A companion to Julius Caesar by Miriam Griffin

By Miriam Griffin

A spouse to Julius Caesar includes 30 essays from top students analyzing the existence and after lifetime of this nice polarizing figure.

  • Explores Caesar from numerous views: army genius, ruthless tyrant, terrific baby-kisser, top notch orator, subtle guy of letters, and more
  • Utilizes Caesar’s personal extant writings
  • Examines the viewpoints of Caesar’s contemporaries and explores Caesar’s portrayals by way of artists and writers throughout the ages

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Extra resources for A companion to Julius Caesar

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His study in Rhodes was soon interrupted by the incursion of an advance guard of Mithridates into Asia, which began the Third Mithridatic War (75/4). Caesar is said to have collected auxilia (for which the Greek cities no doubt again had to pay) and ‘‘by expelling the king’s prefect from the province secured the loyalty of the cities that had been wavering’’ (Iul. 2). This is a striking example of the Caesar myth. That a scratch force collected by a man with minimal, if any, experience of commanding a military force, and no doubt collected from different cities, could achieve such a splendid success would be difficult to believe – even if we did not actually know that several cities joined Mithridates.

Caes. 6; Suet. Iul. 11; Vell. Pat. 4). This too should not be interpreted as a partisan act (contra: Badian, chapter 2, p. 21). Caesar revived the triumphal tokens of a man whose exploits had rescued the state from its foreign foes – and, of course, he enhanced his own family’s image in the process. Caesar also knew where real power lay. He moved gingerly to associate himself with Rome’s most formidable figure, Pompeius Magnus. Indications of this may be discerned already in the late 70s when Caesar very energetically supported those who advocated the restoration of tribunician powers that Sulla had curtailed (Suet.

3d 24 Erich S. 12). Caesar could not therefore be accused (and was not accused) of breaking precedent to advance unparalleled ambitions. Nonetheless, the feat had few antecedents, and it attests to remarkable political influence garnered by one still at an early stage of his career. This surprising achievement can serve as centerpiece for exploring the background of Caesar’s rise to eminence and the qualities and associations that brought him unusual authority. It also raises a critical question about the significance of his political path: how far did it represent conventional politics, shrewdly and adroitly played, and how far did it constitute a dramatic turn for the Republic that presaged radical change?

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