Julius Caesar Julius Caesar A baby was born on July 12 or 13 of 100 BC in Rome. Little did the proud parents of this baby know that he would rule most of the known world. This baby was born to the name of Gaius, his personal name, Julius was the name of his family’s clan and the name of his family was Caesar meaning hairy. Caesar was such an amazing man that many people couldn’t believe that he was born the same way as them. Over time stories have arisen about Caesar’s birth.
One story says that Caesar was pulled from an incision in his mother’s stomach. This is where the medical term of Cesarean section came from, from Caesar’s birth. Not everyone paid that much attention to the birth of Caesar, it was overshadowed by exploits of his Uncle Gaius Marius. Marius was a politician, he was a “new man” or a plebeian politician. He married into the aristocratic Caesar family so he would have a name to back up his words.
Marius did not receive a first-class education or a lot of other advantages some politicians had. Marius was elected consul in 108 BC, once in office he proved himself as a brilliant general. He persuaded the senate to send him to Africa and replace the general in the war there. He took over for General Metellus. Soon he ended the war that had been dragging on for many years.
When he returned to Rome Marius found another chance for fame. Nomadic German tribes had invaded the north of Italy and winning a couple battles over Roman armies. Marius took the spotlight away from this little bundle of joy named Caesar. No matter what he wanted he was propelled into politics. Many of his relatives were senators or held other important political offices.
He listened to many political discussions between his family which had substantial influences on him. He was trained to be a politician by his tutor Antonius Gnipho. He studied Greek and Latin literature, philosophy, and most important, rhetoric or the art of persuasive argument. At the age of twelve he was brought to the senate house to watch speeches and debates. As a kid he wrote numerous poems and plays.
Augustus believed that these writings might tarnish his reputation, when he became emperor he burned all of Caesar works. Caesar was a very handsome boy and for that matter man too. He dressed in a style all his own. He was not very strong as boy. All male children were expected to be good athletes.
Caesar acquired skills in running, fencing, and horseback riding. He became capable of physical feats that would astonish his childhood friends. His health was a bit frail as a kid. At an early age he became somewhat deaf and after he was thirty he suffered occasionally from fits of epilepsy. He was rather tall for a man from his time, he grew to be about five feet eight inches tall.
In Roman tradition the fathers arranged their children’s’ marriages at an early age. Caesar’s father arranged his marriage with a young woman named Cossutia. Caesar hated this idea. He wanted to control his own life. He had a strong will of his own.
But he had lots of respect for his father so he agreed to marry Cossutia. The marriage did not last long, only a few months. Soon after the wedding Caesar divorced his bride. A little later Caesar’s father died. When Caesar was nineteen he fell deeply in love with a woman named Cornelia. Cornelia was Cinna’s daughter and Cinna was Marius’ most powerful colleague and co-consul. This entangled Caesar even more with politics.
Having Marius as an uncle and Cinna as a father-in-law. Soon after the marriage Caesar and Cornelia had a daughter, whom they named Julia after his aunt and Marius’ wife. Marius and Cinna were elected consuls while Sulla was at war with Mithridates in 86 BC. Soon after both Cinna and Marius died. It left their party leaderless and could not stop Sulla from taking control of the republic.
When Sulla took control he forced Caesar to divorce Cornelia as a test of loyalty. He refused to divorce the love of his life. He knew that men had been killed for far less serious things. He knew his life was in danger, he avoided execution by leaving Rome for the hilly country side near Rome. Caesar eluded hunters and police with a small group of his slaves for a few weeks. Then he became weak and sick from exposure, exhaustion, and a lack of sleep since he had been sleeping on the ground.
While he was sick his slaves carried him around. One night Caesar and his slaves ran into one of Sulla’s men in the hills, even in his state of being he managed to keep the man from arresting him and bringing him into Rome. Soon after this incident Caesar found out some of his powerful friends were going to try and get him a pardon. He returned to Rome. After Cornelia nursed him back to health he was summoned to the forum.
