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M. Porcius Cato

The Gallic Wars

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As will i Germanicus, although it's tempting to fall into a discourse of our own nation, because after all, aren't we all patriotic and faithful citizens of our nations :D?

 

As far as the legality of things like the crossing of the English Channel and the Rhine, i believe the end justified the means. Essentially, such things were mainly self enhancing; they were meant to enhance Julius Caesar's image. But i believe that that's not all there was too it. Caesar believed solidly in the power of mental warfare. He saw such achievements as not only opportunities to enhance his image, but to teach the Gauls that the Romans were better, and there was no point resisting the allure of the rising Roman sun.

 

That's just my thoughts, i'm sure others have their own :)

Edited by Tobias

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Stay focused folks, we're waiting for Cato to tell us which country has achieved greatness without millitary action of somekind.

 

Who said a country could "achieve greatness without military action of somekind"? Not me. I said, "without conquest." If you can't distinguish between conquest and any kind of military action, it's no wonder you didn't understand why the Dutch Republic was the perfect example. The military actions it took between 1572 - 1672, generally regarded as the period leading up to and including its golden age, were the ones that expelled the Spanish kings and established a republic, the ones that defended her citizens against English aggression (e.g., against Manhattan, which the Dutch purchased from the natives, unlike the starving English settlers who alternated between begging from the natives and stealing from them), and an occassional skirmish to protect the colonies it inherited from its days as a Spanish puppet state. Even then the Dutch disdained overseas empire, preferring to let them go without a fight, as the cost was greater than the benefit. Later, long after the golden age of the republic, the Dutch behaved like ordinary European imperialists, but it never brought them the greatness. Frankly, as much as I'd love to discuss the history of the Dutch Republic, this ISN'T the place for it, and it's simply irresponsible to go on discussing it.

 

By the conspicuous silence, I assume, then, that everyone is now in agreement that some of Caesar's actions in/around Gaul were illegal, and the only question remaining is whether "the end justified the means" as Tobias has maintained.

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...defended her citizens against English aggression (e.g., against Manhattan, which the Dutch purchased from the natives, unlike the starving English settlers who alternated between begging from the natives and stealing from them...

Doubtless your ability to communicate in english and to post in these forums was due to the millitary sucess of the Dutch and the demise of the english colonists....

 

A governor of a province had imperium. The right of life and death, the rights to make war. End of story. Was Pompey's war in the east any less legal?

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Doubtless your ability to communicate in english and to post in these forums was due to the millitary sucess of the Dutch and the demise of the english colonists....

The freedom of speech I enjoy is far more important to me than the language I speak. And for that the British (and the Americans) may thank the Dutch, who freed England from the rule of kings in the Glorious Revolution....

 

A governor of a province had imperium. The right of life and death, the rights to make war. End of story.

 

The rights to wage war where???. The governor of Sicily hasn't the right to march on Dacia. The governor of Hispania hasn't the right to march on Africa. And the governor of Gaul hasn't the right to march on Britain and Germania. End of story.

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By the conspicuous silence, I assume, then, that everyone is now in agreement that some of Caesar's actions in/around Gaul were illegal, and the only question remaining is whether "the end justified the means" as Tobias has maintained.

 

I agree that the crossing the Rhine could be interpreted by Caesar's enemies as illegal, but maintain that his proponents did not see it that way. Again I suggest semantics, but Caesar's actual war in Gaul and against Celts was not severely questioned by Cato (other than the danger in making Caesar a tyrant through accumulation of power), but he rather focused his charges of illegality on the spread of the war against Germanics. So, even if we accept the charges of Cato as confirmation of illegal behavior by Caesar, his war against the Gauls was not necessarily in question.

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The rights to wage war where???. The governor of Sicily hasn't the right to march on Dacia. The governor of Hispania hasn't the right to march on Africa. And the governor of Gaul hasn't the right to march on Britain and Germania. End of story.

Wherever he deems the threat to derive. Caesar's incursion into Britannia was a means of showing the celts that he could successfully strike anytime, anywhere. In other words he was telling the celts to behave.

