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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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Let me reiterate some of my tired arguments. :-)

 

A republic is a compromise between competing leadership groups, which are formally elected by the people but once in office are largely free of the people's whims until the next election. In Roman elections the upper classes had a disproportionate say in the election process ... but then the upper classes were the guardians and servants of Rome, often financing public works out of their own pockets, so they felt they had a right to dominate the process. Modern definitions of egalitarianism would frown on the assumption, but it worked for the Romans through a long stretch of their history.

 

In any event, one of the factions claimed to stand for tradition, the constitution, order, and the wisdom of the ancestors. Another faction claimed to stand for the immediate needs of the people, and particularly the sensitivities of those on the lower rungs. But even the faction that claimed to stand for the people were often from the higher echelons, since, as I said, they dominated the process.

 

Roman politics can

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The Oxford English dictionary describes a Tyrant as an "Oppressive or cruel ruler". I don't see Caesar as either of these.

 

Yes, by the standards of other victorious generals and elected Dictators Caesar was quite mild -- although there were a number of Gauls with only one hand who might disagree.

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Let me reiterate some of my tired arguments. :-)

Tired they may be Ursus, but excellently summarized and posted.

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The Oxford English dictionary describes a Tyrant as an "Oppressive or cruel ruler". I don't see Caesar as either of these.

 

Yes, by the standards of other victorious generals and elected Dictators Caesar was quite mild -- although there were a number of Gauls with only one hand who might disagree.

Indeed, but in this case, Caesar was conqueror, not quite the same as standing ruler. As we've already alluded to, he treated his Roman 'subjects' quite well... Regardless, the Roman view of the word Tyrant was different from its modern connotation. It simply meant someone who seized power in an illegal manner. In this respect, Caesar was most definately a tyrant from the ancient perspective.

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And this brings us sort of into contact with that other thread, with your last post details why I respect Cato, while also despising him. He was not an opportunist and stood by his rather flawed and deconstructive ideals until the very end. His steadfast nature forces my respect, despite inherently disagreeing with him. Though I suppose Caesar truly felt the same way about his most capable enemies.

 

Alas I digress though.

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It simply meant someone who seized power in an illegal manner. In this respect, Caesar was most definately a tyrant from the ancient perspective.

 

 

But nothings illigal if you create retrospective legislation after the event that legalises it........right ?

 

I don't need an answer on this one PP :angry: Just trying a little JC brand creative thinking.

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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.

 

I dont' recall the tribe, but he did massacre like 400,000 Gauls or Germans one time. I believe it was one of the Gallic tribes. THat is oppressive and cruel. He gave clemency to the Roman soldiers he fought in the civil war. That's about it. OTher than that, whenever the Gauls rebelled he crushed them. Or do you just consider that necessary military tactics. Alexander never thought killing 400,000 people was necessary. Why did Caesar? My only answer is because he was cruel.

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The Oxford English dictionary describes a Tyrant as an "Oppressive or cruel ruler". I don't see Caesar as either of these.

 

Yes, by the standards of other victorious generals and elected Dictators Caesar was quite mild -- although there were a number of Gauls with only one hand who might disagree.

 

Indeed, but in this case, Caesar was conqueror, not quite the same as standing ruler. As we've already alluded to, he treated his Roman 'subjects' quite well... Regardless, the Roman view of the word Tyrant was different from its modern connotation. It simply meant someone who seized power in an illegal manner. In this respect, Caesar was most definately a tyrant from the ancient perspective.

Sorry, I jumped the gun before I read this post. The Gauls once conquered by Caesar became his subjects. So, while they were his subjects he did still harshly suppress uprisings. He gave calculated clemency. Meaning, he'd forgive one tribe and play them against others, while cruelly suppressing others to satisfy the ones that supposedly support him. So, one could say his initial cruel acts were as a military conqueror, but once the people were conquered and revolted, he was an oppressive tyrant.

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And this brings us sort of into contact with that other thread, with your last post details why I respect Cato, while also despising him.

 

Yes, PP, I too was reminded of the earlier string in which you shared your respect and dislike for Cato, and now I find myself espousing admiration for Caesar while sugaring that respect with apologies for his possible opportunism. Hmm. Deciding who are the good guys and who are the bad is the age-old question, and for answers we have only a few places to look:

 

PRINCIPALS: Perhaps the answer lies in taking a closer look at the "principals" involved. Do we admire an evil man who sacrifices his life for his evil principals? No, of course not. We call that man a suicidal fanatic -- unless, of course, we agree with the evil principals, whereupon we call him an "uncompromising hero" when alive and a martyr thereafter. Not a helpful answer. Ok...

