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Mosquito

Caesar - personality

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George Bush isint good example.

 

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

For the purposes of this discussion, George Bush is a perfect example, as he is the best currently known leader of a democracy which is also a republic, which is the only reason I named him - but ok, lets pick any other leader of a republican democracy in modern times. What if Chirac of France put his picture on coins, annexed Spain and called himself Emperor? Hold on - didn't Napoleon in fact do that, 200 years ago? Look what happened to him! Not only that, but he initiated a period of political instability in France which lasted for 65 years!

 

Yes, the kings and queens of Europe are on their coins. Like I said before, they are upholding a tradition which is over 1'000 years old - they didnt decide to do it last week. And as you say yourself, they are kings and queens. Anathema to the Roman people.

Edited by Northern Neil

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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?

 

Absolutely. It's possible that Caesar was imitating the Hellenistic monarchs of his age. However, this hypothesis raises more questions than it solves:Why did Caesar, and not even a blood-soaked tyrant like Sulla, go so far as to substitute his own likeness for that of the gods on the coins that everyone carried? Why did Caesar--and none of the other dictators in Roman history--have a month of the year named after him? The narcissism theory accounts for the positive events (what Caesar did do) and negative events (what other dictators did not do) rather nicely (narcissism being a fairly rare disorder), whereas the imitation hypothesis doesn't (given that many previous statesmen were similarly influenced by the East, yet did not have their faces put on coins etc).

 

For the purposes of this discussion, George Bush is a perfect example, as he is the best currently known leader of a democracy which is also a republic, which is the only reason I named him - but ok, lets pick any other leader of a republican democracy in modern times. What if Chirac of France put his picture on coins, annexed Spain and called himself Emperor? Hold on - didn't Napoleon in fact do that, 200 years ago? Look what happened to him! Not only that, but he initiated a period of political instability in France which lasted for 65 years!

 

Absolutely right. It's also very telling that Napoleon admired Caesar (though thought he was a better general than Caesar!), whereas Washington (the man who would not be king) admired Cato.

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I think your missing the point, Mosquito. At the time Caesar had his face put on coins it was totally symbolic of everything the Romans had been fighting for centuries. The coins in question were actually called 'the coins that killed Caesar'.

 

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.

 

 

FOR ABOVE REPLY

Edited by spittle

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It is amazing how most of you do everything to put down one of my arguments and completelly ignore other arguments.

 

What about Augustus who not much later did everything what Caesar did and even more: (put his face on coins, get full power, held together offices which were never combined before in the hands of one person in the same time, named month after himself, make himself legally a God, took power of plebeian tribune for life, killed 300 senators - sources say between 100 to 300 - erased half of remaining senators from senate list) - and he did it just few decades later, in the same state which had the same customs.

 

And puting faces of monarchs into coins its not a 1200 years old tradition. Medieval rulers were doing it following the custom of ancient Rome where emperors were on the coins.

 

As for Napoleon he is glorified in the history of France as great law giver - go to Paris and read inscription on his grave. Napoleon finished as he did because he fought against all the Europe except Poland so comparing his fate to Caesar's is not adequate.

 

G. Bush is a small man, you cant compare small people to giants.

 

George Bush senior got air carier named after him and he is still alive, isint it narcisism?

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1)It is amazing how most of you do everything to put down one of my arguments and completelly ignore other arguments.

 

2)What about Augustus who not much later did everything what Caesar did and even more...

 

3)And puting faces of monarchs into coins its not a 1200 years old tradition. Medieval rulers were doing it following the custom of ancient Rome where emperors were on the coins.

 

4)G. Bush is a small man, you cant compare small people to giants.

 

5)George Bush senior got air carier named after him and he is still alive, isint it narcisism?

 

1) Your initial post framed a question - the second post on this thread was put by me in an attempt to answer that question, and it is actually my views which have been under discussion. Some people have agreed with them, some have not, that is the nature of a healthy debate.

 

2) This discussion is not about Augustus.

 

3) When I said 1'200 years, it was in answer to your point that Queen Elizabeth II was equally narcissistic. I pointed out that the English monarchy had been putting their faces on coins for 1'200 years. Prior to that England wasn't a united country.

 

4) W.G.Bush was given only as an example; the question pondered was what if he did some of the things Caesar did? And there was no suggestion that he actually would do these things.

 

5) Whether or not George Bush Senior is narcissistic is utterly beside the point. But I bet he didn't approach the government and ask for the carrier to be named after him.

 

No one historical figure can be compared precisely to another; that would mean a tremendous set of coincidences, for one thing. The point about Napoleon was that he did similar things to Caesar, and fell from glory as a consequence. And like Caesar, he also did many laudible things.

Edited by Northern Neil

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I've seen several historical psychanalisis done for other people like Hitler and Stalin, and I'm not convinced that this type of question it's fruitful. I say question because it can not deliever an answer.

