I have recently been cleaning out my computer and have discovered some writings that I have done for classes or just by my own free will. So I will be posting some of them. This first one is a cause and effect essay that I wrote about Julius Caesar over two years ago. I received an A on this paper but when I went back and read it I did not see how. I don’t know maybe I am just being hard on myself. Anyway, without further ado here is the first segment of “My Old Works.”
Julius Caesar: The Man You Thought?
So many Ancient civilizations have seen some tremendously influential leaders but few were as persuasive and distinguished as Gaius Julius Caesar. One of Caesar’s goals was to reform the Roman civilization and his journey to the top was a pretty unique one. There were an abundance of causes that resulted in Caesar becoming dictator of Rome and there were an immense number of effects that came from Caesar gaining that title.
Before learning about Caesar it is important to understand what a dictator of Rome was to the people. In Rome dictators were legal officials nominated by the senate. They were elected to handle a major problem and were limited to a fixed term. They were generally loved by the people and admired. They were not the tyrants that most people think of when they think of dictators today.
One of the first steps that set in motion the process of Gaius Julius Caesar coming to power was the creation and dismantling of the first triumvirate. The expression the first triumvirate is described as “a convenient expression, which is assumed to designate in a general way the union of three men to control the government,” (Sanders 55). The three men that made up the very first triumvirate in Roman history were Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. The first triumvirate began when a man named Sulla who had been dictator for longer than usual resigned. As stated in “The First Triumvirate and Julius Caesar,” “Sulla’s reign drained the Senate of power. Damage had been done to the republican system of government. Violence and uncertainty allowed a new political alliance to arise,” (Gill n.p.). After Sulla resigned he would go on to die a year later, which caused the two richest men in Rome to grow hostile with each other. These two men were Crassus and Pompey.
Caesar would go on to prevent civil war between the two men, “This wasn’t simply a private concern, since each man was backed by factions and soldiers. To avert civil war, Julius Caesar, whose reputation was growing because of his military successes, suggested a 3-way partnership,” (Gill). The trio would go on and divvy up the provinces of Rome to suit each individual. “Crassus, the capable financer, would receive Syria; Pompey, the renowned general, Spain; Caesar, who would soon show himself to be a skilled politician as well as a military leader, Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul and Illyricum” (Gill n.p.). Caesar allowed Pompey to marry his daughter Julia which helped Caesar and Pompey’s relationship. This would last several years until a few factors caused its demise.
The first triumvirate started in the year 59 B.C. and then would slowly deteriorate until the year 54 B.C. when it finally would end. One of the factors that started the demise of the first triumvirate was the death of Julia “Julia, wife of Pompey and daughter of Julius Caesar, died in 54, passively breaking the personal alliance between Caesar and Pompey,” (Gill n.p.). The first triumvirate would continue to dismantle in the year 53 B.C. when a Parthian army killed Crassus. This would lead to the third and final factor for the first triumvirate’s demise that is also the main cause of Julius Caesar becoming dictator of Rome.
The main cause of the breaking up of the first triumvirate and also Julius Caesar’s coming to power was when Caesar was told to return to Rome without his army. Caesar was accused of treason because he was gaining too much power and reputation in Gaul due to the changes Caesar was making in the government. “Laws were altered to suit his needs. Some senators, notably Cato and Cicero, were alarmed by the weakening legal fabric,” (Gill n.p.). These law changes were what caused the Roman government to call Caesar back to Rome without his army. Caesar had two options as described by N.S. Gill “Caesar could either be convicted of treason, or fight the Roman forces sent to meet him, which Caesar’s former co-leader, Pompey, led” (Gill n.p.). Caesar chose the latter and marched his army across the Rubicon River and into Rome. Caesar would defeat Pompey in Pharsalus “Pompey had the initial advantage, but even so, Julius Caesar won at Pharsalus in 48 B.C.” (Gill n.p.). After defeating Pompey Caesar marched into Rome and became dictator.
The event of Caesar becoming dictator was an eventful situation for the Roman civilization. A few years after Caesar marched into Rome, defeated Pompey, and joined the Roman counsel he gained enough popularity to become the dictator of Rome. N.S. Gill describes Caesar becoming dictator after spending some time in Egypt “At the same time, Julius Caesar was appointed dictator for life (in perpetuity) and assumed the title of imperator, general (a title given a victorious general by his soldiers), and pater patriae ‘father of his country,’ a title Cicero had received for suppressing the Catilinarian Conspiracy” (Gill n.p.). Caesar was then offered the title of rex or king of Rome but he declined. This was not accepted well by the public although, Caesar becoming dictator was actually looked at as a good thing by the common people of Rome. The common people knew that Caesar wanted to reform Rome to strengthen the power of the common man and to reduce the power of the wealthy. There were several other effects that came from Julius Caesar becoming the dictator of Rome such as the reform of the government, the reinventing of the calendar and eventually his own demise.
