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Julius Caesar.. Good And Bad Points

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Caesar's contemporaries and modern historians both regard the work (as best we can guess at it) to be Caesar at his pettiest.

 

That'd be one hell of a guess !! What contemporaries do you mean ?

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Caesar's contemporaries and modern historians both regard the work (as best we can guess at it) to be Caesar at his pettiest.

That'd be one hell of a guess !! What contemporaries do you mean ?

 

Just general opinion that repeating personal rumors was beneath Caesar's dignity. It's in Cicero's correspondence with Atticus and others. Plutarch says the same. Cicero I think called it "impudent rubbish" as best as I recall. It's discussed a fair amount in the Everitt book.

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I'd like to point out once again that *on this thread* there have been arguments raising Caesar's bad points, ones defending Caesar against these charges, but there is still not a bullet list of Caesar's "good points," which was what was requested by the student (who will probably never bother posting again to thank anyone).

Instead, we have been treated to more of tflex's brilliantly cogent "Hail Caesar" argument, and he has now been joined by another whose list of Caesar's good points is also just "Hail Caesar". If the friends of (ancient) dictatorship don't begin listing Caesar's good points soon, I'm going to have to do it myself--and I really don't want to at all! :rolleyes:

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I'd like to point out once again that *on this thread* there have been arguments raising Caesar's bad points, ones defending Caesar against these charges, but there is still not a bullet list of Caesar's "good points," which was what was requested by the student (who will probably never bother posting again to thank anyone).

Instead, we have been treated to more of tflex's brilliantly cogent "Hail Caesar" argument, and he has now been joined by another whose list of Caesar's good points is also just "Hail Caesar". If the friends of (ancient) dictatorship don't begin listing Caesar's good points soon, I'm going to have to do it myself--and I really don't want to at all! :o

 

Requested by popular demand:

 

Caesar's Military Achievements:

 

61-60BC Caesar decisively crushes rebellions in Spain

58BC Caesar defeats Helvetii and Ariovistos(Germans)

57BC Caesar defeats Nervii and other Belgae

55BC Caesar crosses the Rhine, invades Germany, then Britain.

54BC-52BC Caesar crushes massive rebellions throughout Gaul, subdues various tribes and ravages their land. Most notable is Caesar's outstanding victory in the Battle of Alesia. He quelled all resistance and demanded form all tribes to give there allegiance to Rome which they did. Gaul was now officially a Roman province, Caesar transformed Rome from strictly a Mediterranean empire into a European empire. Caesar is now officially the "Conqueror of Gaul".

49BC Caesar crosses the Rubicon and marches on Rome, he is appointed dictator and restores order to the city.

48BC Caesar destroys Pompey's army in the battle of Pharsalus. Caesar also successful in the Alexandrian war.

47BC Caesar swiftly defeats King Pharnaces II of Pontus and returns land in Asia Minor back to Rome.

46BC Caesar crushes surviving Pompeian forces under Scipio and Cato at Thapsus. Caesar also destroys remnants Pompians forces in Spain. Note: Cato commits suicide around this time. (He made the right decision) A good day for mankind. :D

45BC Caesar finishes off the Pompians at the battle of Munda.

44BC Caesar was preparing a campaign against the dreaded Parthians before he was murdered by some depraved senators. Tragic day.

 

 

Caesar's Reforms:

 

Tax demands on farmers were cancelled. Public land was allocated to fathers of three or more children. He reduced congestion in Rome, draining large tracts of marshy lands. Caesar gave full voting rights to the settlers in his former province south of the Alps and revised the tax laws of Asia and Sicily, resettled many Romans in new homes in the Roman provinces and reformed the calendar.

 

He instituted a grand program of colonization to fulfil his goals: the social conditions in Rome were to be improved and the citizenship spread throughout the empire. He began by forbidding those collegia that were suspected of having political aims. The Jews where exempted from this, probably in thanks for their help during the Alexandrine Wars.

 

He then carried out a census of the civic lists, reducing the recipients of free corn from about 320,000 to 150,000. This was not so much to save money, as it was to prevent the citizens of Italia from coming to the city. Life in Italia and the provinces was to be made more attractive for the broad majority of citizens. To further this aim, a third of the workers on the large estates were freed -- slavery was to be reduced to decrease unemployment. As for the corn dole, families with children were given additional privileges. In general, Caesar attempted to carry out just reforms.

 

About 80,000 families were offered a new life in more than twenty newly founded roman colonies, among them the rebuilt Carthage and Corinth. To these settlers he added veterans of the civil wars, who were allotted farms and a bonus. At the same time he put in motion a comprehensive Romanization policy, particularly in the important provinces of Gaul, Spain and Africa, where he lavishly granted citizenship (and thereby a share in the benefits of the Empire) to a large number of people.

 

To round off this substantial work, he drew up laws affecting how these new towns were to be governed. This law, Lex Julia municipalis, would become the cornerstone and foundation not only for municipal but also provincial administration which were to last until the fall of the Empire.

 

Alone among his contemporaries, Caesar seems to have realized that Rome as a city-state could no longer survive. It was no use confining the citizenship to the people of Rome; everyone should, sooner or later, be bound to Rome; not Rome the city, but Rome the Empire. To further this aim, Caesar enlarged the Senate from 600 to 900, including many new citizens from the provinces. As most of these new senators were supporters of his (and automatically his clients), this strengthened his control of the Senate by ensuring that he would always have a majority. In addition, he increased the number of praetores from eight to sixteen, aediles from four to six, and quaestores from twenty to forty.

 

He also took measures to prevent the provincial extortion of earlier times by introducing a new system of taxation in Asia Minor and Sicily, and further strengthening the extortion laws made in his consulship of 59. His increase in the number of praetors reduced the need for prolong the terms of governors in the provinces, and he drew up strict laws stipulating how long a governor could serve.

 

He carried out economic reforms to solve the debt problems, which had bedevilled the Republic since its inception, as interests always went sky-high during times of war. He had interests lowered and arranged for one fourth of all debts to be cancelled. He also took steps to get more money into circulation, thus increasing liquidity. These precautions, taken to solve an immediate economic and social crisis, laid the ground work for the economic boom which occurred during the principate of Augustus, and three hundred years of monetary stability under the Empire.

 

A huge amounts of public works were carried out in Rome and Italy. The forum was overhauled with a rebuilding of the Senate building, the courts, and the speaker's platform. New temples and commercial centres were built in the Hellenistic style and a state library was created. To ensure that Rome would become a centre of culture, privileges were conferred on the teachers of philosophy and liberal arts.[/i]

 

All the above are facts. Do you know of any human being past or present that has accomplished so much in his lifetime, I don't think so.

 

Have I proved Caesar's good points? Cato , I'm very curious to hear your good points for Caesar.

 

I believe we now have a majority for Caesar in this forum. HAIL CAESAR!!!!

Edited by Viggen

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Let's try not to have such an aggressive tone on a personal basis guys. These are things that happened 2,000 years ago after all.

 

I think Caesar was 'great' because he was a master politician. He confounded his enemies at every turn through the use of the popular assemblies and in becoming the mastermind that brought both Pompey and Caesar into his camp. He propped them up as the face of power while manipulating everything behind the scenes. He used the political system and various magistracies (including that of Pontifex Maximus) to secure himself from debt and prosecutions to bitter rivals.

 

I think Caesar is great because he was one of the greatest conquerors the world has known. Alesia is a masterpiece and one of the most often cited siege battles in history. Couple his victories in Gaul over the hated Celts (given against an inferior opponent with far superior numbers) with his iconic and symbolic crossings of the Rhine and the English Channel and he approached legendary status while living. Like most legends one must have a victory over another legendary general, and in this case it was provided by Pompey. He brought the vast wealth, culture and history of Egypt firmly under Roman hegemony, confirmed Roman authority in the east with the victory at Zela, crushed his opposition in Africa at Thapsus and again at Munda in Hispania. Despite the tarnishing of his dignitas by winning victories over fellow Romans (and the associated triumph) one cannot deny the greatness of his ability as a general and a leader of men.

 

Whether right or wrong, successful or not, motivated by ambition or compassion, he led a charge to empower the Roman common masses. He attempted to reform the law, the courts and conditions of slavery and economics to give land and opportunity to the public. His failure was leaving these affairs to Antonius while he cavorted with Cleopatra and perhaps began to truly think of himself as a god, but it does not change the fact that he transformed a collection of loosely held provincial playgrounds into a singular empire under the control of a single man of ultimate power. His motivation can be questioned, as well as his tactics, and even the result of his actions, but not his achievements themselves.

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Let's try not to have such an aggressive tone on a personal basis guys. These are things that happened 2,000 years ago after all.

 

This is nothing, and I would say that while a bit of hositility in the air, everyone on this forum is quite civil and curtious... rarely is the line approached and even less crossed.

 

Now history conferences are bad, you have men and women who are of all ages and are, (violently sometimes), arguing over the most minor of details, not even if a man like Caesar is good or bad. While entertaining from a spectators view, it is kinda frightening knowing these are people who are professors and full-flegded historians.

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Caesar's good points?

 

* generally brilliant military commander. It's been pointed out that sometimes he bit off more than he could chew and his troops had to bail him out, but even in such instances his leadership inspired his troops.

 

* suave politician. Except, I suppose, for that bit at the end when he ticked off enough people to inspire assassination. In retrospect, not such a good idea.

 

* One of the greatest orators and authors (and propagandists) of the age, not far behind Cicero in some people's estimation. Not nearly as hypocritical or as insipid as Cicero, either.

 

* Good with the ladies. And, if we are to believe the stories, with the men as well.

 

* Knew how to pick clever and insightful people to succeed him. Augustus lovers may say Caesar was the opening act for Octavian's grand number.

 

* Accomplished all this despite having a disability (The Falling Sickness, as Shakespeare put it). A poster boy for how people can overcome disadvantages.

 

His bad points?

