Julius Caesar: A Roman Colossus


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2,000 years after his assassination he
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is still revered as one of the greatest
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rulers in all of history yet his story
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reverberates as a tale of the dangers of
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power unbounded his military genius and
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political skill saw him rise to the
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position of dictator for life but it all
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came to a bloody end on the Ides of
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March in this week’s by graphics we
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discover the man who was Caesar
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[Music]
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Gaius Julius Caesar was born on either
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the 12th or 13th of July in the year 100
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BCE his was a patrician family which
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historically had political sway but was
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not influential at the time of Caesars
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birth his father Gaius was a praetor or
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an elected magistrate and was the
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governor of the province of Asia while
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his mother
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Aurelia belonged to a family of some
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prominence Caesars aunts Julia was the
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wife of Gaius Marius who was the leader
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of the popular faction political
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movement we don’t know very much about
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Caesars childhood but his education
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included the study of the Greek language
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and he read the works of Greek
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historians in his early teens he began
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attending lectures on philosophy and
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rhetoric showing a keen interest in
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developing his skills as a public
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speaker at the time this was something
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of a prized ability in Rome the Roman
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Forum was the center of intellectual
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discussion and debate in Rome during
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Caesars youth it was there that
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political ideas were argued out where
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questions were discussed and elections
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held any man who had ambition has a
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master the skill of holding the
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attention of their audience and Julius
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Caesar he was showing himself to be a
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young man of quite some ambition tragedy
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struck for Caesar household though in 85
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C II when Gaius senior died suddenly the
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16 year old Julius was now the head of
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the family he inherited this leadership
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at the very time that civil war was
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breaking out between the popular faction
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led by his uncle Gaius Marius and his
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political rival Lucius Cornelius sulla
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after a bitter and bloody struggle sulla
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gains the ascendancy gasps he was exiled
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to Africa and he died shortly thereafter
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with sulla now in power those who had
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ties to Gaius Marius were put under
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pressure having married the daughter of
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a prominent member of the popular
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faction Cornelia the teen Caesar he
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became a bit of a target suna ordered
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that he break off the marriage and
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distance himself from Gaius Marius
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Caesar refused and was prescribed by
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sulla meaning that he was marked to be
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executed the eighteen-year-old Caesar
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was now forced into hiding
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it was only the influence of his
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mother’s family that led to sulla
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lifting this death sentence still Caesar
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was understandably wary of sulla he
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decided that it would be safer for him
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to be away from Rome while sulla ruled
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the city Caesar now set his sights on a
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military career initially he served
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under Marcus minimus thermos he proved
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to be a natural soldier serving with
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distinction in the provinces of Asia and
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Silesia in 79 BCE he was awarded the oak
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leaves of the civic crown for saving the
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life of a citizen in the heat of battle
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caesar’s rising military stature led to
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him being chosen as an emissary to the
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king of Bithynia nicodemus in order to
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exact a promise for a fleet of ships he
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was successful in his mission however
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rumors spread that he had only managed
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to persuade the king by agreeing to
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superfamily
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in 78 BCE sulla died opening the way for
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Caesar to return to Rome having left the
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army he began a career as a legal
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advocate with his inheritance having
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been confiscated during the reign of
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sulla he and his wife lived a modest
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lifestyle in the lower class
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neighborhoods of Saburo through his
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legal representations season began to
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develop a reputation as a powerful and
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passionate public speaker in 75 BCE
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while on his way to advance his studies
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in Greece Caesar was kidnapped by
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Sicilian pirates and held for ransom
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it is reputed that when the Pirates told
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him they had demanded twenty talents for
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his release he was insulted and insisted
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that they increase it to fifty talents
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he was treated well by the Pirates and
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had a relaxed time with them however
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before the ransom was paid and he was
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released he vowed to them that he would
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hunt them down and have them crucified
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he was good to his word raising a group
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of volunteers and overpowering his
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former captors prior to their execution
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he had the Pirates throat scarce as a
