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Caesar: Hero Or Villain

Caesar: Hero or Villain?  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you think Caesar was

    • 100% Hero
      2
    • 100% Villain
      3
    • More Hero than Villain
      21
    • More Villain than Hero
      5


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Caesar was a very good general who used this change to his advantage. I don't think he was evil - just towards the end too greedy and corrupt which was to become par for the course.

 

Was he corrupt though? He was all too happy to subvert the constitution for political ends, but he was fighting an apparently endless ideological war with the aristocrats. It made sense, in a way, that if there was no way to legally change the government one was to set themselves against it. Unfortunately Sulla had set the precedent.

 

If the Ides didn't happen he could have had his fun, packed the senate with his creatures, and retired like Sulla or Diocletian. Who knows?

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True, true.

 

Perhaps corrupt is the present day looking back and using my adjectives ..... as I wouldn't call Sulla corrupt; in fact, if his reforms were allowed to solidify - the Republic may have stood for a few more centuries. Good point.

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Was he corrupt though? He was all too happy to subvert the constitution for political ends, but he was fighting an apparently endless ideological war with the aristocrats. It made sense, in a way, that if there was no way to legally change the government one was to set themselves against it. Unfortunately Sulla had set the precedent.

 

If the Ides didn't happen he could have had his fun, packed the senate with his creatures, and retired like Sulla or Diocletian. Who knows?

 

I agree, except for one thing ... Caesar wasn't the type to simply retire from power. I think the Ides conspirators knew that as well, which is why they did what they did (not saying I sympathize with the aristocrats, but I can understand their motivations).

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in my mind he is right beside hilter and all the other mass murders and killers. a great man but just because a person is great doesnt make them a hero

 

I certainly agree with your second point there. I do see Caesar as a villain, but Caesar = Hitler? Warfare has always been a savage thing and back then it was even more so. The modus operandi for any ancient general capturing the town was to kill most of the defenders, rape the women, loot the place, and cart of much of the remaining population as slaves. That's why Augustus sparing Alexandria got so much press.

 

Just to get things straight 52xz. Do you put most ancient generals on par with Hitler?

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What a split in opinion here, I am amazed.

 

In my opinion to get into that elite bracket reserved for heroes you need to be doing your cause for morally, socially and fundamental good and not for personal gain.

This is where for me Caesar drifts out of being a hero, a conqueror will always be hated by many, a liberator loved. He was a conqueror and tactician on both sides of battle and is a true great in history.

A villain, he is not. He did not seem to have an agenda against a race like the typical villains we know, it was more of a conquest for power.

 

If I had a choice over the two: Hero

 

vtc

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Hey, Viggen. Why not put one of those voting doo-hickeys on the beginning of this thread? Might be interesting.

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One must examine what benefits came to Rome due to Caesar career.

 

Except short terms benefits (slaves and loot) the conquest of Gaul had little to offer to Rome, in contrast to the lands of the east (such as Egypt for example) there were little that the Romans could be interested there.

 

Caesar did manage to reign supreme but he done it by starting a civil war, and what was his reason for it? that he refuse to play by the political rules. And latter when he became dictator he done everything he could to alienate the aristocracy, even when such moves had no real benefit (as such wearing the shoes of the Roman kings).

 

In the end after his death the situation simply return to it original point, another years of pointless civil wars and instability.

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One must examine what benefits came to Rome due to Caesar career.

 

Except short terms benefits (slaves and loot) the conquest of Gaul had little to offer to Rome...

The sack of Rome in 390BC was never far from the back of Rome's collective mind. Gaul was seen as primitive, volatile, turbulent, and its conquest was seen as a positive step by ordinary Romans. Eventually Gaul became the jewel in the crown of the western roman empire.

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The sack of Rome in 390BC was never far from the back of Rome's collective mind. Gaul was seen as primitive, volatile, turbulent, and its conquest was seen as a positive step by ordinary Romans. Eventually Gaul became the jewel in the crown of the western roman empire.

 

Certainly, there were negative stereotypes of Gauls (something even Cicero played to, though it was Gauls who saved his arse when Cataline was up to no good), as there were bigoted stereotypes of every other non-Roman group. But these stereotypes existed for centuries, and it was only Caesar who (controversially) betrayed the Gallic "friends of the Roman people". Think about it: if negative stereotypes of Gauls were seen as sufficient to justify the wholesale slaughter and enslavement of (Caesar boasts) two million human beings, then there would have also been justification for the wholesale slaughter and enslavement of Egyptians, Bithynians, Greeks, Spaniards, and so on. This begs the question, Why was Caesar willing to subdue the Gauls, yet be subdued by the queen of Egypt (and king of Bithynia)?

