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Julius Ceasar The Man Behind The Name

3495 words - 14 pages

Manos MathewProf. BrianWorld History I11/29/01The Man Behind the NameCaius Julius Caesar was a well-known figure in both Roman and world history. Everywhere around the world the name of Caesar is known, sometimes in a positive light and other times in a negative. In order to understand the man and make our own judgment on what type of individual Caesar was, we must first delve into the life of Caesar. Caesar's political origin began before he was born. When Caesar was born the leading man in Rome was a man named Caius Marius, who had saved the Roman republic for several years and elected Consul a record seven times. (Duggan 25-6) Marius' connection with the Julius family was very close; Marius was married to the sister of Caesar's father. As a result, Caesar belonged to an influential family who had political ties. In July 100, when Marius' was in his sixth term as Consul, Caius Julius Caesar was born in Rome. All Romans had three names, the first was to distinguish the person, the second was the clan name and the third was given to a particular Julius clan to help distinguish them from other Julius'. (26-7) Because Caesar was the only son; he was named after his father. Caesar's father also had his hands in the political arena, in the year 92 he was elected praetor, which was equivalent to a magistrate who administers justice. He was also known to be the governor of Asia Minor.In 91, the "Social War" broke out; this was a war that was against Rome's Italian allies demanding greater citizenship rights. Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Caius Marius, and Pompey Strabo crushed the rebellion, but the allies eventually received enhanced rights. (Cross 1) After the rebellion was crushed, King Mithridates VI of Pontus attacked many Roman sites and killed many of the Italian and Roman citizens. Many people were outraged of this, and the Roman Senate appointed Sulla to go and command the army and defeat Mithridates. However at the same time, the Peoples' Assembly appointed Marius to the same position. There was an internal civil war brewing. Marius fled to Africa, while Sulla defeated Mithridates army. However Marius came back and destroyed all of his enemies and took consul for the seventh time. A few days after Marius took office, he died. From now on Julius Caesar's life was a target for Sulla. (Duggan 31-5) When Sulla returned from his campaign in Asia Minor, he had himself appointed dictator.Caesar was eighteen years old by this time and he was just about developing himself as a person. He can be characterized as being, "a tall slender youth with handsome features and rather more charm and frivolity than were considered fitting in a Roman aristocrat.... He did not make any particular mark in his early youth. However he was not afraid of taking his own line and facing the consequences of a dangerous gamble."(Duggan 35-6) Caesar was now the only man of the house since his father had passed away when he was only fifteen years old. At birth he had been...

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