Caesar

Caesar

[see-zer]
Baronius, Caesar, 1538-1607, Italian ecclesiastical historian, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He went to Rome c.1557 and soon came under the tutelage of St. Philip Neri. His chief work, the Annales ecclesiastici a Christi nato ad annum 1198 [ecclesiastical annals from the nativity to 1198], was a response to the Lutheran, Historia Ecclesiae Christi [History of the Church of Christ]. As Vatican librarian, Baronius had access to the sources in the archives. His use of this material and his inclusion of many previously unpublished sources accounts for the completeness and usefulness of the Annales. Its accuracy has been questioned by Protestant critics. Baronius was a strong defender of the papacy and was largely responsible for the Roman martyrology. He became superior of the Oratory (1593) on St. Philip Neri's death, a cardinal (1596), and was confessor to Pope Clement VIII.
Rodney, Caesar, 1728-84, American political leader, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. near Dover, Del. He was a member of the Delaware assembly (1761-70, 1772-76), its speaker (1769, 1773-76), and a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress (1765). As a member of the Continental Congress (1774-76), he advocated independence and is celebrated for traveling overnight from Dover to Philadelphia to vote for the Declaration. Later, he was a general commanding Delaware militia in the Revolution and was (1778-81) president (i.e., governor) of Delaware.

See his correspondence, ed. by G. H. Ryden (1933, repr. 1970); biography by J. H. Scott (2000).

Caesar, ancient Roman patrician family of the Julian gens. There are separate articles on its two most distinguished members, Julius Caesar and Augustus. Another distinguished member of the family was Lucius Julius Caesar, d. 87 B.C., consul (90 B.C.). He proposed a law extending Roman citizenship to Roman allies that had not joined in the Social War against Rome (90 B.C.). He was killed in the beginning of the civil war by partisans of Marius. His brother Caius Julius Caesar Strabo Vopiscus, d. 87 B.C., is mentioned as an orator in Cicero's De oratore. He was killed with his brother. His name also appears as Vopisius. The son of Lucius Julius Caesar, also named Lucius Julius Caesar, d. after 43 B.C., was one of Julius Caesar's legates in Gaul (52 B.C.). He accompanied the dictator into Italy during the civil war. After the assassination of Julius Caesar he was allied with Marc Antony, whose mother, Julia, was his sister. In 43 B.C. he and Antony fell out, and only the pleas of Julia to her son saved her brother in the proscription. When Octavius (later Augustus) was adopted (44 B.C.) into the Julian gens, he took the name Caesar. His successors as emperors took the name Caesar until Hadrian, who kept the title Augustus for the emperor and allowed the heir apparent to be called Caesar. This became the custom afterward. The imperial use of the name Caesar was perpetuated in the German kaiser and the Russian czar.
Caesar, Julius (Caius Julius Caesar), 100? B.C.-44 B.C., Roman statesman and general.

Rise to Power

Although he was born into the Julian gens, one of the oldest patrician families in Rome, Caesar was always a member of the democratic or popular party. He benefited from the patronage of his uncle by marriage, Caius Marius. In 82 B.C., when Caesar refused to obey Sulla's order to divorce Cornelia, the wealthy daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna, he was proscribed and subsequently fled from Rome (81 B.C.).

On Sulla's death, Caesar returned (78 B.C.) and began his political career. He quickly gained popularity with his party and a reputation for oratory. In 74 B.C. he went into Asia to repulse a Cappadocian army. Upon his return, he agitated for reform of the government on popular lines and helped to advance the position of Pompey, the virtual head of the popular party. Caesar was made military tribune before 70 B.C. and was quaestor in Farther Spain in 69 B.C.; he helped Pompey to obtain the supreme command for the war in the East. He returned to Rome in 68 B.C., and in Pompey's absence was becoming the recognized head of the popular party. His praise of Marius and Cinna made him popular with the people, but earned him the hatred of the senate.

