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Julius Caesar Biased Language

analytical Essay
919 words
919 words
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Debates of the cause of the Roman Civil War are numerous. Historian and author Erich S. Gruen, in his book The Last Generation of the Roman Republic, implicates the desire “to maintain dignitas” on the part of both Caesar’s opponents and Caesar himself as one of the primary catalysts to the strife. However, Aulus Hirtius, Caesar’s biographer and comrade, tells a different story. In chapter 8 of Caesar’s biography De Bello Gallico, Hirtius uses biased language to suggest that the events leading up to the Roman Civil War were primarily due to the puerile pride and emotions of Caesar's opponents, and to suggest that Caesar’s side was the more justified one, but neglects to recognize the similar pride of Caesar. The bias of Hirtius’ writing is …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how aulus hirtius, caesar's biographer and comrade, uses biased language to suggest that the events leading up to the roman civil war were primarily due to puerile pride and emotions
  • Analyzes how hirtius' bias is found in the way he emphasizes the desire for political prestige as the primary motivation for lentulus and marcellus, but does not emphasize that this was also a primary motive for caesar.
  • Analyzes how hirtius' biased language and analysis of the situation is seen in his assessment of marcellus' actions.
  • Analyzes how hirtius' implicit bias in the last part of the passage implicates the emotions of his opponents as their primary catalysts.

Hirtius’ biased language and analysis of the situation is seen in his assessment of Marcellus' actions. He writes "Nam Marcellus, proximo anno, cum impugnaret Caesaris dignitatem contra legem Pompei et Crassi retullerat ante tempus ad senatum de Caesaris provinciis...discessionem" (Hirtius, De Bello Gallico, 8.53.2) Hirtius attests that Marcellus wants the "Caesaris dignitatem" and acts – Hirtius implies – only on this one desire when he "rettulerat...ad senatum" a proposal that was "contra legem Pompei et Crassi" (Hirtius, De Bello Gallico, 8.53.2). Hirtius includes something capricious and insubstantial –a desire for “dignitatem” – and something concrete –a “legem” – in the same sentence in order to establish a contrast; Caesar's side is the one with the enacted "legem" to support their actions, but his opponent Marcellus is the one with only desire for “dignitatem” to justify his actions (Hirtius, De Bello Gallico, 8.53.2). Hirtius goes on to say that Marcellus "quaerebat" the "Caesaris dignitatem" (Hirtius, De Bello Gallico, 8.53.2). Hirtius implies that it is this desire that drove Marcellus' actions, but concrete actions – like "legem Pompei et Crassi" (Hirtius, De Bello Gallico, 8.53.2) – that characterized the people on Caesar's side. …show more content…

Hirtius writes, in reference to Marcellus being denied, that "Quibus non frangebantur animi inimicorum Caesaris sed admonebantur quo maiores pararent necessitates" (Hirtius, De Bello Gallico, 8.53.2). One sees that it is the "animi inimicorum Caesaris" that drove Marcellus and others to reconsider their position and what they need to do: institute “necessitates” (Hirtius, De Bello Gallico, 8.53.2). It is their intangible, transitory “animi” that act as the catalyzing factor behind their actions, and by this point the reader should recognize that the “animi” of people – and their affiliations with others – are definitely subject to change: Curio – a proponent of Caesar himself – provides a nice example of this caprice (Boatwright, The Romans: Village to Empire). This subtext, whether Hirtius recognizes it or not, implicates Marcellus and his comrades as the guilty ones in this political arena: their actions are built on sand, based on pride rather than

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