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Guest Puducu

Julius Caesar.. Good And Bad Points

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Actually, since the partisans of Caesar haven't any arguments for his greatness (except chanting "Hail Caesar"), your grade would probably be better served by at least listing all anti- arguments like I did (you'd get at least 1/2 credit) than by listing the tiresome propaganda that is forever bandied about by the friends of dictatorship.

 

You're wrong to make blanket statements like the first sentence above. I and a few others have made arguments with factual content on the postive aspects of Caesar and you know it, feel free to use the search function. You may not agree with them or support the interpretation but just calling the arguments absent is garbage. Painting anyone who defends Caesar part of the 'friends of dictatorship' in the hinted at larger sense of also linking their support to the regimes of Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin is just hyperbole on your part.

 

Yes, I know that many others have made arguments for Caesar throughout the forum, but I'm just talking about this thread. Also, technically-speaking, Caesar wasn't quite Stalin (but who knows what would have happened if Caesar had lived long enough and had Stalin's technological capacities).

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Yes, I know that many others have made arguments for Caesar throughout the forum, but I'm just talking about this thread. Also, technically-speaking, Caesar wasn't quite Stalin (but who knows what would have happened if Caesar had lived long enough and had Stalin's technological capacities).

 

Sorry to snap at you Cato, I got it.

 

Caesar with T-34s...that'd be an interesting thread, not this site though.

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Actually, since the partisans of Caesar haven't any arguments for his greatness (except chanting "Hail Caesar"), your grade would probably be better served by at least listing all anti- arguments like I did (you'd get at least 1/2 credit) than by listing the tiresome propaganda that is forever bandied about by the friends of dictatorship.

 

Hmm, we haven't any arguments eh? Well, all that typing we did must be invisible to you sir. I myself have made several comprehensive arguments defending Caesar, and people such as Virgil61, P.Clodius and many others have provided far larger, factual arguments, not necessarily based on crawling, merely chanting "Hail caesar" or populares "propaganda". You yourself are guilty of spreading Boni propaganda - with almost every argument - and basing your arguments on emotional, almost fanatical opinions and fact, as well as completly dismissing or ignoring historical fact, common sense and logic.

 

As for being a friend to dictatorship: I hate dictators, tyrants or oppressors as much as my ancestry did. Supporting Caesar makes me about as much a "friend to dictatorship" as supporting M Porcius Cato makes you a friend to dictatorship.

 

(3) In Spain and in Gaul, Caesar betrayed the interests of Roman allies by sacking their towns and enslaving Roman friends. His motivation in both cases was merely to run up a body count so he could celebrate a triumphal parade in Rome. His campaign in Gaul (where he mercilessly slaughtered and enslaved perhaps a million or more tax-paying trading partners of Rome) finally led to the threat of prosecution for his illegal crossing into German territory.

 

Rome's allies were threatened by the migrating tribe, the Helvetii. If Caesar hadn't moved, a large, restless, potentially hostile tribe would displace Rome's allies and be a terrible threat to Rome. Caesar stopped them, and went on to form Gaul into a buffer state to protect Rome from the obvious threat of the Germans; Caesar knew (as did Marius) that the Germans were the looming threat to Rome; and he took appropriate measures. The Government didn't object when Caesar brought back treasures and tributes and a new territory (which would become one of the most useful and faithful provinces to Rome) to add to Rome's greatness. To defeat the Gauls; he moved faster than any commander of the time, he always fought outnumbered against a not totally inferior enemy, he achieved great feats of siege warfare, and won an amazing victory, among many, at Alesia. His crossings into Britannia and Germania may have not been legal, but again, no-one objected to the psychological effect it had on Rome's enemies.

(4) Rather than face prosecution like an honorable Roman or even go into temporary exile (as Cicero had once done), Caesar waged war against the Republic by illegally crossing the Rubicon with the 13th legion. Taking Rome essentially by surprise, he confiscated the entire Roman treasury for his own personal use.

 

If it was honourable and justified prosecution, instead of a majority trumped up charges motivated by jealousy, in which Caesar could properly defend himself against impartial judges, he would have faced prosecution. But instead, it would have been fixed trials which would take into account none of Caesar's arguments, and he would have fallen had he faced trial. Rome was being dominated by an unconstitutional minority - Pompey and the Boni - and they deserved to be ousted. As well, Instead of having the guts to face Caesar directly, Pompey fled with his tail between his legs to Greece, and forgot to empty the treasury through his disorganisation, irritation by the nagging boni etc. Caesar did not fill up his personal purse with money that was looted from the treasury; he borrowed money that he fully intended to pay back, and used it to secure the Republic from Pompey and the "Government in exile" and rebuild it from the tryannies of Pompey and the Boni.

