Conflicting Perspectives Essay Julius Caesar

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Although any freeborn Roman could attempt a political career the oligarchy ensured a man without ancestors could not rise further than the praetorship; guarding admission to the Senate and the consulship (Syme, 19).

The oligarchy had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo in order to protect wealth and land, and stop political revolutionary activity.

It required a considerable amount of money for a Roman to raise their profile and lay the groundwork for a political career.

The culmination of this monetary outlay was an appointment to the Senate.

Similar recollections of Caesar’s clemency are identifiable in Plutarch (Caesar 34.4), Cicero (Letters Atticus:9.16 and 8.13) and Dio (Roman History 41.15.4).

There were political reasons for such clemency, namely the restoration of an agreeable situation in Rome (Canfora, 209).

Canfora (204-5) provides an example of such propaganda; Caesar in The Civil War states that his actions were a defence of the tribunes but this hides the truth that had he not invaded Rome he would have been prosecuted for crimes committed whilst consul in 59 BC.

Caesar was immune from prosecution whilst consul of Rome and proconsul of Gaul, as he retained imperium.

Canfora’s (2007) assessment is an accurate analysis of the evidence with Syme (1939) and Taylor (1949) agreeing that this prompted Caesar’s invasion of Italy.

It would be inappropriate to base an assessment of Caesar’s character solely on the representation in The Civil War.


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