Within Plutarch’s Parallel Lives previously discussed on an earlier post is the biography of Caesar. By this, I mean Gaius Julius Caesar known as simply Julius Caesar. Except that is that there is very little that is simple about Julius Caesar. This Roman general and politician played a critical role in the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.
In 60 BC, a political alliance called the Populares rose to dominate Roman politics for several years. This group consisted of Caesar, Crassus and Pompey and was opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate. Caesar’s victories in the Gallic Wars extended Rome’s reach to the English Channel and the Rhine. He was, in fact, the first Roman general to cross both the Rhine and the English Channel.
In these achievements, Caesar gained unmatched military power and gained an enemy out of Pompey who realigned with the Senate. The Senate ordered Caesar to step down after the Gallic Wars. When Caesar not only refused to step down but crossed the Rubicon into Roman Italy with the 13th Legion, civil war resulted. Caesar’s forces won and this put him in an unrivalled position of powerful influence.
After taking control of the government, Caesar began a program of social and governmental reform, centralized the bureaucracy of the republic and became dictator in perpetuity. On the Ides of March (March 15, 44 BC), a group of senators assassinated him. Civil War broke out again leaving Octavian as the emperor known as Augustus and beginning the Roman Empire.
You may read Plutarch’s Lives as it pertains to Caesar here:
Alternatively, it may be listened to within the audiobook format found here: