Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

Mosquito

Caesar - personality

Recommended Posts

Fair enough. We have had a nice debate. Lest we go around in circles, I would appreciate it if the parties involved here would sum up and indicate if any of their opinions were altered as a result of this debate.

 

Phew - well I'm not sure I'm ready to sum up just yet, Gaius - I think this still has mileage, and may I say first that I retract my earlier statement of the thread being fruitless (thank you for pointing that out Neil) because it has clearly proved otherwise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One may deduce quite correctly that an historical figure was jaundiced, because his skin was said to have turned yellow.

 

(Sorry - I cut off the quote before I meant to - Neil wne ton to state that this jaundice coudl have been caused by pancreatic cancer or biliary obstruction due to a more benign cause etc. and that is what is uncertain)

 

Quite - and this is the fundamental element here! Symptoms in medicine are subjective - signs are what are used objectively for a clinician to make his diagnosis. But the signs can be indicative of a great many differential diagnoses. This is the same for a mental diagnosis as it is for a physical one. For instance, I may say to my doctor that I have chest pain - this could be indicative of heart problems, indigestion, GO reflux, myasthenia gravis, aortic aneurysm - and I won't go on, as it is endless. I may also say to my doctor that I ask for a tree when I need bread - this could indicate a mental disorder or an oligodendroglioma. But at least in these cases we have input from the sufferer of the symptoms.

 

But when you try to put onto Caesar some sort of mental disorder for his actual actions, when his only manifestation of these so-called symptoms are witnessed from the observance of someone else - and in most cases, someone who is hostile - are we not getting into murky waters? Are we saying that we can look at anyone in history who may have acted out of accordance with an accepted 'norm' and insist that he/she was mentally ill because of it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, I agree with everything that Neil said.

 

Second, I think we're in agreement that Caesar's being a clinical narcissist is less than certain. Still--by Jupiter's stone--can't we at least agree that he was a vain, reckless, power-hungry manipulator?? Leaving aside whether you think it's OK to be a vain, reckless, power-hungry manipulator, or whether other Romans were too, or whether Caesar was justified in his vanity/recklessness/etc due to his divine origins or Marian posturing or whatever, does anyone have any evidence against this characterization?

 

Last, if you are a committed amoralist and therefore don't want to pass moral judgment on anything (or nothing ancient or older than 30), then why not at least address the aspects of Caesar's personality that have no moral valence. For example, does anyone think Caesar was an introvert? Or that he loved routine and hated change? Or prided himself on his punctuality? Or found himself easily agreeing with everyone around him? Or was the nervous type? To me, all these characteristics seem very far from the Caesar depicted in the sources, which depict a fellow was open-minded, careless, extroverted, competitive, and self-confident. (Neil might recognize these characterizations as corresponding roughly to the "Big Five" personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By Iupiter's Stones, I see that the goal posts haven't moved a cubic iambiter. Back to the trenches!

Whatever medical or physical problems he may have had, it seems that he overcame them. That is to his credit. Can this be agreed upon?

 

Lets try it a different way. A little closer in time. Please diagnose G. Dubya Bush? That's rhetorical, but do you see my point?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If a shark stops moving it will die.

there is a psychological condition likened to this, characterised by constant hyperactivity (not unlike GJC).

The lack of rest results in a lack of reflection at the cruel acts and deeds they have done.

this sounds alot like Caesar to me.

 

And does anyone know whether his epilepsy was a secret?

Edited by spittle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If a shark stops moving it will die.

there is a psychological condition likened to this, characterised by constant hyperactivity (not unlike GJC).

The lack of rest results in a lack of reflection at the cruel acts and deeds they have done.

 

And does anyone know whether hid epilepsy was a secret?

 

The alleged cruel acts were the commonality of the day.

If his 'epilepsy' was a secret, how do we 'know' it today?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even by the standards of the day (which, obviously, were far bloodier than today) Caesars actions were seen as extreme. The Senate considered prosecuting him for war crimes. He was responsible for the death or enslavement of half of Gaul so I must disagree that his acts were 'the commonality of the day'.

 

Secrets sometimes get revealed after the death of the beholder.

What I'm really asking here is whether the HBO storyline concerning the Romans attitude to epilepsy (seen as a curse from a God) is true. Or did the Romans view epilepsy like we do, as an unfortunate condition but nothing to stop a person from being great or holding high office?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whatever medical or physical problems he may have had, it seems that he overcame them. That is to his credit. Can this be agreed upon?

What are you talking about? Caesar's epilepsy? If you ask me, Cassius should have left him to drown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I imagine Caesar like a Freedy Mercury of politics, full of charm and energy .

To be among the most moraly depraved persons in Rome was no easy task, but he did it. What is shocking is that after a life like this he became a great general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever medical or physical problems he may have had, it seems that he overcame them. That is to his credit. Can this be agreed upon?

What are you talking about? Caesar's epilepsy? If you ask me, Cassius should have left him to drown.

 

:hammer: "Are you talking about Caesar's epilepsy?" Much better. :lol:

 

:ph34r:

 

----------------------------------

 

Let's see, the entire world holds Caesar amongst the greatest of men, and not one of the most infamous. Yet, you few, you band of brothers, can't find enough ivory tower mumbo-jumbo and mental gymnastics to damn him with. Is Augustus next on your hit list? Should I suppose that you can conjure up what evils would have befallen Rome had he not been murdered by a bunch of base cowards. What a fine affair it would have been to leave the Republic in the hands of the likes of Cicero - the very ones who are responsible for this damned monster, Caesar. The Republic was dead before Caesar came on the scene!

