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Julius Caesar (reigned 46 – 44 BC), a name globally known by many today, is one of the rulers of different countries still are referred to as Caesar, a title that bears great honour. This name has achieved an amount of respect that had never been reached beforehand. Julius Caesar an iconic Roman leader, gaining said fame due to the fact he hold numerous of the discrete characteristics of a leader. His armies loved him, and his contemporaries hated him because he was impossible to beat, which lead to the question, had Julius Caesar been a good general for Rome, or had everyone been blindsided by the sense of power that he had emulated to everyone he came in contact with. From what historians have gathered, the type of person he had been is revealed, which shows he had cared for not only his soldiers, but the lower class as well (a characteristics every leader should not only have but embody) and also had the means to be a powerful political leader, thus showing Julius Caesar had indeed been a good leader.
Though Julius Caesar may come off as politically capable and as a great general, many think otherwise, believing that in reality he had numerous characteristics that had made him a rather bad leader. Some tend to believe in his campaign in Gaul he had been a rather ostentatious, and rather than being a success for Rome, had actually been a mission of slaughtering ‘tax paying’ trading partners, which essentially had been the key factory in his crossing into German territory, an event some referred to as when Caesar “started a big war crossing a small stream”. A second factor that cause for many to doubt Caesar was his egotistic character, in the sense of him declaring himself as dictator for life, regardless that had been something Rome had never done prior. When he gained this role, he took it upon himself to cancel elections representatives of Rome, and the only ones allowed to be elected for the office of consul had to be personally selected by Caesar himself. He used his power to set the precedent for the future of Rome, and did so in a way that would only be in his advantage. One of the most major factors that leads people to believing Caesar had been a bad leader, was his ambition. He had supposedly been corrupted and only lusted for power which in turn affected his leadership and his bonds with citizens slowly deteriorated as time went on. Many believe that he sought for more whenever he reached a new peddle stool, always craving more power, regardless of the amount he already posed. This caused him to be become extremely greeted which affected his thinking and made him think only about himself rather than the people he was supposed to be leading.
These accusations towards Caesar to say the least, are incorrect and invalid, as they don’t have statutory evidence to back them up and prove them to being correct. What some deem as a merciless killing spree (his Gaul campaign against so called tax paying citizens), had truly been a defence mechanism to saving Rome. Gaul, had been invaded by the Helvetii, then a Germanic tribe, and Caesar had to subdue the rest of Gaul in order to cease the growing threat4. To counteract dictatorship during this time period had been a constitution never used before, as it had been only been created for extreme times of emergency. He hadn’t went straight into being voted dictator for life, but rather had been voted in for 5 years, then 10, then for life. This showcases that the people continually voted for him because they trusted him, and he had not just taken the position himself. He did not let his own desires fog what was best for Rome, which is seen by the fact he stabilized the rate at which debts were to be repaid (interest), which allows debts to be repaid, and for citizens to not be subjected to a life constantly in debt. Though people can believe what they want, as the end of the day it’s evident that Caesar had accomplished so much, in so little time. He had so many successes on the both the battle field and bring about new chances for citizens. His political actions may come off as self-absorbed to some, however it cannot be denied the amount of hope he gave to Rome, and that so many great leaders came about after him, all hoping to uphold his legacy.
A characteristic that allowed for Julius to become so well liked was his charming undertone he radiated to both his soldiers, citizens and even those going against him. When looking at the timeframe that Caesar was in power, it is extremely evident how all who served him, and had stayed loyal, ended up retiring with a good share of money to their names – definitely enough to live comfortably. He knew how to manage the challenges that faced him, and keep the strong headed aura that surrounded him even in times of uncertainty. Studies show that he could have possibly suffered from an illness called epilepsy, however these difficulties did not influence how he implemented his ideas and carried out his duties as a leader. During the period of his leadership, it was said that Caesar had personally known each and every name of the soldiers in his army, which would have caused a connection on a more personal level, thus building the confidence of his navy. This type of connection between leader and member would have allowed for a reduced gap and for soldiers to be more confident that their general would be able to lead them towards victory. In turn, Julius’ thoughtfulness towards the lower class and Rome as a whole is another factor that had made him such a stellar leader. Using his power as a leader, Caesar started many social reforms that helped the lower class gain some forms of stability. He outlawed extortion, which had been one of the leading concerns during this time period, and also established a standard calendar (which is what our calendar now is based on). He also instituted the Acta Diurna, which had been a paper sent to the public allowing for them to gain a better knowledge of what the government had to say on differing issues. As well as this, he found a way to reduce the unemployment, and offered the poor a new life in Rome’s overseas colonies, which benefited not only the poor but him as well. The lower class was able to start anew in fresh environments, and Caesar had his newly taken over colonies being settled in by Roman citizens. Caesar dreamed for a better Rome, and in order to do this, started construction for new buildings that could enhance the cities appearance, especially due to the fact he thought Rome seemed rather bland in comparison to Alexandria (which had at the time been considered the best city in all of the Mediterranean).
Not only did the characteristics that Caesar had support the reason behind him being a good leader, but also his defence tactics and methods he used in order to protect Rome. He had a numerous amount of military successes, and said successes helped him climb the ladder towards political power. He had been, to say the least, a force to be reckoned with, he managed to conquer land like no other, first managing to gain Gaul (his most popularly known achievement), which makes up most of what we know modern call France, Switzerland, Belgium and parts of Italy. He also invaded (but never fully conquered) Britain and set up a tributary system there as well. Julius Caesar both managed to conquer new land and rebuild old tarnished land as well and “founded many colonies in those newly conquered territories”, having had restore two ancient cities that had been devastating for the country when they had originally lost them. From 49 to 44 BC, he managed to rebuild both Corinth and Carthage, of which had been destroyed in the Third Punic War. However, though his other accomplishments in regards to political power both hold great astound to historians, his greatest achievement was that he was that he was granted dictator for life of Rome. Due to the numerous victories he had, cities he had restored, and the popularity he had among citizens lead to votes being in his favour. Though he ended up getting quite the large head because of this, and ended up going to Senate meetings wearing purple (colour meant for royalty), and refused to stand for others. Caesar’s impact and good leadership on the city of Rome continued even following his death and when this happened he put in his will for everything in his name to be made public. This included his villa, the gardens that had been surrounding it and his art gallery as well. As well as all of this, he put in his will that his inheritance and wealth be spread among the citizens, which adds on to his plan of bringing Romans out of unemployment, as this chunk of money would have allowed for the citizens to have a good lumesone to live off of.
To conclude, Caesar had wanted nothing but the best for Rome, and wanted to spread the culture all throughout the entirety of the Mediterranean. He sought out to ensure he had close relationships with his soldiers, which in turn would allow for them to feel as though they could entrust their livelihoods with him. As previously mentioned, he cared, genuinely, for the lower class, and wanted to lessen the hardships weighing down on their shoulders and overall used his political knowledge and power to ensure that time was put into Rome. He showed his wishes of stability and affluences for Rome by putting in the work, making connections and securing win after win.
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