In 63 B.C. he was elected pontifex maximus [high priest], allegedly by heavy bribes. His later reform of the calendar with the help of Sosigenes, was one of his greatest contributions to history. In Dec., 63 B.C., Caesar advocated mercy for Catiline and the conspirators, thereby increasing the enmity of the senatorial party and its leaders, Cato the Younger and Quintus Lutatius Catulus (see Catulus, family). In 62 B.C., Clodius and Caesar's second wife, Pompeia, were involved in a scandal concerning the violation of the secret rites of Bona Dea, and Caesar obtained a divorce, saying, "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion."

The First Triumvirate

Having served in Farther Spain as proconsul in 61 B.C., he returned to Rome in 60 B.C., ambitious for the consulate. Against senatorial opposition he achieved a brilliant stroke—he organized a coalition, known as the First Triumvirate, made up of Pompey, commander in chief of the army; Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome (see Crassus, family); and Caesar himself. Pompey and Crassus were jealous of each other, but Caesar by force of personality kept the arrangement going.

In 59 B.C. he married Calpurnia. In the same year, as consul, he secured the passage of an agrarian law providing Campanian lands for 20,000 poor citizens and veterans, in spite of the opposition of his senatorial colleague, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus. Caesar also won the support of the wealthy equites by getting a reduction for them in their tax contracts in Asia. This made him the guiding power in a coalition between people and plutocrats.

He was assigned the rule of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul and Illyricum with four legions for five years (58 B.C.-54 B.C.). The differences between Pompey and Crassus grew, and Caesar again moved (56 B.C.) to patch up matters, arriving at an agreement that both Pompey and Crassus should be consuls in 55 B.C. and that their proconsular provinces should be Spain and Syria, respectively. From this arrangement he drew an extension of his command in Gaul to 49 B.C. In the years 58 B.C. to 49 B.C. he firmly established his reputation in the Gallic Wars.

In 55 B.C., Caesar made explorations into Britain, and in 54 B.C. he defeated the Britons, led by Cassivellaunus. Caesar met his most serious opposition in Gaul from Vercingetorix, whom he defeated in Alesia in 52 B.C. By the end of the wars Caesar had reduced all Gaul to Roman control. These campaigns proved him one of the greatest commanders of all time. In them he revealed his consummate military genius, characterized by quick, sure judgment and indomitable energy. The campaigns also developed the personal devotion of the legions to Caesar. His personal interest in the men (he is reputed to have known them all by name) and his willingness to undergo every hardship made him the idol of the army—a significant element in his later career.

In 54 B.C. occurred the death of Caesar's daughter Julia, Pompey's wife since 59 B.C. She had been the principal personal tie between the two men. During the years Caesar was in Gaul, Pompey had been gradually leaning more and more toward the senatorial party. The tribunate of Clodius (58 B.C.) had aggravated conditions in Rome, and Caesar's military successes had aroused Pompey's jealousy. Crassus' death (53 B.C.) in Parthia ended the First Triumvirate and set Pompey and Caesar against each other.

Civil War

After the First Triumvirate ended, the senate supported Pompey, who became sole consul in 52 B.C. Meanwhile, Caesar had become a military hero as well as a champion of the people. The senate feared him and wanted him to give up his army, knowing that he hoped to be consul when his term in Gaul expired. In Dec., 50 B.C., Caesar wrote the senate that he would give up his army if Pompey would give up his. The senate heard the letter with fury and demanded that Caesar disband his army at once or be declared an enemy of the people—an illegal bill, for Caesar was entitled to keep his army until his term was up.

Two tribunes faithful to Caesar, Marc Antony and Quintus Cassius Longinus (see under Cassius) vetoed the bill and were quickly expelled from the senate. They fled to Caesar, who assembled his army and asked for the support of the soldiers against the senate. The army called for action, and on Jan. 19, 49 B.C., Caesar with the words "Iacta alea est" [the die is cast] crossed the Rubicon, the stream bounding his province, to enter Italy. Civil war had begun.

