Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War

By Ramon L. Jiménez | Go to book overview

XIV
The Ides of March

Even before Caesar's last return to Rome late in the summer of 45, his deputies, Lucius Balbus and Gaius Oppius, promoted a flurry of new titles, honors, and celebrations for the victor of Munda. Beginning with a simple act of news manipulation, they withheld word of the victory in Spain until the eve of April 21 so that it could be celebrated in conjunction with the traditional birthday of the Roman Republic. After inflating the usual thanksgiving period to fifty days, the Senate declared Caesar Consul for ten years and dictator for the fourth time. The designation imperator, from which the word "emperor" later derived, was made a permanent attachment to his name, a title that was to descend to his sons, if any, as well as to his grandsons. Also decreed were inscriptions, busts, and sacrifices, a new temple to Freedom, and a new palace for Caesar on the Quirinal Hill. Among the statues of him the Senate ordered erected was one inscribed "To the unconquerable god," the first suggestion that another Roman besides the mythical founder-king Romulus was to be raised to godly status. The Senate proclaimed him parens patriae, father of the country, and authorized him to wear the triumphal purple toga picta at all official events, and the laurel wreath of victory at all times.

Among the most extraordinary measures discussed in the Senate, certainly at the instigation of Caesar's agents, was one to change the name of the seventh month of the year, then called Quintilis, to Julius, in honor of his birthday on the thirteenth. Quintilis, or fifth, was originally the fifth month of the archaic Roman year that began in March. The Senate designated Caesar's birthday a festival day and approved the name change, to take effect the following year. At the opening of Caesar's ten-day victory games, the ludi Victoriae Caesaris, which he had established the year before to celebrate his victory at Thapsus, an ivory statue of him was carried alongside that of the Goddess Victory in a parade from the Capitol to the Circus Maximus, an innovation that spectators found offensive. In a letter to Atticus, Cicero may have expressed the general mood when he wrote that "the people are behaving splendidly in refusing to applaud Victory because of her undesirable neighbor." 1

But for all the cynicism, there was general relief in the capital about the outcome at Munda, and not only because the end of the war brought a general easing of prices. For the six months following Caesar's departure for Spain,

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Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Part One - The Rise of Caesar 1
  • Prologue - Three Men 3
  • I - Sulla Against Caesar 7
  • II - Rome and Its Neighbors 15
  • III - Pompey and Cicero Conquer Rome 25
  • IV - The Road to Gaul and Back 43
  • Part Two Caesar and Pompey 63
  • V - Across the Rubicon 65
  • VI - The First Spanish Campaign 81
  • VII - The Siege of Massilia 99
  • VIII - Curio in Africa 115
  • IX - The Campaign in Macedonia 129
  • X - The Battle of Pharsalus 147
  • Part Three - Caesar and Cleopatra 165
  • XI - The Alexandrian War 167
  • XII - Veni, Vidi, Vici 187
  • XIII - The Last Campaign 205
  • XIV - The Ides of March 223
  • Epilogue 243
  • Notes 251
  • Selected Sources 261
  • Index of Persons 269
  • General Index 277
  • About the Author *
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