Gaius Iulius Caesar


de Bello Civile

de Bello Civile Tufts

These sites could be your new best friends. I find them tremendously helpful.


I. Marius, Sulla and Caesar/ Background

1. Rome the Power and the Glory with questions

2. short answers summarizing video and lecture

II. Caesar in Gaul/ getting ready

engineering an empire clip:

caesar makes an impression and a way


de bello gallico animalia

word study tool for animalia de bello gallico bk 6 ch 27

3. Pompey and Caesar rivalry late republic/pompey the great

4. Ch 61 A "Caesar Exhorts his Men to Battle"


5. Ch 61 B "Caesar's Men React to Pompey's Tactic"

6. Quiz A&B

7. Ch 61 C "Caesar's Men Gain the Advantage"

8. Caesar drills ch 61

quiz quia ch 61 comprehension

quia vocab drill

9. Ch 62 A

10. Ch 62 B

11. Ch 62 C

review of C

12. Suetonius Divus Caesar

13. Old fashioned Latin reader
children's reader


Multos Marios in eum video: I see many a Marius in him ( Sulla about the young Caesar)

Vita Divi Iulii: the Life of Divine Iulius ( an account; albeit a gossipy one, of Caesar's life)

diva( goddess):distinguished woman singer, prima donna you tube diva snickers

la dolce vita: the sweet life la dolce vita.jpg

It's estimated that Julius Caesar was born in Rome on July 12 or 13, 100 BC. While he hailed from Roman aristocrats, his family was far from rich. When Caesar was 16 his father, Gaius Caesar, died. He remained close to his mother, Aurelia.
The Rome of Caesar's youth was unstable. An element of disorder ruled the Republic, which had discredited its nobility and seemed unable to handle its considerable size and influence.
His aunt Julia was the wife of Gaius Marius, leader of the Popular faction.
At around the time of his father's death, Caesar made a concerted effort to side with the Populares. His marriage to Cornelia, the daughter of a populare, had drawn the ire of Rome's dictator, Sulla, who ordered the young Roman to divorce his wife or risk losing his property. Caesar refused and was placed on the proscription list found escape in the military, serving first in the province of Asia and then in Cilicia.

Following the death of Sulla, Caesar returned to Rome to begin his career in politics as a prosecuting advocate. He relocated temporarily to Rhodes to study philosophy, but during his travels there was kidnapped by pirates. In a daring display of his negotiation and counter-insurgency tactics, he convinced his captors to raise his ransom. He then organized a naval force to attack them. The pirates were captured and executed.


Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. Men freely believe what they wish.

Uxor Caesaris: the wife of Caesar

Caesar's wife must be above suspicion.

Prov. The associates of public figures must not even be suspected of wrongdoing. (The ancient Roman Julius Caesar is supposed to have said this when asked why he divorced his wife, Pompeia. Because she was suspected of some wrongdoing, he could not associate with her anymore.)
Jill: I don't think the mayor is trustworthy; his brother was charged with embezzlement. Jane: But the charges were never proved. Jill: That doesn't matter. Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. When the newspapers reported the rumor that the lieutenant governor had failed to pay his taxes,the governor forced him to resign, saying, "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion."

libertine: a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, especially a dissolute man; a profligate; rake.
bonhomie:frank and simple good-heartedness; a good-natured manner;friendliness; geniality.

Caesar and his first wife, Cornelia, had the had a daughter, Julia Caesaris, in 76 B.C. She was to be his only legitimate child in the eyes of Rome.
Cornelia died in 69 B.C., and in 67 B.C. Caesar married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla. In 62 B.C., with Caesar serving as the “pontifex maximus,” or chief priest of the state government, Pompeia took part in an annual gathering of Roman woman called the Bona Dea (“good goddess”) festival, held at Caesar’s house. The event was strictly women-only, but a young nobleman disguised himself as female and crashed the festivities. At some point during the evening, he was found out. Scandal ensued and it was reported that the man was in love with Pompeia or trying to seduce her. Although it was unknown whether Pompeia had been willingly involved in the incident, Caesar decided to divorce her, declaring that his wife “must be above suspicion.”
Caesar wed his third wife, Calpurnia, in 59 B.C., when she was a teenager, and remained married to her until his death.

divide et impera: divide and conquer
omnia gallia in tres partes divisa est: All of Gaul is divided into three parts

divisive: tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people; causing division
imperial: of or pertaining to an empire

First Triumvirate: Caesar, Pompey and Crassus
Caesar brings his enormous popularity
Pompey brings his political clout
Crassus brings the money

This is an informal arrangement in which these three very powerful men agree to have one another's backs in the political arena. Pompey was a staunch Optimate, Caesar is in the Populares camp, more or less, and Crassus is also an Optimate.

