This week’s random facts will be about something that have recently got a lot of talk about: Julius Caesar and dictatorship.
So who was Julius Caesar?
Julius Caesar was a Roman (yes, we start at the very basics). His father, also called Julius Caesar, had a very impressive family tree. They could trace their ancestors right to the founding of Rome (if you want to know about that, wait for my Humanities expert talk). This made Julius Caesar ambitious. He wanted to be greater than Alexander the Great.
After a few journeys here and there, Julius Caesar commanded a few troops and conquered some land. He was popular, and he was elected a consul. What are consuls? Consuls are like Prime Ministers in the Roman Republic.
After he resigned from consul, he was assigned to rule over an area near Rome called Gaul. Officially he protected the Roman borders from the Gallic and German tribes that attacked; unofficially he used his troops to conquer other cities.
Soon he conquered the whole of Gaul, and he was hailed as an awesome person.
I’m not going to talk so much about his later life, but he fought a civil war with another general called Pompey. He also famously flirted with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, the last Egyptian Pharaoh.
When Julius Caesar got back from Egypt to Rome, he was appointed as a dictator. A dictator had absolute powers, he could do anything he want and no one had the power to be against the orders. He was appointed as dictator for life, which means that he was a king in all but name, and that Rome was ruled by a monarch, instead of being a Republic. This caused a few of the Romans to be angry, even though Julius Caesar did not accept the crown when he was handed it. A group of Romans got together and assassinated Julius Caesar on the “Ides of March” (March 15th). Interestingly, a prophet and a philosopher already warned him that he had bad luck, but Julius Caesar didn’t listen. He was backstabbed (literally) in a theatre that his rival Pompey built to replace the burnt-down senate house.
- The assassination of Julius Caesar.
But the people who thought that killing Julius Caesar will bring back elections was wrong. Instead, another civil war happened, and it ended with Augustus Caesar (J.C.’s nephew) becoming the first Roman emperor, and replaced the Republic with an Empire.
Today, the words ‘dictatorship’ has a negative feel to it, but it hasn’t always been like that. For example, the Roman law actually had the words ‘dictator’, and it meant a person who had absolute power. Nowadays, a dictator is someone who has absolute power and is also an evil person. Example: Adolf Hitler.
(Which is exactly why I’m no longer Dictator of Class of 2017, but I need a new title… someone help me!)
What do you think?