81 Facts About Caesar


Caesar played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

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Caesar gave citizenship to many residents of far regions of the Roman Republic.

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Caesar centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed "dictator for life" .

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Caesar was an accomplished author and historian as well as a statesman; much of his life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns.

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Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history.

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Caesar's cognomen was adopted as a synonym for "Emperor"; the title "Caesar" was used throughout the Roman Empire, giving rise to modern cognates such as Kaiser and Tsar.

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The suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair ; that he had bright grey eyes ; or that he killed an elephant during the Punic Wars in battle.

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Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored the latter interpretation of his name.

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In 85 BC, Caesar's father died suddenly, making Caesar the head of the family at the age of 16.

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Caesar's coming of age coincided with the civil wars of his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

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Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated as the new, and he was married to Cinna's daughter Cornelia.

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Caesar was stripped of his inheritance, his wife's dowry, and his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was instead forced to go into hiding.

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Caesar felt that it would be much safer far away from Sulla should the dictator change his mind, so he left Rome and joined the army, serving under Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia and Servilius Isauricus in Cilicia.

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Caesar served with distinction, winning the Civic Crown for his part in the Siege of Mytilene.

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Caesar went on a mission to Bithynia to secure the assistance of King Nicomedes's fleet, but he spent so long at Nicomedes' court that rumours arose of an affair with the king, which Caesar vehemently denied for the rest of his life.

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Caesar lacked means since his inheritance was confiscated, but he acquired a modest house in Subura, a lower-class neighbourhood of Rome.

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Caesar turned to legal advocacy and became known for his exceptional oratory accompanied by impassioned gestures and a high-pitched voice, and ruthless prosecution of former governors notorious for extortion and corruption.

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Caesar was relaxed and familiar with his captors, and joked that after his release he would raise a fleet, pursue and capture the pirates, and crucify them while alive.

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Caesar was called back into military action in Asia, raising a band of auxiliaries to repel an incursion from the east.

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Caesar was elected in 69 BC, and during that year he delivered the funeral oration for his aunt Julia, including images of her husband Marius, unseen since the days of Sulla, in the funeral procession.

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Caesar went to serve his quaestorship in Hispania after his wife's funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC.

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Caesar won comfortably, despite his opponents' greater experience and standing.

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Caesar was still in considerable debt and needed to satisfy his creditors before he could leave.

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Caesar turned to Marcus Licinius Crassus, the richest man in Rome.

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However, Caesar wished to stand for consul, the most senior magistracy in the Republic.

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Caesar asked the Senate for permission to stand in absentia, but Cato blocked the proposal.

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Caesar was already in Marcus Licinius Crassus' political debt, but he made overtures to Pompey.

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Caesar married again, this time Calpurnia, who was the daughter of another powerful senator.

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Caesar proposed a law for redistributing public lands to the poor—by force of arms, if need be—a proposal supported by Pompey and by Crassus, making the triumvirate public.

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When Caesar was first elected, the aristocracy tried to limit his future power by allotting the woods and pastures of Italy, rather than the governorship of a province, as his military command duty after his year in office was over.

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When his consulship ended, Caesar narrowly avoided prosecution for the irregularities of his year in office, and quickly left for his province.

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Caesar was still deeply in debt, but there was money to be made as a governor, whether by extortion or by military adventurism.

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Caesar had four legions under his command, two of his provinces bordered on unconquered territory, and parts of Gaul were known to be unstable.

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Caesar treated this as an aggressive move and, after an inconclusive engagement against the united tribes, he conquered the tribes piecemeal.

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Caesar now had a secure base from which to launch an invasion of Britain.

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In 55 BC, Caesar repelled an incursion into Gaul by two Germanic tribes, and followed it up by building a bridge across the Rhine and making a show of force in Germanic territory, before returning and dismantling the bridge.

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Caesar raided out from his beachhead and destroyed some villages, then returned to Gaul for the winter.

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Caesar returned the following year, better prepared and with a larger force, and achieved more.

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Caesar tried to re-secure Pompey's support by offering him his great-niece in marriage, but Pompey declined.

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Caesar, after capturing communication routes to Rome, paused and opened negotiations, but they fell apart amid mutual distrust.

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Caesar responded by advancing south, seeking to capture Pompey to force a conference.

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In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator, with Antony as his Master of the Horse ; Caesar presided over his own election to a second consulship and then, after 11 days, resigned this dictatorship.

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Caesar then pursued Pompey to Egypt, arriving soon after the murder of the general.

