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Julius Caesar

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One of the most influential political and military leaders in global history, Gaius Julius Caesar helped establish the vast empire ruled by Rome. Gaius Julius Caser was born in the year of 100 BC into a patrian family. At the time of his birth, Rome was still a republic and the empire was only really beginning. The senators ruled, motivated by the greed of power in the hope of becoming either a consul or a praetor, the two senior posts which carried emporium, the legal right to command an army. From these posts it was possible to, with the help of an army at your command, conquer new territories and so gain triumph and the pleasure of knowing that your name will be remembered forever in statues and inscribed monuments, paid for by the spoils of war.

Caesar made his way to praetorship by 62 BC and many of the senate thought of him a dangerous and ambitious man, and deprived him of a triumph after his praetorian command in Spain (61-60 BC) and they also did their best to keep him out of consulship. But despite all of their efforts, he finally became consul in 59 BC. During his consulship, Caesar pushed through a special law giving him a five-year command in two provinces located in northern Italy and the Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia, Cispine Gaul and Illycrium. Caesar saw this as a great opportunity to extend the empire

By the time Caesar came to Gaul, the Romans were in control of Cispine Gaul and also Narbonese Gaul in the southern most point of Gaul, which was simply called the Province because it was the main province in the Roman Empire after Rome itself. The rest of Gaul was free and divided into Celtic tribes. They had many fights among themselves and except for the higher up leaders, or druids, none really feared the advancing Romans. Most of the oppida, Gallic fortified town or stronghold, such as Cenabum, the main oppida of the Carnutes, had Roman traders who now lived there (NOTE: The adjective of Gaul is Gallic). The Romans didn't use violence to take over, they just sent in the traders who settled and married and slowly they infiltrated their ideas into the society. By this stage, some of the Gauls had given up worshipping their Celtic gods and had set up alters to the Roman gods.

The Aedui tribe in particular had been affected. When Caesar first came to Gaul, the country had two main tribes and all the other tribes supported one or the other. At that time, the Aedui and the Sequani were the two rival tribes. The Sequani made an alliance with some Germans and with their help, defeated the Aedui tribes many times over. They killed all the nobles and took the sons of all the leading men as hostages. They made the tribe swear an oath never to plot against the Sequani. The Sequani also occupied a section of Aeduan land bordering their own. By doing this, they established themselves as the leading tribe in Gaul.

When Caesar heard of these developments, he returned from Rome. The hostages were returned and the former dependents of the Aedui restored. The Sequani lost their supremacy and the Remi tribe, who were also favored by Caesar, took over their place. Because of this incident, the Aedui tribe were allies of Caesar and when the Aedui felt threatened by other tribes, they began to trade grain for Roman soldiers to build up their armies. There had always been a lot of unrest among the Gauls as Caesar's army began to have more control over the country and as the Roman philosophies infiltrated the tribes. There were many revolts and small-scale rebellions, which the Roman army dealt with easily. However, the Romans knew that if ever the Gallic tribes formed an alliance, it would not be so easy.

One tribal prince, Celtius of the Arverni, tried to do just that, and to make himself King of all free Gaul. This is supposedly against the Gallic beliefs and is punishable by death. However when he was found murdered, evidence pointed that Roman weapons had been. Celtius' son, Vercingetorix was furious, and blamed the Romans. He also realized that if they wanted to remain free, they would have to join together.

The Carnutes were the first to respond, because on their land was the sacred grove which was the holiest place in the country. The head druid was elected there and it was where the druids met. The Carnutes asked the other tribes to bring their military standards together which was a very solemn oath, and to swear not to desert them when the war started. The result was that on an appointed day, the Carnutes, lead by Cotuatus and Conconnetodumnus, entered Cenabum and killed all the Roman citizens who had settled there, and plundered their property. When the news spread through the country, reaching Arverni, Celtius' son, Vercingetorix called all his descendants together and told them of his planned rebellion. Once word spread, more people joined his army. He first went to get support from his fellow Arvernians and then from other tribes such as the Senones, the Parisii, the Pictones, the Cadurci, the Turoni, and all other tribes along the Atlantic coast.

Vercingetorix moved his forces towards the Bituriges on their way towards Rome. The Bituriges were allies of the Aedui, but a fairly strong tribe in their own right. When the Bituriges realized that Vercingetorix was coming, they sent word to the Aedui for help, and the Aedui sent out Roman cavalry and infantry. However, once the troops reached the River of Loire separating the two territories, they were too scared to cross it and left after three days. With this, the Bituriges allied themselves with the advancing Arverni.

Now that he had control over the lands of the Bituriges, Vercingetorix started to lead his army to the Boii oppidum of Gorgobina, whom Caesar had settled under the protection of the Aedui after he had defeated them in battle. Caesar sent word that he was going to come and help them. On the way, he stopped his troops at Vellaundunum, oppidum of the Senones, and set up siege. He didn't want to leave any enemies behind him who might get in the way of the grain deliveries and supply. The siege lasted three days before a deputation was sent out to discuss terms of surrender. Once this was finalized, Caesar set off again for Gorgobina via Cenabum. The Carnute, the first allies of Celtius of the Averni, who was the one that planned the rebellion of Gaul, had only just heard of the siege at Vellaundunum. They had begun to gather and organize troops to garrison Cenabum, the Carnutes stronghold. They didn't expect the siege to be so short, and were surprised to find Caesar camped outside the town. They decided to escape over the bridge at the back of the oppidum, but Caesar had predicted this and stationed patrols to keep armed watch all night. When he heard of the escape, he set fire to the gates of the oppidum and entered. Because the bridge and roads were so narrow, very few inhabitants escaped. Caesar



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