Political Career of Julius Caesar

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Throughout his brief 55 years of life, Julius Caesar established himself as a gifted warrior, orator, and leader. His tenacity and mastery of rhetoric substantiate his prominence as one of the most eminent figures in history. However, as a member of an influential family, a consul, and an eventual dictator among other political positions, Caesar was above all a politician. Though his taste for power ended tragically, Caesar’s lifetime of duty and design guaranteed the leader a permanent spot in history. Caesar’s political career began on his birth in July 100 BC. He was born to an aristocratic family who closely affiliated itself with the popularis, a political party which originated in the plebeian class. Caesar’s aunt was married to Gaius Marius, a popularis who controlled Rome at the time of Caesar’s birth. Following the First Civil War and Marius’s death in 86 BC, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a member of the opposing optimates party, gained control of the City. Given Caesar’s family connections to Marius and his recent marriage to the daughter of Cinna (one of Marius’s allies), Sulla’s appointed dictatorship was a potential threat to the 18-year-old. In order to symbolically prove Caesar’s loyalty to the optimates, Sulla ordered him to divorce Cornelia. When Caesar refused and thus decisively identified with the popularis, Sulla pardoned him and supposedly predicted, “In this young man, there is more than one Marius.” Between the years 81 and 74 BC, Caesar avoided politics and instead served as a diplomat in Asia Minor and practiced criminal law in Italy after Sulla’s death in 78. The true birth of his political career would not come until 74 BC when Mithridates of Pontus attacked Asia Minor. Under his own initiative and expense... ... middle of paper ... ...nd, in a historic act of rebellion, crossed the Rubicon river into Rome, officially waging war against the City’s leaders. Caesar successfully defeated Pompey’s rule and, after spending a few years in Egypt and Asia, assumed the role of dictator of Rome. During his reign, Caesar enacted many new statutes, most notably citizenship reform, governmental expansion, and reorganization of the calendar. As Caesar appointed to himself even more dictatorial powers, both his enemies and allies became increasingly disenchanted. A conspiracy formed composed of Senators who planned Caesar’s assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC. Though Caesar left the world in the dawn of his most powerful years, his influence pervades the world even today. Military success, prowess as a public speaker, and unapologetic insurrection all illustrate Caesar’s aptitude for the political game.
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