Conquest of Gaul

Topics: Julius Caesar, Roman Republic, Lucius Cornelius Sulla Pages: 5 (2162 words) Published: October 4, 2005
Gaius Julius Caesar lived from 100- 44 BC and was a prominent person in the last few decades of the Roman Empire. He was skilled as a speaker and writer, an intelligent politician and fantastic general, but he was also very brutal in his chase of selfish goals. These goals were not only having complete power over the Roman republic, but also credit as being a god. Caesar was born in 102 or 100 BCE into the ancient patrician family of the Iulii who claimed ancestry from Aeneas of Troy, one of the mythical founders of Rome, and the goddess Venus, but few members of the family had distinguished themselves in the previous generations. Caesar's father arrived at the praetor-ship, but never won the election for the consulship. The years of his youth were dominated by the conflict between the factions of Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornilius Sulla in the conflict between the populares and the optimates. Caesar's family relations placed him on the side of the populares, since his aunt Julia was married to Marius. In 87, when Marius was elected consul with his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna, this bond was further strengthened when Cinna gave his daughter Cornelia in marriage to Caesar. Caesar was also appointed flamen dialis (the chief priest of Jupiter) by Cinna. The flamen dialis was submitted to a strict programme of religious duties, including a restriction on leaving Rome for more than one night in a row, which effectively prevented the flamen dialis from pursuing a normal political career. Maybe little was expected of Caesar due to the undistinguished recent history of his family. Marius died in 86, and Cinna was deposed by supporters of Sulla, who took control of Rome. Sulla annulled most of the decisions of Marius and Cinna, including the nomination of Caesar as flamen dialis, but Caesar's life was spared, unlike many other supporters of Marius. Caesar never accepted the cancellation of his nomination as flamen dialis, and neither did he divorce Cornelia as a result of the changing political tides. In the following decade or so Caesar spend most of his time in Asia, pursuing a military career. Here he achieved a victory over forces of Mithridates VI and won several distinctions in battle for personal courage. Sulla died in 78 BCE, but Caesar did not feel safe enough to return to Rome before 73. Now Caesar embarked on the traditional career of a young aristocrat. The same year he was co-opted in the pontifical college (the most important priestly college), and he was elected tribunus militum. In 69 BCE he was elected questor and assigned the province of Hispania Ulterior, but before leaving both his aunt Julia and his wife Cornelia died. Caesar used these two occasions to underline his own lineage and heritage. At the funerals of Julia he delivered a splendid eulogy and he displayed the funerary mask of Marius for the first time since the proscriptions of Sulla. Likewise, at the funerals of Cornelia, he displayed the funerary mask of Cinna for the first time. After serving in Spain Caesar return to Rome and started to nurture friendships among the aristocracy to further his career. He married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla, but he also continued his revenge against those who had taken part in the Sullan proscriptions. His performance in the trials earned him a reputation as a brilliant orator. In 65 BCE he was elected aedile and held lavish games and spectacles, which left him popular but indebted. He was accrued further debts in 63 BCE when he ran for pontifex maximus against senior candidates. The pontifex maximus was the highest pristly office in the Roman religious system. The pontifex maximus was chosen by semi-popular vote between existing members of the pontifical college, the post was held for life and it was normally occupied by an older, accomplished ex-consul. Yet Caesar candidated and he won, by abundant and unscrupulous bribery. The following year (62) Caesar was elected praetor, the second highest annual political...
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