 

Well it's snowing here in the Heart of America - also. (How cruel this son of Caesar is! :angry: )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said before Caesar is being condemned for the same reasons for which Augustus is praised. There is little difference between them, Caesar didnt like to kill his enemies while Augustus murdered thousands only to put hands on the monay of his victims.

 

Accusing Caesar for cruelty in Gaul i find especially funny. Consider what Romans did with many of their "socii" during social war not to mention what Marius and Sulla were doing to Romans. While Gauls were barbarians and traditional enemies of Rome, their lifes were worth for Romans as much as lifes of american indians for europeans in 16th century.

 

As for "personality disorder", my cousin psychiatrist says that if you examine 100 people you will find that 99 of them got some "personality disorder", even if those 100 examined people wil be psychiatrists. And the one without personality disorder will be such a boring guy that wont be even worth examining.

 

You must consider that Roman nobilitas just was like that, especially nobilitas of patrician origin. Today most of the people dont care for their personal "dignitas" as much as it was in Roman times.

This what Caesar was doing and what you consider "narcistic" was normal in that time. When Caesar or Sulla were behaving like that it was considered normal. It was becoming funny when people like Cicero or Pompey were trying to be like all those old patricians.

Today we assumed that we all are being born equal. But in the past it was recognised by most of the society, that some people are being born better than others, and Caesar belonged to the group of people who were born best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must point out here that Caesar has not been 'accused' of anything in this discussion, and there has been no moral judgement as to wether he was a good or a bad man. Indeed, he wrote entertaining books that can still be read today. He arguably enabled the spread of Roman culture to the extent that I can step out of my door, drive for half an hour and enjoy some of it first hand. I know, or have known several individuals with personality disorders, and I would hesitate to accuse them of anything, or make any moral judgement. The fact is, Caesar, by his actions, his own words and the words of others, seems to correspond broadly to the definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as outlined by DSM -IV. A question was asked, and I answered it using knowledge acquired during my studies in psychology, and my mental health training.

 

It is true that personality disorder is a continuum, on which we can all be placed, a little like the Autistic Spectrum. If one plots this on a graph shaped like a wedge, most people are at the thin end of it, whereas I am sure Caesar would be at the thick end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Let's see, the entire world holds Caesar amongst the greatest of men, and not one of the most infamous. Yet, you few, you band of brothers, can't find enough ivory tower mumbo-jumbo and mental gymnastics to damn him with.

 

The average person wouldn't know the difference between a pleb, a pilum, and a pomerium, so why they should be confused about Caesar's character is no surprise at all. In fact, I'm rather glad to see that the best men despise that tyrant still. :hammer:

 

As for "ivory tower mumbo-jumbo", I would remind you that that "ivory tower mumbo-jumbo and mental gymnastics" is the only thing that makes this discussion at all fruitful or educational. If you want to go back to "Hail Caesar!" vs "That darling of Venus couldn't be stabbed enough", I'm happy to oblige, but it comes at the cost of truly interesting threads (like this one, this one, and this one).

 

In my view, almost the whole value of the Caesar debate (or any of the great debates regarding Rome) is that the passions are hot enough to motivate wide and deep exploration of the historical literature. If that's "ivory tower mumbo-jumbo", then I'd like to see more of it, since that's where I actually have a chance to learn something new (like Neil's insightful parallel between Caesar's behavior and the symptoms of clinical narcissism).

 

As for "personality disorder", my cousin psychiatrist says that if you examine 100 people you will find that 99 of them got some "personality disorder", even if those 100 examined people wil be psychiatrists. And the one without personality disorder will be such a boring guy that wont be even worth examining.

 

Anyone who diagnoses 99/100 randomly-selected people with a personality disorder is medically incompetent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyone who diagnoses 99/100 randomly-selected people with a personality disorder is medically incompetent.

 

 

Ask psychiatrists and read Northern Neil post before yours. Psychiatry is just a such type of medical science.

It is always funny when during studying the students are obliged to diagnose themselves or their friends - other students and find that got some kind of personality disorder, almost all of them.

Noone is completelly "normal" or "sane".

Well, I wouldnt like to be.... :lol:

 

Anyway, we can talk about the same personality disorder that Caesar had also in case of Cicero and Pompey.

 

When we will consider the personality of MPC - we may find that he was a maniac who devoted his life to destroy Caesar.

 

 

But in fact all this discussion dont give the answer on the question I asked.

Do you think that personality of Caesar, as it was presented by history, both by friends, enemies of Caesar and by Caesar himself - is reall?

Remember that Caesar soon after his death became a God, Divus Iulius. Saying somthing bad about him was a crime. Im not sure if in case of Caesar we didnt get the picture wich was just like in the case of Augustus - false and fabricated by the author or his descendants.

Do we know Caesar as he really was or as he wanted people to belive that he is - or at least as Augustus wanted people to belive he was. Dont forget that when Augustus was old, there were only few people who could have remember Caesar as a real person - for the rest he was divine Julius when they were born.

Edited by Mosquito

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have sources about Caesar (e.g., Cicero's letters) that predate Augustus' cult, so compare them to later sources and see if Caesar's personality is depicted any differently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×