Caesar's march to Rome was a triumphal progress. The senate fled to Capua. Caesar proceeded to Brundisium, where he besieged Pompey until Pompey fled (Mar., 49 B.C.) with his fleet to Greece. Caesar set out at once for Spain, which Pompey's legates were holding, and pacified that province. Returning to Rome, Caesar held the dictatorship for 11 days in early December, long enough to get himself elected consul, and then set out for Greece in pursuit of Pompey.

Caesar collected at Brundisium a small army and fleet—so small, in fact, that Bibulus, waiting with a much larger fleet to prevent his crossing to Epirus, did not yet bother to watch him—and slipped across the strait. He met Pompey at Dyrrhachium but was forced to fall back and begin a long retreat southward, with Pompey in pursuit. Near Pharsalus, Caesar camped in a very strategic location. Pompey, who had a far larger army, attacked Caesar but was routed (48 B.C.) and fled to Egypt, where he was killed.

Caesar, having pursued Pompey to Egypt, remained there for some time, living with Cleopatra, taking her part against her brother and husband Ptolemy XII, and establishing her firmly on the throne. From Egypt he went to Syria and Pontus, where he defeated (47 B.C.) Pharnaces II with such ease that he reported his victory in the words "Veni, vidi, vici" [I came, I saw, I conquered]. In the same year he personally put down a mutiny of his army and then set out for Africa, where the followers of Pompey had fled, to end their opposition led by Cato.

Dictatorship and Death

On his return to Rome, where he was now tribune of the people and dictator, he had four great triumphs and pardoned all his enemies. He set about reforming the living conditions of the people by passing agrarian laws and by improving housing accommodations. He also drew up the elaborate plans (which Augustus later used) for consolidating the empire and establishing it securely. In the winter of 46 B.C.-45 B.C. he was in Spain putting down the last of the senatorial party under Gaeus Pompeius, the son of Pompey. He returned to Rome in Sept., 45 B.C., and was elected to his fifth consulship in 44 B.C. In the same year he became dictator for life and set about planning a campaign against Parthia, the only real menace to Rome's borders.

His dictatorial powers had, however, aroused great resentment, and he was bitterly criticized by his enemies, who accused him of all manner of vices. When a conspiracy was formed against him, however, it was made up of his friends and protégés, among them Cimber, Casca, Cassius, and Marcus Junius Brutus. On Mar. 15 (the Ides of March), 44 B.C., he was stabbed to death in the senate house. His will left everything to his 18-year-old grandnephew Octavian (later Augustus).

Legacy

Caesar has always been one of the most controversial characters of history. His admirers have seen in him the defender of the rights of the people against an oligarchy. His detractors have seen him as an ambitious demagogue, who forced his way to dictatorial power and destroyed the republic. That he was gifted and versatile there can be little doubt. He excelled in war, in statesmanship, and in oratory.

His literary works are highly esteemed. Of Caesar's literary works, his commentaries on the Gallic Wars (seven books) and on the civil war (three books) survive. They are masterpieces of clear, beautiful, concise Latin, and they are classic military documents. Caesar wrote poetry, but the only surviving piece is a poem on Terence.

Bibliography

A literary classic on Caesar is Shakespeare's tragedy, Julius Caesar. See biographies by M. Gelzer (tr. 1968, repr. 1985), S. Weinstock (1971), and C. Meier (1996).

Caesar, Lucius Julius: see under Caesar, family.
Caesar, Sid, 1922-, American comedian, one of the stars of the 1950s "golden age of live television," b. Yonkers, N.Y. While performing in a World War II military show he met the producer Max Liebman who, impressed with Caesar's comic abilities, later sponsored him in club gigs and had him host the television variety show Admiral Broadway Review (1949). In Your Show of Shows (1950-54) Caesar performed skits, improvisations, satire, doubletalk rendered in dialect, and monologues, often with Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner. The show's brilliant corps of writers included Reiner, Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart, and Mel Tolkin. Coca went on to her own television show, and Caesar returned with Caesar's Hour (1955-57). After the 1950s Caesar's television career was largely reduced to guest appearances. He also performed in a number of movies, including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Silent Movie (1973), and Grease (1978).

