The Lives of the Caesars is the first text that will be discussed. This source is a set of bibliographies written about Julius Caesar, his rise to power, and the continuous rule of his relatives after his death. In addition, this piece of historical work also discusses the significant and critical period of the Principate.
In Rome, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus wrote this source in order to record the past in history and this occurred in 110 CE. The biography at hand was used as a written model for the biographies to be created in the next centuries. As the reader analyzes this piece, many will notice that there are times in which the author expresses his opinions and knowledge.
This could harm the validity of the source greatly due to the fact that his opinions match that of the Senate in many instances. Many could speculate that this could result in biases. As Emperor Hadrian came to power, Suetonius entered the imperial service, which allowed him to control the Roman libraries and archives, and advise the emperor. After being dismissed, Suetonius dedicated himself to literature. However, he lost access to the official archives as stated above and he was forced to rely on secondary sources for his information.
Even though some facts that he gathered destroyed some of the validity and trustworthiness of his work, he still provides tons of information regarding the culture, personal habits, physical appearance, and political careers of the first Roman emperors.Julius Caesar’s motives were bad and created for all the wrong reasons. He was a ruthless dictator who was hungry for power in every instance. In addition, this Emperor had many love affairs with tons of beautiful women according to history.com. In present day, this could be considered a trait that suggests dishonesty and acceptance of adultery.
As a citizen in Rome, it would be difficult to find a person who would want to be ruled by someone who was characterized by this. In addition, the source recalled that Caesar reportedly stole three thousand pounds of gold from the Capitol. This further illustrates his untrustworthy motives and disregard for others. It was also stated that he never showed any integrity.
For example, he not only begged for money from the allies in order to cover up his mistakes, but he also attacked Lusitanian towns even though they accepted his terms and surrendered. He often targeted and conquered these small towns because he knew it would be an easy win. Many would say he conquered for the glory and to gather praise from the citizens. As a result, this meant that Caesar betrayed the interests of Roman allies. His motivation was to conquer as many territories as he could so that he could celebrate with a parade in Rome where everyone would worship him. When Julius Caesar became the governor of Gaul, he was brutal to his enemies.
For example, as one of my peer’s stated, “Caesar waited until his opponent’s’ water supply had gone dry and then he ordered that the hands of all the remaining survivors to be cut off.” In addition, my research states that he mercilessly slaughtered and enslaved a million or more Roman parteners during his campaign in Gaul. He accepted the name of Imperator and allowed honors to be given to him that should never have been given to a man. In one instance in history, the Senate approached him with many honorary men and he met them before the temple without rising. This created unimaginable hatred and suggested that he had no respect for the Senate. The source also stated that multiple actions demonstrated the fact he wanted everyone to share his views and only his.
He was a very arrogant dictator who set out for power and therefore, the reader can confirm that his motives were not created for the good of the people. The next source that will be analyzed is titled simply as Caesar and was originally written by Plutarch in 75 A.C.E. in order to inform the people. However, the piece is translated by an individual named John Dryden which could dampen the validity of this work due to the fact that it is a summarized version of the original piece.
The source states that Caesar did not shy away from violence on a massive scale. According to bostonleadershipbuilders.com, when he was young, he was captured by pirates. While he was captured, he promised the pirates that they would be able to get a very large sum of gold as ransom money in exchange for his life. He also promised his captors that after he was released, he would return and execute them all. He spent many days of freedom on the ship until the pirates received the large sum of gold as promised. Caesar then returned with a small army and had his former captors brutally executed. This illustrates one of the many instances in which he used violence and war to demonstrate his power.
Rome’s early model of government was modeled with the idea that the people were an essential part of an organized civilization. Despite his faulty motives, Julius Caesar honored the Republic’s signature principle which was to “rule by the people.” The acknowledgment of citizen importance was a value that was understood throughout Rome. In addition, the Roman Republic would have collapsed if the citizens did not accept the current Roman system because a civil war could have destroyed the town. A greater representation and quality of life for a typical Roman was achieved by allowing the citizens themselves to have a say within the state and government. Caesar’s rise to power was by popular demand, which means that many people wanted to support his rule. As he publicly honored his deceased aunt and uncle, Plutarch wrote that “the crowd drowned out the individuals who opposed Caesar with loud shouts and clapping in his favor.
