essay, old stuff

My Old Works #1

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.

 

Works Cited

 

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&gt;.

 

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.

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Early life

Early Life and Explanations #2 (Being “that fat kid”)

So last time I talked about how being a little more intelligent, while not a bad thing, made me feel like i was different from everyone else. At eight or nine years old this can cause your world to come crumbling down. Little kids, in my experience, tend to be very impressionable and want to follow the crowd. So you can see how this might have made me feel like an outcast. Anyway, this segment of ELE is not about this but about my coming to terms with childhood obesity.


It was at the end of my second grade year that I began to put on weight and when I say put on weight I mean that I went from one of the skinniest kids in my class to one of the biggest by the beginning of my third grade year. It didn’t help that I was going to a new school either. So the kids in my new third grade class never knew how I was before but only how I was now. Most of these kids were very nice to me since I was the new kid but there was one kid that constantly messed with me. He was really the only one who made fun of me but he did it so much that it eventually started to really upset me. Looking back at it I really should not have let it get to me as much because the kid was probably just projecting his own insecurities about not being smart in school onto me. In my defense I was only eight and at eight you don’t really think about things like that. So this went on for a few weeks until finally I was getting messed with so much by this kid that I decided to fake being sick. This worked for about two days but since my mom is a nurse she pretty quickly sniffed out that I wasn’t sick. She asked me what was wrong and I told her there was a kid calling me fat and poking me in the belly. Being the kind loving parent she was she went to the school right away to talk with the principle. He told her that he would take care of it first thing in the morning when I got back to school. You would think this would be the end of it but it only made it worse. The principle sat the other kid and I in his office and went over the whole you shouldn’t bully speech and the other kid agreed what he was doing was wrong then we went about our day. This lasted all of three hours before the kid came up to me and continued to mess with me. He was always finding me when there were no teachers around so he would not be caught. After about the third principle meeting and still nothing changing my mom finally told me to just forget about it. She reassured me the school year was almost over and that we had all ready made plans to move back to my dad’s home town. So I just ignored the kid until we moved and I felt kind of good about myself for being able to do it. So once we moved I was yet again the new kid but this time was different. The kids were extremely nice and I made friends immediately. My weight was never made fun of or talked about but my third grade year would label me as that “fat” all the way up until about six months ago. Six months ago I decided to finally lose the weight and I am currently down eighty pounds and I plan to lose another twenty. It feels great to be down to a manageable weight and have a new outlook on life. I feel like I can do things I was scared to do when I was obese like ride rides at amusement parks or take my shirt off when swimming. Once I get down to the weight I want to be at I will learn to keep it that way and tend to live a healthy life. I left out some details about certain things that I dealt with when being labeled the fat kid but I really just wanted to get this off my chest quickly because I was feeling good. Sorry if my rambling makes no sense in places.

-Jopal

Look out for my Not So Great Fiction # 3 coming soon.

Thanks Guys!

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not so great fiction

Dream State(Not So Great Fiction #2)

“Oh wow, that might have just been the best sleep I have ever had,” I thought as I drew back the curtains to let the morning sun in. As I walked across the room stretching off the stiffness of the previous nights sleep I began to focus my attention on the dream that I had the night before. I was focusing on how vivid and clear it was. How realistic and deeply satisfying it was. As I began to remember the details I suddenly heard a knock at the door and then a deep grizzly voice followed. BANG! BANG! BANG! “Open up, police,” “We have a few questions to ask you regarding an event that occurred last night a few blocks from here.” As soon as I heard the police knocking on my door my stomach twisted up in a knot that could rival any elite boy scout. Most people would think of course you felt that in your stomach there are cops at your door. This was different because as the cops were knocking at my door I started to remember the details of my dream. “Oh God!” I thought “Maybe last night wasn’t a dream.”

