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pompeius magnus

Gaius Julius Caesar

Was Caesar justified in his march on Rome  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. Was Caesar justified in his march on Rome

    • Yes he had good reason to march on Rome.
      25
    • No he was attepting to conquer it and become king.
      11


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IMO, if a law is bad for the people, it should not be followed (and I am NOT condoning anarchy here). But if no one questions the bad laws, then things never change. If everyone blindly follows the laws "for the good of the country" because its "the right thing to do" then we would still have things like the inquisition.

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If a law is bad for the people, it should not be followed

 

Ah, there's the rub, for who is to make the decisions that determine if something is or is not "bad [or good] for the people?" In dictatiorships it is the dictator, in theocracies the high priest, in oligarchies the inner-circle, and in democracies... well, that is a little more complicated and a lot more messy -- at least in my neck of the woods, ie. New York City, USA, Planet Earth, Sol System, Milkyway Galaxy, Universe #1.

 

On one thing we do agree: don't march on Washington DC no matter what your general says.

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All I know is Rome was fine before Julius Caesar and it would've still been fine had he never been born.

 

 

Actually, the majority of the bad precedents were set by the Senate/Optimates. Murder of Tribunes, armies marching on Rome,etc... Imagine if the so called founding fathers thought like you. Maybe paying stamp and sugar tax IS better than paying Federal, State, and Local!!! Bottom line, the Senate proved itself incapable of ruling an empire, was rife with corruption, and ruled to further its members rather than to better the majority. Caesar was a product of the Senate, except he had vision.

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All I know is Rome was fine before Julius Caesar and it would've still been fine had he never been born.

 

 

Actually, the majority of the bad precedents were set by the Senate/Optimates. Murder of Tribunes, armies marching on Rome,etc... Imagine if the so called founding fathers thought like you. Maybe paying stamp and sugar tax IS better than paying Federal, State, and Local!!!

What do you mean what if the founding fathers thought like me? I don't understand that whole part of your post. Are you saying if they thought like me we'd have things like a stamp and sugar tax? I don't know how you could come to that conclusion. As for the Senate proving itself incapable of ruling I don't know about that. Other than an emperor being in power after Caesar, the empire continued being the empire. More land was conquered under the senate than under the emperors. Rome's final fall occured under an emperor. You can post statistics and whatever else you want. Fact still remains corruption was no more or no less prevalent before or after the republic. The senate didn't go away and the people serving in it I'm sure didn't say, "Uh Oh, we have an emperor now. We need to quit being shady." The senate, though no longer in charge, still had some political influence and remained corrupt to some degree. Rome still would've been Rome with the Senate in charge. Perhaps a civil revolt against Senate corruption would've occured. Changes may have been made. Perhaps the Romans would've ended up with a President if the people had been allowed to make the change. JC didn't make it better. He made it different. Look at France during and after the so called French Revolution. We're a monarchy.... no, we're a republic.... no, monarchy... no, republic.... no monarchy... no, republic. Other than Napolean adding land to the French empire the average Frenchman was still crapping in a hole in the ground, eating stale bread and drinking wine all day. Napolean didn't change anything for them. He made himself more powerful. Came up with some pretty decent laws. Still didn't change the daily life of a French peasant.

 

Most of you that support what JC did claim the people wanted it. That is entirely inaccurate. The people of Rome wanted him. Go back in history and ask a Gaul if he wants JC in charge. Ask a Greek. Ask a spaniard. Ask an Egyptian. They sure as hell didn't want him. Does their opinion as Roman subjects not count? I guess it doesn't in this forum. I guess Puerto Ricans shouldn't have a say in our government either. They're just a conquered people. Native Americans shouldn't have a say in our government either. They're just conquered people.

 

The only way you can say JC was not a tyrant is if you are exclusively counting on what the people of the City of Rome and other cities in Latium wanted.

 

I don't deny the Senate was a bureaucratic nightmare, but that doesn't change Webster's definition of what a tyrant is. But to say it all got better after emperors took over is stretching reality IMO. It just got different. Anyway, the people should've changed it if they didn't like it. Kind of like we did here in the US in 1776. The Senate before JC took over may have been incapable of ruling, but Rome fought and defeated its toughest opponents while under the republic. Rome never fought a tougher opponent than Hannibal. The senate should've been cleaned up, not relegated to the sidelines. Because at its best it was more efficient than any emperor.

 

 

Bottom line, when one man has the power to turn on his government and take over, the people always lose. They may think they won. But what did they win? Everyday the Romans go out to check the mailbox for their JC prize... Nothing! Not even a bobblehead legionaire for their trouble.

