We are currently in the midst of July, the month of the year dedicated to the great Roman general and leader, Julius Caesar. Caesar is rightfully considered one of the most impactful and consequential people in human history and his legacy speaks for itself. Caesar was not a selfish man. Even though he himself lived a lavish, luxurious lifestyle, he truly was a man of the people and his loyalty was with Rome, not the parasitic aristocracy who viewed the people as nothing more than cogs in a machine. Caesar implemented land reforms for the poor, debt relief, better grain distribution and other economic reforms designed to give the working citizens of Rome the things they deserved. He also implemented grandiose public works projects that challenged human ingenuity and moved Rome towards a higher, transcendental future. His prowess and strength as a military leader and strategist is undeniable. Whatever one may think of Caesar, the man was not a coward. Caesar was quick to lead from the front in moments of crisis on the battlefield. Caesar was ultimately assassinated fighting for what he believed in against the powerful ruling class of the Roman Empire. Caesar is certainly somebody worth writing home about and may his name continue to live in great honor and dignity. Hail Caesar!
It is important to note that Julius Caesar was racially European. If he was alive today he would be considered Caucasian. Caesar had fair skin, bright grey eyes and a thick head of hair. Caesar’s intention was to unite the Roman provinces under one cohesive banner and integrate the Gauls into a greater European Empire. He certainly slaughtered and enslaved soldiers of enemy forces but the greater Caesarian goal was to create a larger European project under the rule of the Roman empire in which citizenship would be granted to any German or Gaul. Caesar’s lover Cleopatra would also be considered Caucasian if she were alive today. Cleopatra had pale olive skin, light eyes and black hair according to most scholars. Cleopatra had a combination of Greek and Macedonian ancestry.
Caesar’s legacy is his adeptness as a fighter and a military commander/strategist. Caesar was the ultimate badass. Caesar was born into a wealthy family but he went off to serve in the Roman Army when he was a young man. Caesar earned the Civic Crown at the Siege of Mytilene, an honor in the Roman military awarded to soldiers who save the life of a fellow Roman soldier or citizen. On his way across the Aegean Sea, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held hostage. Caesar vowed that he would have these pirates crucified under his own captivity and the pirates laughed at him thinking it a joke. Caesar paid his ransom and was released. Following his release, Caesar immediately recruited crew members to his fleet and pursued and captured the same pirates that imprisoned him. As a soldier, Caesar fought in military campaigns across the world and established a reputation. This reputation allowed him to win a position as a Roman consul and establish an alliance with the richest man in Rome, Marcus Crassus as well as famed General Pompey in what was known as the first triumvirate.
Caesar’s greatness was truly put on display when he conquered all of Gaul in a mere 8 years. Gaul was a collection of civilized tribes around modern day France, Germany and Belgium. The Gauls were known for their warrior culture and fighting spirit even though they were not as united and disciplined as the Romans who maintained a well funded standing army year round. The Helvetti tribe was planning a migration into the Roman controlled Transalpine Gaul in 58 B.C and this was all Caesar needed to justify war. Caesar attacked the Helvetti’s unprovoked near the Saone river in France and this kicked off the Gallic wars. Caesar’s army built a pontoon bridge across the river in just one day, a feat that would have taken the Helvetti’s 20 days. Caesar defeated the Helvetti at the Battle of Bibracte where he set up an encampment on the high ground of a sloped hill forcing the Helvetti to fight uphill. Caesar did not only fight Gallic tribes in the Gallic War. He also went to war with Germanics. Caesar and his army defeated the Suebi at the Battle of Vosges in 58 BC and Caesar conquered Rome’s most feared enemies within the span of a year. Caesar set out to conquer all of Gaul. At the Battle of the Sabis the Romans were badly outmaneuvered and the Nervians killed multiple officers in the Roman ranks. Seeing that he was losing and his legions were being outflanked, Caesar joined the front line of the battle and this greatly improved soldier morale and gave the Romans just enough time to fend off defeat before reinforcements arrived. Caesar defeated the Veneti at the Battle of Morbihan. This was a naval battle and Caesar’s army reigned victorious due to the use of grappling hooks the Romans used to shred the riggings and sails of Venetic ships. Caesar was like an Assassin’s Creed character able to achieve mastery on land and sea. Caesar then attempted to do what no Roman general had ever done before. Cross the Rhine river and cross the English Channel. Caesar’s men built a timber bridge across the Rhine in only 10 days and Caesar walked across the bridge to raid the Suebic country. Caesar turned his attention to Britain and in 54 BC he crossed the English channel, won some battles and extracted tribute from the English Natives. Vercingetorix, king of a Gallic tribe known as the Arveni was fed up with Caesar trampling all over them, so he attempted to unite the Gallic tribes against Caesar instead of leaving them as a loose confederation of allies. At the battle of Alesia, Caesar was at a massive tactical disadvantage. The Gauls outnumbered his forces 3 to 1 and they had a secure fortification at the top of a hill. Caesar decided to build a fortification around Vercingetorix’s fortification. As the battle commenced, Gallic reinforcements arrived and both sides of the Roman fortification were under siege. The Romans were fighting in all directions. The bravery, discipline and calmness under pressure allowed the Romans to secure victory against all odds and win at Alesia. Caesar had conquered all of Gaul and Britain in 8 years and he earned a legendary reputation.