In order to strengthen this relationship, Caesar's daughter, Julia, was given to Pompey in marriage.

Caesar then headed to Gaul to subdue the barbarians.

Gallia est pacata: Gaul is subdued
Written in a letter with which Caesar informed the Roman Senate of his victory over Vercingetorix in 52 BC

Commentarii de bello Gallico: Commentary about the Gallic War;
Caesar's Gallic Wars essays chronicle the history of his military engagements during the years 58-51 B.C. in Gaul, Germany, and Britain. And, as an aid to his readers, he provides expository information for those who are unfamiliar with the far-off lands and people encountered during his forays beyond the Roman world

commentary: spoken or written discussion in which people express opinions about someone or something

rebellion:open, organized, and armed resistance to one's government or ruler.;resistance to or defiance of any authority, control, or tradition.

While the First Triumvirate was in full swing, things went well for all three men:
The three men together then effectively ruled Rome, Caesar as consul, by pushing through measures favored by Pompey or Crassus in the senate. Caesar proposed legislation for reform of government, opposing Optimate sentiment, and a redistribution of land to the poor, both long-held Populare goals. His initiatives were supported by Crassus’ wealth and Pompey’s soldiers, thus solidly aligning The First Triumvirate with the Populare faction. As long as Caesar was a public servant he was safe from prosecution by his Optimate enemies for his legal indiscretions but, once his consulship ended, he was sure to be indicted. Further, Caesar was deeply in debt, both financially and politically, to Crassus, and needed to raise both money and his prestige.

So, he gets a proconsulship (A provincial governor of consular rank in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.)
to Gaul.
Recognizing the wealth to be gained through conquest, Caesar left Rome with his legions and went to Gaul in 58 BCE. He defeated the tribes there just as he had done in Spain and secured the borders of the provinces. When the Germanic tribes seemed threatening to invade, Caesar built a bridge over the Rhine River, marched his legions across in a show of force, then marched them back and had the bridge dismantled. The Germans understood the message and never invaded. He defeated the tribes of the north and twice invaded Britain (Rome’s first incursion into the British isles). At the Battle of Alesia, in 52 BCE, Caesar defeated the Gallic leader Vercingetorix and completed the conquest of Gaul. He was now effectively the sovereign of the province of Gaul with all the attendant wealth at his disposal.

Back in Rome, however, The First Triumvirate had disintegrated. Crassus was killed in battle against the Parthians in 54 BCE and, that same year, Julia died in childbirth. Without Caesar’s daughter and his financial and political backer tying him to Pompey, the latter aligned himself with the Optimate faction in Rome which he had long favored. Pompey was now the sole military and political power in Rome and had the senate declare Caesar’s governorship of Gaul terminated and, further, ordered him to return to Rome as a private citizen. This would mean Caesar could be prosecuted for his actions when he was consul.


alea iacta est: the die is cast; said by Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon River in 48 BC into Italy with his army. This began the Civil War with Pompey.
Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest/strongest De Bello Gallico, Book I, Ch. 1;
Caesar suffered his greatest military defeat at the hands of the Belgae, the humiliation reaching Rome, and infuriating the man who then set out on one of Rome's biggest campaigns to crush the Republic's most feared rebels once and for all.

In Gaul, Caesar exhibited his outstanding military skill in subduing the native Celtic and Germanic tribes. Caesar's popularity with the people soared, presenting a threat to the power of the Senate and to Pompey, who held power in Rome. Accordingly, the Senate called upon Caesar to resign his command and disband his army or risk being declared an "Enemy of the State". Pompey was entrusted with enforcing this edict - the foundation for civil war was laid.
(Bear in mind we are talking about a man who defied Sulla when he was a teenager!!!! This is a person who balks at being told what to do.)
It was January 49 BC, Caesar was staying in the northern Italian city of Ravenna and he had a decision to make. Either he acquiesced to the Senate's command or he moved southward to confront Pompey and plunge the Roman Republic into a bloody civil war. An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy proper with a standing army. To do so was treason. This tiny stream would reveal Caesar's intentions and mark the point of no return.


