11 January-Caesar

Julius Caesar was a General in the Roman army, a statesman and Dictator of the Roman Republic. He played a leading role in turning the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Caesar wrote his own accounts of his military campaigns. These included Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Gallic Wars) and Commentarii de Bello Civili (The Civil War).

Gaius Julius Caesar was born in July 100 BC. (An ancestor is reported to have been born by what today is called Caesarean Section). When Caesar was 16 his father died. At the time there was considerable unrest in Rome. Caesar joined the army and by the age of 31 he had fought in several wars and extended the territory controlled by Rome. He conquered Gaul (France and Belgium), led the first invasion of England and became the first Roman general to cross the Rhine. He also became involved in Roman politics.

Following his successes in Gaul and elsewhere Caesar was ordered by Rome to step down as military commander and return to Rome. He refused and in 49 BC he crossed the Rubicon River in northern Italy with his army. In the ensuing civil war Caesar was victorious. He was appointed dictator for life. He carried out major reforms and introduced the Julian calendar. Caesar was popular with the Roman population but members of the Senate were envious and concerned at his increasing power. They plotted to kill him during a meeting of the senate.

Caesar had been told by a seer that no harm would come to him before the Ides of March. In the Roman calendar the Ides occurred near the middle of the month and were determined by the full moon. The Ides in most months fell on the 13th but for March, May, July and October the Ides fell on the 15th of the month. On his way to the senate meeting on the Ides of March, Caesar met the seer and jokingly implied the seer had erred and said ‘The Ides of March have come’. The seer replied ‘Aye, Caesar; but not gone’. Caesar was murdered a short time later by up to sixty senators.

Caesar plunged Rome into civil war when he led his army across the Rubicon in the year 49 BC On This Day.

Julii Caesaris quae exstant

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