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Julius Caesar - Roman Dictator Silver Denarius 19mm (3.13 grams) Spain mint: 46-45 B.C.

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Authentic Ancient  Coin of:

Julius Caesar - Roman Dictator

Silver Denarius 19mm (3.13 grams) Spain mint: 46-45 B.C.

Reference: RSC 13; B. 11; B.M.C., Spain, 89; Syd. 1014; Craw. 468/1; Sear  Imperators 58

Diademed head of Venus right, Cupid on shoulder.

Gallia and a Gaulish captive seated beneath trophy, CAESAR in exergue.


The bust on the on the obverse is that of Venus Genetrix, to whom Caesar in B.C.  46 had dedicated a temple in the Forum Julium. The reverse refers to his  victories and the Gaul may be Vercigetorix.


You are buying the exact item pictured,  provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of  Authenticity.


Vercingetorix  (c. 82 BC – 46 BC) was a chieftain of the Arverni tribe; he united the Gauls in a revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars.


Vercingetorix came to power in 52 BC: he raised an army and was proclaimed  king at Gergovia. He immediately established an  alliance with other Gallic tribes, took command and combined all forces, and led  them in Gaul's most significant revolt against Roman power. He won the Battle of Gergovia, in which 46 centurions and  700 legionaries died and more than 6,000 people were injured, whereupon Caesar's  Roman legions withdrew.


However, a few months later, in the Battle of Alesia, the Romans besieged and  defeated his forces and captured him. He was held prisoner for five years. In 46  BC, as part of Caesar's triumph, Vercingetorix was paraded through the  streets of Rome and then executed by strangulation on  Caesar's orders. Vercingetorix is primarily known through Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War.


Giulio-cesare-enhanced 1-800x1450.jpgGaius  Julius Caesar  (13 July 100 BC  – 15 March 44 BC)  was a Roman military and political leader. He played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman  Empire.


As a politician, Caesar made use of popularist  tactics. During the late 60s and into the 50s BC, he formed political alliances  that led to the so-called First Triumvirate, an extra-legal arrangement with Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius  Magnus (Pompey the Great) that was to dominate Roman politics for several  years. Their factional attempts to amass power for themselves were opposed within the Roman  Senate by the optimates,  among them Marcus Porcius Cato and Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, with the sometime support of Marcus Tullius Cicero. Caesar's conquest of Gaul extended the  Roman world to the North Sea,  and in 55 BC he also conducted the first Roman invasion of Britain. These achievements granted him unmatched military  power and threatened to eclipse Pompey's, while the death of Crassus contributed to increasing political tensions between the  two triumviral survivors. Political realignments in Rome finally led to a  stand-off between Caesar and Pompey, the latter having taken up the cause of the  Senate. With the order that sent his legions across the Rubicon,  Caesar began a civil war in 49 BC from which he emerged as the unrivaled leader of the  Roman world.


After assuming control of government, he began extensive reforms of Roman  society and government. He centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was  eventually proclaimed "dictator  in perpetuity" (dictator  perpetuo). A group of senators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, assassinated the dictator on the Ides  of March (15 March) 44 BC, hoping to restore the normal running of the  Republic. However, the result was another Roman civil war, which ultimately led to the establishment of a permanent autocracy  by Caesar's adopted heir, Gaius  Octavianus. In 42 BC, two years after his assassination, the Senate  officially sanctified Caesar as one of the Roman deities.


Much of Caesar's life is known from his own Commentaries (Commentarii) on his military campaigns, and  other contemporary sources such as the letters and speeches of his political  rival Cicero,  the historical writings of Sallust, and  the poetry of Catullus. Many more details of his life are recorded by later historians,  such as Appian, Suetonius, Plutarch, Cassius  Dio and Strabo.


Early life


Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed descent from Iulus, son  of the legendary Trojan  prince Aeneas,  supposedly the son of the goddess Venus.  The cognomen  "Caesar" originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor who was born by caesarean section (from the Latin verb to cut, caedere, caes-).  The Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair  (Latin caesaries); that he had bright grey eyes (Latin oculis caesiis);  or that he killed an elephant (caesai in Moorish) in battle.  Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favoured  this interpretation of his name.


Despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not especially  politically influential, having produced only three consuls.  Caesar's father, also called Gaius Julius Caesar, reached the rank of praetor, the  second highest of the Republic's elected magistracies, and governed the province  of Asia, perhaps through the influence of his prominent brother-in-law Gaius  Marius.  His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family which had produced several  consuls. Marcus Antonius Gnipho, an orator and grammarian of Gaulish origin, was  employed as Caesar's tutor.  Caesar had two sisters, both called Julia. Little else is recorded of Caesar's childhood. Suetonius  and Plutarch's  biographies of him both begin abruptly in Caesar's teens; the opening paragraphs  of both appear to be lost.


Caesar's formative years were a time of turmoil. The Social War was fought from 91 to 88 BC between Rome and her Italian allies  over the issue of Roman citizenship, while Mithridates of Pontus threatened Rome's eastern provinces. Domestically, Roman politics was  divided between politicians known as optimates  and populares. The optimates were conservative,  defended the interests of the upper class  and used and promoted the authority of the Senate;  the populares advocated reform in the interests of the masses  and used and promoted the authority of the Popular Assemblies.  Caesar's uncle Marius was a popularis, Marius' protégé Lucius Cornelius Sulla was an optimas, and in Caesar's youth their  rivalry led to civil war.