” This support illustrated that Marius’ surviving support base approved of Caesar. However, the supporters of Caesar either did not believe the accusations or even support the idea that Caesar was trying to overthrow the government. Plutarch notes, “… his admirers were very much animated and advised him not to depart from his own thoughts.” The rumored overthrow did not deter individuals from supporting Caesar. The population’s decreased support in the government correlated with Rome’s loss of Republican ideals.
Their support and admiration for Caesar may have been seen as their solution to the loss of these ideals. As he publicly displayed his views outside the Capitol, Plutarch writes, “Some cried out that it was an open attempt against the established government, thus to revive those honours which had been buried by the laws and decrees of the senate.” This statement stated that Caesar’s main role was to speak for the people and explain their opposition to their current government. The individuals that had shown opposition to Caesar were the high power select individuals in the government. Whereas there was overwhelming support from the state’s population as a whole community. Although the stance taken by the cohort was that Julius Caesar had bad motives, he had positively influence the government to go in the right direction. This illustrated that the state was worth saving, but only if key values were brought back into place.The final source is a biography article published by Britannica online that does not give an official author or publish date.
This piece was written in order to inform the reader of the many contributions of Julius Caesar, his personality, and the wars in which he fought. Many have concluded that he abused his power and that he was rightfully assassinated. Caesar accepted excessive honors such as an uninterrupted consulship. After he won against all his enemies, he had himself declared a dictator for life.
As the most powerful man in Rome, he decided to cancel all elections which destroyed the ability of the citizens to vote and choose their representatives. Instead, he personally selected the consul members to ensure that these individuals would support his ideas. As a result, the presence of democracy was lost and the people had essentially no say in any government ideas. After he became a dictator, he began acting in selfish ways. In the Ides of March section of this source, it was stated that he forced Romans to build him a palace and construct a statue of him next to the early Roman kings. However, he still refused to allow anyone to call him a king which confused many. For example, he rejected a crown placed on his head by Marc Antony.
Caesar’s assassination provided historical context that complete dictatorship was not always the best option. The sole power of one person in a community was not something that pleased many of the citizens and would cause conflict. In addition, his death illustrated the need for a government as civil war broke out after he was killed. Once a corrupt individual makes their way into the government, it can be very difficult to reestablish the power given and control the actions that are taken. However, Julius Caesar contributed a lot to society as stated in this article. For example, “his social and political reforms as well as military victories were notable.” In addition, he created the Julian calendar which is the basis for our current calendar. He also increased the size of the Senate and made its’ members more representative to the Roman public.
Julius Caesar could also write and could therefore record history. However, all records written by Caesar were destroyed or lost. In my opinion, Julius Caesar was a power hungry man as many Emperors were during this time period. He was arrogant, which can make an individual behave as though they are the most important person and the only one who can help a situation.
As a result, I believe that this created some issues within his rule. His motives were very self centered. He wanted to conquer as many territories as he could in order to gain the praise of his citizens. He completed tasks and made important decisions without the greater good in mind, instead, he did what he thought was best for his image. Before he declared himself a dictator for life, he also rigged the voting polls so that he would win no matter what. This essentially halted any individual choice for the people.
Therefore, it destroys the idea of rule by the people as mentioned earlier. In addition, it was noted that he was very violent from a young age. A person should be able to control themselves and resolve a conflict in other ways, especially a person who is in the position to rule. An aspect I found particularly interesting was that of his love affairs. In our present day society, infidelity and adultery are frowned upon as it was in Roman cultures also.
Most importantly, this indicates a lack of trustworthiness. Who would want an individual to rule the country if they are known to be untrustworthy? This could create multiple issues within the state and possible conspiracies. He also demonstrated his lack of respect for the Senate in many instances. Most notably witnessed as he refused to stand to greet the members of the Senate. A man who has no civility to members who are higher in the political system is a man who is not worthy of support. In contrast, the Republic was a social construct that was needed greatly. The people in the civilization were the sole providers in determining what should happen within their society. A complete dictatorship was a system that was not an excellent choice in general.
The people simply wanted a few changes to take place in their government, not a person like Caesar to rule. I believe that the citizens only supported him because they thought that his policies were better than their current government. However, this was not the case.
The “rule by the people” principle illustrated that the current State was by far more stable and helpful to each individual in society. Caesar ruled Rome for all the wrong reasons and took advantage of the power he gained. Therefore, I conclude that Julius Caesar’s ultimate motives were bad and that the Republic was worth saving.