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Julius Caesar and the Fall of the Roman Republic

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Julius Caesar and the Fall of the Roman Republic

During the life of Julius Caesar between 100 BC to 44 BC, he had concluded the work instituted by his late uncle Gaius Marius by ultimately diminishing the sovereignty of the Senate. Caesar who was born into the Julian clan had an aristocratic lifestyle until at 19 where it was arranged that he must travel to western Anatolia to serve as governor in Asia Minor. Through a series of provincial governing and an influential alliance, in 59 BC Caesar was elected pro-consul for the southern section of Gaul under Roman property. He would attain this title until the last politico-military conflict in the Roman Republic where he became the undisputed dictator of Rome resulting in the inauguration of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar, the last Consul before the fall of the Roman Republic ended its dominance through the destabilisation of the senatorial system; the establishment of his authority through fame and popularity and installing his reforms as dictator. He undermined the jurisdiction of Aristocracy as early in his political career by resurrecting Marianism within the populares and his agrarian land reform during the prime of the first Triumvirate. His Gallic campaign bolstered his popularity in Rome and among his soldiers. Lastly, his amendments to the Roman constitution such as the expansion of the senatorial body and to ban lavish and extravagant fashion finally caused the Republic’s breakdown.

Caesar challenged the Optimates in constitutional strength in the early stages of his political career. The death of Caesar’s aunt Julia exhibited Caesar’s opposition to the conservatives. In his delivery of the oration on her public funeral, Caesar carried effigies of Marius in the procession. This contravention can be viewed as Caesar’s defiance to the Sullan conservative order whilst re-establishing the Marian memory which was deemed illegal by the state. The public setting provided Caesar the advantageous opportunity to establish his anti-conservative stance amongst the patricians and plebeians present. Resultantly, both factions developed initial notions to Caesar’s move. He also confidently instituted his family name stating “The family of my aunt Julia is descended by her mother from the kings, and other her father’s side akin to the immortal Gods… and the Julii, the family of which ours is a branch, to Venus.” (Suetonius). This sparked an interest to his cause. The proletariats, attracted to his defiance of the state and his claimed heredity, started to become aware of his name. Through this, the Optimates saw Caesar simply as a nuisance to the status quo. Caesar intensified his resistance to the Senate through a consul-instituted agrarian land reform with the aid of the First Triumvirate. Once in office in 59 BC he developed a bill stating provision of unused lands throughout Italy to Pompey’s veterans and the Roman poor. Rather than proceeding the bill to the approval of the Senate, Caesar rebuked this standard process and delivered it directly to the people, which was radical offence to the state. Accordingly, Caesar was able to present himself as a formidable opponent to the republican government by proceeding the consulship in his own terms, completely disregarding Senatorial rule. Furthermore his defiance again proved to the plebians that Caesar was wary of the disenfranchised proletariat grasp on Rome reflected by his reform to aid the landless due to overdue debt mainly caused by wealthy patricians. Caesar was able to weaken the senatorial



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