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show of leniency for their having
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treated him well shortly after his
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pirate escapades Caesar was recalled in
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the military service he was sent to the
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province of Asia and tasked with raising
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a volunteer force to put down a
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rebellion upon successful completion of
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this mission he returned to Rome and was
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duly appointed as a military Tribune it
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was the first step of his political
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career
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[Music]
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Cesar was not shy about espousing his
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support for the popular faction which
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had been put down by sulla years before
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he took on the prominent case of a
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reigning the governor of Macedonia dalla
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Bella who had been closely associated
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with sulla when the trial came Caesar
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appeared at the forum the force and
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vigor with which he rated his arguments
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won him great public support in opposing
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Dolabella Caesar was positioning himself
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as the people’s champion he was
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increasingly being seen as the natural
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inheritor of Marius in order to head up
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the popular faction with sulla
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supporters still in the ascendancy
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however Dolabella was acquitted but the
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case had made Julius Caesar one of the
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most conspicuous men in all of Rome
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Caesar loved the prominence that he was
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receiving he began to take on the
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character of the leader of the popular
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party he spoke fluently in the forum
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both before popular assemblies and in
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the Courts of Justice in his legal role
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he came to specialized in defending
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those who were accused of political
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crimes through his energy and boldness
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not to mention these strength of logic
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and reasoning that he demonstrated he
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became the rising champion of the people
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when Caesar’s aunts the wife of Marius
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Julia died he arranged to hold a
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prominent funeral for her since the time
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of the suppression of her husband’s and
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the party heads jr. had lived in
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obscurity in fact any who associated
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with her were putting their lives in
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danger yet the fearless Caesar delivers
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a flattering funeral oration from the
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rostrum of the forum he went as far as
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condemning the ouster of his uncle and
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producing images of Marius for the crowd
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to see at this certain patrician
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partisans in the audience they began to
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object but they were shouted down by the
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crowd before long Caesar was delivering
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another funeral oration this time it was
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his own wife Cornelia who had died in
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delivering the oration
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he made the point of praising her family
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had been prominent members of the
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popular family in both funeral orations
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he emphasized the ancient nobility of
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his family claiming descent from the
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first King on his mother’s side and from
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the gods on his father’s side following
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the funeral for his wife Caesar was
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appointed as a crest on a possession
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which involved performing financial
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auditing duties he travelled to Spain
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where he served as crater ship in 69
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vce it is said that while in Spain he
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came across a statue of Alexander the
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Great which caused him to reflect on his
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life’s accomplishments to date
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he was now 32 the same age at which
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Alexander had managed to achieve world
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dominance in comparison he had achieved
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nothing of significance he resolved to
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change that situation
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upon returning to Rome Caesars
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prominence and popularity saw him being
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elected to a succession of public
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offices then in 67 BCE he was appointed
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to the Senate in that same year he
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married the granddaughter of sulla
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pompeya the marriage only lasted six
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years with Caesar divorcing her when she
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became caught up in a damaging political
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scandal in 67 BCE
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Caesar was appointed as a formal
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magistrate around this time he began to
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engage in the popular custom of
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cementing public favor by staging a
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lavish entertainment spectacles these
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included games with wild beasts and
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gladiators being brought in from all
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over the realm these extravagant
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displays served their purpose of making
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Caesar extremely popular with the masses
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but they also put a huge strain on his
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finances in fact they plunged him into
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debt the only way that he could possibly
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extricate himself from his financial
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woes was by rising to a position of
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ultimate power in 63 BCE Caesar set his
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sights on the position of Pontifex
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Maximus or chief priests he spent even
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more borrowed money on popular support
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and despite being opposed by two
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powerful senators he won the position
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handily the following year he was
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appointed as pro praetor norpro
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magistrate in an area of southern Spain
