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Based on my personal opinion, Julius Caesar was a highly influential Roman, as a leader and as an ordinary person. He is a person who greatly influenced the then Roman people, as well as the recent generations, including Western culture affiliates. He lived between July 100 BC and March 44 BC. Caesar was a statesman, Roman General, and a renowned writer of Latin literature.
He was a major actor in bringing about the gradual revolution of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Among the milestones of his life, in 60 BC, together with Pompey, he formed the political alliance, an establishment created to dominate Roman politics for a number of years.
However, their attempts to converge power through populist movements, were greatly opposed by the conservative elite class within the Roman senate. These included Cato the younger, and Cicero. Caesar’s conquest over Gaul was accomplished by 51 BC, leading to the expansion of Rome’s coverage to the English Channel and the Rhine area.
Caesar recorded the accomplishment of becoming the first Roman Empire, to cross both boundaries, after building a bridge across the Rhine and leading the first invasion into the British territory (Thorne, 2003).
The accomplishments which Caesar achieved, marked him as an unmatched military leader, who would command massive military power, which led to his eclipsing of Pompey’s standing. The division of power among the two was further threatened by the death of Crassus in 53 BC.
Later, the political realignments taking place in Roman rule led to confrontation between Caesar and Pompey, with Pompey assuming the course of the senate. Through the demands of the senate, Caesar was required to face a trial in Rome, over a number of charges.
Instead, Caesar accompanied by one legion, marched from Gaul to Italy, during which, he crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC. The march sparked a civil war, which left Caesar, the unopposed leader of the Roman Republic.
After taking up leadership over the government, he started widespread reforms of the Roman society and the government system. Further, he centralized the bureaucracy of the Roman Republic, thus was declared a dictator in precedence.
Later on, a number of senators led by Marcus Brutus, ordered the assassination of Caesar in 44 BC, hoping that his death would help revert the system to the constitutional republic government system.
However, the unexpected came about, as a series of civil wars took place, which led to the ultimate permanent establishment of the Roman Empire by Caesar’s adopted heir, Octavius (Augustus Caesar). The larger part of Caesars life was marked by his military engagements (Thorne, 2003).
During his time and after his death, especially among the Romans and his present day admirers, Julius Caesar was well-liked and revered for a number of accomplishments and traits. These include the view that he was a defender of the rights of the people of his time, against the ruling oligarchy.
He is also revered as a highly ambitious person, who was able to push his way into dictatorial power, and bringing about the death of the republic, through his highly developed tactical leadership. Caesar is also revered for his gifted, versatile nature, which saw him amass great success in war, as an orator and a statesman in an effective manner (Thorne, 2003).
Another area that has touched and influenced succeeding generation till the present time, is the literary ability of Caesar. His literary creations are highly revered and used as military references. These include the civil war literature (three books), and commentaries on the Gallic wars, which are documented in seven books.
This literature lives on, and is cited as beautiful and clearly drawn from Latin classic works. In the field of poetry, the only one of Caesar’s works which is traceable to the present, is a poem about Terrence. This piece has also received usage and reverence as a concise Latin piece, depicting the literal constructions of the then Roman society.
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In tracing his influence on the Western culture up to date, Caesars death, served to trigger his power and influence, which grew to the level of installing him as a central symbol of western culture and a mythic emblem.
In contributing to the Western culture, the figure of Caesar has been adopted by historical figures like Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Madison Avenue, and George Shaw. For instance, Mussolini and Napoleon have given tribute to Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon in the protection of the dictatorial course they supported.
Caesar has received credit as a one of a kind political leader. Credit is given to the social, economic, and political changes he caused on the Roman society and government. Caesar’s unique model is given credit and acknowledgement for the ability he showed in breaking the long-standing laws operating within the then Roman society.
This serves to show him as a historical model, who may be emulated by the leaders of today, to bring about the changes that are needed within the history of government systems. Some of the revolutionary changes of Caesar, include his bringing of an entire army into the city, mainly because, prior to his act of disobedience, the army had not set foot inside the city of Rome.
Caesar is seen as a proponent of changes, against the interests of the powerful system, proving the ability of changing socially constructed tolerance for undesired societal systems and structures. Some of the lines or key phrases used or related to his life, are used in real life situations, to explain the directly unrelated events or occurrences.
One phrase which has received such usage to a considerable level is, ‘Crosses the Rubicon,’ which is used as a figurative phrase to show the situation of going beyond the expected conventional levels. For instance, the phrase is used in explaining the cases, where an individual acts way beyond his entitlement, in terms of what he is allowed to do and what not to.
These constructions show that his lines of action, mark milestones in marking real life events, which has held value for many generations after his death (Elton, 1996).
After his death, instead of his legacy dying and things returning to the way they were before he had got into the picture of political leadership, they got even worse, with the possibility of a return to the republic status becoming impossible. Instead, what happened was that civil wars started taking place, which threatened the leadership of the very people who had gotten Caesar assassinated.
After all the civil wars and the deterioration in stability, the leadership fell into the hands of Caesars heir, Mr. Augustus Caesar, and not the rivals. The power of Augustus, further led to the permanent change to the empire status of the region, thus the hopes of reclaiming the republic status (Casson, 1998).
The death of Caesar was more of a motivation to the Romans, and not a loss of their highly esteemed leader. This can be traced to the dramatic entry into power, which had clearly portrayed to the Romans, the ability of working against the common current or established negative principles.
After his death, the Romans were again woken up to the fact that they would expect the leadership imbalances eliminated by Caesar to resurface. As a result, the fear that a power struggle would take place empowered the Romans, which led to the revolt against the leadership change, thus the civil wars witnessed.
This was highly unexpected, as Caesar, a declared dictator, had the support of all the people of Rome, and his death resulted in administrative imbalances. That helped serve the role of showing that he was more of a Roman’s leader, though a dictator. This trait has led to the long held prominence of this icon, thus the influence of Western leadership which comes along with it (Blackburn & Holford, 1999).
The key role played by Caesar in changing Rome and Europe in general, is socially, through the conquering of Gaul and the extension of the Roman culture into England, Belgium, and France. This was the unifying tie, between these varied lands of Celtic tribes into a unified common, in the fabric of the history of Western Europe as Romanic, and the Germanic Europe as a classic.
These major revisions of the cultural aspects of Europe and other societies, have played a great role, in shaping the current world, which has directed credit to him, even thousands of years after his death (Adkins & Adkins, 1998).
One highly revered figure in the history of the Western culture as well as the history of the globe as a whole is Caesar, a person who was authoritative in his time, and who grew more influential after his death.
The areas that give this figure immense influence, include his pattern of leadership against the odds, as well as the historical role played in creating the Western culture. Thousands of years later, his name is as influential as it was after his death, both in leadership lines as well as other areas.
Adkins, L., & Adkins, R. (1998). Handbook to life in ancient Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Blackburn, B., & Holford, S. L. (1999). The Oxford companion to the year. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Casson, L. (1998). Everyday life in ancient Rome. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Elton, H. (1996). Warfare in Roman Europe AD350-425. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thorne, J. (2003). Julius Caesar: conqueror and dictator. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.