-Jopal


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not so great fiction, Uncategorized

The Elephant in the Room(Not So Great Fiction #1)


The Elephant in the Room

If no one else was going to I had to bring up the elephant in the room. Now, when I say “elephant in the room” I mean there is an actual elephant in the room….. full-fledged pachyderm. I go to bed early the night before not expecting to wake up to anything crazy but right in front of me I see my two roommates eating the knockoff of that one knockoff of that other knockoff of that sugary cereal with a live baby elephant. They don’t look up when I enter the kitchen.. in fact it as if they don’t even notice me. Since they don’t address the four-legged, floppy eared beast eating the freshly poured cereal I begin to fly off the handle, “What in the hell is this elephant doing in my house and how did it even get in the door to begin with”! As I am rambling on I begin to hear a voice coming from behind me yelling expletives that I do not wish to repeat at this moment in time. Although, the gist of it went something like,”Dude stop yelling, you are acting like a lunatic.” I hear the voice and I immediately know who it is but I know i have to turn around to make sure. As I turn around my thoughts are confirmed, standing behind me is one of my roommates that was just previously at the table. He looked as if he just rolled out of bed, “what no you were…..you were just at the table with the baby elephant” I say. My roommate then responds “Dude I don’t know what you are on but you need to lay off, I am going back to bed.” “But….but … I saw” I can’t get the rest of the words out of my mouth before I am turned back around facing the table and more puzzled then ever. As I turn and look at the kitchen set up I notice that everything that was there a second ago is gone as if it had vanished into thin air. My roommates, the elephant, and even the cheapo bag of cereal is gone. Most confusing of all I can’t even recognize the furnishes of the kitchen. This would go on to become just the beginning of the weirdest and most confusing day in my entire life………..

-Jopal

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Uncategorized

Early Life and Explanations

Uhhh….. Yep I am totally new to this whole blogging thing and as I sit here in my university’s  library writing this I hope that this is not out of absolute boredom but maybe something that I come back to time and time again. I want to make the first few posts about my life and some of the battles that I have dealt with. I am only twenty years old so I am still figuring this whole life thing out so there hasn’t been many “battles” to deal with but I can try and make my life sound interesting right?….right? Umm… I take criticism well and I know I am not the best writer. I really do want to improve my casual writing style so little notes are appreciated just please please please do not be a straight up jerk. So uhh yea here goes nothing.  

I am a twenty year old male just trying to make my way in this world. I am attending a university as a history major in hopes to…. Oh who am I kidding I have no idea what I’m going to do with it(I have a few ludacris ideas). I am also working as a sous chef for a local restaurant and I may got to culinary school after I get my history degree. That is a general background of me but this first post is supposed to be about my early life so let’s get to it.

So, I was born in Kenner, Louisiana to a loving middle class family so I really do not have any complaints in the family department. I was a lovable child (so I am told) and I was always smiling and having a good time. I did the normal baby stuff sleeped, ate, played, cried, etc… I was actually born five weeks premature so I was a very tiny baby weighing in at just over five pounds but other than that I was fine. I grew rapidly and sooner or later caught up to the size of other babies my age. The first few years of life were great I started pre k and found a few friends for life. Seriously I’m still friends with these people, pushing seventeen years now. After pre k came kindergarten, first grade, then second; this is where things started to change for me. For pre k through second grade I attended a catholic school. I was surpassing all of the kids and was always top of the class. I had too much of an active imagination and would never shut up. So my school had me tested and found out that I had the IQ of a fifth grader and a fifth grade reading level. My parents thought that was great but the catholic school said that I would learn so much more if I attended public school. Assentially they were kicking me out for being to smart. This upset me because all my friends were here and it made me feel as if being different was a bad thing. But my parents being the loving couple they were sent me to a public school with a gifted program. This is where I would find out that apparently “being fat” was not okay and it would be my second example in less than six months that I was different. I did not like this at all. 

Actually that’s all the time I have right now I absolutely want to keep writing but I have to go to class. In my next post I will talk about my battle with childhood obesity and how I finally became accepted.

-Jopal

 

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