 

Righto, cooled off now, let the criticism roll in :)

Edited by Tobias

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*sighs heavily and shakes head*

 

"Not this again..."

 

 

Ok, Puducu you've stirred up a hornet's nest and I doubt it will go down. On the one hand, you will have those who would have those who worship the very ground Caesar walked on, will give you either just "Hail Caesar" or a lengthy good response on why he should be considered as the 'Greatest Roman Figure'. On the other hand is Cato and is usually a one-man army around here when it comes to his opinions on why Caesar is 'the devil', (my words not his), though he will give you excellent responses which can be hard to refute and usually we all end up just agreeing to disagree. Basically, we can't tell you if he was bad or good since it is personal judgement and if you do not agree with what we tell you, (if we actually all came to a consensus), then your teacher or instructor may see this in your work or if you are supposed to present it and your paper will be left to be somewhat weak. The worst thing to do is to not beleive in the arguement you are trying to make in your work, and so in the end you need to decide, once all the facts are given to you, (are as many as you can get a hold of), if Caesar was indeed a villian or a hero.

 

My personal beliefs, Caesar was human. He accomplished great deeds on the battlefield and should be hailed for that, his political actions and or motivations on the other hand come off as self-absorbed and greedy/power hungry. Does this make him a bad person? Depends on your view... if you are moral person believing in a system of ideals for the common good than Caesar is almost a terrorist. If you think that there shouldn't be this set system of morals or spiritual rescrictions, than Caesar did exactly what any man in his position should have done to increase, his power, his wealth and ensure his survival. My personal feelings aside, I cannot tell you much more, there are far more learned individuals here who know the Late Republic Period than me, I am more of a Late Empire person and so I shall refrain from truely coming into this debate since I should be listening and questioning instead of answering. Enjoy the deabte...

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Hmm, we haven't any arguments eh?

 

I'm just talking about this thread. And defending Caesar against my charges simply means Caesar is innocent, not that he is great--there's a difference.

 

As for being a friend to dictatorship: My great-grandfather fought at Gallipoli with the Australian light horse, one of my grandfathers fought Hitler in North Africa and another fought on the Kokoda Trail defending ourselves from the Japanese. My father and Uncle fought at the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam with the Australian forces. I hate dictators, tyrants or oppressors as much as my ancestry did. Supporting Caesar makes me about as much a "friend to dictatorship" as supporting M Porcius Cato makes you rational.

And i make no apology for snapping; the above quote went too far Cato.

 

I sincerely and earnestly applaud you and your ancestors for opposing tyrants, dictators, and oppressors. Which raises the question--why support the dictatorship of Caesar? He was a dictator too.

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I sincerely and earnestly applaud you and your ancestors for opposing tyrants, dictators, and oppressors. Which raises the question--why support the dictatorship of Caesar? He was a dictator too.

I went a little too far with the ancestry there old fellow, now that i'm not rather incensed, i'm rational again and apologise. But there's a difference between Caesar's dictatorship and people like Hitler, Mussolini etc. Hitler expanded Germany with unquestioned powers; he destroyed a lot of continental western europe and was bent on genocide of the jews, trying to create a super race. Caesar believed he was adding to Rome's (And thus his own) greatness by making his campaigns, and whilst he was a dictator, he didn't commit the atrocities that modern dictators did. I could have made a better defence of myself, but at the moment my ability isn't running that way :)

Edited by Tobias

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No problem, Tobias. We all get hot when it comes to Caesar.

 

For the record, I agree that Caesar wasn't as bad as Hitler, but Caesar did kill and enslave a very, very large number of Gauls who posed no threat to Rome at all. Caesar boasted that he killed a million and enslaved another million. Maybe Caesar's aims weren't technically genocidal, but I simply don't think his aims in Gaul were praise-worthy either.

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Rome's allies were threatened by the migrating tribe, the Helvetii. If Caesar hadn't moved, a large, restless, potentially hostile tribe would displace Rome's allies and be a terrible threat to Rome. Caesar stopped them, and went on to form Gaul into a buffer state to protect Rome from the obvious threat of the Germans; Caesar knew (as did Marius) that the Germans were the looming threat to Rome; and he took appropriate measures.

