Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The Divine Julius-Last "Dictator" of Rome
After conquering Gaul, and invading both Britiania and Germania for tribute, Julius Caesar turned his eyes towards the true prize-Rome.
Crossing the Rubicon River with his army was a direct challenge to the power of the Senate, and his former ally, Pompey Magnus.
Pompey Magnus (Pompey the Great) had been a successful general with powerful allies in the Senate. He had also been Caesar's friend, ally and son-in-law. That all changed with the death of his wife, Julia, in childbirth. Now there was to be only war between Julius and Pompey. The winner would be the undisputed ruler of the "Republic" of Rome and her Empire.
The winner-Julius Caesar-Dictator for Life!
Julius set out remaking the Roman Government with the popular support of the army and the common citizens. He was proclaimed "Dictator for Life" by a happy populace. This angered the powerful Senators who feared that in all but name Julius Caesar would be "King of Rome." No king had ruled in Rome since the founding of the Republic centuries before and the Senate would not allow a king by any name to rule Rome!
The solution was clear-the only way to remove a "Dictator for Life"-give him death. Julius died at the hands of the Senators and at the feet of the statue to Pompey Magnus dedicated when the latter was the hero of Rome.
In the end Caesar defeated even death in the eyes of his people. So popular was his memory and family that his killers were hunted and destroyed and Julius Caesar was proclaimed "Divine." This temple, and many others like it, were dedicated to the god Julius by the people of Rome. His adopted son Octavian would not repeat the mistake of becoming Dictator for Life, he would take a new title-Imperator (Emperor).