 

1. No people could be considered perfectly normal. Behaviour it's changing constantly between some limits. Only what goes beyond this limit can be considered significant. If we believe psychology all great man have problems and with proper care they might became normal. That means not great at all. And also means that what we say about Caesar could be said about many other leaders. All had their weirdness and a lot of ego...

 

2. Certain types of man can get power in a type of society. For example Hitler, the most psychanalized character, got full power largely because of his peculiar capabilities and the way they fit in his society. Streissman was probably a lot smarter and balanced, but he did not left much impression. Also the dull and boring Stalin could achieve power only in a society where his ruthless birocratic skills made him important. Maybe the type of weirdness Caesar had was what romans need. What impression would have Byron made 50 years earlier?

 

Anyway, GO it's right, to know him we must look at his antourage. Let's see: Catallina, Clodius, Curion, M. Antonius, Dollabela, Caelius, his "cinedos" Otto & co. etc. Not very nice people.

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1) Your initial post framed a question - the second post on this thread was put by me in an attempt to answer that question, and it is actually my views which have been under discussion. Some people have agreed with them, some have not, that is the nature of a healthy debate.

 

2) This discussion is not about Augustus.

 

3) When I said 1'200 years, it was in answer to your point that Queen Elizabeth II was equally narcissistic. I pointed out that the English monarchy had been putting their faces on coins for 1'200 years. Prior to that England wasn't a united country.

 

4) W.G.Bush was given only as an example; the question pondered was what if he did some of the things Caesar did? And there was no suggestion that he actually would do these things.

 

5) Whether or not George Bush Senior is narcissistic is utterly beside the point. But I bet he didn't approach the government and ask for the carrier to be named after him.

 

No one historical figure can be compared precisely to another; that would mean a tremendous set of coincidences, for one thing. The point about Napoleon was that he did similar things to Caesar, and fell from glory as a consequence. And like Caesar, he also did many laudible things.

 

 

1. Affcourse Northern Neil i agree with you that it is for the sake of debate. I just dont agree with your diagnosis, thats all. But I really appreciate your participation and thoughts in this discussion.

 

2.Its not about Augustus so it isnt also about Napoleon or Hitler. But example of Augustus is a good one and very close to Caesar as they both did the same in the same time period and in the same country. One can wonder if it was because of narcisism or it was part of propaganda and image created by them to justify their actions. If Rome had to be ruled by 1 man - it should have been the best man in Rome - all the actions regarding his name and Caesar were aimed to prove that Caesar is the best man in Rome - and later Augustus.

 

3. My point was not about narcisism of Queen Elizabeth or any other ruler. I was going to put down the argument that puting someone's face on the coin is the evidence of narcisism. The custom of making coins with queens and kings is as old as currency in the monarchies - also hellenic monarchies - and Rome that time was already hellenised.

 

4. You can give such question. We live in the different world and single individual today means much less than 2000 years ago, even if he is president of USA. But if it was Caesar the president of USA today or 200 years ago, you cant say what would happend. Such people are being born once for 1000 years.

 

5. You dont know if Caesar invented the idea of renaming month after him or one of the flattering senators did it and Caesar simply didnt refused.

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You dont know if Caesar invented the idea of renaming month after him or one of the flattering senators did it and Caesar simply didnt refused.

This is a very good point - the same could be said about his head on the coinage.

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2.Its not about Augustus so it isnt also about Napoleon or Hitler. But example of Augustus is a good one and very close to Caesar as they both did the same in the same time period and in the same country. One can wonder if it was because of narcisism or it was part of propaganda and image created by them to justify their actions. If Rome had to be ruled by 1 man - it should have been the best man in Rome - all the actions regarding his name and Caesar were aimed to prove that Caesar is the best man in Rome - and later Augustus.

 

I was at work and didnt have time to finish my thoughts. So I continue.

 

Republic came to the point when one individual was going to rule it or at least to have major influence on its goverment. When Caesar decided that he is the one and defeated his opponents, considering traditions of Roman Republic and mos maiorum he had to prove that noone is better than him to rule the state. As he has been never defeated on the battlefield, had much better ancestry than Pompey and most of romans, his familly were descendats of goddes Venus, he was entitled to become the sole ruler of the Republic more than anyone else. So was it really narcism and problem with personality or it was just a picture painted for the people to justify the fact that not senate but Caesar will rule. Elites of Roman society didnt buy it but most of people did and treated Caesar as the person wich is more wise and can rule better than the whole senate and nobilitas. And anyway - it were the people's assemblies that were voting his bills and giving him power.

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Since we're meant to stick to Caesar's personality on this thread and not Caesar's historical role (which has been debated elsewhere), I won't comment on Mosquito's post (which just parrots Mommsen without giving the man--and his many critics--any credit) except to say that it sheds no light on Caesar's personality.

