What makes Julius Caesar a Man for the Ages?
A man for the ages leaves his mark on the earth and is remembered for excellence in his chosen field. Julius Caesar gained his fame by leading Rome into its glory age and being the most famous roman general in history. Caesar was born into an upper class family but was not groomed to rule from birth as was fellow legend Alexander the Great. Caesar’s father died when he was 16 and after escaping perilous political purges by Sulla targeting potential rivals. Caesar joined the army and a eventually returned to Rome for glory.
How did Caesar become a man for the ages?
He was an eloquent orator
- Caesar stood above the pack with his public speaking eloquence and ability to move a crowd both skills which would help endure him to troops as a general.
Military and political cunning
- Caesar was capable in the fields of both military might and creating political alliances. His abilities helped transform his situation from a man on the run from Sulla at a young age to a military leader his men would die to follow in battle. His gift for creating and working alliances to his advantage help set the stage for his eventual power play.
Had his wake up call to excel
- Legend has it that Caesar looked upon a statue of Alexander the Great while serving in Spain and became dissatisfied with his accomplishments since he was already at the age of 32 at which Alexander had passed. Sometimes we need to compare ourselves to other greats to bring out our own A game.
Used marriage as a political tool
- Caesar used several of his marriages to increase his political clout and solidify alliances in the formation of the First Triumvirate. He also arranged a marriage for his daughter that solidified his alliance to Pompey until her untimely death.
- Crossed the Rubicon in a bold point of no return move the poker equivalent of going all in. There was no turning back and by seizing the initiative he overwhelmed his less able enemy.
- Changed the calendar from a lunar to a solar based one and obviously had to rename it the Julian calendar.
Reformer of the people
- Was extremely popular with the low and middle classes for his reforms that aided their lot in life. This popularity was best displayed when Marc Antony was easily able to turn the mobs against the assassins at Caesar’s funeral.
Fun facts about Caesar
- He was once captured by pirates and suggested they demand a fifty talents of silver ransom vs. their original idea of twenty. He also promised to kill them when given opportunity and made good on that promise after his ransom was paid. After raising a fleet and capturing the pirates he slit their throats.
- During his assassination it is reported he was attacked by up to 60 men and stabbed up to 23 times but only one of the wounds was considered lethal enough to kill.
Biggest achilles heel
- If you have ever suffered from money and women problems take heart a great man such as Caesar knows your lot. Caesar was plagued by money worries a large portion of his life and was always on the move to avoid potential issues. His relationship with Cleopatra is also often pointed to as a source of problems with Roman upper class power brokers who frowned on that sort of arrangement.
Lessons from the Julius Caesar
- Act boldly – When faced with the end of his alliance and potential prosecution by former ally Pompey, Caesar took charge in a famous moment by crossing the Rubicon. This was a symbol of defiant intent and is now famous slang for being a bold point of no return.
- Effective succession planning – By designating worthy heir Octavian as his successor (later to be known as Caesar Augustus) he preserved his legacy, consolidated the empire and launched Rome into new levels of glory.
- Avoid hubris – Caesar had quite a God complex and probably thought he was untouchable. That arrogance led to his downfall when he was assassinated by a large group of senators. He needed the ancient day equivalent of the US Secret Service.
- Alliances are not always permanent – Alliances are not always meant to be permanent some are only for a time and will not endure. Adjust accordingly or pay the price.
- Keep your friends close but your enemies closer – But know the difference between the two. Et tu, Brute?