Julius Caesar: History, Accomplishments and Facts
On the 15th of March 44 BC (the Ides of March), Caesar was scheduled to attend a meeting with the Senate. Little did he know that several of his senators had schemed to eliminate him that day. On the eve of the Ides of March, Mark Anthony, overheard (although, vaguely) of the plot against Caesar from a quite frightened liberator- Servilius Casca. Anthony tried to come to Caesar aid but was prevented from doing so by Caesar’s assassins.
Upon Caesar’s, arrival at the Senate, he was violently presented with a petition by Tillius Cimber to recall his banished brother of which Caesar replied (saying to Cimber) “why this violence?” At that moment, Casca was also holding a dagger in his hand aiming for Caesar’s neck. He (Caesar) swiftly turned around and caught the arms of Casca and said: “Casca, you villain, what are you doing?” Within a short while, the group of slayers attacked Caesar, with Brutus Albinus being one of them.
Even though Caesar attempted to flee, he was outnumbered by his assassins (who were about 60 in number) as they continued to stab him as he lay helplessly on the stairs of the portico of the Theater of Pompey. Upon seeing Brutus as part of his assassins, Caesar said: “And you, Brutus” (sometimes interpreted as “You too, Brutus?”). Caesar was stabbed a total of 23 times, with only one wound (on the chest) being fatal, and that led to his death.
The Aftermath of Caesar’s Death
After Caesar passed away on the Ides of March, he became a martyr in Rome, with the majority of the inhabitants of Rome not in support and were enraged by the assassination of their hero. This lead to massive chaos and demonstration as engraved citizens destroyed properties belonging to Cassius and Brutus. As a result, a sequence of civil war arose in Rome, something the assassins did not foresee prior to killing Caesar. This totally brought the Roman Republic to an end.
Caesar’s nephew and heir, Octavian finally took control of Rome. He did so with Mark Anthony being his ally. Being in control, Octavian assassinated the slayers of Caesar in the battle of Philippi.
On the 1st of January 42 BC, by an announcement of the Senate, Caesar was given the title Divus Iulius, meaning the divine Julius. This title made him the first ever Roman to be formally sanctified.
Facts about Julius Caesar
- Caesar’s father was called Gaius Julius Caesar. He was proconsul in Asia in the 90s BC.
- His mother was Aurelia.
- He was born in 100 BC.
- His sisters were Julia Major and Julia Minor.
- His first wife was called Cornelia. He married her in 84 BC and she passed away in 69 BC.
- He married a second wife called Pompeia in 67 BC. However, they divorced in 61 BC.
- Caesar’s third and last marriage was to Calpurnia. She became a widow after his death.
- From all his three marriages, Caesar had only one child, named Julia who got married to Pompey and passed on during childbirth.
- He had another child called Caesarion in an affair with Cleopatra VII of Egypt.
- He adopted Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian, who later became the first emperor of Rome.
- It was alleged that Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus was the son of Caesar. He was also named as heir to Caesar; in the case that Octavian was unavailable.
- The prominent family members of Caesar included; Gaius Marius (who was the husband of Caesar’s aunt-Julia), his cousin Lucius Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony, and Julius Sabinus.
- Caesar was referred (teased) to by his political rivals as “the queen of Bithynia” because of his alleged affair with Nicomedes IV of Bithynia. An affair Caesar denied on several occasions.
- Caesar’s body was cremated.
Major Achievements of Julius Caesar
During his reign between 49 BCE and the 15th of March 44 BCE, Caesar was able to accomplish a lot of outstanding things. Some of his major accomplishments are as follows:
- His introduction of the Egyptian calendar in Rome. This Julian calendar, as it was later known had 365 1/4 days in a year and 366 days in a leap year.
- He had resounding victories in the Gallic wars, defeating all the Gallic tribes and expanding the Roman provinces farther across the entire Gaul region (modern-day France and Belgium). This made him very popular among the Roman people.
- His victory in the great Battle of the Nile, where he defeated Ptolemy XIII, the then Egyptian pharaoh. He installed his lover Cleopatra as queen.
- Caesar reconstructed the city of Carthage, which was destroyed by the Romans during the Punic Wars in 146 BCE.
- He aided the poor and put in measures to ensure that they were employed. Such measures included offering employment in public works to the unemployed.