Fall of the Republic, Part 2: Julius Caesar

The second lecture on the fall of the Republic, highlighting the career of Julius Caesar.



Caesar's Career (102-44 BCE)

A bust of Julius Caesar, photo by Barbara McManus. Rights for non-commercial use with attribution to vroma.org. Accessed from http://www.vroma.org/images/mcmanus_images/caesar_vienna2.jpg on 7/12/10.

Photo by Barbara McManus, Image courtesy of the VROMA project.


70's - spent avoiding the Sullans

60's- Cursus Honorum - Caesar is mainly a popularis. He is connected to Marius through marriage of his aunt

50's - Consul in 59 BCE; then governor of Gaul: Gallic Wars, conquest of Gaul

40's - Dictatorship

The Civil War of 49-45 BCE

Campaigns of Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, 58-45 BC

This map was prepared to accompany theThe Romans from Village to Empireby Mary T. Boatwright, Daniel Gargola and Richard J.A. Talbert, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Copyright 2004, Ancient World Mapping Center:
This item may be reproduced and redistributed freely for non-profit, personal or educational use only. For all other uses, you must obtain prior, written permission from the copyright holder(s). The authorship, copyright and redistribution notices may not be removed from the map or altered

  1. Crassus loses 40,000 men in battle against Parthia, with only about 10,000 surviving.
  2. Break up of First Triumvirate: Pompey vs. Caesar
    1. Julia, the daughter of Caesar and wife of Pompey, dies in childbirth,
    2. Family tie between the two is therefore severed.
  3. Caesar crosses the Rubicon river boundary between Italy and province of Cisalpine Gaul on January 10, 49 BCE. What other choices did he have to preserve his dignity?

Battle of Pharsalus, 48 BCE: a crushing defeat for Pompey

  1. Pompey had 47,000 troops
  2. Caesar had 27,000
  3. 15,000 of Pompey's troops killed, 24,000 captured
    1. Pompey fled to Egypt, hoping for asylum with Ptolemaic King and Queen Cleopatra.
    2. He spent 7 months there, putting Cleopatra in power over her brother.
    3. Pompey was murdered near Alexandria, Egypt.
    4. Cato the Younger was defeated in North Africa, committing suicide rather than living under Caesar's rule.

Caesar's Reforms

  1. The overall effect was to reduce the absolute dominance of the city of Rome and to integrate Rome with Italy and Italy with provinces.
  2. Enlarged senate from 600 to 900; included Romanized provincials, giving some more unity to Roman rule.
  3. Socio-economic reforms:
    1. Public works projects: temples, libraries, theaters, roads, and harbors
    2. Colonies of Roman citizens in provinces
    3. Roman citizenship for intellectuals - teachers, scholars, doctors, and librarians
    4. He even founded schools and public libraries in the Western provinces.
    5. Municipal reform in Italy, Julian Municipal Law - greater uniformity of local civic administration throughout Italy
  4. Julian Calendar

Julius Caesar: Dictator, coin

Photo by Barbara McManus, Image courtesy of the VROMA project
at http://www.vroma.org

Ides of March, 44 BCE

The Failure of the liberators to actually return to the pre-Caesar Republic

  1. They did not have a plan for re-instituting the Republic, but thought rather it would return automatically.
  2. They did not account for Caesar's popularity with the people.
  3. Caesar had powerful supporters, eg. Marc Antony, with great power, who kept the "liberators" from undoing Caesar's reforms.
Citation: Mazurek, E. (2008, March 19). Fall of the Republic, Part 2: Julius Caesar. Retrieved November 26, 2014, from Notre Dame OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.nd.edu/classics/history-of-ancient-rome/lectures-1/fall-of-the-republic-part-2-julius-caesar.
Copyright 2007, by the Contributing Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License