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Crossing the Rubicon Task

Crossing the Rubicon Task

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Crossing the Rubicon Task

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  1. Crossing the Rubicon Task • Read the quote and comment you have been assigned from pp. 374 – 378 of Bradley. • Discuss it with your partner and form a view about whether Caesar was justified in crossing the Rubicon. • Refer to the timeline on pp. 368 – 375 of Bradley if you need to check relevant context. • Think carefully about how the action looks in the light of the Roman constitution and the events of the preceding decade. • You may want to phrase your conclusion in definite terms. Alternatively, you can explain the arguments for and against Caesar’s actions. • Prepare to explain your conclusion to the class.

  2. Justified according to us and our standards of morality and political behaviour? Justified according to who? Against what measure? Or according to Roman standards in the 1st Century BC? Or??? Or according to Roman standards in the 1st Century BC? JUSTIFIED??? Or according Caesar’s own morality and beliefs? Was he consistent? Consistency with the behaviour of others in that period… According to the standards of the Roman constitution?

  3. Quote 1 “… He [Caesar] was resolved to invade Italy if force were used against the tribunes of the people who had vetoed the senate’s decree disbanding his army by a given date. Force was, in effect, used, and the tribunes fled towards Cisalpine Gaul, which became Caesar’s pretexts for launching the Civil War.” Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar (Bradley, p. 374)

  4. Quote 1 Suetonius (& Plutarch) think this was a pretext; a justification but not the real reason for Caesar’s actions. It is argued that Caesar used this action by the Senate for propaganda purposes, particularly amongst his own troops in Gaul. Argument that the flight of the tribunes was staged. Caesar subsequently treated tribunes in the same way Antony & Cassius allegedly were.

  5. Quote 2 • “Additional motives are suspected, however: Pompey’s comment was that because Caesar had insufficient capital to carry out his grandiose schemes or give the people all that they had been encouraged to expect on his return, he chose to create an atmosphere of political confusion.” Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar(Bradley, p. 376)

  6. Quote 2 • Caesar had been sending huge quantities of wealth back to Rome, eg. Curio’s debts, building of the Basilica • Caesar had been very generous with his troops • Broke into the treasury in 49 BC (after crossing the Rubicon and starting the Civil War) • May have felt he needed large sums of money to bribe his way out of prosecution if he became a private citizen… • Therefore, it is possible that he was motivated by money.

  7. Quote 3 “Another view is that he dreaded having to account for the irregularities of his first consulship… [and] he said in these very words: “They would have condemned me regardless of all my victories – me, Gaius Caesar – had I not appealed to my army for help.” Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar(Bradley, p. 376)

  8. Quote 3 • Caesar feared the indignity of prosecution (less than the penalty). • Caesar himself wrote about how important prestige had always been to him. • Caesar believed he was being unfairly targeted.

  9. Quote 4 • “It has also been suggested that constant exercise of power gave Caesar a love of it; and that, after weighing his enemies’ strength against his own, he took his chance of fulfilling his youthful dreams of making a bid for the monarchy: Cicero seems to have come to a similar conclusion.” Suetonius, The Life of Julius CaesarBradley (p. 377)

  10. Responsibility for the War (Bradley, p. 377) • Crossing the Rubicon was an act of treason • Caesar may not have expected war but that his enemies would quickly capitulate • Pompey devoted to maintaining his supremacy and not allowing Caesar to become his equal • Optimates wanted to destroy Caesar