Both Marius and Sulla distinguished themselves in the Social War, and both  wanted command of the war against Mithridates, which was initially given to  Sulla; but when Sulla left the city to take command of his army, a tribune  passed a law transferring the appointment to Marius. Sulla responded by marching  his army on Rome (the first time ever this had happened and a pointer for Caesar  in his later career as he contemplated crossing the Rubicon), reclaiming his  command and forcing Marius into exile, but when he left on campaign Marius  returned at the head of a makeshift army. He and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna seized the city and declared Sulla a public enemy,  and Marius's troops took violent revenge on Sulla's supporters. Marius died  early in 86 BC, but his followers remained in power.


In 85 BC Caesar's father died suddenly while putting on his shoes one  morning, without any apparent cause,  and at sixteen, Caesar was the head of the family. The following year he was  nominated to be the new Flamen Dialis, high priest of Jupiter, as Merula, the previous incumbent, had died in Marius's purges.  Since the holder of that position not only had to be a patrician but also be  married to a patrician, he broke off his engagement to Cossutia, a plebeian girl  of wealthy equestrian family he had been betrothed to since boyhood, and married  Cinna's daughter Cornelia.


Then, having brought Mithridates to terms, Sulla returned to finish the civil  war against Marius' followers. After a campaign throughout Italy he seized Rome  at the Battle of the Colline Gate in November 82 BC and had himself appointed to  the revived office of dictator; but whereas a dictator was traditionally appointed for six months  at a time, Sulla's appointment had no term limit. Statues of Marius were  destroyed and Marius' body was exhumed and thrown in the Tiber. Cinna was  already dead, killed by his own soldiers in a mutiny.  Sulla's proscriptions saw hundreds of his political enemies killed or exiled.  Caesar, as the nephew of Marius and son-in-law of Cinna, was targeted. He was  stripped of his inheritance, his wife's dowry and his priesthood, but he refused  to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding. The threat against him was  lifted by the intervention of his mother's family, which included supporters of  Sulla, and the Vestal Virgins. Sulla gave in reluctantly, and is said to have declared that  he saw many a Marius in Caesar.


Early career


Feeling it much safer to be far away from Sulla should the Dictator change  his mind, Caesar quit Rome and joined the army, serving under Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia and Servilius Isauricus in Cilicia. He  served with distinction, winning the Civic  Crown for his part in the siege of Mytilene.  On a mission to Bithynia to secure the assistance of King Nicomedes's fleet, he spent so long at his court that rumours of an affair  with the king arose, which would persist for the rest of his life.  Ironically, the loss of his priesthood had allowed him to pursue a military  career: the Flamen Dialis was not permitted to touch a horse, sleep three  nights outside his own bed or one night outside Rome, or look upon an army.


At the end of 81 BC, Sulla resigned his dictatorship, re-established consular government and,  after serving as consul in 80 BC, retired to private life.  In a manner that the historian Suetonius  thought arrogant, Julius Caesar would later mock Sulla for resigning the  Dictatorship—"Sulla did not know his political ABC's".  He died two years later in 78 BC and was accorded a state funeral.  Hearing of Sulla's death, Caesar felt safe enough to return to Rome. Lacking  means since his inheritance was confiscated, he acquired a modest house in the Subura, a lower-class neighbourhood of Rome.  His return coincided with an attempted anti-Sullan coup by Marcus Aemilius  Lepidus but Caesar, lacking confidence in Lepidus's leadership, did not  participate.  Instead he turned to legal advocacy. He became known for his exceptional  oratory, accompanied by impassioned gestures and a high-pitched voice, and  ruthless prosecution of former governors notorious for extortion  and corruption. Even Cicero praised  him: "Come now, what orator would you rank above him...?"  Aiming at rhetorical perfection, Caesar travelled to Rhodes in 75 BC  to study under Apollonius Molon, who had previously taught Cicero.


On the way across the Aegean Sea,  Caesar was kidnapped by Cilician (not  to be confused with Sicilian) pirates and held prisoner in the Dodecanese  islet of Pharmacusa.  He maintained an attitude of superiority throughout his captivity. When the  pirates thought to demand a ransom of twenty talents of silver, he insisted they ask for fifty.  After the ransom was paid, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and captured the  pirates, and imprisoned them in Pergamon.  Marcus Junctus, the governor of Asia, refused to execute them as Caesar demanded, preferring to sell them as  slaves,  but Caesar returned to the coast and had them crucified on his own authority, as  he had promised while in captivity—a  promise the pirates had taken as a joke. As a sign of leniency, he first had  their throats cut. He then proceeded to Rhodes, but was soon called back into  military action in Asia, raising a band of auxiliaries to repel an incursion from Pontus.


