Striving after Tyranny?

Edited by Luciano Canfora and Julian Stringer

in Julius Caesar

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780748619368
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670734 | DOI:
Striving after Tyranny?

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Suetonius rejected all other explanations, including the one ‘frequently repeated’ by Pompey, that Caesar took the path to revolution because he could not complete what he had undertaken; that is, finish the monuments and public works he had begun and satisfy the expectations he had aroused in the people. If Pompey really did say this it is clear that he understood nothing about his adversary's character. In reality, Pompey's remark was far less an attempt at analysis than a contemptuous judgement that reduced the figure of his opponent to the level of a party leader without prospects who was tormented by a pressing need for money, or rather, who was crushed by enterprises that were too great for him. This could describe ‘Catilinarian’ characters, and probably Clodius as well, but not an able career-builder like Caesar, who had derived an uncommon economic strength from the Gallic campaign. There is another explanation for Caesar's decision to face the risk of a breach: the ‘teleological’ image of a Caesar who from the outset of his career had one aim — a Caesar striving tirelessly to achieve ‘tyranny’.

Keywords: Julius Caesar; Pompey; Suetonius; revolution

Chapter.  1629 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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