Hoc voluerunt: They wanted this; after the Battle of Munda against Pompey's sons in Spain.

Veni vidi vici: I came I saw I conquered;
In May of 47 B.C., Julius Caesar left a pregnant Cleopatra, soon to bear their son Caesarion, to rout the enemy. This enemy was Pharnaces of Pontus, an area by the Black Sea in what is modern northeastern Turkey. Caesar captured Phranaces near the town of Zela. Caesar claimed he did it all in only four hours. To inform the Senate of his victory, Caesar succinctly wrote, veni, vidi, vici 'I came, I saw, I conquered'.Pharnaces of Pontus was the son of Rome's old trouble-maker, Mithridates (Mithradates)

contravene: to come or be in conflict with; go or act against; deny or oppose

visage: appearance; face

Caesar soundly vanquished Pompey on the fields at the Battle of Pharsalus in an extremely short battle. Caesar's warriors were more experienced. First they sniffed out the trap Pompey had set for them and avoided it. Next Caesar brought in a surprise hidden legion to snuff out Pompey's major thrust, and then his men moved with unbelievable speed to the point of counter-attack.
Pompey again fled the scene. Caesar was disgusted. When the Civil War had begun, Caesar had predicted, "I set forth to fight an army without a leader, so as later to fight a leader without an army." The prediction had come true. Pompey had lost his army.

Pompey escaped to Egypt and sought refuge in the court of Ptolemy. Bad move. He was assassinated by a former Roman loyal to Caesar who was working in Egypt at the time. This was done at the behest of those who were advising Cleopatra's brother, Ptolemy XIII, who was really just a boy. Nevertheless, he was under the very unfortunate guidance of men like Pothinus, his chief eunuch, who miscalculated Caesar's intent and the Roman way. They murdered Pompey the Great in order to curry favor with Caesar and it backfired, enraging and saddening him,

When Caesar entered Egypt in pursuit of Pompey, he was immediately asked to take sides in the Egyptian Civil War between Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra


si violandum est ius, regnandi gratia violandum est: aliis rebus pietatem colas: if you must break the law, do it only to seize power: in all other cases, cultivate obedience/ piety (Julius Caesar)

This demonstrates that Caesar really understood the importance of power and legitimisation. Caesar had no qualms about acting outside the law when he believed he was going to win. His crossing the Rubicon and taking Rome was an example of this. First he acted, then after he won, he legitimsed his actions. He knew very well that winners write the history books.

necesse est multos timeat, quem multi timent: he must fear many whom many fear ( about Caesar; Seneca?!)
If you have a lot of power and ambition and have been known to be ruthless, and hated. watch your back.

inviolable: secure from destruction, violence, infringement, desecration
regent: one ruling in the place of a rule because of age or infirmity

Caesar and Cleopatra: 48-44 BC

The arrival in Alexandria of Julius Caesar gives Cleopatra her first chance of a wider role in the world. She seizes it, becoming the mistress of the man who is now unmistakably - after his defeat of Pompey - the most powerful Roman. Caesar spends the winter of 48-7 BC in Egypt, helping the young queen suppress the forces of her even younger brother (who fails to survive these events).

Soon after Caesar's departure from Alexandria, Cleopatra gives birth to a son (in the summer of 47) whom Caesar acknowledges as his own. . In 46 Caesar invites Cleopatra to Rome with her son (subsequently known by the nickname Caesarion, 'little Caesar') and provides them with a villa. After Caesar's assassination, in 44, she returns to Egypt with the child.


6/5 so very close...brevi tempore....

Malo hic esse primus quam Romae secundus, "I prefer to be first here than second in Rome" (a saying attributed in Plutarch to Julius Caesar, supposedly spoken as he was passing through a small village in the Alps).