On his return to Rome he was elected military tribune, a  first step on the cursus honorum of Roman politics. The war against Spartacus  took place around this time (73–71 BC), but it is not recorded what role, if  any, Caesar played in it. He was elected quaestor  for 69 BC,  and during that year he delivered the funeral oration for his aunt Julia, widow  of Marius, and included images of Marius, unseen since the days of Sulla, in the  funeral procession. His own wife Cornelia also died that year.  After her funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC, Caesar went to serve  his quaestorship in Hispania  under Antistius Vetus.  While there he is said to have encountered a statue of Alexander the Great, and realised with dissatisfaction he was now at an age  when Alexander had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively  little. He requested, and was granted, an early discharge from his duties, and  returned to Roman politics. On his return in 67 BC,  he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla.  He was elected aedile and restored the trophies of Marius's victories; a controversial move  given the Sullan regime was still in place. He also brought prosecutions against  men who had benefited from Sulla's proscriptions, and spent a great deal of  borrowed money on public works and games, outshining his colleague Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus. He was also suspected of involvement in two  abortive coup attempts.


Coming to prominence


63 BC was an eventful year for Caesar. He persuaded a tribune, Titus Labienus, to prosecute the optimate senator Gaius Rabirius for the political murder, 37 years previously, of the tribune Lucius Appuleius Saturninus, and had himself appointed as one of the two  judges to try the case. Rabirius was defended by both Cicero and Quintus Hortensius, but was convicted of perduellio  (treason). While he was exercising his right of appeal to the people, the  praetor Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer adjourned the assembly by taking down the  military flag from the Janiculum hill. Labienus could have resumed the  prosecution at a later session, but did not do so: Caesar's point had been made,  and the matter was allowed to drop.  Labienus would remain an important ally of Caesar over the next decade.


The same year, Caesar ran for election to the post of Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the Roman state religion, after the death  of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius, who had been appointed to the post by  Sulla. He ran against two powerful optimates, the former consuls Quintus Lutatius Catulus and Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus. There were accusations of bribery by all  sides. Caesar is said to have told his mother on the morning of the election  that he would return as Pontifex Maximus or not at all, expecting to be forced  into exile by the enormous debts he had run up to fund his campaign. In any  event he won comfortably, despite his opponents' greater experience and  standing, possibly because the two older men split their votes.  The post came with an official residence on the Via Sacra.


When Cicero, who was consul that year, exposed Catiline's  conspiracy to seize control of the republic, Catulus and others accused Caesar  of involvement in the plot.  Caesar, who had been elected praetor for the following year, took part in the  debate in the Senate on how to deal with the conspirators. During the debate,  Caesar was passed a note. Marcus Porcius Cato, who would become his most implacable political  opponent, accused him of corresponding with the conspirators, and demanded that  the message be read aloud. Caesar passed him the note, which, embarrassingly,  turned out to be a love letter from Cato's half-sister Servilia. Caesar argued persuasively against the death penalty for the  conspirators, proposing life imprisonment instead, but a speech by Cato proved  decisive, and the conspirators were executed.  The following year a commission was set up to investigate the conspiracy, and  Caesar was again accused of complicity. On Cicero's evidence that he had  reported what he knew of the plot voluntarily, however, he was cleared, and one  of his accusers, and also one of the commissioners, were sent to prison.


While praetor in 62 BC, Caesar supported Metellus Celer, now tribune, in  proposing controversial legislation, and the pair were so obstinate they were  suspended from office by the Senate. Caesar attempted to continue to perform his  duties, only giving way when violence was threatened. The Senate was persuaded  to reinstate him after he quelled public demonstrations in his favour.


That year the festival of the Bona Dea  ("good goddess") was held at Caesar's house. No men were permitted to attend,  but a young patrician named Publius Clodius Pulcher managed to gain admittance disguised as a woman,  apparently for the purpose of seducing Caesar's wife Pompeia. He was caught and prosecuted for sacrilege. Caesar gave no evidence  against Clodius at his trial, careful not to offend one of the most powerful  patrician families of Rome, and Clodius was acquitted after rampant bribery and  intimidation. Nevertheless, Caesar divorced Pompeia, saying that "my wife ought  not even to be under suspicion."


After his praetorship, Caesar was appointed to govern Hispania Ulterior (Outer Iberia), but he was still in considerable debt and needed to satisfy his  creditors before he could leave. He turned to Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of Rome's richest men. In return for political  support in his opposition to the interests of Pompey, Crassus  paid some of Caesar's debts and acted as guarantor for others. Even so, to avoid  becoming a private citizen and open to prosecution for his debts, Caesar left  for his province before his praetorship had ended. In Hispania he conquered the Callaici and Lusitani,  being hailed as imperator  by his troops, reformed the law regarding debts, and completed his governorship  in high esteem.


Being hailed as imperator entitled Caesar to a triumph. However, he also wanted to stand for consul, the  most senior magistracy in the republic. If he were to celebrate a triumph, he  would have to remain a soldier and stay outside the city until the ceremony, but  to stand for election he would need to lay down his command and enter Rome as a  private citizen. He could not do both in the time available. He asked the senate  for permission to stand in absentia, but Cato blocked the proposal. Faced  with the choice between a triumph and the consulship, Caesar chose the  consulship.


First  consulship and triumvirate


Three candidates stood for the consulship: Caesar, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus,  who had been aedile with Caesar several years earlier, and Lucius Lucceius. The election was dirty. Caesar canvassed Cicero for  support, and made an alliance with the wealthy Lucceius, but the establishment  threw its financial weight behind the conservative Bibulus, and even Cato, with  his reputation for incorruptibility, is said to have resorted to bribery in his  favour. Caesar and Bibulus were elected as consuls for 59 BC.


