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Lecture 16

Lecture 16: Julius Caesar as Dictator

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Glenn Wilkinson

Julius Caesar as dictator The Political Situation in Rome during the Civil War (49-46 BCE)  With the civil war in 49, the normal political process was disrupted o Street gangs were organized by leading politicians o In the mid-50s, elections were postponed o Pompey was the sole consul twice in the 50s  Many senators went to Greece with Pompey  A few remaining senators in Rome followed Caesar in his war  Caesar in late 49 declared himself dictator for emergency measures and then declared himself consul  In 48, after defeating Pompey, Caesar again declared himself dictator for emergency measures  After defeating Cato the Younger, he declared his dictatorship for 10 years and declared himself consul each year Caesar the Man  Caesar was a skilled military leader, as evidenced by his Gallic campaigns  During a civil war in Egypt, being in danger of capture he swam 200 yards, carrying documents in one hand and his leader’s cloak in his teeth  He mocked Pompey after taking Pontus because they were so weak  Caesar granted clemency to his Roman enemies and never instituted proscriptions  Caesar was reportedly tall and handsome  However, he was sensitive about his baldness  Combed his hair forward and wore a laurel wreath to cover his baldness  Rumors of Caesar having a homosexual affair with the king of Bithynia, gaining him a title used by his enemies ‘Queen of Bithynia’  But, he also had a reputation of being a ladies man  Caesar avoided alcohol o Cato said that Caesar was the only man who tried to overthrow the republic while sober  Highly educated  Skilled public speaker and writer of Latin prose Accomplishments as Dictator  Foundation of Colonies and Expansion of Citizenship o Established a number of colonies, inhabited by his veterans o Founded new colonies in Carthage and Corinth o Expanded citizenship to parts of Gaul and Spain o This increased Romanization in Western Europe  Economic Policies o Rome was in an economic crisis when Caesar came into power, people were defaulting on their loans o Caesar instituted bailouts and
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