One major effect that resulted from Julius Caesar becoming dictator was the reform of the Roman government. Julius Caesar changed many things in the Roman government including granting citizenship to many colonials, reducing the power of the senate to make it only an advisory council, and instituting a policy of land reform that took power away from the wealthy. The first thing Caesar did when he became dictator as described by N.S. Gill “Julius Caesar granted citizenship to many colonials, thus widening his base of support,” (Gill n.p.). Caesar main goal was to become and to remain as popular with the people as possible. Granting colonials citizenship helped Caesar to do this because Rome was not accepting of people just moving into their territory but when Caesar granted them citizenship they were instantly on his side. Another thing Caesar did was to turn the senate into just an advising council. Caesar implemented several laws during a period of time that eventually reduced the senates power so much that it became just a council of advisors. This would go on to help Caesar become the only person that could make laws. One last political reform that Caesar made was to set in place a land reform that was supposed to take power from the wealthy. This was implemented because all of the landowners in Rome were the most wealthy and powerful. Julius Caesar did not think that was fair so in order to gain even more popularity with the common man he started the land reform. There were a few other political reforms made by Caesar and every single one of them was implemented for him to gain popularity with the common people of Rome.
Another significant effect that took place because of Julius Caesar becoming dictator was the reformation of the calendar. Julius Caesar reinvented the Roman calendar into a calendar that is extremely similar to the one we use today. The article “Which Equinox” talks about the effects and results of this calendar reform. The calendar was created for many reasons. One of the reasons is described in the article “The reform of the Republican calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. was carried out to adjust the year and festivities to the seasons,” (Garcia and Belmonte 97). This new calendar was supposed to make it easier to keep up with the seasons and festivities of the Romans. The calendar that Julius Caesar designed had a 355-day year and was lunar based but Caesar would go on to create an even more accurate calendar that would be used for years to come. “Caesar decreed that the year should have 365 days, with the addition of an extra day every four years in order to bring the calendrical year into closer proximity to the tropical year” (Garcia, Belmonte 97). I find the fact that a man who lived over two thousand years ago could come up with this calendar without the science or instruments we have today. Although it is astounding Caesar could create this calendar Caesar’s next decree would prove that only some of the calendar would prove to be accurate. His second decree for the calendar called for the year 708 B.C. to have two extra months and a total of ninety extra days. Even though this decree was certainly wrong the creation of this calendar was a big step towards the modern calendar we use today.
The final effect that resulted from Julius Caesar becoming dictator of Rome came on the fateful Ides of March in 44 B.C. That event would be Caesar’s assassination. Garcia and Belmonte describe, “On the Ides of March, in 44 B.C., the senators stabbed Gaius Julius Caesar 60 times, beside a statue of his former co-leader Pompey,” (n.p.). These sixty people plotted to and stabbed Caesar because they felt as if he was a huge threat to the old Roman ways. They thought that they would not have any power and they thought the Roman people were going to follow in Caesar’s footsteps and try to rise up to gain power. So they thought that the only solution was to end Caesar’s life because he would not step down from his dictator position. This is an effect of Caesar becoming dictator because if he would have never forced his way into becoming dictator he may have never been murdered.
In conclusion, there were many events that caused Julius Caesar to become dictator of Rome and there were many effects in result. Some causes not mentioned in this paper are Caesar’s power in Gaul, the weakening legal fabric in Rome, and tribunes in Rome being on Caesar’s side. Some causes not mentioned in this essay were Caesar’s formation of spies and Caesar gaining allegiance from proconsuls by paying them to remove corruption in the government. It is important to know the effects of Julius Caesar’s rise to power because most of them effected the government, which changed the way governments, were run. These changes have had lasting effects on the way governments are run today.
Gill, N.S.. “About.com Ancient/Classical History.” ancienthistory.about.com. N.p.. Web. 21 Nov 2013. <http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/caesar1/a/caesartriumvir.htm>.
González-García, Antonio César, and Juan Antonio Belmonte. “Which Equinox?.” Archaeoastronomy 20.(2006): 97-107. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
Sanders, A. Henry. “The So-Called First Triumvirate.” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome . 10. (1932): 55-68. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.