Caesar didn't have to occupy the lands of the Aedui once the Helvetii and forces of Ariovistus had been repelled. He only stuck around for the plunder and for the fame. Moreover, the Germans (as almost always) were too busy fighting amongst themselves to justify Caesar's pre-emptive war. And it certainly wasn't for any protection of Rome that he invaded Britain--that was just showing off.

 

The Government didn't object when Caesar brought back treasures and tributes and a new territory (which would become one of the most useful and faithful provinces to Rome) to add to Rome's greatness. To defeat the Gauls; he moved faster than any commander of the time, he always fought outnumbered against a not totally inferior enemy, he achieved great feats of siege warfare, and won an amazing victory, among many, at Alesia. His crossings into Britannia and Germania may have not been legal, but again, no-one objected to the psychological effect it had on Rome's enemies.

 

Rome already had a fine, tax-paying province in Gaul prior to Caesar, and the number of men, women, and children slaughtered by Caesar deprived Rome of an unfathomable quantity of future taxes had they been incorporated into Rome slowly and gradually. Caesar's battles were lop-sided in their effect, but that's not saying much given the that Gallic tribes were mostly subsistence-level, iron age farmers with virtually no military might at all (they didn't even have decent siege works!). I do grant that Caesar's actions had a powerful psychological effect. But we have a name for that kind of purposeful slaughter of non-combatants--it's called terrorism.

 

If it was honourable and justified prosecution, instead of a majority trumped up charges motivated by jealousy, in which Caesar could properly defend himself against impartial judges, he would have faced prosecution. But instead, it would have been fixed trials which would take into account none of Caesar's arguments, and he would have fallen had he faced trial.

If the charges were baseless and the jury were fair, Caesar would have been acquitted. The jury, which would have been drawn from a random sample of the senators, almost certainly would have been fair. Around 95% of them had previously voted for Pompey to lay down his arms with Caesar in an effort to avoid civil war. Given this, the likelihood of finding a jury that would convict Caesar would have been vanishingly small. In addition, engorged on gold of Gallic tribes, Caesar could have bribed his way into anything. As you may recall, bribery is how Caesar got elected in the first place.

 

 

 

 

BTW, does anyone want to bet that the person who started this thread for a homework assignment will never post again? :)

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OK, here goes....

 

1

He attempted a cover-up of the Catilnarian conspiracy by opposing a trial for the accused.

Hadn't Rome just come through the Sullan regime where the kind of divisive retoric that reigned during those years was again being used again? The leading members of the senate, including the Consulares already spoke in favour of death. What kind of trial would that have been? It wouldn't have been a trial, more a lynch mob.

2

His motivation may have been to hide his own foreknowledge of the traitors' plans (being an intimate of those involved).

His motivations were to add a sense of calm, reason, and to promote stability to roman politics. And yes, he was an "intimate" of some of the accused, but Caesar was an intimate of almost everyone, including many of those who were now speaking in favour of death. He was also an "intimate" of Cato's half sister Servillia. Muuhahahaha!

3

Moreover, his recommendation of exile for the accused would have let the traitors join Catiline on the fields of war, where they could have passed valuable information to their rebel comrades.

His recommendations for exile were made when the full extent of Catiline's plans were not yet fully known or disclosed. Again, this was to avoid unecessary bloodshed.

4

While consul, he had M. Porcius Cato arrested merely for voicing his opposition to Caesar's hare-brained schemes. The move was so extraordinarily illegal that the whole Senate refused to meet until Cato's release.

While consul, he did have Cato arrested, true. But it was his legal right as consul to do so. Cato was not voicing his opposition though, he was filabustering. There is a difference. But wait, what was Cato filabustering? It was nothing more than the "hare-brained" scheme to provide land for veterans of the army as a reward for service. Fulfilling a promise made to the soldiers when they'd enlisted, and what's more, it was the duty of every consul to see such promises enacted! But again, why hadn't the land settlements been enacted? Because of Cato, sucking up to his rich friends who wanted the land for themselves so they could make MORE money. He was also trying to get Pompei's eastern settlements ratified, they'd been hanging in limbo for almost 10 years. Cato had cronies, around 18 senators who walked out, the rest of the senate didn't. Cato was released 3 hours after this "arrest".

5

In Spain and in Gaul, Caesar betrayed the interests of Roman allies by sacking their towns and enslaving Roman friends.

We'll address Spain first, Gaul will be addressed further down. There were regions of Spain that were as yet unconquered and had been a thorn in Rome's side for a longtime, this region would roughly correspond to modern day Portugal. Caesar conquered this region to restore law and order to what had been a troubled frontier. And what's more was widely congratulated for doing so.