Pater patriae: Father of the Country; a title of respect that was given to Caesar upon his return to Rome in triumph

patrimony:property inherited from one's father or male ancestor

expatriate: one living outside of one;s nation; an expat

Upon his return to Rome, Caesar was made dictator for life and hailed as the Father of his Country. For Caesar and his countrymen, his rule proved instrumental in reforming Rome.
He would serve just a year's term before his assassination, but in that short period Caesar greatly transformed the empire. He relieved debt and reformed the Senate by increasing its size and opening it up so that it better represented Romans as a whole. He reformed the Roman calendar (the Julian Calendar)and reorganized how local government was constructed. In addition he resurrected two city-states, Carthage and Corinth, which had been destroyed by his predecessors, and he granted citizenship to a number of foreigners. He also proved to be a benevolent victor by inviting some of his defeated rivals to join him in the government.
But Caesar was also careful to solidify his power and rule. He stuffed the Senate with allies, and required the same body to grant him honors and titles. He was allowed to speak first at assembly meetings, and Roman coins bore his face. caesar coins/image control

et tu, Brute? You too, Brutus?
“Kai su, teknon?” (“You too, child?”)

When someone says "et tu" in a modern context, they are alluding to the way Brutus betrayed Caesar.

Ignavi sexcenties moriuntur ante mortem suam.
"Cowards die many times before their actual deaths". - Gaius Julius Caesar

This demonstrates Caesar's profound insight into the human psyche. Fear is the little death that stabs and gnaws away at people.

siesta: a nap in the 6th hour
percent: one one hundredth

new book about the death of Caesar
from Plutarch:

Casca gave him the first cut, in the neck, which was not mortal nor dangerous, as coming from one who at the beginning of such a bold action was probably very much disturbed. Caesar immediately turned about, and laid his hand upon the dagger and kept hold of it. And both of them at the same time cried out, he that received the blow, in Latin, “Vile Casca, what does this mean?” and he that gave it, in Greek, to his brother, “Brother, help!” Upon this first onset, those who were not privy to the design were astonished and their horror and amazement at what they saw were so great, that they durst not fly nor assist Caesar, nor so much as speak a word. But those who came prepared for the business enclosed him on every side, with their naked daggers in their hands. Which way soever he turned, he met with blows, and saw their swords leveled at his face and eyes, and was encompassed, like a wild beast in the toils, on every side. For it had been agreed they should each of them make a thrust at him, and flesh themselves with his blood; for which reason Brutus also gave him one stab in the groin. Some say that he fought and resisted all the rest, shifting his body to avoid the blows, and calling out for help, but that when he saw Brutus’s dagger drawn, he covered his face with his robe and submitted, letting himself fall, whether it were by chance, or that he was pushed in that direction by his murderers, at the foot of the pedestal on which Pompey’s statue stood, and which was thus wetted with his blood.


Caesar's reforms greatly enhanced his standing with Rome's lower- and middle-class populations. But his popularity with the Senate was another matter. Envy and concern over Caesar's increasing power led to angst among a number of politicians who saw in him an aspiring king. History had shown that Romans had no desire for monarchical rule. Legend had it that by the time Caesar came to power it had been five centuries since they'd last allowed a king to rule them.

Caesar's wish to include his former Roman enemies in the government helped spell his downfall. Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus were both former enemies who'd joined the Senate. Together, the two of them led the assassination of Caesar on the Ides of March (the 15th), 44 BC.

It's not altogether clear whether Caesar knew ahead of time of the plot to kill him. What was clear, though, was that the conspirators, who dubbed themselves "the liberators," needed to act fast. By all accounts Caesar had plans to leave Rome on March 18 for a military campaign in what is now modern-day Iraq. There he hoped to avenge the losses suffered by Crassus.

Brutus' involvement in the killing packed the most complicated backstory. He had originally sided with Pompey during Rome's earlier civil war, but then had been encouraged to join the government after Caesar's victory. His mother, Servilia, was also one of Caesar's lovers.

Following Caesar's death, a power struggle ensued in Rome, leading to the end of the Roman Republic. A mob of lower- and middle-class Romans gathered at Caesar's funeral, with the angry crowd attacking the homes of Cassius and Brutus.

Caesar quickly became a martyr in the new Roman Empire, and just two years after his death he became the first Roman figure to be deified. The Senate also gave him the title "The Divine Julius."

Playing on the late ruler's popularity, Caesar's great-grandnephew, Gaius Octavian, assembled an army to fight back the military troops defending Cassius and Brutus. His victory over Caesar's assassins allowed Octavian, who would assume the name Augustus, to take power in 27 BC and become the first Roman emperor.

five things to know about the death of Caesar