In Depth Study 2c : Julius Caesar
The role of a significant individual in the ancient Mediterranean world
- using a range of sources, including digital sources, investigate the role of a significant individual in the ancient Mediterranean world
- assess the role and significance of the individual chosen
Julius Caesar is one of the most important and well-known figures from ancient Rome. A member of the Patrician house of the Julii, the acts of Caesar from 49 BC (when he crossed the Rubicon with his army) until his assassination in 44 BC undeniably changed the course of Roman history. Born in 100 BC, Caesar’s 56 years saw many military and political accomplishments. He survived Sulla’s proscriptions in 82/81 BC, was captured by pirates and successfully waged wars against Mithridates VI (74 BC), the Gauls (58 – 52 BC), and his political rivals at Rome (49 – 48 BC). Politically, he was a surveyor of the Appian Way, a praetor, governor of Spain and Roman Gaul. He held two Consulships in 59 BC and 48 BC, was a member of the First Triumvirate alongside Pompey and Crassus (60-53 BC) which ended in Crassus’ death and was made dictator for 10 years in 46 BC and then finally for life in 44 BC. For more on Caesar’s life see this useful Timeline of the Life of Gaius Julius Caesar. Below is further information on the life and legacy of Caesar, including the sources of his life his role and long-term significance of his actions.
Egisto Sani (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), Exhibition “Augustus Revolution” (Roma, Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo, 16.12.2014 — 02.07.2015).
Sources on Julius Caesar
- British Museum’s online catalogue to search for sources on Julius Caesar, both ancient and from the Renaissance.
- The Green Caesar and Cleopatra in Altes Museum shows the two famous busts of once lovers Cleopatra and Caesar now housed in Berlin.
- The so-called ‘Tusculum’ portrait of Julius Caesar, housed in the Archaeological Museum, Turin, Italy. This bust of Caesar is so famous as it is, perhaps, the only sculpture of the dictator carved during his lifetime.
- For the most important written sources on Julius Caesar see Livius’ site on Gaius Julius Caesar. This gives a brief overview not only of the sources, but also on Caesar's life and the aftermath of his death.
Role of Julius Caesar
- Livius, an online resource, has articles on everything for a study of the life and career of Julius Caesar.
- YouTube series by Ancient History Guy on Julius Caesar: PART 1 Early Life; PART TWO The First Triumvirate; PART THREE The Gallic Wars; PART FOUR Civil War and the Death of Caesar. This four-part series traces the life of Caesar, his major achievements both militarily and politically, as well as his dictatorship and eventual assassination.
Significance of Julius Caesar
- National Geographic, "Julius Caesar" (July 2018) is a brief article that outlines the life of Caesar and why his actions were so important.
- Ted-Ed YouTube video on The Great Conspiracy against Julius Caesar by Kathryn Tempest. This is a fun six-minute video that looks at the assassination of Caesar and its significance in the decades that followed.
- YouTube documentary on Julius Caesar and the Fall of the Republic is a sixteen-minute video that looks at Caesar’s life and how his actions contributed to the fall of the Republic.
- Rodrick Conway Morris, ‘Tracing a Roman Ruler’s Life and Legacy’, New York Times (6 April 2009). This New York Times article by looks at the life and legacy of Caesar (all the way to the Middle Ages) and suggests why he was so politically prominent.
- Mary Beard, The Fall of the Republic, BBC History (29 March 2011). This article looks at the significance of Caesar's actions in fall of the Republic including the changes in the army, the intensifying crisis, his rivalry with Pompey and how his image was used under his adopted son, Octavian (Augustus).