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Mosquito

Caesar - personality

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MPC's view notwithstanding, it is the common belief in the West that Caesar was a Great man.

 

I've never been a fan of common beliefs. It's the uncommon ideas that intrigue me.

 

-- Nephele

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Let's try to revert to the topic of Caesar's actual personality, rather than whether or not we personally like, dislike, approve or disapprove of Caesar as well as other ideological tangents. I think its already fairly clear from several pre-existing threads where the participants here stand on Caesar's historical impact on the world.

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I don't think that the TYRANTS would allow it, but I am sorely tempted to start a thread to analyze MPC in the same way he has Caesar. Oh, I'd throw in N.N. for the heck of it. Now that should be lots of fun. How would you (MPC & NN) go for such? :lol: Do I smell hair burning? :rolleyes:

 

:ph34r:

 

 

A better equation would be to psycoanalyze MPC in two thousand years, using biographies written 100 years after his death.

 

One can judge Caesar's politics but not very easily his personality. Our two main descriptions of Caesar's personality come from Plutarch and Suetonius, both living well after the Divine Julius' death.

 

What they have to say is quite interesting. Both agree that he was a driven man, Plutarch inststing that he always wished to be king. He also was loved by the majority of the people, though in Plutarch, his kingly aspirations push some away from him. With Plutarch one must be careful. His goal in writing his parallel lives is to equate each famous Roman with a famous Greek. Caesar's pair is Alexander, so the whole king thing is throne into some question.

 

 

 

 

Actually, I have to write a report for a class about this very subject, so this thread holds special interest for me.

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This is of special significance for me because my pro-Caesar stance is rapidly changing with every new thing I learn.

 

From a psychoanalytical perspective his hyperactivity must play a part in explaining any possible condition or disorder he may have had?

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It seems to me that if Caesar is to be 'diagnosed'*, it should be in conjunction with his family, friends, enemies and the problems of the time.

 

 

* Not being a shrink, I'm not sure of the proper word. You know what I mean though.

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One can judge Caesar's politics but not very easily his personality. Our two main descriptions of Caesar's personality come from Plutarch and Suetonius, both living well after the Divine Julius' death.

 

Come now, we're not limited to Plutarch and Suetonius in judging Caesar, the man who broke convention by having his face put on coins and naming a month of the year after himself. Are we to assume that all the coins that we have with Caesar's face on it were minted by Plutarch? Are we to assume that we refer to "July" thanks to Suetonius? Obviously not. And, really, isn't it consistent with pathological narcissism to come up with the idea of putting your own face on coins that previously had depicted deities? Isn't it consistent with narcissism to be the first one to name the months of the year--that also had religious significance--after yourself?

 

For a Harvard psychiatrist's take on Caesar, see here.

Edited by M. Porcius Cato

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One can judge Caesar's politics but not very easily his personality. Our two main descriptions of Caesar's personality come from Plutarch and Suetonius, both living well after the Divine Julius' death.

 

Come now, we're not limited to Plutarch and Suetonius in judging Caesar, the man who broke convention by having his face put on coins and naming a month of the year after himself. Are we to assume that all the coins that we have with Caesar's face on it were minted by Plutarch? Are we to assume that we refer to "July" thanks to Suetonius? Obviously not. And, really, isn't it consistent with pathological narcissism to come up with the idea of putting your own face on coins that previously had depicted deities? Isn't it consistent with narcissism to be the first one to name the months of the year--that also had religious significance--after yourself?

 

Cato, this is a very good point. However, could there perhaps be an argument for saying that with the expansion of Rome and trading with eastern monarchies etc., a leading statesmen would have been influenced by this? I know that this neither proves nor refutes the theory of pathological narcissism, and I know that other leading statesmen before and contemporary with Caesar did not choose this self-glorifying propaganda tool, but I am just wondering whether there were other influences affecting Julius' personality?

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I am just wondering whether there were other influences affecting Julius' personality?

 

I am told his birth was by Caesarian section. Presumably, a forceps delivery would have been tried to no avail. Anoxia and pressure on the brain prior to being delivered by section may have contributed to a mild degree of damage to the cerebral cortex. This in turn may have caused his epilepsy, and also the rigid mindset we have been disussing on this thread.

Edited by Northern Neil

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I am just wondering whether there were other influences affecting Julius' personality?

 

I am told his birth was by Caesarian section. Presumably, a forceps delivery would have been tried to no avail. Anoxia and pressure on the brain prior to being delivered by section may have contributed to a mild degree of damage to the cerebral cortex. This in turn may have caused his epilepsy, and also the rigid mindset we have been disussing on this thread.

