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Beah Davee Marie H.



March 4, 2014

Caesars Rise to Glory and his Inevitable Fall

The name Caesar can be associated with greatness. It is a name that has built up
empires and overthrown republics. It is a name that symbolizes power and strength. It is a name
with great imperial significance starting with it being the old title of the heir apparent to the
Roman throne and of whose derivations include the German Kaiser and the Russian tsar.
When I think about the name Caesar, I think about the great Julius Caesar.
Gaius Julius Caesar was a man made out of steel. His brilliant mind and aptitude in
reading the people enabled him to reach the heights he reached before his violent fall. He was a
man who could do a lot of things and an absolute genius in the things he did. Despite his
unfortunate childhood, his brilliance was something that couldnt be hidden.
First, he displayed a great aptitude in public speaking. He was a formidable orator, one
that could make the people stop in their tracks just to hear him speak. His fame rose and he
landed the office of curule aedile. Due to his position, he had to sponsor gladiatorial games.
Despite having next to nothing, he was able to hold lavish and elaborate gladiatorial matches that
endeared him to the masses. His popularity rose and using the peoples favour (and running up
more debts), he won election to the post of Pontifex Maximus.
He then allied himself with Crassus and Pompey in order to secure the post of consul. He
then turned to military glory after securing his own province. He rode up and down the land
fighting the Gallic tribes with his self-proclamation that it was for the greater glory of Rome.
There he showed his prowess as a military commander and tactician. He especially showed this
during his battle with Vercingetorix, where they won despite being outnumbered 5 to 1. Due to
this, the resistance of the gauls ended and he became known as a man who men would follow
His rising power and fame threatened Pompey and the senate so much that they decided
to stop him from getting even more powerful. They relieved Caesar of his command on the field
and ordered him to return to Rome. Now, not only would this strip Caesar of his power but it was
also a barb against his honour. He cannot surrender. Unhesitatingly, he marched his men straight
into Italy causing uproar and starting a civil war. He eventually came out as the victor and was
given the title of Dictator of Rome. Certain senators were unnerved and jealous of his power so
they conspired to remove him from the picture, permanently. On the Ides of March, Julius Caesar
was assassinated. His death sparked the beginning of Rome's transition from republic to empire
which was achieved under his adopted sons, Octavius, tutelage.
Now there are certain things that caught my attention. I noticed that Julius Caesars way
of thinking reminded me of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. I saw that he put great
importance in the way people viewed him. It was apparent in the way he held the lavish games to
his refusal of the crown Mark Anthony offered him when the people reacted in an unfavourable

manner. Which correlates with Machiavellis advice to princes that their people must not hate
them for the populaces goodwill is the first line of defence and better than any fortress. Another
is when he allied himself with Crassus and Pompey in order to gain power. While extremely
brilliant, he knew that he lacked in reputation and wealth and decided that he could account for
this by forming an alliance with the two most powerful people of Rome. This reminds me of
Machiavellis saying for princes to surround themselves with wise advisers. While largely
different from Caesars situation, it is similar in the aspect that you surround yourself with
people useful to you in order to gain something from them. It made me see the similarities in the
way of thinking people have when it comes to gaining power.
I also noticed that despite the Romans expelling their king and wanting nothing to do
with any rex; they still celebrated their founding which had monarchical roots in which Romulus,
the founder of Rome, was their first king. Now, I understand that it was in honour of their
founding but it still showed their fascination in the thought of a strong man leading them to
unprecedented glory. Which, I think is a bit hypocritical but considering it all, we all long for
someone strong to protect us but fear the truly powerful for they have the power to hurt us.
The documentary made me open my eyes to Romes past. While Julius Caesar may have
employed certain methods that we think inhumane, ruthless and tyrannical, there is no changing
the fact that their system was crumbling anyway. I applaud the Romans for living under such
tension for centuries, but eventually everything will have to explode. It would have been
destroyed by someone else and instead studying on Julius Caesar, we might be studying on some
other person who did the same things Caesar did who caused the system downfall. Also, Caesar
also showed being an adept statesman as his reforms did stabilize the Mediterranean world.
Whether one sees Caesar as an immoral tyrant, with an insatiable lust for power or as a
ruthless but adept statesman, it was his actions that helped shape Rome and to an extension, the
world. His legacy will live on and he will continue on puzzling and fascinating the next