Caesar was already in Crassus's political debt, but he also made overtures to Pompey, who was  unsuccessfully fighting the Senate for ratification of his eastern settlements  and farmland for his veterans. Pompey and Crassus had been at odds since they  were consuls together in 70 BC, and Caesar knew if he allied himself with one he  would lose the support of the other, so he endeavoured to reconcile them.  Between the three of them, they had enough money and political influence to  control public business. This informal alliance, known as the First Triumvirate (rule of three men), was cemented by the marriage of  Pompey to Caesar's daughter Julia.  Caesar also married again, this time Calpurnia, daughter of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, who was elected to the consulship for the  following year.


Caesar proposed a law for the redistribution of public lands to the poor, a  proposal supported by Pompey, by force of arms if need be, and by Crassus,  making the triumvirate public. Pompey filled the city with soldiers, and the  triumvirate's opponents were intimidated. Bibulus attempted to declare the omens  unfavourable and thus void the new law, but was driven from the forum by  Caesar's armed supporters. His lictors had  their fasces  broken, two tribunes accompanying him were wounded, and Bibulus himself had a  bucket of excrement thrown over him. In fear of his life, he retired to his  house for the rest of the year, issuing occasional proclamations of bad omens.  These attempts to obstruct Caesar's legislation proved ineffective. Roman  satirists ever after referred to the year as "the consulship of Julius and  Caesar".


This also gave rise to this lampoon-


The event occurred, as I recall, when Caesar governed Rome-


Caesar, not Bibulus, who kept his seat at home.


When Caesar and Bibulus were first elected, the aristocracy tried to limit  Caesar's future power by allotting the woods and pastures of Italy, rather than  governorship of a province, as their proconsular duties after their year of  office was over.  With the help of Piso and Pompey, Caesar later had this overturned, and was  instead appointed to govern Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) and Illyricum (the western Balkans), with Transalpine Gaul (southern France) later added, giving him command of four  legions. The term of his proconsulship, and thus his immunity from prosecution,  was set at five years, rather than the usual one.  When his consulship ended, Caesar narrowly avoided prosecution for the  irregularities of his year in office, and quickly left for his province.


Conquest of Gaul


Caesar was still deeply in debt, and there was money to be made as a  provincial governor, whether by extortion  or by military adventurism. Caesar had four legions under his command, two of  his provinces, Illyricum and Gallia Narbonensis, bordered on unconquered territory, and independent Gaul  was known to be unstable. Rome's allies the Aedui had been  defeated by their Gallic rivals, with the help of a contingent of Germanic Suebi  under Ariovistus, who had settled in conquered Aeduan land, and the Helvetii  were mobilising for a mass migration, which the Romans feared had warlike  intent. Caesar raised two new legions and defeated first the Helvetii, then  Ariovistus, and left his army in winter quarters in the territory of the  Sequani, signaling that his interest in the lands outside Gallia Narbonensis  would not be temporary.


He began his second year with double the military strength he had begun with,  having raised another two legions in Cisalpine Gaul during the winter. The  legality of this was dubious, as the Cisalpine Gauls were not Roman citizens. In  response to Caesar's activities the previous year, the Belgic tribes  of north-eastern Gaul had begun to arm themselves. Caesar treated this as an  aggressive move, and, after an inconclusive engagement against a united Belgic  army, conquered the tribes piecemeal. Meanwhile, one legion, commanded by  Crassus' son Publius, began the conquest of the tribes of the Armorican  peninsula.


During the spring of 56 BC the Triumvirate held a conference at Luca (modern Lucca) in  Cisalpine Gaul. Rome was in turmoil, and Clodius' populist campaigns had been undermining relations between Crassus  and Pompey. The meeting renewed the Triumvirate and extended Caesar's  proconsulship for another five years. Crassus and Pompey would be consuls again,  with similarly long-term proconsulships to follow: Syria for Crassus, the  Hispanian provinces for Pompey.  The conquest of Armorica was completed when Caesar defeated the Veneti in a naval battle, while young Crassus conquered the Aquitani of  the south-west. By the end of campaigning in 56 BC only the Morini and Menapii of  the coastal Low Countries still held out.


In 55 BC Caesar repelled an incursion into Gaul by the Germanic Usipetes and Tencteri, and followed it up by building a bridge across the Rhine and  making a show of force in Germanic territory, before returning and dismantling  the bridge. Late that summer, having subdued the Morini and Menapii, he crossed  to Britain, claiming that the Britons had aided the Veneti against him the  previous year. His intelligence was poor, and although he gained a beachhead on  the Kent coast he was unable to advance further, and returned to Gaul for the  winter.  He returned the following year, better prepared and with a larger force, and  achieved more. He advanced inland, establishing Mandubracius of the Trinovantes as a friendly king and bringing his rival, Cassivellaunus, to terms. But poor harvests led to widespread revolt in  Gaul, led by Ambiorix of the Eburones,  forcing Caesar to campaign through the winter and into the following year. With  the defeat of Ambiorix, Caesar believed Gaul was now pacified.