See his memoirs, Where Have I Been? (1982) and Caesar's Hours (2003); T. Sennett, Your Show of Shows (rev. ed. 2002).

(born April 23, 1484, Riva, Republic of Venice—died Oct. 21, 1558, Agen, France) (born Aug. 5, 1540, Agen, France—died Jan. 21, 1609, Leiden, Holland) Classical scholars. Julius worked in botany, zoology, and grammar but was chiefly interested in developing an understanding and critical evaluation of the ancients. His most widely read book was his Poetics (1561), in which Greco-Roman rhetoric and poetics are used as a foundation for literary criticism. His son Joseph, a precocious student of language, studied in France, Germany, and Italy and taught in France before he was called to the University of Leiden, where he became known as the most erudite scholar of his time. His major works are the Study on the Improvement of Time (1583) and Thesaurus of Time (1609), which brought order to ancient chronology.

Learn more about Scaliger, Julius Caesar, and Scaliger, Joseph Justus with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Oct. 7, 1728, Dover, Del.—died June 26, 1784, Dover, Del., U.S.) American Revolutionary leader. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress (1765) and the Continental Congress (1774–76, 1777–78). He cast the tie-breaking vote in the Delaware delegation that decided the Congress's resolution for independence. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, he became commander of the Delaware militia (1777) and served as “president” of Delaware (1778–81).

Learn more about Rodney, Caesar with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born April 23, 1484, Riva, Republic of Venice—died Oct. 21, 1558, Agen, France) (born Aug. 5, 1540, Agen, France—died Jan. 21, 1609, Leiden, Holland) Classical scholars. Julius worked in botany, zoology, and grammar but was chiefly interested in developing an understanding and critical evaluation of the ancients. His most widely read book was his Poetics (1561), in which Greco-Roman rhetoric and poetics are used as a foundation for literary criticism. His son Joseph, a precocious student of language, studied in France, Germany, and Italy and taught in France before he was called to the University of Leiden, where he became known as the most erudite scholar of his time. His major works are the Study on the Improvement of Time (1583) and Thesaurus of Time (1609), which brought order to ancient chronology.

Learn more about Scaliger, Julius Caesar, and Scaliger, Joseph Justus with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Julius Caesar, marble bust; in the Capitoline Museums, Rome.

(born July 12/13, 100, Rome—died March 15, 44 BC, Rome) Celebrated Roman general, statesman, and dictator. A patrician by birth, he held the prominent posts of quaestor and praetor before becoming governor of Farther Spain in 61–60. He formed the First Triumvirate with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus in 60 and was elected consul in 59 and proconsul in Gaul and Illyria in 58. After conducting the Gallic Wars, during which he invaded Britain (55, 54) and crossed the Rhine (55, 53), he was instructed by the Senate to lay down his command, Senate conservatives having grown wary of his increasing power, as had a suspicious Pompey. When the Senate would not command Pompey to give up his command simultaneously, Caesar, against regulations, led his forces across the Rubicon River (49) between Gaul and Italy, precipitating the Roman Civil War. Pompey fled from Italy but was pursued and defeated by Caesar in 48; he then fled to Egypt, where he was murdered. Having followed Pompey to Egypt, Caesar became lover to Cleopatra and supported her militarily. He defeated Pompey's last supporters in 46–45. He was named dictator for life by the Romans. He was offered the crown (44) but refused it, knowing the Romans' dislike for kings. He was in the midst of launching a series of political and social reforms when he was assassinated in the Senate House on the ides of March by conspirators led by Cassius and Brutus. His writings on the Gallic and Civil wars are considered models of classical historiography.