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Caesar then became involved with an Egyptian civil war between the child pharaoh and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, Cleopatra.

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The royal barge was accompanied by 400 additional ships, and Caesar was introduced to the luxurious lifestyle of the Egyptian pharaohs.

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Late in 48 BC, Caesar was again appointed dictator, with a term of one year.

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Caesar had not proscribed his enemies, instead pardoning almost all, and there was no serious public opposition to him.

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Caesar wrote that if Octavian died before Caesar did, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus would be the next heir in succession.

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When Caesar returned to Rome, the Senate granted him triumphs for his victories, ostensibly those over Gaul, Egypt, Pharnaces, and Juba, rather than over his Roman opponents.

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Caesar ordered a census be taken, which forced a reduction in the grain dole, and decreed that jurors could come only from the Senate or the equestrian ranks.

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Caesar passed a sumptuary law that restricted the purchase of certain luxuries.

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Caesar passed a debt-restructuring law, which ultimately eliminated about a fourth of all debts owed.

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Caesar tightly regulated the purchase of state-subsidised grain and reduced the number of recipients to a fixed number, all of whom were entered into a special register.

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Caesar appointed officials to carry out his land reforms and ordered the rebuilding of Carthage and Corinth.

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Caesar extended Latin rights throughout the Roman world, and then abolished the tax system and reverted to the earlier version that allowed cities to collect tribute however they wanted, rather than needing Roman intermediaries.

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Caesar's assassination prevented further and larger schemes, which included the construction of an unprecedented temple to Mars, a huge theatre, and a library on the scale of the Library of Alexandria.

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Caesar wanted to convert Ostia to a major port, and cut a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth.

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Caesar was granted further honours, which were later used to justify his assassination as a would-be divine monarch: coins were issued bearing his image and his statue was placed next to those of the kings.

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Caesar was granted a golden chair in the Senate, was allowed to wear triumphal dress whenever he chose, and was offered a form of semi-official or popular cult, with Antony as his high priest.

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Caesar held both the dictatorship and the tribunate, but alternated between the consulship and the proconsulship.

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In 48 BC, Caesar was given permanent tribunician powers, which made his person sacrosanct and allowed him to veto the Senate, although on at least one occasion, tribunes did attempt to obstruct him.

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When Caesar returned to Rome in 47 BC, the ranks of the Senate had been severely depleted, so he used his censorial powers to appoint many new senators, which eventually raised the Senate's membership to 900.

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In 46 BC, Caesar gave himself the title of "Prefect of the Morals", which was an office that was new only in name, as its powers were identical to those of the censors.

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Caesar set the precedent, which his imperial successors followed, of requiring the Senate to bestow various titles and honours upon him.

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Caesar was, for example, given the title of Pater Patriae and imperator.

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Caesar then increased the number of magistrates who were elected each year, which created a large pool of experienced magistrates and allowed Caesar to reward his supporters.

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Caesar even took steps to transform Italy into a Roman province and to link more tightly the other provinces of the empire into a single cohesive unit.

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The plotters had anticipated this and, fearing that Antony would come to Caesar's aid, had arranged for Trebonius to intercept him just as he approached the portico of the Theatre of Pompey, where the session was to be held, and detain him outside .

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Caesar attempted to get away, but, blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him as he lay defenceless on the lower steps of the portico.

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Plutarch reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators.

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The Roman middle and lower classes, with whom Caesar was immensely popular and had been since before Gaul, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had killed their champion.

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Antony, who had been drifting apart from Caesar, capitalised on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to unleash them on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking control of Rome himself.

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Octavian, aged only 18 when Caesar died, proved to have considerable political skills, and while Antony dealt with Decimus Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavian consolidated his tenuous position.

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Caesar's clemency had resulted in his murder, the Second Triumvirate reinstated the practice of proscription.

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Caesar's successors did attempt the conquests of Parthia and Germania, but without lasting results.

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Julius Caesar was the first historical Roman to be officially deified.

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Suetonius, writing more than a century after Caesar's death, describes Caesar as "tall of stature with a fair complexion, shapely limbs, a somewhat full face, and keen black eyes".

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Caesar himself denied the accusations repeatedly throughout his lifetime, and according to Cassius Dio, even under oath on one occasion.

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However, Caesar wrote those texts with his political career in mind.

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Julius Caesar is considered one of the first historical figures to fold his message scrolls into a concertina form, which made them easier to read.

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The modern historiography is influenced by the Octavian traditions, such as when Caesar's epoch is considered a turning point in the history of the Roman Empire.

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