While Caesar was in Britain his daughter Julia, Pompey's wife, had died in  childbirth. Caesar tried to resecure Pompey's support by offering him his  great-niece Octavia in marriage, alienating Octavia's husband Gaius Marcellus, but Pompey declined. In 53 BC Crassus was killed leading a  failed invasion  of Parthia.  Rome was on the edge of violence. Pompey was appointed sole consul as an  emergency measure, and married Cornelia, daughter of Caesar's political opponent Quintus Metellus Scipio,  whom he invited to become his consular colleague once order was restored. The  Triumvirate was dead.


In 52 BC another, larger revolt erupted in Gaul, led by Vercingetorix of the Arverni.  Vercingetorix managed to unite the Gallic tribes and proved an astute commander,  defeating Caesar in several engagements including the Battle of Gergovia, but Caesar's elaborate siege-works at the Battle of Alesia finally forced his surrender.  Despite scattered outbreaks of warfare the following year,  Gaul was effectively conquered.


Titus Labienus was Caesar's most senior legate during  his Gallic campaigns, having the status of propraetor.  Other prominent men who served under him included his relative Lucius Julius Caesar,  Crassus' sons Publius  and Marcus,  Cicero's brother Quintus, Decimus Brutus,  and Mark  Antony.


Plutarch claimed that the army had fought against three million men in the  course of the Gallic  Wars, of whom 1 million died, and another million were enslaved. 300 tribes were subjugated and 800 cities were destroyed.  Almost the entire population of the city of Avaricum (Bourges)  (40,000 in all) was slaughtered.  Julius Caesar reports that 368,000 of the Helvetii  left home, of whom 92,000 could bear arms, and only 110,000 returned after the  campaign.  However, in view of the difficulty of finding accurate counts in the first  place, Caesar's propagandistic purposes, and the common gross exaggeration of  numbers in ancient texts, the totals of enemy combatants in particular are  likely to be far too high. Furger-Gunti considers an army of more than 60,000  fighting Helvetii extremely unlikely in the view of the tactics described, and  assumes the actual numbers to have been around 40,000 warriors out of a total of  160,000 emigrants.  Delbrück suggests an even lower number of 100,000 people, out of which only  16,000 were fighters, which would make the Celtic force about half the size of  the Roman body of ca. 30,000 men.


Civil war


In 50 BC, the Senate, led by Pompey, ordered  Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as Proconsul had  finished.  Moreover, the Senate forbade Caesar to stand for a second consulship in  absentia.  Caesar thought he would be prosecuted and politically marginalised if he entered  Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a Consul or without the power of his army.  Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason. On 10 January 49 BC Caesar  crossed the Rubicon river (the frontier boundary of Italy) with only one legion and ignited civil war. Upon crossing the Rubicon, Plutarch reports that Caesar quoted  the Athenian playwright Menander in  Greek, saying ἀνερρίφθω κύβος (let the dice be tossed).  Suetonius gives the Latin approximation alea iacta est (the die is tossed).


The Optimates, including Metellus Scipio and Cato the Younger, fled to the  south, having little confidence in the newly raised troops especially since so  many cities in northern Italy had voluntarily surrendered. An attempted stand by  a consulate legion in Samarium resulted in the consul being handed over by the  defenders and the legion surrendering without significant fighting. Despite  greatly outnumbering Caesar, who only had his Thirteenth Legion with him, Pompey had no intention of fighting. Caesar  pursued Pompey to Brindisium,  hoping to capture Pompey before the trapped Senate and their legions could  escape.  Pompey managed to elude him, sailing out of the harbour before Caesar could  break the barricades.


Lacking a naval  force since Pompey had already scoured the coasts of all ships for  evacuation of his forces, Caesar decided to head for Hispania saying "I set  forth to fight an army without a leader, so as later to fight a leader without  an army." Leaving Marcus Aemilius Lepidus as prefect of Rome, and the rest of Italy under Mark  Antony as tribune, Caesar made an astonishing 27-day route-march to Hispania,  rejoining two of his Gallic legions, where he defeated Pompey's lieutenants. He  then returned east, to challenge Pompey in Greece where on 10 July 48 BC at Dyrrhachium Caesar barely avoided a catastrophic defeat when the line of  fortification was broken. He decisively defeated Pompey, despite Pompey's  numerical advantage (nearly twice the number of infantry and considerably more  cavalry), at Pharsalus in an exceedingly short engagement in 48 BC.


In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator,  with Mark  Antony as his Master of the Horse; Caesar presided over his own election to a second  consulate (with Publius Servilius Vatia as his colleague) and then, after eleven days,  resigned this dictatorate.



Cleopatra Before Caesar by the artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1866.

He pursued Pompey to Alexandria,  where Pompey was murdered by a former Roman officer serving in the court of King Ptolemy XIII.  Caesar then became involved with the Alexandrine civil war between Ptolemy and  his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, the Pharaoh Cleopatra VII. Perhaps as a result of Ptolemy's role in Pompey's murder,  Caesar sided with Cleopatra; he is reported to have wept at the sight of  Pompey's head,  which was offered to him by Ptolemy's chamberlain Pothinus as  a gift. In any event, Caesar defeated the Ptolemaic forces in 47 BC in the Battle of the Nile and installed Cleopatra as ruler. Caesar and Cleopatra  celebrated their victory of the Alexandrine civil war with a triumphant  procession on the Nile in the spring of 47 B.C. The royal barge was accompanied  by 400 additional ships, introducing Caesar to the luxurious lifestyle of the  Egyptian pharaohs.


