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Old 03-12-2019, 11:42 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,551 posts, read 888,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenFresno View Post
Engaging in massive and widespread violence and terror for the glorification of oneself is the most text book definition of a sociopath one could come up with. Caesar didn't conquer Gaul for the resources, he conquered Gaul for the glorification of himself and Rome. He even bragged about how many women and children he butchered in his conquests. Hard to make a case for him being anything other then a narcissistic sociopath.

Caesar didn't brag about killing women & children. He mentions it in 2 or 3 lines of his Commentaries.


It is a mistake to judge the ancients by our modern standards of morality.


Caesar's adventures into 'Gaul were necessitated by the intrusion of northern tribes into Roman territory. It was a matter of defending rights of sovereignty. The Germans were in a bind, being pressed by tribes from farther north, so they kept pressing the Romans, having nowhere else to go.


Caesar, like most Roman men desirous of success & wealth, also saw the necessity of physical power to ensure that success-- the Romans had no public police force. He saw the value in spending money on his army and on bread & circuses to capture the support of the masses- the ultimate source of power. One can easily draw comparisons to modern American politics.
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:33 PM
 
Location: San Jose
1,848 posts, read 557,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
Caesar didn't brag about killing women & children. He mentions it in 2 or 3 lines of his Commentaries.
The issue was that he commanded his forces to butcher women and children. Whether he bragged about it or not is hardly the problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
It is a mistake to judge the ancients by our modern standards of morality.
Around the same period of time that Caesar was marching around Gaul butchering people. A man in Judah was teaching people how to be peaceful and to shun violence and domination. So even by "their" standards of the time he was a butcher and a sociopath. Its to be noted why religions like Christianity, Manichaeism and Buddhism were so popular. Its precisely because of men like Caesar and the detrimental impact they have on those around them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
Caesar's adventures into 'Gaul were necessitated by the intrusion of northern tribes into Roman territory. It was a matter of defending rights of sovereignty. The Germans were in a bind, being pressed by tribes from farther north, so they kept pressing the Romans, having nowhere else to go.
How was what the German's did, fundamentally any different to what the Roman's did? Both are invading other people's territory.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
Caesar, like most Roman men desirous of success & wealth, also saw the necessity of physical power to ensure that success-- the Romans had no public police force. He saw the value in spending money on his army and on bread & circuses to capture the support of the masses- the ultimate source of power. One can easily draw comparisons to modern American politics.
Caesar desired personal glory above all else and masked his decisions behind the perception that what he was doing was for the best interest of the Republic.

If you read the accounts of Romans from that era you realize that as a people and culture they suffered from a complex sense of cultural inferiority. They attempted to overcome this sense of inferiority by focusing their effects principally on endless military conquest. Hence they attributed their greatness as a byproduct of their military success and thus had to continually achieve military success in order to validate themselves. We know this because the Romans would often write how they lamented the corrupting influence they would have on Gallic and Germans once they encountered them. If they hated the influence they had on them then why conquer them? Because they need to validate their own greatness. The Romans were truly baffling people in every sense.
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:57 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
12,828 posts, read 8,101,297 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenFresno View Post
The issue was that he commanded his forces to butcher women and children. Whether he bragged about it or not is hardly the problem.




Around the same period of time that Caesar was marching around Gaul butchering people. A man in Judah was teaching people how to be peaceful and to shun violence and domination. So even by "their" standards of the time he was a butcher and a sociopath. Its to be noted why religions like Christianity, Manichaeism and Buddhism were so popular. Its precisely because of men like Caesar and the detrimental impact they have on those around them.




How was what the German's did, fundamentally any different to what the Roman's did? Both are invading other people's territory.




Caesar desired personal glory above all else and masked his decisions behind the perception that what he was doing was for the best interest of the Republic.