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I agree that the crossing the Rhine could be interpreted by Caesar's enemies as illegal

Waging war outside one's territory either was or was not illegal--it was.

 

Again I suggest semantics, but Caesar's actual war in Gaul and against Celts was not severely questioned by Cato (other than the danger in making Caesar a tyrant through accumulation of power), but he rather focused his charges of illegality on the spread of the war against Germanics.

Yes, that's fine. As I've said before, I'm happy to agree that Caesar's actions in non-Roman Gaul may have been legal due to Rome's entangling alliances. Caesar's crime was in spreading the war to the Germans, and I can't see how the same would not have made it criminal also to invade Britain.

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Waging war outside one's territory either was or was not illegal--it was.

 

Only in the case where the action was considered punitive or motivated by conquest without predisposed conditions requiring some form of action. The call for help by Gallic Celts against Suebi incursions could be interpreted by Caesar's proponents as being a justification for invasion. While obviously Cato disagreed with this notion, there were many who deemed the crossing to be perfectly legal and justified. Yes many of Caesar's proponents had motivation beyond the strict interpretation of the law, but so did Cato have personal enmity with Caesar. The question of legality was still open among contemporaries as well as it is in our little debate.

 

 

Caesar's crime was in spreading the war to the Germans, and I can't see how the same would not have made it criminal also to invade Britain.

 

Yes strangely enough there is little suggestion or accusation of the Britannia invasion being an illegal event. Perhaps it was the 'request for aid' from allied tribes that comes into play again, or perhaps its simply because the historical record regarding this event is lost.

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The question of legality was still open among contemporaries as well as it is in our little debate.

 

Yes, I think you're right--but what a legal matter to have to decide! The implications, one way or another, would have been profound. Caesar v. SPQR might have been the greatest legal case in the history of the world.

 

If Caesar were found guilty, provinicial rights would have been vindicated even more than in the Verres case. Allies of Rome could have breathed an enormous sigh of relief, and the enemies of Rome would have lost their favorite bogeyman. The Pax Romana would have commenced immediately, and who knows where the process of Italicization might have ended? Most importantly, however, the rule of law would have been upheld against the mightiest of threats.

 

If Caesar were found not guilty, the flood gates would have opened the provinces to every ambitious plutocrat that fancied himself the better of Alexander. Caesar's run from the law would have ended, leaving him free to pursue the Parthians abroad and his allies in Rome to begin their program of reform. Most importantly, however, the rule of law would have been upheld against the mightiest of threats.

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If Caesar were found guilty, provinicial rights would have been vindicated even more than in the Verres case. Allies of Rome could have breathed an enormous sigh of relief, and the enemies of Rome would have lost their favorite bogeyman. The Pax Romana would have commenced immediately, and who knows where the process of Italicization might have ended? Most importantly, however, the rule of law would have been upheld against the mightiest of threats.

 

You have quite a lot of hope for that thing called 'law' in these ancient times.

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You have quite a lot of hope for that thing called 'law' in these ancient times.

 

Why not? It was strong enough to punish Verres, in spite of all the advantages he enjoyed.

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You have quite a lot of hope for that thing called 'law' in these ancient times.

 

Why not? It was strong enough to punish Verres, in spite of all the advantages he enjoyed.

 

 

Verres was by and large an incompetent fool. Prosecute Caesar and another would have taken his place later. Pompey? Or some other.

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Verres was by and large an incompetent fool. Prosecute Caesar and another would have taken his place later. Pompey? Or some other.

Pompey was resting on his laurels, so I'd expect nothing from him. Antony would have been the next one up, but if he were no match for Decimus Brutus, he'd be toast too.

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Verres was by and large an incompetent fool. Prosecute Caesar and another would have taken his place later. Pompey? Or some other.

Pompey was resting on his laurels,

 

 

I think only because there was a Crassus and Caesar around to thwart him...

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Pompey was resting on his laurels,
I think only because there was a Crassus and Caesar around to thwart him...

Even when they were all in league together, Pompey's best days were behind him. He was an old lion that could only be roused when attacked.

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