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Lecture 16

Lecture 16 Julius Caesar as Dictator

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Glenn Wilkinson

Lecture 16 (October 21) Julius Caesar as Dictator 1. the political situation in Rome during the Civil War (49-46 B.C.) 2. Caesar the man 3. accomplishments as dictator a. foundation of colonies and expansion of citizenship b. economic politics c. cultural renewal 4. Julius Caesar, king of Rome? (46-44 B.C.) Political Stituation - disruption with the beginning of civil war - even before however o street gangs of politicians compromised voting system o elections postponed for some time – no offices o one consul – Pompey as sole consul twice during the 50s B.C. - in 49 B.C. – further deterioration – large proportion of senators went to Greece with Pompey - a few senators went to join Caesar’s army – Marc Antony among them - after Caesar overcame Pompey’s legions in Spain – on his way to Greece to confront Pompey, went to Rome and had himself declared dictator - only other dictator in last century or so was Sulla - did so to elect the next years magistracies – became consul, named other offices, and then relinquished the dictatorship - in year 49 B.C. – after decisive battle over Pompey, installed himself as dictator for year 48 B.C. to end crisis - attempt to conduct himself within a republican framework – despite being dictator over 6 months - victory over Pompey – when Cato the Younger killed himself – took a ten year dictatorship, and declared himself consul each year - not as republican toward the end of the civil war Caesar the Man - known above all for his abilities and accomplishments as a military commander – remarkable success - exploits in Gaul, victory over Pompey’s much larger army - other engagements – stay in Egypt, involved in small civil war that led to installation of Cleopatra - victory in Pontus – veni vidi vici – apparently so easy in contrast that he mocked Pompey - major battles – Africa, Spain, etc. – intense fighting - went down in history of one of the great generals of the ancient Mediterranean - also known for his clemency toward the enemy during civil war – against other Romans - never initiated proscriptions – as Marius, Cinna, Sulla had done to remove enemies - reportedly tall and handsome – one image from his lifetime on a coin (in profile) - apparently sensitive about his baldness – would comb his hair forward, and wear a laurel wreath to conceal his baldness - as a young man spent time in the court on Bethynia – Roman ally (rumor that they had a sexual affair) - was derisively called the “queen of Bethynia” by Bibulus - married many times – Pompey’s and Crassus’ wifes, Cleopatra - apparently avoided alcohol - well educated and reputation of being one of the all-time great public speakers – even Cicero had to concede this fact - master Latin prose stylist - commentaries on Gallic War and Civil War – admired for elegance and simplicity Accomplishments as Dictator - established many new colonies settled by veterans from his army as well as poorer citizens of Rome - most new colonies were outside of Italy – to keep Roman presence in Mediterranean, and to not worry about taking land from Italians - founded new colonies at Carthage and Corinth – two of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful cities, wiped out by Rome in 146 B.C. - cities had been desolate for about a century – refounded and flourished - expanded Roman citizenship – after Social War in 1 century B.C., citizenship was extended to all of Italy – now extended to parts of Gaul and Spain – increasing Romanization of the Mediterranean - faced an economic crisis – came to power when everything was broken - people were defaulting on their loans – could not pay back their debts and people would not give loans - combination of bail outs, cut payback rates, and legistlature – nobody could hold liquid capital over 60,000 sesterces - required that every personal funds above that amount had to be spend or loaned out - job creation – achieved through state-sponsored projects – ambitious building project, new forum constructed adjacent to old Roman
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