Julius Caesar: A Hero or Villain (PART 1)

Julius Caesar:

A Hero or Villain?

Perhaps Both

It's the age of tyranny, the end of the republic, a time of treachery and the beginning of an empire. This is the reign of Julius Caesar: Rome's greatest general. He was both a hero and a villain, he expands a kingdom and launches a bloody civil war. Ruthless rivals conspire a deadly plot against him. New research reveals that his own actions led him closer to death and a long simmering conspiracy seals his fate.

The republic of Rome has survived for 400 years. But it's an empire without an emperor; instead it was ruled by elected officials and the law. The Senate is at the very top of the society; an elite class of men, all equal, all desperately competing for fame and glory. Their ambition is the force that fuels the state. The Romans understand what a powerful incentive individual achievement and reward it can be and Rome's greatness depends on giving great men incentive to do great deeds. To win honor and prestige they expand the empire and build a city; risking that one day one man may become too powerful.

Caesar Emerges

By 44 BC Julius Caesar is the greatest of these men. He pushes all the ideas that the republic has always encouraged to absolute extremes, but his actions will bring the republic to its knees. Caesar realizes that he's living in an age where the old ways are about to change and so he is willing to take a series of steps that will lead to civil war and shake up the system. It will cost him his life. No one is left to challenge him, he manoeuvres, claws and kills his way to the top becoming dictator and the most powerful man in Rome. For that reason alone Caesar is a marked man, there are those that are willing to do anything to stop him. They are conspiring together very carefully this whole event that has to be very carefully choreographed yet it ends in complete savagery. He dies being stabbed 23 times on the floor of the Senate's meeting house. The journey to this day or the "Ides of March" began 450 years earlier. Then also, the aristocracy began to exile a dictator, its own king and a Roman republic was born. The final king was a tyrant, he was expelled and from that point of his explosion the Romans utterly determined that no longer will they be ruled by one man. Their word for king wreaks with an object of the most passionate hatred. The revolt is celebrated throughout the republic and its leader becomes a legend, his name is carried proudly by his descendants.

Brutus, one of Caesars closest friends, is among the Senate. He is an immensely important person, Brutus is the very symbol, the nature, the foundation, origin of the republican institutions. Romans place enormous value on history, tradition and family. Self appointed guardians are the heads of ancient clans, these were the men who really ran the city. Private meetings among these men took place in luxurious surroundings where business proposals were presented to honourable men with strong political ties. This is where the future of the republic was stitched up.

Ruthless Politics in Rome

It's a ruthless world where violence is just another political tool. Perhaps it makes sense to think of aristocratic factions in the republic operating almost like mafia families. Those who were rewarded power by the republican system of government have the ability to win legions, wealth and the backing of their wildest dreams. Between them they allocate political appointments, trade concessions, and military commands. But just as the mafia operate within rules so did the Roman aristocracy. Ideally the way the legislative structure is set up is to have not one man in the republic outshine the others. Forty years before Caesars time the Romans lived through a failed system of viscous dictatorship. A general by the name of Sulla has seized power. Sulla wins a terrible bloody civil war and he posts the names in public on a list of senators who were to be killed and the property that was to be confiscated or sold. That was the world in which Caesar grew up in. Young Caesar was stripped from his wealth and forced to flee. Sulla with a sort of gracious wave of the hand finally decided to pardon him. Sulla who was an ambitious a gambler, probably saw in Caesar someone rather like himself, and as he parted Caesar he gave warning that he ,this young man, was very dangerous. Sulla was probably first to notice Caesar and his potential, twenty centuries since then, countless others have tried to understand him; a man whose extraordinary actions are well recorded, but whose motives can be difficult to grasp.

All hail Caesar. Sketch drawing done by Jasmina Tuzovic. Ruthless Politics in Rome  It's a ruthless world where violence is just another political tool. Perhaps it makes sense to think of aristocratic factions in the republic operating almost like mafia families. Those who were rewarded power by the republican system of government have the ability to win legions, wealth and the backing of their wildest dreams. Between them they allocate political appointments, trade concessions, and military commands. But just as the mafia operate within rules so did the Roman aristocracy. Ideally the way the legislative structure  is set up is to have not one man in the republic outshine the others.  Forty years before Caesars time the Romans lived through a failed system of viscous dictatorship. A general by the name of Sulla has seized power.  Sulla wins a terrible bloody civil war and he posts the names in public on a list of senators who were to be killed and the property that was to be confiscated or sold. That was the world in which Caesar grew up in. Young Caesar was stripped from his wealth and forced to flee. Sulla with a sort of gracious wave of the hand finally decided to pardon him. Sulla who was an ambitious a gambler, probably saw in Caesar someone rather like himself, and as he parted Caesar he gave warning that he ,this young man, was very dangerous. Sulla was probably first to notice Caesar and his potential, twenty centuries since then, countless others have tried to understand him; a man whose extraordinary actions are well recorded, but whose motives can be difficult to grasp.

All hail Caesar.Sketch done by Siriaus

What are your thoughts on Caesar-I would love to know what you think.

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