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before he could take up the position
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however he was required to settle his
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outstanding debts for this he turns to
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one of the city’s richest men Marcus
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Licinius Crassus Crassus agreed to help
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Caesar financially on the basis that he
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would in turn provide political
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influence in Crassus favor
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Caesar now traveled to Spain where he
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proved to be a successful administrator
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he achieved both military and financial
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success returning to Rome with enough
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money to pay off all of his debts Caesar
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he was now in a position to set his
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sights on the highest political office
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in Rome the office of consul when the
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Romans had gotten rid of their line of
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Kings they had vested supreme magistracy
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in the hands of two consuls these men
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were chosen each year in a general
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election
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[Music]
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if it was left to the people Caesar
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would have had no problem gaining the
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needed votes such whilst his popularity
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among them however there were a number
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of influential political rivals who
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opposed him at the time there was a
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bitter rivalry unfolding between two men
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of great influence Pompey and Crassus
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Bombay was a great military leader while
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Crassus held influence due to his wealth
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Caesar conceived of the plan to unite
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them and they get both of them to back
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in for consul he succeeded brilliantly
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in his plan managing to create a
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triumvirate of the three most
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influential politicians in Rome each of
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whom was bound to advance the political
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elevation of the others in order to
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secure his alliance with Pompey Caesar
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arranged for his only daughter Julia to
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enter into a marriage Lance with Pompey
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with the support of Crassus and Pompey
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behind him Caesar set about securing his
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appointment to the Consul its political
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opponents knew that they would be unable
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to prevent public support from securing
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the consulship for Caesar
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so they set their sights on preventing
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Caesars preferred co-consul a man named
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Lucy us from achieving office they put
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forward Bibble us who was a political
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opponent to Caesar for the position
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Caesar and Bibble us were elected Co
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consoles for the year 59 BCE
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however Caesar immediately proceeded to
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ignore his colleague assuming full power
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and carrying out measures unilaterally
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that were geared to ingratiate himself
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with the people
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Caesar was opposed by leading members of
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the Senate one of his firmest opponents
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was Cato a fervent patriot who was
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incensed at Caesars unilateral decision
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making at one point Caesar ordered that
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Cato be taken into custody and thrown in
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prison as he was being escorted out by
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guards another influential senator rose
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to accompany him when Caesar asked where
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he was going he replied that he would
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rather be in prison with Cato than in
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the Senate with Caesar Caesars control
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of the consulship was so complete that
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his supposed co-counsel gave up entirely
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retiring to his house and leaving Caesar
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free reign
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[Music]
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Cesar followed his IRA’s consult by
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Rhian barking upon his military career
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by achieving great military conquest he
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would ensure that his star rose even
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higher his powerful political allies
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helped Cesar to secure Pro consulship
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over three provinces for an
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unprecedented five yea governorship he
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became governor of Illyricum in the
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Balkans Cisalpine Gaul in northern Italy
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and transyl Pinkel in southern France
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Cesar’s first opportunity for conquest
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came when southeastern ghoul was invaded
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by a tribe known as the Helvetii
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Caesar moved against them with six
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legions and crushed them during a fierce
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five-hour battle he then turned his
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attention to the Germanic tribes
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despite the formidable reputation of
12:23
these warriors the Roman legions managed
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to defeat them at the Battle of Oscar’s
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by 57 BCE Caesar had built his army to
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eight legions numbering some 40,000 men
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he now set out to subjugate the Belgae
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tribes decimating each one individually
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before they could unite against him the
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final victory came at the Battle of
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service by which time Caesar had
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completely conquered the Gauls with his
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power now unquestioned within his own
12:47
territory Caesar now began looking
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beyond known borders he set his sights
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on Germania and Britannia in 55 BCE he
12:55
built a bridge across the Rhine in a
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record ten days having it dismantled
12:59
when he recast after spending 18 days
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probing the countryside a similar
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scouting mission was made into Britannia
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later that same year in 54 BCE he
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returns with a full five legions with
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the objective of establishing a
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permanent Roman base that the Britons
