Julius Caesar’s Role in the Collapse of the Roman Republic

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Many people can have debates and conversations about who the greatest athletes, musicians, actors and actresses, government officials, and other different personalities. Many people can attest to the fact, Julius Caesar may have been one of the greatest men to ever live on this planet. During his time, Julius was a general, a statesman, a lawgiver, an orator, an historian, and a mathematician. Just to name a couple of things to credit Julius’s work to, he never lost a war, he fixed the previous faulted calendar, he created the first new sheets, and he also instigated a continuing law against extortion. For a long time, people have been talking about the greatness that has come out of Julius Caesar, but this man had a pretty significant role in what lead to the collapse of what was the Roman Republic.

Julius Caesar contributed to the fall of the Roman Republic in many ways, but most seriously in three. The first was by beginning the civil war from which the Republic never really recovered in January of 49 BC. Caesar had been consul of Gaul for ten years and had used this position to launch massive conquests, attaining wealth and prestige and making him as powerful as anyone in Rome. His opponents in the senate wanted to prosecute him, however, Roman law did not allow anyone holding a magistracy to be prosecuted. So, Caesar was attempting to hold onto his command until he could be elected consul.

His enemies didn’t want this, not only so they could prosecute him but, so he wouldn’t have the ability to get another military command. After a lot of complex negotiations that eventually broke down, the senate declared an emergency ruling against Caesar and his partisan tribunes fled town. At this point, Caesar began the civil war that would range across the Mediterranean for the next four years, from Spain to North Africa to Greece to Egypt. Although Caesar would essentially finish fighting these in 45 BC, these civil wars never truly ended until 30 BC, when Rome’s first ’emperor’ Augustus beat his enemies and began to establish a new political system, which we call the empire.

The second reason Caesar can be said to be responsible for the fall of the Republic is what he did when he won. Throughout the civil wars, Caesar used the temporary position of dictator. This was a traditional magistracy (though one that had fallen heavily out of use, with the exception of Sulla’s abnormal dictatorship after his civil wars in the 80s), meant to be used for a maximum of sixth months to resolve emergencies. By the end of 45, Caesar was declared dictator for life, making him the most autocratic figure in Roman history to date. He also did other unprecedented things that challenged traditional Republican political culture, like putting his own face on coins while still alive.

And finally, Caesar was responsible for bringing fame many of the men who would be important in the next set of civil wars. Most notably, two of his generals, Antony and Lepidus, were members of the second triumvirate. Some of his assassins even rose to prominence serving under him, like Decimus Brutus (not to be confused with the more famous Brutus). And of course, Octavian (later to be known as Augustus) could begin his rise to power because Caesar adopted him later on in his will. Gaius Octavius became Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, and his position as Caesar’s son was incredibly important for him in the coming civil wars.

Caesar had just returned home to Rome in triumph, seen as a hero. As a war general he claimed to have kill two million people in somewhere around fifty battles. At sometimes, the Roman citizens loved Caesar, but “he caused, in many ways, worry among those in the Roman Senate” (Wasson). The old elites of the senate seemed to give the most hatred toward Caesar who was soon to be hailed in as dictator for life. There were said to be four main men who first thought of the plot to kill Julius Caesar. The four leading men of the murder were an unusual mix of both friends and enemies.

The first two men believed they had not been rewarded substantially enough for their service to Caesar, “Gaius Trebonius served as a praetor and consul and had fought with Caesar in Spain; Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus was governor of Gaul and had been victorious against the Gauls” (Wasson). The next two schemers were obviously not friends of Caesar, “Gaius Cassius Linginus who had served with both Crassus and Pompey as a naval commander and who some believe conceived the plot, and lastly, the greedy and arrogant Marcus Junius Brutus who had also served under Pompey and who was the brother-in-law of Cassius” (Wasson). With all of the noise that Caesar had been making, senators started to become more and more loyal to their soon to be dictator.

In hindsight, “Caesar should have been well aware that many of the senators hated him” (Editors, 2018). On day one o the senators call for a meeting in the senate hall and that is where they were told they were going to kill Julius Caesar. So on that day of March 15, 44 BC, in Rome, Italy after Julius had entered the hall, “he was surrounded by senators holding daggers” (Editors, 2018). The first blow hitting Caesar and drawing blood was said to be by Servilius Casca, “hitting Caesar in the neck and drawing blood” (Editors, 2018). After that, all of the sentors took forth in stabbing Caesar to death. Marcus Brutus is said to have delivered the last blow to Julius and the famous words of Caesar toward Brutus were, “You, too, my child” (Editors, 2018)?

The actions of the late Julius Caesar can be seen as actions that kickstarted the downfall of the Roman Republic. After the death of Caesar, the Rome population began to decrease because people were either fleeing, killed from widespread disease, civil war, starvation, and forceful deportation. Julius Caesar’s life is seen to have an impact on millions and millions of lives all throughout western European history. He touched the lives of many people, while also destroying some of the lives of others. In conclusion, Julius Caesar’s bravery and perseverance is what evidently put the Roman Republic over the tops and lead to the downfall.


Cite this paper

Julius Caesar’s Role in the Collapse of the Roman Republic. (2021, Feb 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/julius-caesars-role-in-the-collapse-of-the-roman-republic/



How did Julius Caesar contribute to the fall of the Roman Empire?
Julius Caesar's actions contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire by destabilizing the political system through his authoritarian rule and undermining the power of the Senate. Additionally, his assassination led to a power struggle that ultimately weakened the empire.
Was Julius Caesar responsible for the collapse of the Roman Republic?
Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC by a group of senators afraid of his power. This event, known as the Ides of March, ignited a series of civil wars that eventually led to the collapse of the Roman Republic.
What role did Julius Caesar play a role in the decline of the republic and the rise of the Empire?
Julius Caesar played a role in the decline of the republic by his military campaigns and by his political maneuvering. Julius Caesar played a role in the rise of the Empire by his military campaigns and by his political maneuvering.
What was Julius Caesar's role in the republic?
He wielded his power to enlarge the senate, created needed government reforms, and decreased Rome's debt. At the same time, he sponsored the building of the Forum Iulium and rebuilt two city-states, Carthage and Corinth. He also granted citizenship to foreigners living within the Roman Republic .
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