 

But OK, I'll be quiet now. I get the feeling it's like blasphemy to talk junk about JC in here for whatever reason.

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Your enthusiastic defense of the Senate is admirable, but skips much. Several items:

 

As for the Senate proving itself incapable of ruling I don't know about that.

 

I agree. Keep reading.

 

I guess Puerto Ricans shouldn't have a say in our government either.

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Your enthusiastic defense of the Senate is admirable, but skips much. Several items:

Please enlighten me. I'm not close minded. I'm here to learn. I've not skipped anything more than anyone else. Those arguiing for JC have not yet shown me a different definition of the word tyrant that would make me believe he wasn't one. Also, nowone has shown me where in Roman law it says it is legal for one man to march on Rome and take over the nation. Also, those who argue he made Rome better have not said how he made it better. They just say that he did. In fact, I feel that the major implications being laid out here are that he stopped the corruption of the senate. OK, perhaps. He didn't stop corruption period. I'm sure I skipped a lot of things. I've made no claim in here to be an expert. I know there has been arguments that he was justified because it was what the people wanted. But like I asked before, what people wanted it? Rome up until Caesar was a democracy. You can call it Oligarchy or whatever you want. For the period it was the closest thing to democracy you could hope for. Majority ruled in Rome. And if you give the rest of the empire a vote I'd think JC doesn't get elected.

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Sorry to do this again, but...

 

nowone has shown me where in Roman law it says it is legal for one man to march on Rome and take over the nation.

 

The key is that the long held rule against marching on Rome had already been violated with great success by Sulla, who, ironically, was carrying the flag (and a bloody sword) of the Senate whom you so admire. As a convincing precident for future "heros" it is significant that Sulla, like his adversary Marius (who also marched), died in bed.

 

the major implications being laid out here are that he stopped the corruption of the senate.

 

Not so, what ever reforms Caesar had planned he was cut down before being able to do much. But even if he had not gone down, with the Partian war about to get underway who knows when he would have been able to impliment those reforms.

 

Rome up until Caesar was a democracy. Majority ruled in Rome.

 

Keep reading.

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Ah, I see you must've been modding your post as I was typing my last one.

 

No, I don't discount the other nations Rome fought at all. I don't deny Rome was still the greatest military power under the Emperors either. But IMO, Hannibal was the toughest opponent ever faced by Rome. Who else had their way on the Italian Peninsula the way he did other than maybe Spartacus. There are many reasons there was peace and prosperity afterwards. I don't quite believe there was 200 years of it though. Maybe a little over a hundred years. But, you could argue that it was because under the Senate, Rome conquered a great deal of Romes enemies. The emperors didn't have much left to fight when they took power. Hence, they could more readily direct their efforts at domestic issues, development, economy, art, etc. After the emperors took over all that needed to be conquered was Britannia and a few small nations in the east. Spain and North Africa were already Roman. JC just conquered Gaul, Greece was Roman. Asia Minor, Judea, Palestine was Roman. pretty much took care of Egypt for us. After the Emperors took over they had pretty much all the land Rome would ever have minus a little. So how can the emperors really be credited with the Pax Romana?

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So how can the emperors really be credited with the Pax Romana?

 

Because, after a century dominated by chaos and disintegration, the Pax was achieved and sustained during the rule of the first 16 emperors. True, 4 or 5 of these fellows may have been jerks or total nut cakes, but the antics of these individuals (though unpleasantly fatal to friends and family) did little to detract from the greater Pax.

 

Also, not sure where you get the Pax lasting such a short period. I think it is widely accepted that the term Pax Romana is ascribed to the period from Augustus (27BC) through Marcus Aurelius (180AD), 207 years. Perhaps you are thinking of the shorter, so called "Golder Age" presided over by the five "Good Emperors."

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Also, not sure where you get the Pax lasting such a short period. I think it is widely accepted that the term Pax Romana is ascribed to the period from Augustus (27BC) through Marcus Aurelius (180AD), 207 years. Perhaps you are thinking of the shorter, so called "Golder Age" presided over by the five "Good Emperors."

Yeah, that's the one. At any rate. Again, the empire was carved out before the emperors took power. Without Republican Rome's conquests, the Pax Romana never happens. At least not when it did. THe Roman Emperors would've been to busy fighting all the wars the Romans under the Senate already fought. But they didn't have to. Hence, their ability to concentrate on economy, art, culture. Giving the emperors credit for the Pax Romana is like giving George Bush Credit for the surplus in the budget that Bill Clinton left for him. The emperors were getting fat and happy off the land and power left for them by the Republic of Rome.

