the conspiracy against Caesar? Throughout their relationship, he felt that he couldn’t receive as much honor and credit that he deserved, if he continued to fight alongside Caesar. Generally, Decimus was a man who had high ambitions for his future and wanted to give himself the honor he believed he deserved, rather than liberty. Because of this, rather than blaming himself for the fact that he couldn’t earn the honor he deserved on his own, he blamed it on Caesar. However, with this sudden change of thought, it was also possible that Decimus could’ve realized he was being used or seen as inferior to Caesar. As a result, hearing that Caesar wouldn’t leave to the meeting, they sent Decimus to convince him into attending, which he was successful at. However, Caesar wasn’t able to see what was coming for him and despite that, Caesar was still quite oblivious to the fact that he was disliked by his senators. Caesar arrived calmly without his security, assuming that he would be all right. As Caesar entered the hall near Pompey’s theatre, he was handed a warning note, however he didn’t care or bother enough to read it. Knowing this, if he did consider reading it at the time and wasn’t so ignorant, could he have prevented his death? Later, entering the room, he was enclosed by the group of senators holding weapons. “Servilius Casca struck the first blow, hitting Caesar in the neck and drawing blood. The other senators all joined in, stabbing him repeatedly about the head” (Nightingale, 2017). After numerous hits, Marcus stabbed Caesar one last time. As he laid weakly on the floor, staring at Brutus, Caesar’s final words were, ‘“You, too, my child?”’(“The Ides of March: Julius Caesar is murdered,” 2018). As a result, if Caesar did make the decision to read the warning note he was given, there was a possibility that he could’ve been able to escape at the last moment. Together, Cassius and Brutus formed an army and hosted a celebration for the assassination of Caesar, which was known as the Ides of March. However, Octavian was determined to avenge his father and continue his legacy. Two years later, Cassius and Brutus suicided due to finding out that Octavian’s army defeated them at the Battle of Philippi in Greece. Octavian later ruled the Roman Empire and became known as Augustus, carrying on Caesar’s legacy.
Although Caesar displayed many merciless actions to get there, he did improve the Roman civilization greatly and left an enormous impact in history. He had no morals and often made decisions based on whether it would benefit him or not. Nonetheless, with the legacy he created, he wasn’t necessarily an atrocious person, since he did also sacrifice and take actions to contribute to his society.
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