Caesar and Cleopatra never married, as Roman Law only recognised marriages  between two Roman citizens. Caesar continued his relationship with Cleopatra  throughout his last marriage, which lasted 14 years – in Roman eyes, this did  not constitute adultery – and may have fathered a son called Caesarion.  Cleopatra visited Rome on more than one occasion, residing in Caesar's villa  just outside Rome across the Tiber.


Late in 48 BC, Caesar was again appointed Dictator, with a term of one year.  After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to the Middle  East, where he annihilated King Pharnaces II of Pontus in the Battle of Zela; his victory was so swift and complete that he mocked  Pompey's previous victories over such poor enemies.  Thence, he proceeded to Africa to deal with the remnants of Pompey's senatorial  supporters. He quickly gained a significant victory at Thapsus in 46 BC over the forces of Metellus Scipio (who died in the battle)  and Cato the Younger (who committed suicide).  After this victory, he was appointed Dictator for ten years.


Nevertheless, Pompey's sons Gnaeus Pompeius and Sextus Pompeius, together with Titus Labienus, Caesar's former propraetorian legate (legatus propraetore) and second in command in the Gallic War, escaped to  Hispania. Caesar gave chase and defeated the last remnants of opposition in the Battle of Munda in March 45 BC.  During this time, Caesar was elected to his third and fourth terms as consul in  46 BC (with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus) and 45 BC (without colleague).


Aftermath of the  civil war


While he was still campaigning in Hispania,  the Senate began bestowing honours on Caesar in absentia. Caesar had not  proscribed his enemies, instead pardoning almost all, and there was no serious  public opposition to him.


Great games and celebrations were held on 21 April to honour Caesar’s victory  at Munda. Plutarch writes that many Romans found the triumph held following  Caesar's victory to be in poor taste, as those defeated in the civil war had not  been foreigners, but instead fellow Romans.


On Caesar's return to Italy in September 45 BC, he filed his will, naming his  grandnephew Gaius Octavius (Octavian) as the heir to everything, including his name.  Caesar also wrote that if Octavian died before Caesar did, Marcus Junius Brutus would be the next heir in succession.


Caesar tightly regulated the purchase of state-subsidised grain and reduced  the number of recipients to a fixed number, all of whom were entered into a  special register.  From 47 to 44 he made plans for the distribution of land to about 15,000 of his  veterans.


In 63 BC Caesar had been elected Pontifex Maximus, and one of his roles as such was settling the calendar. A  complete overhaul of the old Roman calendar proved to be one of his most long lasting and influential  reforms. In 46 BC, Caesar established a 365-day year with a leap year every  fourth year.  (This Julian calendar was subsequently modified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 into the modern Gregorian calendar.) As a result of this reform, a certain Roman year  (mostly equivalent to 46 BC in the modern calendar) was made 445 days long, to  bring the calendar into line with the seasons.  The month of July is named after Julius in his honour.  The Forum of Caesar, with its Temple of Venus Genetrix, was built among many other public works.




On the Ides  of March (15 March; see Roman calendar) of 44 BC, Caesar was due to appear at a session of the  Senate. Mark Antony, having vaguely learned of the plot the night before from a  terrified Liberator named Servilius Casca, and fearing the worst, went to head Caesar off. The  plotters, however, had anticipated this and, fearing that Antony would come to  Caesar's aid, had arranged for Trebonius  to intercept him just as he approached the portico of Theatre of Pompey, where the session was to be held, and detain him outside.  (Plutarch, however, assigns this action to delay Antony to Brutus Albinus.) When he heard the commotion from the senate chamber, Antony  fled.



The senators encircle Caesar.

According to Plutarch, as Caesar arrived at the Senate Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother.  The other conspirators crowded round to offer support. Both Plutarch and Suetonius  say that Caesar waved him away, but Cimber grabbed his shoulders and pulled down  Caesar's tunic.  Caesar then cried to Cimber, "Why, this is violence!" ("Ista quidem vis est!").  At the same time, Casca produced his dagger and made a glancing thrust at the  dictator's neck. Caesar turned around quickly and caught Casca by the arm.  According to Plutarch, he said in Latin, "Casca, you villain, what are you doing?"  Casca, frightened, shouted "Help, brother!" in Greek ("ἀδελφέ,  βοήθει!", "adelphe, boethei!"). Within moments, the entire group,  including Brutus, was striking out at the dictator. Caesar attempted to get  away, but, blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him  as he lay defenceless on the lower steps of the portico. According to Eutropius,  around sixty or more men participated in the assassination. He was stabbed 23  times.  According to Suetonius, a physician later established that only one wound, the  second one to his chest, had been lethal.


