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Julius Caesar.docx

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Western University
History 2173
Barbara Murison

Jan, 10, 2013 Julius Caesar Julius Caesar: -Was a patrician whose family ancestry reputedly included Lulus Ascanius son of the founder of Rome and son of Venus and Caesar thus claimed descent from a god and a founder of Rome and he was influential because of his background and he started moving up the jobs to the top of the political arena -Desperate for money he accepted the offer for help from Crassus who was wealthy and he was in charge of the markets of Rome and he organized expensive shows that gained him popularity and he shows his bias towards the long dead Marius by decorating with trophies and banners connected to him and veterans appreciated this -Pompey returned to Italy with his army but he disbands them and he showed no signs of planning to overthrow but he was trying to pressure the senate and he applied for land for his veterans to get more political power and he wanted his settlement of the east properly ratified but neither were granted and he was very annoyed and the senate also enraged Crassus who wanted control over Asian tax revenues but they disagreed with his terms -Caesar was annoyed with Pompey as well as the senate because he was obviously going to win a seat as consul but the senate assigned him to watch the mountain roads and forests which was a slap in the face because it was trivial and kept him from glory so the three who were annoyed joined and formed the First Triumvirate but this was not legally constituted and they wanted to downplay the role of the senate and they were successful and some argue this was the beginning of the end for the republic -They cooperate well but through clever work Caesar pulled a head of the other two because the others were fighting over who got credit in the Spartacus slave revolt and his support of Marius induced Sulla to think of killing him, but with the interposition of influential friends Sulla decided not to and Caesar supported popular legislation against reforms, as in his helping Pompey to undo the Sullan constitution -His dignitas (status or prestige) was important to him and this moved him to campaigning in Gaul and Britain and he fought a civil war against Pompey and his senatorial enemies to both survive politically and maintain his power -Questions linger as to whether he really desired to be identified as a Hellenic king and he frequently consulted the senate before introducing his legislation so it seems that he did not intend to retain power indefinitely -Caesar offered legislation for Roman citizens and provincials during his dictatorship and he did not engage in the usual practice of proscribing people and confiscating their property and he wanted to create an “empire of community” and Romanize provinces under military control thus he wanted a Roman system of governance where the elites were not the sole beneficiaries -Conspiracy against Caesar’s life emerged in 44 BC when his dictatorship was continued until his death and possible motivations included some wanting the old Roman Republic back and they were angered by the corruption everywhere, the resent autocratic government, and that some did not receive political advancement under Caesar’s rule and on March 15 44 BC Caesar was assassinated Conquest of Gaul: -He succeeded in governing a province and not just the forest and he was allowed to take an army and he wished to take on native tribes to gain power and he took over Illyricum and other areas and something lucky happened then and one of the governors of an area of Gaul that was not well controlled died and Caesar took over his province as well and this was a promising area because of the potential for conquest and he wanted to stay there for a long time because he would gain loyalty and glory with his army -In the area there were 200 tribes of Celts who were successful militarily in some areas and they had a good cavalry but like the Gauls before they lacked staying power and they fought amongst themselves and in 58-57 BC Caesar was well in place and he was very successful and he defeated them -Caesar based himself in Cisalpine Gaul to be close to Italy and to organize military campaigns against NE tribal communities and there are movements of peoples occurring during this time and the Germanic Tribes of the Cimbri and Teutoni migrated and created difficulties for Roman security (other migrations of the Helvetii and the Germanic Suebi produced similar fears in the transalpine province) -The province of Gaul had commerce, walled towns connected by roads and bridges, advanced metallurgy, and corn-growing and the area is quite rich in resources and in the spring of 58 BC, Caesar assumed the governorship of Cisalpine Gaul and Ariovistus, leader of Suebi and other Germanic tribes led 15,000 Germans into Gaul to aid one Gallic tribe fighting against another (Ariovistus provided the aid and remained in the region to control the tribes of north-eastern Gaul) Jan, 10, 2013 -The Aedui, appealed to Rome for help against this conqueror and Rome contacted Caesar on the matter and at the same time, 120,000 Germans crossed the Rhine, settled in Flanders, and strengthened the forces of Ariovistus -In addition, roughly 368,000 Helvetii settled westward and they told Caesar they wanted to pass through his province to dwell in south-western France but Caesar, worried about an influx of peoples in the province he raised 4 legions with his own money to complement the 4 under his command -Caesar tried to negotiate with Ariovistus, but the Suebic leader refused and Gallic tribes conquered by Ariovistus and his followers cried for help and Caesar therefore declared war against the Helvetii and Ariovistus and marched north where he met the Helvetians near Autun and won a battle against them and the tribe asked to return to their Swiss homeland and Caesar agreed provided that they accept Roman authority over the region and the Gallic tribes asked for aid against