He went there and came face to face with Sulla who with a slight move of hand could have him executed on the spot. His friends pleaded that he was just a boy; hotheaded, and his refusal had nothing to do with politics. Sulla granted Caesar a pardon by saying, “You have made your point, and you can have him, but always bear in mind that one Caesar is worse than a dozen Mariuses.” Even though Caesar had a pardon he knew that he was not safe in Rome. He would leave the first chance he got. In 81 BC he got his chance. He was offered a spot on the staff of proconsul Thermus.
He immediately excepted the offer. Thermus was going to Asia Minor to control the rebellious Mytileneans. Soon after arriving in Asia Minor Caesar was sent to make sure Nicomedes, king of Bithynia on the Black Sea, had kept his promise to bring his fleet of ships to help Thermus control the Mytileneans. When Caesar arrived in Bithynia he was astonished by the king’s luxuries. The king really showed off his wealth. On Caesar’s first night in Bithynia he slept on a bed of gold and on the second he was the guest of honor at a banquet.
Caesar and Nicomedes became close friends and the king gave his young friend who he had come to admire gifts of money. Caesar did not forget his mission and the ships were sent to Thermus’ aid. Caesar had to leave Bithynia and return to his duties in the army, which he did reluctantly. Mytilene was taken by storm and Caesar won the civic crown, Rome’s highest award for courage. Caesar was kept busy with administrative duties in Asia Minor.
Caesar was going to join up with the navy to stop the pirates in the eastern Mediterranean until he got word that Sulla was dead. Caesar was now twenty-two and he would start his political career. He returned to Rome and had a joyous reunion with his wife and daughter. He refused to ally himself with the Sulla or the Marius political party. He decided not to be a politician just yet.
For the time being he wrote poetry and touched down in science. He through huge parties that plunged him in to debt. Many money lenders felt that Caesar would be in a position to pay them back many times over. Caesar knew he could make a name for himself by prosecuting or defending an official who had committed crimes while in office. Caesar decided he would prosecute the former governor of Macedonia, Gnaeus Dolabella, who had used public funds greedily. Caesar’s speeches and case was well organized and made a good impression on the judges but Caesar lost the case.
Dolabella had hired two of the best lawyers in Rome. Caesar’s debts were growing and his career was baffled again. He decided to leave Rome again. He boarded a ship for the East. His ship was nearing the coast of Asia Minor when pirates attacked the ship and took Caesar prisoner.
They demanded a ransom of about thirty thousand dollars but Caesar bitterly told the pirates he was worth seventy-five thousand dollars. The pirates happily changed the ransom. Caesar’s friends quickly set out to raise the money. Caesar was held hostage by his captors for thirty-eight days. During those five weeks Caesar acted as if the pirates were his body guards and not captors. He wrote verses and speeches and the pirates that did not admire his speeches and verses, he called them illiterate to their faces. He would often threaten to hang them they attributed this to a boyish playfulness.
They were very wrong. As soon as the ransom arrived he scurried off to make a force of men from nearby towns offering them all the money and possessions they could get off the ship. He apprehended all of the pirates and carried out the threat he made while prisoner, he hung every one of them there and then. He continued to his original destination, he island of Rhodes. On the island he studied rhetoric with the famous teacher Apollonius Molon.
He soon found out that his mother’s brother, Cotta, the priest, had died and now there was an open spot in the College of Priests. The seat was being held for Caesar. This post was important because it could lead to the office of High Priest of Rome. In 74 BC, the twenty-six year old, Caesar, went back to Rome to try and jump-start his career again. Caesar had four wives.
His first wife was Cossutia. The marriage was arranged by Caesar’s father. The marriage only lasted a couple months and then they were divorced. His second wife was Cornelia, Cinna’s daughter. Caesar fell deeply in love with her when he was nineteen.
Cornelia died while Caesar was quaestor. His third wife was Pompeia she was Sulla’s grand-daughter. He married into the family of one of his enemies. A festival that was being held by Pompeia excluded all men from the holy festival. Men were not even allowed to know what happens at the festival.
On the day of the festival Caesar had to leave his house, during the day he got an urgent message from his mother telling him to come home. When he came home he found Clodius hiding in the house watching the events. Caesar divorced Pompeia a f …