After the Gallic Wars, Caesar emerged as the people’s champion and his power combined with his populist agenda struck fear into the hearts of the Roman Senators. Led by Cato the Younger, the Roman Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome. The Rubicon river was the point where Caesar was to relinquish control of his legions. He did not. On January 10, 49 B.C. Caesar crossed the Rubicon at the head of the army. Civil War was imminent. The citizens of Rome welcomed Caesar with open arms and the Roman Senate and General Pompey were forced to flee in order to raise an army elsewhere. At the Battle of Dyrrhachium, 48 B.C. in modern day Albania, Caesar’s forces were annihilated by Pompey and the Optimates. As Caesar’s forces were in retreat, Pompey had the option to deliver the Coup de grace, but he had so much respect for Caesar that he believed Caesar would lead him into a trap if he pursued. Caesar was in a precarious position. His army was backed up against the ropes, supplies were running low and he was outnumbered by Pompey’s optimates. However, Caesar’s army was fiercely loyal to him and much of Pompey’s army did not even speak the same language as they were recruited from all over the world. At the battle of Pharsalus in modern day Greece, Caesar implemented a brilliant strategy and overwhelmed Pompey’s army despite being heavily outnumbered. This was the turning point of Caesar’s Civil War. Pompey fled to Egypt where he was beheaded. Caesar pursued Pompey to Egypt and was disappointed when he heard Pompey was murdered. While in Egypt, Caesar conquered the land at the Battle of the Nile in 47 B.C. and installed Cleopatra, his lover and his ally as Queen. Cato the Younger became leader of the Optimates after Pompey’s death but the role of Titus Labienus grew larger. Labienus was a disciple of Caesar and he was familiar with Caesar’s mind and his tactics. At the battle of Ruspina, Labienus slaughtered Caesar’s forces but Caesar rallied just enough to give himself time to withdraw. After the battle there were talks of mutiny from within the 10th Legion. Caesar needed these men to win the war. When Caesar confronted them, a calm fell over the men. Caesar addressed them as “citizens” rather than soldiers and challenged their honor. Caesar said he would not be needing their service and would allow them to return home with full payment for their duty. Feeling humiliated by their leader, the Legion begged Caesar to stay multiple times and Caesar finally relented, allowing the legion to return to the army without punishment. Mutiny is typically seen as one of the gravest offenses a soldier can commit. At the battle of Thapsus in 46 B.C. in modern day Tunisia, Caesar built a fort at the well supplied port city conveniently situated behind a marsh. The Optimate army led by Quintus Scipio was forced to attack Caesar’s well rested, well fed army through a narrow passage on the north side of the marsh of Moknine. Scipio’s army was fatigued from a long march and part of the army was busy building a fortification. Caesar attacked immediately and routed Scipio’s Optimate forces. Labienus’s legions were too far away to offer assistance and Scipio’s elephants attacked their own forces after being startled. After the humiliating, decisive defeat, Cato the Younger, the spiritual and intellectual leader of the Optimates committed suicide. He knew victory was imminent for Caesar. Victory came for the Populares at the battle of Munda. After brutal close-quarters fighting in modern Spain, 45 B.C., Caesar’s 10th legion busted through the left side of the optimate flank and his elite cavalry outmaneuvered the right side of the Optimate defense. This gave way to a pincer attack which allowed the Romans to earn a decisive victory. Caesar was victorious.
Following the Civil War, Caesar was made Praefectura Morum of Rome which gave him authoritarian powers to regulate the Empire. Caesar pardoned all of his enemies from the Civil War and looked forward to the future of a United Rome. Lavish gladiator games were held to celebrate the ending of the Civil War with beast hunt challenges featuring Lions, Tigers, Elephants and other exotic animals, gladiator contests, military battles and naval battles which were fought by captives of war. Caesar’s agenda as the new head of state included establishing a new constitution, forming a strong central government, uniting the provinces into a single cohesive unit and providing extra relief and benefits to Roman workers. Caesar released the lower classes from all rent for a year, he wrote off the interest they had on loans taken out since the Civil War, he rewarded families for having children and he gave land and patronage to Veterans of the legions. Caesar outlawed professional guilds which he viewed as subversive political clubs, he applied term limits to governors and he restricted the purchase of certain luxuries enjoyed by the rich. Caesar promoted an ambitious infrastructure plan which included rebuilding the cities of Carthage and Corinth, building grandiose temples, theatres, coliseums and libraries and improving the roads, aqueducts, ports and bridges of Rome. He also changed the Roman calendar to the Julian calendar which added 3 extra months and brought the calendar into alignment with the seasons. On the ides of march in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was assassinated by a cabal of conspiring Senators in what is one of the most examined events in history. Led by Brutus and Cassius, the Senators killed the champion of Rome. But they were not able to kill his spirit as Caesar is still regarded as one of the greatest men in all of history.
Caesar was fiercely loyal to his people. He was brilliant, clever, strong, courageous and great. Nearly every positive attribute man can think of could be bestowed upon Caesar. He was a marvel and a titan of Rome and his visions of a greater Europe are shared by many. We would be blessed if our aspiring future leaders could live up to the name of Caesar.