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More than two thousand years after his death, Julius Caesar remains one of the great figures of history. He shaped Rome for generations, and his name became a synonym for "emperor" -- not only in Rome but as far away as Germany and Russia. He is best known as the general who defeated the Gauls and doubled the size of Rome's territories. But, as Philip Freeman describes in this fascinating new biography, Caesar was also a brilliant orator, an accomplished writer, a skilled politician, and much more.
Julius Caesar was a complex man, both hero and villain. He possessed great courage, ambition, honor, and vanity. Born into a noble family that had long been in decline, he advanced his career cunningly, beginning as a priest and eventually becoming Rome's leading general. He made alliances with his rivals and then discarded them when it suited him. He was a spokesman for the ordinary people of Rome, who rallied around him time and again, but he profited enormously from his conquests and lived opulently. Eventually he was murdered in one of the most famous assassinations in history.
Caesar's contemporaries included some of Rome's most famous figures, from the generals Marius, Sulla, and Pompey to the orator and legislator Cicero as well as the young politicians Mark Antony and Octavius (later Caesar Augustus). Caesar's legendary romance with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra still fascinates us today.
In this splendid biography, Freeman presents Caesar in all his dimensions and contradictions. With remarkable clarity and brevity, Freeman shows how Caesar dominated a newly powerful Rome and shaped its destiny. This book will captivate readers discovering Caesar and ancient Rome for the first time as well as those who have a deep interest in the classical world.
clear as we might hope. Presumably his Roman audience was much more familiar with the technical aspects and terminology than we are. For a closer look into this remarkable structure, I recommend the notes and diagrams from the relevant section of the Loeb Classical Library volume of Caesar’s Gallic War and O’Connor, Roman Bridges (139–41). Caesar’s intention in crossing the Rhine: Caesar, Gallic War 4.18–19. the mythic island of Britain: Caesar discusses his first campaign in Britain in his
Cicero, Letters to Atticus 129.2 (7.6.2). Curio finally succeeded in forcing the Senate to vote: Plutarch, Pompey 52.4–6. Gaius Marcellus marched across the Forum to Pompey: Plutarch, Pompey 58. 5–6, 59.1; Appian, Civil War 2.31. Caesar moved to Ravenna: Suetonius, Caesar 30.1; Caesar (Hirtius), Gallic War 8.54–55; Appian, Civil War 2.32. Caesar laid out his ultimatum: Appian, Civil War 2.32–33. Cicero labored over the next few days: Plutarch, Pompey 59.3, Caesar 31; Suetonius, Caesar
Selected Essays, edited by Christine Dunn Henderson and Mark E. Yellin. “The greatest man who ever lived was Julius Caesar”: Letter of Thomas Jeffseron to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Monticello (January 16, 1811). See Chernow 2004, 398. BIBLIOGRAPHY ANCIENT SOURCES Considering that most of Greek and Roman literature has been lost to fire, flood, vermin, and neglect over the last two thousand years, we are fortunate to possess as much information about Caesar’s life as we do. Still, the
subordinates, but he maintained constant contact with the Province and now visited it in person. This mountainous territory on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea had once served as a haunt of pirates and as a buffer state between Rome and Macedon, but now the land was at peace. Caesar had insisted on the governance of the province when he was still pondering an invasion of Dacia to the east—and though he was currently occupied in Gaul, he maintained a lively interest in Illyricum with an eye to
wild Gaulish warriors in lands that had known peace for decades threw the natives into a frenzy. Instead of finding a way north to his legions, Caesar was forced to organize a local militia to drive the invading Gauls away from the border. Caesar was compelled to waste time shoring up defenses in the Province when he was urgently needed in the north. But, cut off by the armies of Vercingetorix and the winter snows of the Massif Central, how could he hope to reach his legions in time? The