How Caesar’s Dictatorship and Gallic Conquest Changed Both Rome and Gaul

Ultimately, it allowed Caesar to overthrow the Roman Republic and led to the establishment of the Imperial system. Introduction Julius Cesar is one of the most famous men in all of history. He was one of the greatest military commanders of all time and the man who transformed the Roman Republic into an Empire. One[…]

Avenging Caesar: The Liberators’ Civil War in Ancient Rome

After the murder of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius (also known as the Liberatores) had left Italy and taken control of all Eastern provinces. Introduction The Liberators’ civil war (43–42 BC) was started by the Second Triumvirate to avenge Julius Caesar’s assassination. The war was fought by the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian (the Second[…]

‘Beware the Ides of March’: When a Ruler Gets Drunk on Power

In 44 BC, at the celebration of the Lupercalia, Julius Caesar, seated in a gilded chair at the front of the Rostra, publicly refused the diadem of kingship presented to him by Antony. He already exercised the power of dictator, and many regarded the gesture as nothing more than pretense. Indeed, for Appian, “the difference[…]

Caesar Hath the Falling Sickness: Disability in Shakespearean Drama

What if we understand the play as a story about the disabled body as it was configured in the early modern cultural imagination? Abstract This essay investigates William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar as a disability narrative. In doing so, it reveals that “disabled” was an operational identity category in the early modern period[…]

Shakespeare’s Romans: Politics and Ethics in ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Coriolanus’

What is the context for Shakespeare’s Roman plays? Why did classical Rome capture the interest of people in Renaissance England? Introduction When William Shakespeare first staged his Roman tragedies Julius Caesar (1599) and Coriolanus (c. 1608), he did not introduce his audience to new stories. Rather, he reworked characters and events with which most of[…]

Ruling in Ancient Rome: Why Julius Caesar Refused to Be Crowned King

Mark Antony, one of the most powerful politicians in the Roman Republic, offered the nation’s elected leader, Julius Caesar, a crown. A Brief History of Rome According to legend, the Romans had banished their last king in 509 B.C., when they founded the republic and vowed never to be ruled by kings again. Instead, Roman[…]

Gaius Julius Caesar: The First Emperor before the First Emperor in Ancient Rome

Caesar fought in a civil war that left him undisputed master of the Roman world. Introduction Gaius Julius Caesar (July 13, 100 B.C.E. – March 15, 44 B.C.E.) was a Roman military and political leader whose role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire changed the course of Western civilization. His[…]

Pompey the Great: Vying for Power in the Last Years of the Roman Republic

Pompey fought on the side of the Optimates, the conservative faction in the Roman Senate, until he was defeated by Caesar. Introduction Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, commonly known as Pompey /’pɑmpi/, Pompey the Great or Pompey the Triumvir (September 29, 106 B.C.E.–September 28, 48 B.C.E.), was a distinguished military and political leader of the late Roman[…]

Caesar as Dictator: His Impact on the City of Rome

By Steven Fife During his reign as dictator from 49-44 BC, Julius Caesar had a number of notable impacts on the city of Rome. One of the initial crises with which Caesar had to deal was widespread debt in Rome, especially after the outbreak of civil war when lenders demanded repayment of loans and real estate values collapsed. The result was a serious shortage[…]

Julius Caesar in Gaul

Caesar created a new version of ‘Gaul’, expanding geographical boundaries and excluding some areas traditionally ascribed to it.    Where Was Gaul? While we might think of Gaul as the ‘ancient version’ of modern France, the Romans included modern Belgium, parts of the Netherlands and northern Italy in Gaul. Gallia Transalpina meant ‘Gaul beyond the[…]