Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar

Roman statesman and politician, commander
Date of Birth: 12.07.0100
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Gaius Julius Caesar
  2. Early Life and Family
  3. Political Career and Exile
  4. Public Service and Popular Support

Biography of Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman statesman and political leader, as well as a renowned military general. He held various positions of power in the Roman Republic, including dictator (from 49 BC), consul (from 47 BC), tribune (from 48 BC), and prefect of morals (from 46 BC). Caesar's monarchical aspirations faced strong opposition from republican elites and even some of his former supporters. Ultimately, he was assassinated in 44 BC as part of a conspiracy led by Gaius Cassius and Marcus Junius Brutus.

Early Life and Family

Caesar came from an ancient and noble patrician family. He took great pride in his lineage, tracing his ancestry back to legendary Roman kings and even the gods themselves. His aunt, Julia, was married to the famous Gaius Marius, which added a democratic "color" to the family. Despite their noble status, the Caesar family was traditionally associated with the opponents of the Senate regime and considered representatives of the democratic faction.

When Caesar was fifteen years old, his father unexpectedly died. Left to be raised by women, Caesar was surrounded by his female relatives, who played a significant role in his life. In 84 BC, thanks to the protection of influential relatives and family friends, Caesar was elected as a priest of Jupiter. This prestigious position could only be held by someone from a patrician family. However, certain conditions had to be met, such as coming from a family in which the parents had entered into a special religious ceremony called confarreatio, which effectively prevented divorce.

Political Career and Exile

Caesar's political career began with his involvement in prominent trials, often with political undertones. In 77 BC, he accused Gaius Cornelius Dolabella, a prominent supporter of Sulla, of extortion, but Dolabella was acquitted. In 76 BC, Caesar brought charges against Gaius Antonius, another supporter of Sulla, but Antonius escaped trial by seeking the protection of the plebeian tribunes.

After these unsuccessful trials, Caesar left Rome and went to Rhodes to study under the renowned orator Apollonius Molon. On his return journey, he was captured by pirates near the island of Pharmacusa. Caesar quickly raised the ransom money himself, then organized a fleet to chase down and capture the pirates. He had them crucified, as he had jokingly promised them during his captivity.

Public Service and Popular Support

Upon his return to Rome, Caesar was elected as a pontifex, replacing his deceased relative Gaius Aurelius Cotta in the college of pontiffs. Soon after, he was elected as a military tribune, a position from which young Romans typically began their military and political careers. This election, taking place in the comitia, was seen as the first public display of popular support for Caesar.

Caesar's political career was marked by his populist stance and support for the plebeians and landowners who suffered from Sulla's land confiscations. He actively supported the tribune Gaius Licinius Murena and spoke in favor of the Plautian Law, which allowed supporters of Gaius Lepidus, a former rebel, to return to Rome from Spain.

One of the most notable displays of Caesar's popularity as a populist occurred during his aunt Julia's funeral. In addition to delivering a eulogy, Caesar boldly exhibited images of Gaius Marius on the Forum, which had not been seen since Sulla's dictatorship. Despite some protests, the majority of those present greeted this act with enthusiastic approval.

While these actions were calculated and carefully orchestrated to honor Marius, the crowd's reaction cannot be interpreted as an acknowledgment of Caesar's monarchical aspirations. They were, however, a clear demonstration of his growing popularity and ability to connect with the people.

Overall, Caesar's early political career showcased his ambition, skill as an orator, and talent for connecting with the masses. These qualities would later propel him to even greater heights of power and influence in the Roman Republic.