If you read the accounts of Romans from that era you realize that as a people and culture they suffered from a complex sense of cultural inferiority. They attempted to overcome this sense of inferiority by focusing their effects principally on endless military conquest. Hence they attributed their greatness as a byproduct of their military success and thus had to continually achieve military success in order to validate themselves. We know this because the Romans would often write how they lamented the corrupting influence they would have on Gallic and Germans once they encountered them. If they hated the influence they had on them then why conquer them? Because they need to validate their own greatness. The Romans were truly baffling people in every sense.
I dunno, Ken. That's just not the way I learned it or see it.
People like Caesar were the norm in the first century BC.
Being conquered by Rome wasn't all bad. Conquered peoples became citizens of Rome and could travel freely. Seems to me that that policy facilitated the spread of Christianity, even though the Romans never intended it to be so. People could move from country to country and quietly preach. Caesar had been dead 350 years by the Constantine converted (if he did).
And don't forget that conquered people were very often allowed to keep their own armies and defend their own territory - just not against Rome.
Best of all - and Britannia is a good example - Rome brought education to conquered lands. When Rome left Britannia they took education with them and created The Dark Ages where history was not recorded and is not known.
It was the Huns, I believe, who finally pushed the Goths hard enough for them to cross the Danube into Rome, but that was long after Caesar.
Still, I think Caesar was a sociopath by most standards. You would have to be crazy to want to lead Rome. That makes Claudius the sanest of them all, because he never wanted the job...
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:33 AM
 
Location: MN
132 posts, read 265,510 times
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Was Julius Casesar good or bad?


That depends on whether one views the Roman Empire as the successful continuation of the Roman State or an oppressive state.


One should remember the state of the Republic at his time, it was a time of upheaval.

Quote:
He saw the value in spending money on his army and on bread & circuses to capture the support of the masses
Here is the crux of the matter. By Julius's time, the large landowners managed to dispossess most of the Italian peasantry thanks to cheap slavery. So, the core of the Roman armies were made up of propertyless Roman citizens dependent upon their general for their whole livelihood, thanks to Marius, Julius's uncle-in-law. This of course gave the generals armies loyal to them. Likewise, the civilian dispossessed peasantry were dependent upon the dole for their sustenance; they very literally sold their votes for food. This was hugely expensive, so the generals and the Republic were required to constantly plunder to meet the costs of the army and population. Julius was not an innovator in this, he merely just stopped playing the farce of the republicans. He was part of the string, starting with the Gracchi, through Marius and Julius, to Augustus of transforming the ancient Republic to the Empire. This was necessary if Rome was to survive after dispossessing its peasantry. Had the Optimates/republicans been successful, Rome would have probably turned out worse. Sure he was out to personally profit, but if one could change anything or hold any office, one had to. His personal ambitions and the survival of Rome were intertwined and can not probably be reasonably separated.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:48 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,551 posts, read 888,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenFresno View Post

If you read the accounts of Romans from that era you realize that as a people and culture they suffered from a complex sense of cultural inferiority. They attempted to overcome this sense of inferiority by focusing their effects principally on endless military conquest. Hence they attributed their greatness as a byproduct of their military success and thus had to continually achieve military success in order to validate themselves. We know this because the Romans would often write how they lamented the corrupting influence they would have on Gallic and Germans once they encountered them. If they hated the influence they had on them then why conquer them? Because they need to validate their own greatness. The Romans were truly baffling people in every sense.

Unsubstantiated by any evidence from the histories-- quite the opposite--The Romans felt themselves superior to the Barbarians (people who spoke "bar-bar") to whom they brought cleanliness (cf- the Roman's obsession with "the baths") & civilized culture. This is actually Caesar's true contribution: he facilitated the spread of the Roman culture to all of Europe. Today we are still essentially all Romans.


"Cives Romanus sum." was the declaration a citizen could make after having been convicted of a crime. The Law stated that no Roman citizen could be submitted to corporal punishment. Life was rough in those days, and Rome made it a little less rough. As I said, don't judge them by our standards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
Still, I think Caesar was a sociopath by most standards. ...

Excellent post, although I take exception to this last line...Given the situation in 1st centruy BC Rome, to be in politics was to be swimming against a strong current, so to speak-- keep swimming hard or be swept away and drowned. Civil war, conscription lists, political assassinations...once you joined the fray, you had no choice but to keep fighting or die-- literally. Was he ( or any of them) being egotistical or just trying to survive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgr View Post
Was Julius Casesar good or bad?


That depends on whether one views the Roman Empire as the successful continuation of the Roman State or an oppressive state.


One should remember the state of the Republic at his time, it was a time of upheaval.

