How Julius Caesar's actions of intelligence and leadership make him one of the greatest historical figures ever

Topics: Roman Empire, Ancient Rome, Julius Caesar Pages: 8 (2690 words) Published: February 11, 2004
A hero is defined as a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose. Some people say that this means that a hero is someone who must risk his life to save millions of people. Others say that this means a hero is one who dies for what he believes in. And still others say that this means that a hero is somebody who fights against overwhelming odds. All of those qualities are certain qualities of a hero, but, going back to mythological times, a hero is one who fought in great battles against overwhelming odds, in order to restore an empire or disable an enemy. In doing so, this hero killed many adversaries, and was called a hero by just how many he had slain. Julius Caesar, one of the greatest historical figures of all-time, possessed many great qualities and performed those actions stated above. Even though some scholars say it was he who caused the downfall of the Roman Empire, Julius Caesar's immense amount of intelligence and leadership qualifies him as a hero.

A hero can be considered by his brilliance, and in Caesar's case, his brilliance on the battlefield. In Gaul (present-day France), Caesar was given an army to lead, and was considered a high-ranking and an extremely strong military figure. The Aedui, a tribe of Roman allies, needed assistance in Gaul and asked for Caesar's help. Caesar was most likely not outnumbered, but he was fighting against a tough tribe, named the Helvetii. Not only did Caesar destroy them and send them back to their homes, but he then crushed Germanic forces under Ariovistus, a strong tribal general. Vercingetorix, another even stronger tribal general, led a revolt against Caesar, but he was suppressed (Encarta Encyclopedia, 2003).

Not only did he help the Aedui, a Roman ally, he made their relations stronger. This is an example of his intelligence. If he did not help the Aedui, there was a good chance he would be outnumbered. He would have been because the Aedui would turn against him, and also the Helvetii and other Germanic forces would attack, taking into consideration that he is supposed to be an ally to the Aedui. Also, with the defeat of Ariovistus, Caesar gained land in northern Gaul for the Roman Empire. His intelligence on the battlefield helped his position in Gaul and helped build Rome's strength. These were very intelligent decisions.

Caesar was not always a vicious fighter who led his troops into battle, no matter what the odds against him were. He knew that after crossing the Rubicon, there would be an extremely tough battle ahead of him. Eventually, these actions led to a civil war. But before Caesar crossed, he paused and thought about the situation. Knowing that if he went any further, he would not be the hero-general of Gaul anymore, but enemy of the state. As he paused, he is quoted as saying to his troops, "We may still draw back but once across that little bridge, we shall have to fight it out."

Caesar was smart enough to know that he must pause and gather his thoughts, because what he was about to do would change his life, the lives of the Roman people, and the history of the Roman Empire forever. A hero may not be a hero after making quick decisions without carefully thinking about them. Caesar took into consideration what may lie ahead of him before he made a rational decision. Obviously, after his thought process, he found his decision to be a moral and intelligent one.

Eventually, a civil war broke out. Caesar showed more intelligence during the civil war than in any other military situation. Knowing Pompey, his enemy, was in Spain building up an army, he knew that he must attack him and his troops at once, because if he did not, Pompey would return stronger than ever before, and take control of Rome once again. If that were to happen, it would most likely make Caesar hated by all, and would probably lead to his death. Therefore, he knew he must head to Spain at once.

"On the morning of August 9, Caesar (who had vainly sought battle for...
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