The dictator's last words are not known with certainty, and are a contested  subject among scholars and historians alike. Suetonius reports that others have  said Caesar's last words were the Greek phrase "καὶ  σύ, τέκνον;"(transliterated as "Kai su, teknon?": "You too, child?" in English).  However, Suetonius himself says Caesar said nothing.  Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over his head  when he saw Brutus among the conspirators.  The version best known in the English-speaking world is the Latin phrase "Et  tu, Brute?" ("And you, Brutus?", commonly rendered as "You too,  Brutus?");  this derives from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, where it actually forms the first half of a macaronic line: "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar." It has no basis in  historical fact and Shakespeare's use of Latin here is not from any assertion  that Caesar would have been using the language, rather than the Greek reported  by Suetonius, but because the phrase was already popular at the time the play  was written.


According to Plutarch, after the assassination, Brutus stepped forward as if  to say something to his fellow senators; they, however, fled the building.  Brutus and his companions then marched to the Capitol while crying out to their  beloved city: "People of Rome, we are once again free!". They were met with  silence, as the citizens of Rome had locked themselves inside their houses as  soon as the rumour of what had taken place had begun to spread.


A wax statue of Caesar was erected in the forum displaying the 23 stab  wounds. A crowd who had amassed there started a fire, which badly damaged the  forum and neighbouring buildings. In the ensuing chaos Mark  Antony, Octavian (later Augustus Caesar), and others fought a series of five civil  wars, which would end in the formation of the Roman Empire.


Aftermath of  the assassination


The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death precipitated  the end of the Roman Republic.  The Roman middle and lower classes, with whom Caesar was immensely popular and  had been since before Gaul, became enraged that a small group of high-browed  aristocrats had killed their champion. Antony, who had been drifting apart from  Caesar, capitalised on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to unleash them  on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking control of Rome himself. But,  to his surprise and chagrin, Caesar had named his grandnephew Gaius Octavian  his sole heir, bequeathing him the immensely potent Caesar name as well as  making him one of the wealthiest citizens in the Republic.  The crowd at the funeral boiled over, throwing dry branches, furniture and even  clothing on to Caesar's funeral pyre, causing the flames to spin out of control,  seriously damaging the Forum. The mob then attacked the houses of Brutus and  Cassius, where they were repelled only with considerable difficulty, ultimately  providing the spark for the Liberators' civil war, fulfilling at least in part Antony's threat against  the aristocrats.  However, Antony did not foresee the ultimate outcome of the next series of civil  wars, particularly with regard to Caesar's adopted heir. Octavian, aged only 18  at the time of Caesar's death, proved to have considerable political skills, and  while Antony dealt with Decimus Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavian  consolidated his tenuous position.


In order to combat Brutus and Cassius, who were massing an enormous army in  Greece, Antony needed soldiers, the cash from Caesar's war chests, and the  legitimacy that Caesar's name would provide for any action he took against them.  With the passage of the lex Titia on 27 November 43 BC,  the Second Triumvirate was officially formed, composed of Antony, Octavian, and  Caesar's loyal cavalry commander Lepidus.  It formally deified Caesar as Divus Iulius in 42 BC, and Caesar Octavian henceforth became Divi filius  ("Son of a god").  Seeing that Caesar's clemency had resulted in his murder, the Second Triumvirate  brought back the horror of proscription, abandoned since Sulla.  It engaged in the legally-sanctioned murder of a large number of its opponents  in order to secure funding for its forty-five legions in the second civil war  against Brutus and Cassius.  Antony and Octavius defeated them at Philippi.


Afterward, Mark Antony married Caesar's lover, Cleopatra, intending to use  the fabulously wealthy Egypt as a base to dominate Rome. A third civil war broke  out between Octavian on one hand and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. This  final civil war, culminating in the latter's defeat at Actium, resulted in the permanent ascendancy of Octavian, who became the  first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus, a name that raised him to  status of a deity.


Julius Caesar had been preparing to invade Parthia, the Caucasus  and Scythia,  and then swing back onto Germania  through Eastern Europe. These plans were thwarted by his assassination.  His successors did attempt the conquests of Parthia and Germania, but without  lasting results.




Based on remarks by Plutarch,  Caesar is sometimes thought to have suffered from epilepsy.  Modern scholarship is "sharply divided" on the subject, and it is more certain  that he was plagued by malaria, particularly during the Sullan proscriptions of  the 80s.


Caesar had four documented episodes of what may have been complex partial  seizures. He may additionally have had absence seizures in his youth. The earliest accounts of these seizures were  made by the biographer Suetonius  who was born after Caesar died. The claim of epilepsy is countered among some  medical historians by a claim of hypoglycemia, which can cause epileptoid seizures.


Literary works


Caesar was considered during his lifetime to be one of the best orators and  authors of prose in Rome—even Cicero spoke highly of Caesar's rhetoric and  style.  Among his most famous works were his funeral oration for his paternal aunt Julia and his Anticato,  a document written to blacken Cato's reputation and respond to Cicero's Cato memorial. Poems by Caesar are also mentioned in ancient sources.  His works other than his war commentaries and his speeches have been lost.




The Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War), campaigns in Gallia and Britannia during his term as proconsul; and

The Commentarii de Bello Civili (Commentaries on the Civil War), events of the Civil War until immediately after Pompey's  death in Egypt.