Ariovistus -Caesar fought him and his forces near Ostheim and killed and captured nearly all the Germans and Ariovistus escaped but soon died and Caesar from then on treated all of Gaul as a Roman possession to secure it against German invasion but some Gallic tribes sought independence and asked aid of the Belgae, a tribe of Germans and Celts living in Northern Gaul, against the Romans -Caesar defeated the Belgae on the banks of the Aisne (Axona River) and he then moved against a number of other tribes and he sold all captives in these subsequent battles into slavery -Caesar returned to administer Cisalpine Gaul, to organize public works, and to replenish his legions -Two German tribes travelled into Belgic Gaul up to Liege and the Gauls pleaded for the Romans to defend them and Caesar fought these Germans at Xanten in 55 BC and forced them to flee over the Rhine and many drowned trying to swim to safety and Caesar then, in ten days, had his engineers build a bridge which his legions crossed to secure the Rhine frontier and he did an amazing job in putting down these tribes and at the urging of Pompey and the senate a 15 day thanksgiving festival was thrown and this was huge -The Triumvirate in 56 BC met in Alpine Gaul and they spoke about fulfilling their ambitions and Pompey and Crassus became consuls for 55 BC and Crassus was jealous of Pompey’s military defeats as well as Caesar and he wanted a command so they agreed he could take up against the Parthea Empire to the east but he was defeated and killed in 53 BC and in this area was the only people that could confront Rome and Crassus went there with 7 inexperienced legions and at the battle of Carrhae he was tricked into meeting with enemy leaders and they killed him and his body was dismembered and displayed -Parthia had a great cavalry where they would look like they were retreating but they would turn and fire on you -Pompey at the meeting had been awarded the province of Spain for five years and Caesar had his commands in Gaul extended for another five years to extend his conquest -The first two years had been successful for Caesar but there was a lull before other tribes tried to fight him -The Venti were the first to cause problems in the west near the coast and they were a sea faring people and they lived on islands that were sometimes peninsulas when the tide came in and this gave them protection from land forces and sea forces so the Romans build moles and siege works but it was clear unless they destroyed their fleet they were finished so he built a fleet and he recruited skilled people -The Gallic ships were large and the Romans were building war gullies and ramming was not successful against other ships and you couldn’t get grappling hooks over their sides and they had a higher platform to shoot down at the Romans but Caesar made the appropriate changes and they used poles with hooks to pull down the rigging and he defeated the fleet then easily overtook them then he turned to considering enemies from across the Rhine Roman Bridge across the Rhine: -Two large tribes migrated across the Rhine and he defeated both and in ten days he built a bridge across the river -The bridge was a demonstration that the Roman Empire also had skilled people working for them and a pair of timbers was pushed into the river bed positioned against the current and then roughly 12 metres upstream an additional pair was placed in the river bed, but these were positioned downstream -The timbers were adjoined with a cross beam and trestles like this gave support to the road and then a timber angled against the current was forced in the river bed and upstream slightly, the Romans created breakwaters to protect the trestles from being struck by anything and at this point, Caesar then decided to invade Britain and he probably believed that they had gold, iron, and tin deposits there -In the same year he crossed the English Channel and he decided to invade southern Britain and he got another public thanksgiving for 20 days Jan, 10, 2013 -He crossed the channel with a small force and conquered the Britons then returned to Gaul, and, a year later (54 B.C.), crossed the channel again and defeated Cassivelaunus and he set the Thames as the territorial limit of his conquest, collected tribute, and returned to Gaul -The tribal British were skilled with chariots and these did quite a bit of damage but Caesar’s goal was not to conquer Britain but just to show them that he had the means to and he was in competition with Pompey -He had a huge amount of propaganda and this helped his success as well and he write on the wars himself and he didn’t falsify facts but he did give misleading ideas about motivation and implications to make himself look good -Early in 52 BC, Caesar received word of the rise of Vercingetorix, an able Gallic chieftain who united Gallic tribes for independence and he was their leader and he knew how hard it would be to take on the legion and he decided on scorched earth policy and guerrilla warfare and to cut off their supplies and this campaign shows the growing Roman effectiveness -Caesar besieged these enemy forces at Avaricum and Cenabum and massacred whole peoples there Siege of Avaricum Notable for Roman Ingenuity: -To besiege the town, Caesar filled the sloping ground adjacent to the town’s walls with a ramp 100 metres across and 25 metres in height and moved the siege towers along the ramp and got his soldiers to the walls using galleries -This was an assault siege on a place they believed was impregnable and they had a very narrow approach which put them at risk and the walls of the city were massive and it was stone and timber with earth ramparts and the city was well defended and it was less susceptible to ramming and the use of grappling hooks and they had a large stock of food as well that helped them -They built assault towers and took them up a ramp but they were under constant threat and it took them 25 days in harsh conditions to complete the works and further back they bui
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