Some people argue that Caesar was a selfish power-hungry emperor while others believe he was an intelligent strategist who developed revolutionary ideas that are still used today. To investigate these claims, several topics will be researched including the details of his rule and the many changes he made to develop Rome into an empire. Some specific research topics include Caesar’s rise to power (The First Triumvirate), Caesar’s expansion of the Roman empire, the conversion of Rome from a republic into an empire, and Caesar’s reform for the city of Rome. These topics will point out that even though the poorer classes idolized his many achievements, Caesar’s disregard for political procedures, powerful control of the military, and attempt to rule solely led to his untimely demise. The goal of the paper is to evaluate Caesar’s accomplishments and determine if he truly was a power-hungry ruler or an ambitious emperor who was too smart for his own good.
Caesar’s rise to power began on either the 12th or 13th of July 100 BC when he was born to Gaius Julius Caesar and Aurelia Cotta into the Julii family (Wheeler). The father and uncle of Julius had ties to the party of Marius which was known as the popular party (Taylor). At the age of 16, Julius became the head of his household when his father passed away. By this time, Caesar’s uncle had risen to power and was named the consul which gave him the ability to appoint Julius to the position of High Priest of Jupiter (Wheeler). This was Caesar’s first taste of a position of power, but he desired more and married into a noble family after divorcing his first wife in order to set himself in a position of higher status (Wheeler). Caesar’s uncle was overturned as emperor and Caesar was stripped of his position as the High Priest of Jupiter by Sulla who had become dictator of Rome following the defeat of the Marius at the Battle of Colline Gate because he was unwilling to divorce his new wife to marry someone in Sulla’s family (Taylor). This incident led to the fleeing of Caesar to the East where he joined the Roman army in Turkey. He received the Civic Crown in honor of his bravery in the Siege of Mytilene (Wheeler).
Caesar was then able to return to Rome following the death of Sulla in the year 78 BC, and he became a lawyer who was known for his ability to attack and defend in court (Wheeler). Caesar began his quick climb of the political ladder in 72 BC when he served as the military tribune for the year, and a quaestor in Spain, Rome following the death of his wife in 69 BC ( Wheeler). When Caesar returned from Spain, he married the granddaughter of Sulla and bribed his way into being elected Pontifex Maximus (Wheeler). Caesar later divorced this wife and was elected the governor of Spain which allowed him to create an unofficial alliance also known as the first triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus(Wheeler).
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