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though they had other ideas and they
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continually harassed the Romans with a
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hit-and-run attack strategy still the
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determination of their leader and the
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discipline of their rank and file
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enabled the Romans to systematically
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hunt down the local resistance and the
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Britons suit for peace Caesar negotiated
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an annual tribute took a swath of
13:30
hostages and then left never to set foot
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on British soil again in 53 BCE a
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Gaulish revolts was quickly put down but
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a year later a more determined and
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better organised revolt occurred under
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the leadership of vercingetorix a
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powerful warrior who is determined to
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kick the Romans out of Gaul these
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set out to crush the revolt with a full
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complement of 10 legions after suffering
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a number of losses Vercingetorix
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switched to a scorched earth policy at
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gergovia the Romans suffered their first
13:59
to feed that revenge came swiftly at the
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Battle of Alesia the revolt was crushed
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and Vercingetorix was taken alive and
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transported to Rome where it was paraded
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in a cage like a wild animal
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then in 47 BC Caesar embarked on a
14:11
voyage to Turkey in order to take care
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of pharmacies ii who had been extending
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his power by overpowering a number of
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neighboring roman states with just three
14:20
legions caesar went directly to the town
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of Xena to face pharmacys the Romans
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took up a strong position on the hilltop
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the Turkish revolt was put down in quick
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order giving rise to Caesars most famous
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quote veni vidi vici
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I came I saw I conquered over the next
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two years Caesar put down rebellions in
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North Africa and hispania
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[Music]
14:43
during his years in military campaigns
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Cesar sought to continue influencing
14:48
Roman politics through his supporters in
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56 BCE he met with his old allies
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Crassus and Pompey in order to renew
14:55
their triumvirate alliance over the next
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few years however the Alliance it broke
14:59
down in 53 BCE
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Crassus was killed in battle meanwhile
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Pompey was distancing himself from
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Caesar about this time Julia died during
15:06
childbirth further fragmenting the
15:08
relationship between the two men when
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rioting erupted in Rome in 52 BCE Pompey
15:13
was appointed to the console without
15:15
colleague he quickly aligned himself
15:17
with the optimum faction of aristocrats
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who were opposed to Caesar the following
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year with Caesars military conquests
15:22
having been completed the Optimates want
15:24
him that if he returned to Rome he would
15:26
be immediately arrested for excesses of
15:29
office during his years as consul within
15:31
the city there had developed popular
15:32
factions in support of both Pompey and
15:34
Caesar the latter’s followers attempted
15:37
to have him through the Consul in
15:39
absentia but the opposition demanded
15:41
that he first returned to face the music
15:43
and give up the command of his army
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Caesar balked at these demands he knew
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now that there was only one recourse he
15:51
had to march on Rome and claim what he
15:53
rightfully saw as his On January the
15:55
10th 49 BCE he marshaled a single Legion
15:58
across the Rubicon River which marked
16:00
the border of his province this was an
16:02
immediate act of civil war yet there was
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to be no battle but pay with most of his
16:07
forces deployed in Spain fled to the
16:09
south this enabled Caesar to march on
16:12
Rome unhindered there he had himself
16:14
declared dictator with his top General
16:16
Mark Antony as second-in-command in
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short order he was elected to the
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consulship at which time he resigned his
16:23
dictatorship Caesar now set out in
16:25
pursuit of Pompey leaving Mark Antony in
16:27
control of Rome by now Pompey had
16:29
established himself in Greece and was
16:31
building a force to challenge Caesar in
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48 BCE the two armies met on the plains
16:36
of Pharsalus with Pompey’s forces
16:38
outnumbering those of Caesar two-to-one
16:40
however Caesar won by employing superior
16:42
tactics but they though he managed to
16:45
escape to Egypt
16:47
[Music]
16:52
Cesar pursued Pompeii to Alexandria
16:54
there he was supposed to be handed the
16:56
head of his adversary who had betrayed
16:58
the Egyptians and paid the ultimate
16:59
price
17:00
just prior to sees his arrival in
17:02
Alexandria the joint ruler 21 year old
17:04
Cleopatra had been driven from the city
17:06
she had herself smuggled into Caesars
17:08
presence inside a rolled-up rug she
17:10
besieged him for assistance in regaining
17:12
the throne the Roman leader saw
17:14
Cleopatra as a useful future Ally and
17:17
agreed to support her a prolonged
17:18
Egyptian siege of Alexandria followed
17:21
Caesar ordered the Egyptian fleet to be
17:23
burned and managed to hold off a force
17:24
of around 20,000 for several months he
17:27
sent to Rome for reinforcements and when
17:29
they turns up he marched out to join
17:31
them in the ensuing battle the Egyptians
17:33
were defeated Cleopatra was installed as
17:35
Pharaoh and after spending a further two
17:37
months in drawing her company Caesar
17:39
began the return journey to Rome on his
17:42
way back he even put down a rebellion in
17:44
Asia Minor during his absence things and
17:46
knock-on well in Rome largely due to
17:48
mark Antony’s mismanagement employing
17:50
great diplomatic skills Caesar managed
17:52
to overcome a potential Navy mutiny and
17:55
put down a rebellion by the Optimates
18:00
[Music]
18:03
Cesar was now appointed dictator for ten
18:06
years at the height of his powers and
18:07
enjoying unprecedented public support he
18:10
ruled autocratically this caused great
18:12
bitterness among the senators who
18:14
ignored primary among the dissenters
18:16
were the two sons of Pompeii sexist and
18:19
næss
18:19
these two headed to Spain and fermented
18:21
a revolt that Caesar was forced to
18:23
travel to Spain to personally put down
18:25
the rebellion in February 44 BC Caesar
18:28
was appointed dictator peteus during the
18:31
ceremony he refused to wear the diadem
18:33
that Mark Antony handed to him stating
18:35
that Jupiter was the only rightful king
18:37
of the Romans he then prepared to lead a
18:39
military campaign against the Parthians
18:41
brought her to his planned departure
18:43
from Rome Caesar attended a final
18:45
meeting of the Senate it was on the 15th
18:47
of March 44 BCE unknown to seize a 60 of
18:50
his most bitter rivals in the Senate had
18:52
come to the meeting with daggers
18:54
concealed under their togas Caesar
18:56
entered the chamber and proceeded to
18:58
make his way to his golden chair at the
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designated signal senators from all
19:02
directions left upon him as the first
19:04
dagger blow came down upon him Caesar
19:06
was heard to cry out why this violence
19:08
two of his supporters tried to come to
19:10
his aid but they were blocked by the
19:12
conspirators within minutes it been
19:15
stabbed 23 times his final act was to
19:17
cover his face with his toga so that
19:19
none would see his death expression
19:21
Caesar died at the feet of a statue of
19:24
Pompey the conspirators wanted to throw
19:26
his body into the Tiber River that they
19:28
were stopped by Mark Antony the
19:30
announcement that Caesar was dead was
19:32
met with rioting by the people and the
19:34
conspirators were forced to flee the
19:35
city
19:36
Caesars body was cremated with the
19:37
temple of Caesar being built on the
19:39
cremation site from that point on the
19:41
legend of the martyred Caesar would be
19:43
passed down through the centuries so I
19:46
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