Ambition In Julius Caesar

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1. Introduction
In William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, Gaius Julius Caesar is described by the character of Mark Antony as being, “…the noblest Roman of them all…” (Shakespeare Julius Caesar 5.5.67.231). Julius Caesar has been represented in history as a multi-faceted Roman leader, excelling in the military, social and political spheres of Roman life. This discursive analysis will centre around Caesar’s position in history through a focus on his characteristics as exhibited in sources. His appeal as a fascinating historical character through his ambitious nature and popularity amongst the people will first be examined, followed by a discussion on how Caesar achieved his prominent position in history resulting from his contributions
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Through his drive for success, Caesar took advantage of every opportunity to rise in Roman society, from starting his career as military tribune to becoming quaestor of Further Spain and later curator of Rome (Freeman 2008:45). His tenure as consul with Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus became known as “…the consulship of Julius and Caesar...” resulting from Caesar’s ambition to undertake all of Rome’s state affairs (Suetonius The Lives of Caesars XX.59). It was the result of Caesar’s ambition that led him to cross the Rubicon river, Rome’s northern boundary, to protect his political position in Rome. By not disbanding his army, Caesar was effectively disregarding the boundary regulation of the Rubicon and this implied civil war (Class Notes Part II 2017:131). This ambitious action can best be described by a quote from Caesar himself which states “if you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases, observe it.” From a family that was not politically influential, he would become dictator…show more content…
Ineligible citizens were taking from grain stocks intended for poorer citizens and to address this fraud, Caesar issued a census. To spread Rome’s influence, Caesar sent, according to Suetonius (The Lives of Caesars XLII.89) “eighty thousand citizens” to establish colonies abroad and to combat the subsequent depopulation of Rome, a decree was issued by Caesar that men between twenty and forty were not allowed to travel for longer than three years unless serving in the army (Freeman 2008:336-8). Caesar also made strides in internationalising Rome by extending citizenship to professionals who had settled in Rome thus expanding Rome’s middle class. By dismissing members of the senatorial order found guilty of extortion, Caesar undertook to reorganise the senate and as such “…enrolled additional patricians, and increased the number of praetors, aediles, and quaestors, as well as of the minor officials…” (Suetonius The Lives of Caesars
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