 

Well, others like to point out his megalomania and his "war crimes." And , oh yes, ending that dysfunctional morass some people grandiloquently call a Republic. Aside from that, I believe his greatest flaw was his legendary sex drive which his opponents used against him, and which Cleopatra was able to use to ensnare him. So many otherwise great men are led around by their penis. Tragic, really. That's why I have more respect for Augustus at the end of the day, he was seemingly immune to such things.

 

But nonetheless, it would not be amiss to insert an "Ave Caesar!" at this point.

 

As to the original poster, I hope this whole thread has been sufficiently educational. If you peruse through this forum you'll probably find an encyclopedia's worth of entries on the merits and demerits of this particular Roman.

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Well, others like to point out his megalomania and his "war crimes." And , oh yes, ending that dysfunctional morass some people grandiloquently call a Republic. Aside from that, I believe his greatest flaw was his legendary sex drive which his opponents used against him, and which Cleopatra was able to use to ensnare him. So many otherwise great men are led around by their penis. Tragic, really. That's why I have more respect for Augustus at the end of the day, he was seemingly immune to such things.

 

They are not War Crimes, the people he killed deserved it. They were a drag on Rome and onto themselves. Rome certainly did not need degenerates running the empire.

 

You can't blame Caesar for having a little fun with Cleopatra. I mean he was a hard worker fighting all those battles, he needed some relief and who better than the Queen of Egypt. I think Augustus was outflanked by Anthony when it came to Cleopatra, he missed out..

Edited by tflex

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You can't blame Caesar for having a little fun with Cleopatra. I mean he was a hard worker fighting all those battles, he needed some relief and who better than the Queen of Egypt. I think Augustus was outflanked by Anthony when it came to Cleopatra, he missed out..

 

Is that suppose to be a serious comment?

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You can't blame Caesar for having a little fun with Cleopatra. I mean he was a hard worker fighting all those battles, he needed some relief and who better than the Queen of Egypt. I think Augustus was outflanked by Anthony when it came to Cleopatra, he missed out..

 

Is that suppose to be a serious comment?

 

I just think the Cleopatra thing is getting blown out of proportion. He was seduced, if he refused her he wouldn't be a real man.

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They are not War Crimes,

 

Ursus said "war crimes" - meaning he doesn't really take the idea seriously - inverted commas ???

 

the people he killed deserved it. They were a drag on Rome and onto themselves.

 

Oh my....!

 

Rome certainly did not need degenerates running the empire.

 

Whether they needed them or not Rome loved being ruled by degenerates - ever heard of the Julio Claudian Emperors ? Tiberius, Caligula, Nero - not degenerate enough for you ?

 

You can't blame Caesar for having a little fun with Cleopatra. I mean he was a hard worker fighting all those battles, he needed some relief and who better than the Queen of Egypt. I think Augustus was outflanked by Anthony when it came to Cleopatra, he missed out..

 

I think the only point that you're making here is that YOU, don't blame Caesar for anything. Augustus proved his metal by the way he dealt with Anthony, Cleopatra and Caesarion, Caesar should have had the forsight to do the same.

 

I admire Caesar, and agree with both PP and Ursus with regard to this matter, and their extensive posts detailing his good points, but can't help but sympathise with Catos comment :-

 

we have been treated to more of tflex's brilliantly cogent "Hail Caesar" argument

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I admire Caesar, and agree with both PP and Ursus with regard to this matter, and their extensive posts detailing his good points, but can't help but sympathise with Catos comment :-

 

we have been treated to more of tflex's brilliantly cogent "Hail Caesar" argument.

 

 

I get the feeling that popular opinion is not with me after all. :o

Edited by tflex

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You can't blame Caesar for having a little fun with Cleopatra. I mean he was a hard worker fighting all those battles, he needed some relief and who better than the Queen of Egypt. I think Augustus was outflanked by Anthony when it came to Cleopatra, he missed out..

 

Is that suppose to be a serious comment?

 

I just think the Cleopatra thing is getting blown out of proportion. He was seduced, if he refused her he wouldn't be a real man.

 

 

Each used the other to further their own ends. Kleopatra knew that w/o a Roman 'strongman' she would not sit on the throne long... but she was not at her best with Caesar... she was young and inexperienced, (in terms of political manipulation). When it came to Antony, I think she knew exactly what she was doing from the start, though it is said that he was truely in love with her and vice versa, so perhaps they started out to play each other off but ended up really into each other, my point is though, Kleopatra NEEDED another Roman 'Strongman' to safeguard herself and her kingdom, she did what any 'true' Hellenistic monarch would have/should have done. (I point out to such people as Oylmpius, Adea Eurydike, Berenike, etc). Besides, Roman elite hated Kleopatra, but pitied Antony, not giving him blame simply he has fallen under the 'Eastern Oriental's' spell. One wonders what would have happened had Antony won Actium, I would not put it past them that he would have been Emperor and she Empress with equal ruling status, but who knows.

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if he refused her he wouldn't be a real man.

 

I want to respond.....but it's not thread related. I'll just quietly hope that everyone knows the mark of a real man is actually self control.

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