Other works historically attributed to Caesar, but whose authorship is  doubted, are:


De Bello Alexandrino (On the Alexandrine War), campaign in  Alexandria;

De Bello Africo (On the African War), campaigns in North  Africa; and

De Bello Hispaniensi (On the Hispanic War), campaigns in the  Iberian peninsula.

These narratives were written and published on a yearly basis during or just  after the actual campaigns, as a sort of "dispatches from the front". Apparently  simple and direct in style—to the point that Caesar's Commentarii are  commonly studied by first and second year Latin students—they are in fact highly  sophisticated tracts, aimed most particularly at the middle-brow readership of  minor aristocrats in Rome, Italy, and the provinces.




Using the Latin alphabet as it existed in the day of Caesar (i.e., without lower case  letters, "J", or "U"), Caesar's name is properly rendered "GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR".  The form "CAIVS" is also attested using the old Roman pronunciation of letter C  as G; it is an antique form of the more common "GAIVS". It is often seen  abbreviated to "C. IVLIVS CAESAR". (The letterform "Æ" is a ligature, which is often encountered in Latin inscriptions where it was used to save space, and is nothing more than the  letters "ae".) In Classical Latin, it was pronounced [ˈɡaːius  ˈjuːlius ˈkaisar].  In the days of the late Roman Republic, many historical writings were done in Greek, a language most  educated Romans studied. Young wealthy Roman boys were often taught by Greek  slaves and sometimes sent to Athens for  advanced training, as was Caesar's principal assassin, Brutus. In Greek,  during Caesar's time, his family name was written Καίσαρ, reflecting its  contemporary pronunciation. Thus his name is pronounced in a similar way to the  pronunciation of the German Kaiser. This  German name was phonemically but not phonetically derived from the Middle  Ages Ecclesiastical Latin, in which the familiar part "Caesar" is [ˈtʃeːsar], from which the modern English pronunciation is derived, as  well as the title of Tsar. His name is also remembered in Norse mythology, where he is manifested as the legendary king Kjárr.


Sacrificial implement:


The augur was a priest and official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome and Etruria. His main role was to interpret the  will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups/alone, what noises they make  as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known  as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the  augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society—public or  private—including matters of war, commerce, and religion.


The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs:  "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices,  that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after  taking the auspices?"


A Simpulum, or Simpuvium, was a small vessel or ladle with a long handle from the Roman era, used at sacrifices to make  libations, and to taste the wines and other liquors which were poured on the  head of the sacrificial victims. The simpulum was the sign of Roman priesthood, and one of the insignia of  the College of Pontiffs.


The simpulum appears on a coin from Patras struck under Augustus. It is also placed before the head of Vesta, as a mark of that goddess, on a coin of  the Domitian family, and is seen in the hand of a Vestal Virgin on coins of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. A man in a toga holds a simpulum in his hand on a coin of Antonio Drusi. It is  commonly shown with the lituus and other sacrificial and augural  instruments, on coins of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Augustus, Caligula, Vespasian, Nerva, Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, Caracalla, Publius Septimius Geta, Volusianus, Saloninus, Valerianus Minor, Domitius Calvinus and Pontius Pilate, as well as on many consular and  colonial medals.


An aspergillum (less commonly, aspergilium or aspergil)  is a liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water. It comes in two common forms: a  brush that is dipped in the water and shaken, and a perforated ball at the end  of a short handle. Some have sponges or internal reservoirs that dispense holy  water when shaken, while others must periodically be dipped in an aspersorium  (holy water bucket, known to art historians as a situla).


An aspergillum is used in Roman Catholic and Anglican ceremonies, including the Rite of Baptism and during the Easter Season. In addition, a priest will use  the aspergillum to bless the candles during candlemas services and the palms during Palm Sunday Mass. At a requiem, if a casket is present, the priest  will sprinkle holy water on the casket. The aspergillum can be used in other  manners where sprinkling of holy water is appropriate, as in a house blessing,  in which the priest might bless the entry to the home. The name derives from the Latin verb aspergere 'to sprinkle'.


The form of the aspergillum differs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the Greek Orthodox Church the aspergillum (randistirion)  is in the form of a standing vessel with a tapering lid. The top of the lid has  holes in it from which the agiasmos (holy water) is sprinkled. In  the Russian Orthodox Church the aspergillium is in  the form of a whisk made of cloth or hair. Sometimes, sprigs  of basil are used to sprinkle holy water. In some  of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, no aspergillum is  used, but the priest will pour holy water into the palm of his right hand and  throw it on the faithful.


A jug is a type of container for liquid. The term jug can also be  used describe the breast of a woman, due to the fact that it holds liquid. It  has an opening, often narrow, from which to pour or drink, and nearly always has  some kind of handle. One could imagine a jug being made from nearly any  watertight material, but most jugs throughout history have been made from clay,  glass, or plastic. Some Native American and other tribes created liquid  holding vessels by making woven baskets lined with an asphaltum sealer.


The lituus was a crooked wand (similar in shape to the top part  of a crosier) used as a cult instrument in ancient Roman religion by augurs to mark out a ritual space in the sky (a templum). The passage of birds through this templum indicated divine favor or disfavor for a given undertaking.

The lituus was also used as a symbol of office for the college of the  augurs to mark them out as a priestly group.

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