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like giving George Bush Credit for the surplus in the budget that Bill Clinton left for him.

 

Like the Clinton-Bush analogy, totaly disagree that it applies to the Republic-Empire relationship. Building good governance, stability, civil infrastructure and a lasting peace is not, repeat NOT as you suggest, the "easy" part, not something built by the "fat and happy." Look around, history tells us that any idiot can be a warrier, and by definition half of those idiots are going to be short- or long-term "victorius heros." But how many can claim to have successfully done the hard part, the building, the part that the Early Republic did so well, but after the Gracchi lost the ability and the will to achieve.

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Building good governance' date=' civil infrastructure and a lasting peace is not, repeat NOT as you suggest, the "easy" part. Look around, it's the most difficult part -- the part that the later Republic had lost the ability to achieve.[/quote']

IMO, it's not a question of what's easier. It's all about what's feasible. It was feasible for the emperors to institute a pax Romana because a majority of Rome's enemies were pacified by the time they were in power. Thus, the emperors were given the opportunity to concentrate on areas of governing other than military. The Senate couldn't have done it because they were too busy trying to make Rome a safe place by fighting its enemies. The George Bush analogy fully applies. The whole meaning behind it is giving somebody credit for something someone else achieved. No huge Roman empire with pacified enemies = no Pax Romana.

 

Granted, the Senate didn't physically pass the laws and institute the change that brought the pax romana. So yes, going off of that fact alone you are right. But 400 years of senate rule definitely facilitated its birth. If you don't believe that than imagine for me if you will the following.

 

Rome only has in her possession Central and southern Italy when an emperor takes over. Carthaginians are still a threat. Gauls are still a threat. Spain is still a threat. Greeks, Macedonians, the Ptolemy's, Parthia, Dacia, Thrace etc. Can you honestly tell me that the emperors would've been able to pacify all these nations and institute a Pax Romana. No way. They could've, but it would've been for a much smaller Roman Empire, which we today would probably have called the Kingdom of Rome. But that wouldn't have worked either. Rome's conquests were as much to eliminate threats to its existence as it was for greedy expansionism. No, the Emperors of this small Rome would've had to fight. Leaving less time and money to institute needed changes. With the drastic swell of land, money and power, the emperors would've fell victim to the same corruption that brought an end to Senate rule. The Senate at least should get some share of the credit for it.

 

Concerning the part of your post where you mentioned "lasting peace". That was never accomplished anyway. I just took a quick look at the battle index. During the Pax Romana I found that the longest drought of battles occured between 117-166AD. 49 years is the longest stretch of peace I could find. And I'm fully sure if one were to dig really deep into Roman history you'd still find accounts of maybe border skirmishes with some nation. Other than that there was 16-50 AD, 70AD-84AD and 89-101. But battles occured at least every 10 or so years in between these. Not only is lasting peace not easy to achieve, it is impossible. It'll never happen unfortunately.

 

I leave you the last word. This could go on forever. It's been interesting though.

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Sorry, I think we were cross-posting again.

 

The Senate at least should get some share of the credit for it.

 

Yes, the Senate does get some and in my view deserves most of the credit for Rome's conquests. But what the Republic created so successfully in its first four centuries had simply grown beyond the Senate's abilty to govern in the fifth -- and understandably so. The fact that the emperors "inherited" vast territories that were conquered during the Republic says little about the relative challenges involved in creating the Pax. Question: what is the greater challenge: to conquer Judaea or to govern Judaea? Or, perhaps a more pointed example: what is more difficult, to defeat the Visigoths or try to control/contain them? Or another: to conquer or to defend Armenia -- or Upper Germany? Etc.

 

In my mind's eye I find myself imagining a scene immediately following Actium in which Octavian turns to Agrippa with a shrug and says: "Now for the hard part." Two young men who knew what lay ahead.

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Those arguiing for JC have not yet shown me a different definition of the word tyrant that would make me believe he wasn't one

 

 

The Oxford English dictionary describes a Tyrant as an "Oppressive or cruel ruler". I don't see Caesar as either of these, he was known for his clemency and his passion for making enemies converts to his cause.

 

Majority ruled in Rome

 

 

In my opinion, majority never ruled in the Roman republic. In fact, whenever it tried to, it's representatives were cruelly (ala tyranny) cut down by the ruling minorities hirelings - nor was it a Democracy as we would now describe one. That is if you believe that by Caesars time there were any true, majority elected Tribunes in office, most by that stage were bribed into office by wealthy senators to use as their tools.

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