 

 

Neil - the caesarian birth has got to be a myth. In those days (Pertinax may correct me if he knows differently) 'caesarians' were performed to save the child and the mother invariably died. As Aurelia was alive and well during Caesar's life, I think we can forget about this one! :ph34r:

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From MPC above:

 

"Antistius, a doctor who may have been Caesar's personal physician, was summoned to conduct a postmortem examination. According to his autopsy report

Edited by Gaius Octavius

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Are we to assume that all the coins that we have with Caesar's face on it were minted by Plutarch? Are we to assume that we refer to "July" thanks to Suetonius? Obviously not. And, really, isn't it consistent with pathological narcissism to come up with the idea of putting your own face on coins that previously had depicted deities? Isn't it consistent with narcissism to be the first one to name the months of the year--that also had religious significance--after yourself?

 

 

So what? He was going to change political system of Rome. Nothing else but currency can better show who is ruling the state. It has nothing to do with narcisism. Following your logic Queen of England has a real mental problem because she is on the coins of UK, Canada, New Zeland, Australia and probably few other countries.

 

Caesar decided that Republic is a past and was going to transfer system toward monarchy. After his death it was done by Augustus.

As for name of the months Augustus did exactly the same. And the name of the month wasnt changed by Caesars decision but it was done by the senate and people's assembly in democratic vote :ph34r:

For sure Caesar was trying to copy eastern patterns on the Roman ground but he probably didnt realise that it require much more time.

 

 

And by the way - I belive that we today (at least most of us) live in the free countries because there was never again such tyrrant like Caesar. If all the tyrrants were like him, pmajority of people would probably gladly accept tyrrany (except for elites which would loose power).

Edited by Mosquito

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It is also worth to notice that Caesar wasnt that much original as many think and that in fact he was learning from Roman history.

 

Like Gaius Flaminius Nepos he challenged the senate and wanted to reform the state but wasnt homo novus and wasnt defeated on the battlefield.

 

Like Gaius Marius he was backed by the people and had crowd on his side - also build his fame on the military carieer - but wasnt homo novus and was far better politician.

 

Like Sulla he was an aristocrate and took unlimitted power in the Republic - but didnt want to give it up - being realist he has realised that times of collective goverment are over and sooner or later someone will take power - so why not him if he was better than anyone else in his times.

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So what? He was going to change political system of Rome. Nothing else but currency can better show who is ruling the state. It has nothing to do with narcisism. Following your logic Queen of England has a real mental problem because she is on the coins of UK, Canada, New Zeland, Australia and probably few other countries.

I am aghast by this analysis! The 'So what ' in your comment totally disregards the massively unprecedented move Caesar made here. It had everything to do with Narcissism, and everything to do with the disdain for traditional Roman practices that led to his murder.

 

By your own words you have highlighted one of the things which proves Caesar's narcissism: - The image of Queen Elizabeth on the coinage of Britain and its Commonwealth is directly related to kingship of the type inherited from the mediaeval period and beyond. From the time of the Barbarian successor kingdoms. The kind of kingship, indeed, with which the Etruscans governed, and exactly the kind of kingship Rome despised. And in any case, unlike Caesar, Queen Elizabeth did not set the precedent - an ancestor of hers 1'200 years ago did. In maintaining the status quo, she is actually more akin to the conservative republians Caesar did so much to upset. In 2'000 years people may well applaud a George Bush who Caezes the senate with the national guard, puts his face on coins and leads America to double its size by annexing Mexico and Canada. But how would we view him now? Would the American people allow him to remain as dictator? I think not!

Edited by Northern Neil

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I am aghast by this analysis. The 'So what ' in your comment totally disregards the massively unprecedented move Caesar made here. It had everything to do with Narcissism, and everything to do with the disdain for traditional Roman practices that led to his murder.

 

By your own words you have highlighted one of the things which proves Caesar's narcissism: - The image of Queen Elizabeth on the coinage of Britain and its Commonwealth is directly related to kingship of the type inherited from the mediaeval period and beyond. From the time of the Barbarian successor kingdoms. The kind of kingship, indeed, with which the Etruscans governed, and exactly the kind of kingship Rome despised. And in any case, unlike Caesar, Queen Elizabeth did not set the precedent - an ancestor of hers 1'200 years ago did. In maintaining the status quo, she is actually more akin to the conservative republians Caesar did so much to upset. In 2'000 years people may well applaud a George Bush who Caezes the senate with the national guard, puts his face on coins and leads America to double its size by annexing Mexico and Canada. But how would we view him now? Would the American people allow him to remain as dictator? I think not!

 

George Bush isint good example.

 

But wasnt Goerge Washington offered another presidency which he refused?

 

All the kings and qeens in Europe are on the coins of states in which they reign.

 

The point is that Caesar wanted to be a monarch so step by step he was trying to become a one. And his descendant did it. Actually Augustus did more, he became a God - following the policy of his grand uncle. It was against mos maiorum but few decades after Caesar, Agustus did the same and achieved even more. In the same state where were the same customs, just a little bit later.

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