Learn more about Caesar, (Gaius) Julius with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Oct. 7, 1728, Dover, Del.—died June 26, 1784, Dover, Del., U.S.) American Revolutionary leader. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress (1765) and the Continental Congress (1774–76, 1777–78). He cast the tie-breaking vote in the Delaware delegation that decided the Congress's resolution for independence. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, he became commander of the Delaware militia (1777) and served as “president” of Delaware (1778–81).

Learn more about Rodney, Caesar with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Octavian orig. Gaius Octavius later Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus

(born Sept. 23, 63 BC—died Aug. 19, AD 14, Nola, near Naples) First Roman emperor. Born to a wealthy family, at age 18 he was named adoptive son and heir of his great-uncle Julius Caesar. After Caesar's assassination (44 BC) a power struggle ensued, and several battles later Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate with his chief rivals, Lepidus and Mark Antony. Octavian disposed of Lepidus in 32 and Antony (then allied with Cleopatra) at the Battle of Actium in 31 to become sole ruler. He was anointed princeps; the Roman Empire is said to begin with his accession. At first he ruled as consul, maintaining republican administration, but in 27 he accepted the h1 Augustus and in 23 he received imperial power. His rule (31 BCAD 14) brought changes to every aspect of Roman life and lasting peace and prosperity to the Greco-Roman world. He secured outlying imperial provinces, built roads and public works, established the Pax Romana, and fostered the arts. He took steps to rectify Roman morality, even exiling his daughter Julia for adultery. When he died, the empire stretched from Iberia to Cappadocia and from Gaul to Egypt. He was deified after his death.

Learn more about Augustus, Caesar with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Octavian orig. Gaius Octavius later Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus

(born Sept. 23, 63 BC—died Aug. 19, AD 14, Nola, near Naples) First Roman emperor. Born to a wealthy family, at age 18 he was named adoptive son and heir of his great-uncle Julius Caesar. After Caesar's assassination (44 BC) a power struggle ensued, and several battles later Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate with his chief rivals, Lepidus and Mark Antony. Octavian disposed of Lepidus in 32 and Antony (then allied with Cleopatra) at the Battle of Actium in 31 to become sole ruler. He was anointed princeps; the Roman Empire is said to begin with his accession. At first he ruled as consul, maintaining republican administration, but in 27 he accepted the h1 Augustus and in 23 he received imperial power. His rule (31 BCAD 14) brought changes to every aspect of Roman life and lasting peace and prosperity to the Greco-Roman world. He secured outlying imperial provinces, built roads and public works, established the Pax Romana, and fostered the arts. He took steps to rectify Roman morality, even exiling his daughter Julia for adultery. When he died, the empire stretched from Iberia to Cappadocia and from Gaul to Egypt. He was deified after his death.

Learn more about Augustus, Caesar with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Caesar or Cæsar may refer to the following:

Ancient Rome

The origin of the name has been much disputed, even in antiquity. It is probably not related to the root "to cut", a possible etymology for Caesarian section.

It was borne by many members of the ancient Roman Gens Julia, most famously

Other ancient references to the name include

  • Caesar (title), a title used by Roman Emperors and also Ottoman Turkish Emperors, related as well to "Tsar" and "Kaiser"
  • Lives of the Twelve Caesars, a book written by Suetonius on Julius Caesar and the eleven emperors after him
  • Caesar!, a series of plays on BBC Radio 4 written by Mike Walker, each looking at a different Roman ruler.

Cuisine

  • Caesar (cocktail), a cocktail made with vodka and Clamato that is popular primarily in Canada
  • The Caesar salad, a salad named after restaurateur Caesar Cardini containing anchovies
  • Little Caesars, a pizza restaurant chain

Culture

Fictional characters

  • Caesar the Geezer, the professional name of Chris Ryder, a British radio personality.
  • Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar, a fictional character created by Mitchell and Webb
  • Caesar (Xena), a fictionalized depiction of the dictator Caesar in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess
  • Caesar (Planet of the Apes), the leader of the ape revolution in the Planet of the Apes film series
  • King Caesar, a monster in the Godzilla movies

Military

People

Places

Science

See also

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