 

 

 

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Guest ParatrooperLirelou

This reminds me of an argument I got into with another person.Here is what he posted.

 

If you still think that a state can get involved into a war just "to defend some innocent state" and not because they pursue their own interests' date=' you probably should start learning the history from a scratch. Ever wondered how did it happen that the Rome conquered half of the world? Every time before a new war some other state or nation were in terrible danger of invasion and just asked the Rome for help. That's how. Julius Ceasar gives a good account in his Commentaries on the Gallic War about how he was obliged to beat the **** out of entire Gallia simply because some innocent tribes needed his help. He never started a single agressive war of his own. :rolleyes: [/Quote']

 

Whats your take on this statement on Caesar?

Edited by ParatrooperLirelou

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In my opinion the concept of hero is a mistaken concept, because heroes are so only thanks to the look other have on them. Thus there may only be what is usualy described "great men", who do either more good or more evil in their life (evil being understood as pain, suffering, violence to others, not any religious concept from the so-called books religions).

 

If one looks at Caesar one see a man who has indeed caused much strife, be it through political actions (supporting Clodius is an example), military conquest, or any other way. All the wealth he acquired and then poured onto the roman society had been taken from millions of peoples whose lives he shattered in Gaul. This makes for a strong "evil" case.

 

But on the other hand while he did not accomplish stability, he forged the conditions for Octavius' rise, and also undertook a great many reforms not only of policies but of whole fundamental concepts of a society, including the most fundamental one, the concept of time. He also gave a blueprint to Octavius for reforms he planned but had no time to achieve and which were put in place during the first decades of Octavius' rise to absolute power, including colonization schemes. Also his actions provided for the usage of Latin in the Western Empire, a language that would allow civilisation to communicate from area to area without troubles thanks to shared speech. By providing what was to become France with the structure he began to build and which was later completed and enlarged by Aggripa, he allowed civilisation to enlarge enough to survive the dark ages.

 

As such he is at least as much as Augustus the father of the western civilisation and source of a lot of good. With our current knowledge I'd thus put Caesar amongst the greater "good" men of history and thus have him closer to "hero" than to "villain".

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Marius and Sulla changed the paradigm of the military. Caesar was a very good general who used this change to his advantage. I don't think he was evil - just towards the end too greedy and corrupt which was to become par for the course.

 

Augustus changed the paradigm of rulers for Rome - he took small steps; just at the military was changed a step at a time .... then those that followed Augustus took it further.

That's an interesting perspective. So in the late republic the political side was spinning out of control due to unresolved imbalances, but military side was gelling together. JC was kind of politically insensitive, and tried to pull everything together from the strong militaristic side (his forte).

 

Augustus observed the downside of being too obviously forceful and riling the public, so became the master politician hiding a steel fist in a velvet glove. This dialectical resolution of JC/Augustus created an imperial institution strong in both force and popular support, which could last thru centuries of even inept or crazed rulers.

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There's no doubt that Julius Caesar is a very important figure in World History. He's one of history's 'Great Men' - although as Lord Acton pointed out, "Great men are almost always bad men".

 

I suppose Caesar's status depends on who you are. For the poor men and women of Rome Caesar was a hero. For the Optimates in the Senate Caesar was a villain. I'm pretty sure that the Gauls and Germans hated Caesar with a passion too. Today though he is respected for his military and civil achievements, even though moderns wince when they hear about how he boasted about killing and enslaving millions of Gauls.

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Guest ParatrooperLirelou

I'm pretty sure that the Gauls and Germans hated Caesar with a passion too. Today though he is respected for his military and civil achievements, even though moderns wince when they hear about how he boasted about killing and enslaving millions of Gauls.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the Gauls contrary to popular belief not a single united race and culture but a variety of different groups that had bitter rivalry with each other despited being commonly erroneously labeled as a single culture and civiliazation?

 

While there's no denying that Caesar that Caesar certainly did cruel things, I think to say that the typical Gaul and German hated him with a passion is a bit too simplistic and not necessarily the truth.

 

If I remember correctly, one reason why Carsar was so successful in France was because he was careful enough to forge alliances and use the bitter hatred between the various Gaullish groups to his advantage.Alsim I remember read that not all Gaullish tribes were anti Roman nor were they all necessarily enslaved and treated cruelly by the Romans. i recall that the tribes who allied with Caesar and stuck with him to the end despite how bad the situation became were treated descently during the Roman occupation that came afterwards and that a number of Gauls who did not oppose the Romans immigrated to Rome.

 

I think its best to say that how Caesar is viewed by the Gauls depends on which Gaullish tribe.The ones that fought and lost to him of course bitterly hated him while the ones that allied with him or stayed neutral either were favorable of him or indifferent.

Edited by ParatrooperLirelou

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