6

His campaign in Gaul (where he mercilessly slaughtered and enslaved perhaps a million or more tax-paying trading partners of Rome) finally led to the threat of prosecution for his illegal crossing into German territory.

These "tax-paying trading partners" did not pay tax end of story. They were inhabitants of a region called Gallia Comata by the romans. The romans had long occupied a strip of land in southern France called Provincia. Gallia Comata, or Long Haired Gaul was the rest of France and parts of Belgium. Gallia Comata was invaded by the Helvetii, a tribe that inhabited modernday Switzerland. The Gauls who inhabited the region the Helvetii were passing through appealed for help to Caesar. He acted and crushed the Helvetii. Next a germanic tribe invaded, he crushed those too. He crossed the Rhine as a means to show the germans that he was capable of doing so, essentially saying, behave or else. He then subdued the rest of Gaul, a traditional, and growing threat to rome. His war was "declared" illegal by Cato and his cronies who undertook to try to undermine Caesar at every and all opportunity.

7

Rather than face prosecution like an honorable Roman or even go into temporary exile (as Cicero had once done), Caesar waged war against the Republic by illegally crossing the Rubicon with the 13th legion. Taking Rome essentially by surprise, he confiscated the entire Roman treasury for his own personal use.

Caesar offered to lay down his arms, the senate refused. Face trial? It wouldn't have been a trial, but more of a money motivated lynch mob. He utilized the treasury for use by the state. The Caesarian movement was the state.

8

The Civil War he launched wiped out the cream of the Roman Senate and their best generals, including Pompey and Caesar's best officer Labienus (who refused to join Caesar in his traitorous mission).

This "cream" was responsible for the conflict in the first place. "It was they who would have it so." They represented the interests of the few over the welfare of the majority. This same "cream" held the majority of the land, and had complete political monopoly. The modern day term would be Mafia. Labienus did desert, but he was the only senior caesarian to do so. On the contrary, many flocked to Caesar.

9

Once victorious over all his old enemies, he had himself declared a DICTATOR FOR LIFE. In this role, he immediately cancelled all elections for lower offices, abolished the power of the tribunes (who were the representatives of the people of Rome), and personally selected Yes-Men for the office of consul (which had been the highest-ranking elected position in the old Republic). Laying the precedent for future serfdom (and anticipating Stalin's Berlin Wall), he forced 20 - 40 year old Italian civilians to remain in Italy, and he attempted to wipe out the wealth of his political opponents by cancelling debts owed to them.

The Dictatorship was a legal constitutional office used in times of emergency. Caesar was voted this office by the senate first for 5 years, then for 10, then for life. It was VOTED to him end of story. Caesar never cancelled any debts, he stabilized the interest rate at which these debts were to be repaid. This enabled those in debt to pay it off and not be subjected to a life of debtbondage which was very common under the republic.

 

Now, isn't it time someone wrote an "Anti-Cato"?

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Now, isn't it time someone wrote an "Anti-Cato"?

More on the other points later, but I'll point out that Caesar himself wrote an "Anti-Cato", which was used by Plutarch in his Life of Cato. Caesar's contemporaries and modern historians both regard the work (as best we can guess at it) to be Caesar at his pettiest.

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How come Augustus (Octavian) Caesar's nephew is recognised as Romes first emperor? Shouldn't that tittle belong to Caesar himself??

 

Hail Caesar!!!

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How come Augustus (Octavian) Caesar's nephew is recognised as Romes first emperor? Shouldn't that tittle belong to Caesar himself??

 

Hail Caesar!!!

 

Because Caesar was only officially a dictator and the concept of Imperator wasn't thought of yet until Augustus who created it.

Edited by FLavius Valerius Constantinus

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How come Augustus (Octavian) Caesar's nephew is recognised as Romes first emperor? Shouldn't that tittle belong to Caesar himself??

 

Hail Caesar!!!

 

 

Another Caesar admirer. I salute and welcome you. HAIL CAESAR!!!!

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Well to be correct, the concept of imperator had been used for hundreds of years. Augustus was the first to utilize it as he did and therefore establish the emperor line as most people know it. Imperator meant "Great Commander", and it was the troops that hailed the general as such after a victory. Subsequently, the individual could use it in official titles. ex. M. Tullius Cicero, Cos, Imp. The was the official title of Cicero, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Consul, Imperator. Augustus put imperator before all other titles including name, hence Imperator Augustus Caesar. He did this to underscore that he and ONLY he was in command of all the armed forces. He was THE commander.

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