 

Indeed, Mosquito has yet to define even what he means by "personality," a fact that is the more troubling because he resists every psychological analysis of Caesar--despite the fact that personality is an inherently psychological concept!

 

To my mind, this whole thread has been a case of bait-and-switch. It's like asking, "Why did Rome's economy collapse? But don't talk about supply and demand--that's pointless speculation!"

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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?

 

As we are now all probably feeling like hamsters on a wheel in this very enjoyable and thought-provoking thread, I have just re-read through from Page 1 and would like to highlight this question of Mosquito's, which he has reiterated in various other posts. I think what we have not covered here is the distinction between Caesar's personality (the true, inner man) and his persona (that which was deliberately shaped for the Senate and, more particularly, perhaps, the People). Mosquito has brought up the comparison and similarities between Caesar and Augustus, which I think highlights the point. What we know of Augustus - in the way Mosquito was presenting it - was his actual public persona: the benevolent despot immortalised in the Res Gestae - and let's face it - was there ever a more self-glorifying piece of propaganda published in the history of Rome? The man in the Res Gestae as we know from other sources and independent research, was not the full picture - in some parts of the work Augustus may not actually lie, but he does evade or twist the truth. So, when Mosquito asks above if the personality presented by history was real, my own humble conclusion is that part of it was personality, but a large part was persona.

 

Kosmo also made a good point in his post above, where he says that a given man will act as he does within a given society. Could we perhaps address this? How far would Caesar get today, for instance, given he showed the same traits of personality? I daresay he may well end up the way of someone like Saddam. This is precisely because our society would not tolerate a man like Caesar.

 

And that brings me to a final question. We have all stripped Caesar bare, trying to get to the core of the man, but he was part of his own society, for good or bad. How much do our own personalities inform our perception and interpretation of a man who lived 2,000 years ago - or indeed anyone in history? I would say that it is almost impossible to separate. To put it very simply: because I am the sort of person I am, I admire someone like Augustus, or Alexander, or Cyrus, even though I can only admire them within the context of their own day. Someone like Cato (the historical figure, not our member) I have a grudging respect for but loathe his intractability. Surely all our reactions are personal.

 

I realise there are three different points to this post - sorry to give everyone yet another headache, but I am finding it all very fascinating.

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Augusta! Thank you very much. You are the first person who really cared to read my posts or it is me who uses such poor English that people completelly didnt get my point. Looks like i need a person who will be translating others what i wanted to say when I said that ****** :hammer:

 

You have well explained why did I compared the image of Augsutsu with the image of Caesar. Simply - knowing how did Augustus created his image in the minds of people, I just assume that Caesar did the same and that the man we know as Caesar isnt exactly the same person he really was but it is propaganda he has fabricated to prove that he is the one - first man in Rome - the only who is able to rule Republic and who can do it better than any collective body. Following this logic he wasnt narcistic or not to such extent as some people here claim, but it was just a clever political tactic.

 

Since we're meant to stick to Caesar's personality on this thread and not Caesar's historical role (which has been debated elsewhere), I won't comment on Mosquito's post (which just parrots Mommsen without giving the man--and his many critics--any credit) except to say that it sheds no light on Caesar's personality.

 

Last time Iv read Mommsen 10 years ago and since that time Iv read many other books. I dont follow any writer just try to think and find the truth myself, also in the discussion with many knowledgeable people like you. Claiming that I parrot someone - I find unjust. I did only say in private to you that I pay tribute to Mommsen who was first real modern historian of Rome.

Unlike you I consider every opinion here as worth reading and I dont stick to any thesis being ready to change my mind. You are going only to prove that you are right about Caesar and want everyone to take your's vievs as theirs. Just like real Cato :unsure:

Edited by Mosquito

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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.

 

There is an unbiased hypocrite. How do we know that later writers didn't copy the 'Father of His Country'?

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On the other hand, if Caesar really was a genius who understood that Roman Republic cannot work any longer in the way it was working in the past. Not after Marius and Sulla, not after Pompey. If he belived that he knows better what to do even when the ruling class of Rome couldnt see it.

 

Gee, I wonder how many statesmen believed that they knew best what society needed and would have liked to cram their reforms down everyone else's throats? Probably many. Perhaps that's why societies develop LAWS and GOVERNMENT so that competing ideas can be enacted without violence and bloodshed?

 

Rather than attempt to give you my own analysis of Caesar, who has been my historical hero since my high school Latin classes, I'll just refer you to a book I completely missed until very recently: Christian Meier's "CAESAR (a biography)". He answered all my questions about the man and his environment. The most important aspect of the man was his being an "outsider", next was the ongoing environment at the time: a Crisis Without Alternative.

 

In his book "Caesar and Christ", Durant called him "the most complete man that antiquity produced"

Edited by Faustus

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