 

INTENTIONS: What if the man has good intentions but does bad things to realize those intentions -- the old "You have to break some eggs to make an omelet" or, more specifically: "I still love Stalin even though he killed Dad and 20 million others" arguments? Naa. No answers here either. Well then, how about...

 

MOTIVES: What about the man who strictly adheres to principal, but does so for evil or self-serving reasons -- or conversely, the evil man who does good in spite of himself, the old "At least Mussolini made the trains run on time" gambit. Also, little help, and anyway, who knows the true intentions and motives of anyone, particulary some of the devious characters we are discussing? Ok, ok. But certainly we should be able to find some answers by looking at...

 

HISTORICAL RESULTS: Ahh, now this is where we should be able to find some serious logic and objectivity. Regardless of all those endlessly-argued principals, intentions and motives, all we need do here is consult the historic record of see what good or bad occurred as a result of each individual. [high five] Yes! But... oh my... there is one small problem: do we, any of us, really trust those from whom we are getting our history? As evidenced by the intense arguments within these strings, I think the answer must be a qualified: no. Whether its Caesar v. Pompey, Scip v. Hanni, ups v. downs, or any other Roman Xs v. Ys, the bottom line is that we all quote the same combination of historical sources to support what seems to me the single most dominant source of all of our opinions...

 

PERSONAL BIAS: Yes, here's an answer, not just our own political and moral biases, but also the biases of the classical authors whom we so revere, the authors who were actually there, on-site, front row, recording the dramas as they unfolded -- how dare they disagree! But alas, they do and so do we. The moral of this excessively lengthy scribble (for which I apologize) is found somewhere within the following: The Victors Write History... Nothing to Excess... What Is Good For The Goose Is Not Good For The Head Count... Beware of Greeks Bearing Detailed Speehes of Long Dead Romans... I Came, I Saw, I Wondered... Never Say Never, Always Perhaps... My Kingdom For A House Overlooking the Forum... God Made Me Do It... The Dog Ate My Homework... and most accurately, it seems:

 

...People Don't Change Much.

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Caesar went against Roman law and entered the sacred pomerium with the title of imperator and took control of the city and created his own senate loyal to him. He was not cruel on to his opponents, but instead showed clemency. However, a diplomatic solution could have been reached, Caesars dignitas would have been damaged, but sometimes yielding to others, or following others is the only way to lead. On the flip side, we do not know how crucial dignitas were other than reading ancient sources.

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Sorry PM, but I think the only diplomatic solution that could have been reached would have involved compromise from Pompeys faction. Caesar had already offered to lay aside his imperium and army if Pompey did the same, Pompey refused, the Cato band in the senate backed his decision, and forced Caesars hand. It looked to Caesar like - March on Rome, or be sent into exile by his enemies.

 

And yes Felix, I know Caesar killed a hell of a lot of Gauls and sold an equal amount into slavery, in all somewhere in the order of 1 million people killed or displaced, but I think most other conquering Roman generals would have done this in his place to an enemy. I am not saying it's a great thing, just that the Romans in general seemed not to consider non-citizens as being of any importance other than a source of finance, Caesar was certainly not alone in this.

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Sorry PM, but I think the only diplomatic solution that could have been reached would have involved compromise from Pompeys faction. Caesar had already offered to lay aside his imperium and army if Pompey did the same, Pompey refused, the Cato band in the senate backed his decision, and forced Caesars hand. It looked to Caesar like - March on Rome, or be sent into exile by his enemies.

 

And yes Felix, I know Caesar killed a hell of a lot of Gauls and sold an equal amount into slavery, in all somewhere in the order of 1 million people killed or displaced, but I think most other conquering Roman generals would have done this in his place to an enemy. I am not saying it's a great thing, just that the Romans in general seemed not to consider non-citizens as being of any importance other than a source of finance, Caesar was certainly not alone in this.

You're absolutely right Caesar did make the offer and Pompey didn't take it being under the influence of Cato and Co. I can imagine Pompey thinking "...I woulda, I coulda, I shoulda, goddamn Cato..." as he sailed to Egypt after Pharsulus. Actually he was probably thinking he should have run the war his own way and not listened to everyone's pressure to do battle.

 

I agree with you about other Roman generals doing the same [probably even worse] as Caesar. Gauls having a special place in the sack of Rome, Vae Victus and all.

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Ave, Caesar! Ave, Tirant!

Certainly he is prominent in history but it isn

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