Sunday, 15 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Julius Caesar

Image result for julius caesarHistorical Fun Presents: Fun Facts About Julius Caesar

1. Julius Caesar was the most famous Roman General in history, and a Dictator of Rome.

He is not, as some believe, the first Roman Emperor.

That accolade went to his nephew Octavius, who changed his name to Julius Caesar after his uncle's death, and then to Augustus Caesar when he became Emperor.

Julius Caesar, the Julius Caesar we actually know, not the other one, or two, if you read below, was a Roman General, Senator, and Consul of Rome.

He was also awarded the title of Dictator for life. Never was he an Emperor, even though he really, really wanted to be one.

2. Julius Caesar was born Gaius Julius Caesar.

He dropped the Gaius after his father, also called Julius Caesar, who was originally called Gaius Julius Caesar, died.

Wowser, that's not confusing at all.

Basically: Gaius Julius Caesar dropped the Gaius to honour his father, Julius Caesar, who had all ready dropped the name Gaius to become Julius Caesar so his son could one day be the Julius Caesar we know today as the Roman General, Julius Caesar.

But, it gets more confusing.

Julius Caesar's nephew, Gaius Octavius, changed his name to Julius Caesar after Julius Caesar died. He then changed it again to Augustus Caesar when he was made Emperor.

3) All subsequent Emperor's have used the title "Caesar" to denote "Emperor".

It's just a name, and isn't the Latin for Emperor. They used it to continue the belief they are all related to Julius Caesar (the second one, not his father. Although technically his father as well).

4. Julius Caesar was a highly-skilled soldier, general and politician.
But he was also pretty good at giving speeches and playing conkers.
Yes, speeches and conkers (remember that when you think I've made a spelling mistake).
After every victorious battle, some of which lasted for months on end, Julius Caesar gave a triumphant speech, some of which lasted for months on end.
After the battle of Zela, Caesar gave the now infamous speech, "Veni, Vidi, Vici." Which translates as, "I came. I saw. I conkered."
He had an army of 10,000 expert conker players wipe out the army of Pharnaces II, which was twice as large, in only five days.
He came. He saw. He conkered the nuts off their strings.
5. Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates.
Julius Caesar may have been one of the most awesome generals in history, but even he was no match for Disney.
In his mid-twenties, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates.
He was sailing the seas looking for mermaids when his ship was attacked by Jonny Depp aboard the Black Pearl. The pirates took Caesar and the crew prisoner.
To say that Caesar was vexed would be an understatement. He was livid. Also young and cocky.
When the pirates told him they would ask for a ransom of twenty talents, Julius Caesar said he could do three impressions and a juggling routine, and a very average rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Then he spat in their faces and promptly demanded they ask for 50 talents.
Now that's negotiating.
He also told them, in his best Liam Neeson voice,
"I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want.
If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.
But what I do have are a very particular set of skills;
skills I have acquired over a very long career.
If you let me go now, that’ll be the end of it.
If you don’t,
I will look for you,
I will find you,
and I will kill you."
6) From nothing, Julius Caesar built an army to hunt and kill those pirates.
After the ransom for his freedom was paid, Julius Caesar was set free. Instead of returning to Rome, he raised a small army of men, gathered a fleet of ships, and pursued the pirates across the country and far out to sea. And then back to land.
He caught up to the pirates, and their fleet, destroyed or captured their ships, imprisoned the men, and then systematically crucified each of them on the beaches as a warning to others.
You don't mess with the Caesar. He looked. He found. He killed.
7. Julius Caesar was a reformer.
He changed the Roman calendar system to the Julian Calendar.
It's why we have 12 months with 365 days a year in our calendar.
To honour himself, Caesar renamed the month he was born in from Quintilis to July (Hmm, that's strange. July bears no resemblance to the word Caesar).
Bonus Fact
Later, completely and utterly jealous of his uncle having a month named after him, Augustus Caesar threw a tantrum and renamed the month Sextilis to August.
Then someone pointed out that July had 31 days and all hell broke loose.
Augustus sent 100,000 of his most highly-trained soldiers on a six month forced-hike through the grim depths of July, June, May and April, before slowing down for a gentle march during the next month.
When they arrived at February, it surrendered immediately.
The month negotiated a settlement.
In return for giving one day to August as a hostage, every four years February could pretend they had it back. The army returned to August where that day has been held prisoner ever since, all so the month of August could have 31 days like Julius Caesar's month of July.

8. On the 15th day of the third month in 44BC, Julius Caesar, the Dictator of Rome, was assassinated by Marcus Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and a whole host of other Roman Senators.

Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on the Ides of March (15th March) by a consortium of Roman Senators led by Caesar's friend, Marcus-I-did-Eat-Two-Brutus.
Julius Caesar had been told to Beware The Ides Of March by Gandalf, but chose to ignore the old wizard after he found out he could have just used the eagles to return the ring to the fires of Milton Keynes.
Just before Caesar passed into the shadowy world of gonna-return-as-a-zombie-and-eat-your-face-off, he looked into the eyes of his friend and whispered, "Et Tu, Brutus."
This translates into English as, "Your mamma was a snowblower."
As Evil Emperors go, Caracalla is probably one of the worst, most evil emperors you'll ever come across.
This guy was not just bad.
Not just evil.
He was:


DLM said...

Caesar's pet name from a certain lady called Servilia was "Snow."

History does elucidate as to why, but we'll leave this one for another day, mm? As well as her relationship to that Brutus fellow.

Jed Cullan said...

Brutus was her son. Caesar wanted Brutus to call him Big Daddy, Servilia's pet name for him, but he decided to stab him to death instead.