Here is the crux of the matter. By Julius's time, the large landowners managed to dispossess most of the Italian peasantry thanks to cheap slavery. So, the core of the Roman armies were made up of propertyless Roman citizens dependent upon their general for their whole livelihood, thanks to Marius, Julius's uncle-in-law. This of course gave the generals armies loyal to them. Likewise, the civilian dispossessed peasantry were dependent upon the dole for their sustenance; they very literally sold their votes for food. This was hugely expensive, so the generals and the Republic were required to constantly plunder to meet the costs of the army and population. Julius was not an innovator in this, he merely just stopped playing the farce of the republicans. He was part of the string, starting with the Gracchi, through Marius and Julius, to Augustus of transforming the ancient Republic to the Empire. This was necessary if Rome was to survive after dispossessing its peasantry. Had the Optimates/republicans been successful, Rome would have probably turned out worse. Sure he was out to personally profit, but if one could change anything or hold any office, one had to. His personal ambitions and the survival of Rome were intertwined and can not probably be reasonably separated.

Excellent analysis. They were all swimming in that swift current and there would inevitably be only one winner. It happened to be G Julius Caesar- until 44BC anyway...It's pretty easy to draw a comparison to more modern dealings in the world of organized crime.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:50 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
6,366 posts, read 10,438,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDWill1 View Post
I don't know much about Caesar, but I've thought about Alexander the Great and other ancient kings: men who are admired for their military prowess and 'greatness,' if they were alive today doing the same things, would be considered mass murderers and war criminals.
Unless they win the war and hire the history writers.

In any case, as I look at a dictionary definition of 'greatness", I read nothing about facile moral qualities, such as good and bad, nasty and nice.

If they are still remembered today, they are great, by definition.


At any rate, yes, Julius Caesar was a nasty guy. But, as mentioned, he did reward his soldiers who survived, as promised, and was nice to some of his political enemies by displaying clemency. His reward for that was assassination.

Nice guys finish last.

The history writers of his successor Augustus and other Julio-Claudians were enemies from the senatorial class.

Surely it is the task of the living to self-righteously criticize.

Last edited by bale002; 03-14-2019 at 09:23 AM..
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:29 PM
 
Location: San Jose
1,848 posts, read 557,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
Unsubstantiated by any evidence from the histories-- quite the opposite--The Romans felt themselves superior to the Barbarians (people who spoke "bar-bar") to whom they brought cleanliness (cf- the Roman's obsession with "the baths") & civilized culture. This is actually Caesar's true contribution: he facilitated the spread of the Roman culture to all of Europe. Today we are still essentially all Romans.
Romans thought they were superior to everyone they encountered be it for different reasons. The Romans would essentially break down every culture they encountered into two categories.

The Romans considered cultures that were older and more culturally rich then them to be smarter more clever people. But being culturally rich and smart makes you effeminate in the eyes of the Romans.

The Romans considered cultures that were more simple and primitive then them to be braver and more noble but stupid and prone to being drunks.

The complex the Romans had in encountering these two different types of cultures was that the Romans never perceived their presence as a positive contribution to the perceived inadequacies of those they encounters. To the Romans their presence amongst effeminate Easterners didn't make Easterners braver and more noble, it made Romans more effeminate. The Romans presence amongst the Gauls and Germans didn't make them more disciplined and cultured like the Romans it made Romans dumber dumber and more prone to being drunks

Strabo described the Rome's influence as such:

And yet our mode of life has spread its change for the worse to almost all peoples, introducing amongst them luxury and sensual pleasures and, to satisfy these vices, base artifices that lead to innumerable acts of greed. So then, much wickedness of this sort has fallen on the barbarian peoples also, on the Nomads as well as the rest; for as the result of taking up a seafaring life they not only have become morally worse, indulging in the practice of piracy and of slaying strangers, but also, because of their intercourse with many peoples, have partaken of the luxury and the peddling habits of these peoples. But though these things seem to conduce strongly to gentleness of manner, they corrupt morals and introduce cunning instead of the straightforwardness which I just now mentioned.65

Rome's sense of superiority masked a profound sense of inferiority that would effect every element of their culture.

Julius Caesar:

“Upon the Gauls, however, the neighbourhood of our provinces and acquaintance with oversea commodities lavishes many articles of use or luxury; little by little they have grown accus tomed to defeat, and after being conquered in many battles they do not even compare themselves in point of valour with the Germans.”

Caesar believed that wealth and prosperity made people more prone to defeat and therefore less noble. Hence his wars of conquest in Gaul were not done as excuse to make the Gallic more civilized. The conquests of Gaul was a demonstration to the people of Roman, that they were still militarily mighty.
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:59 PM
Status: "there is no Planet B" (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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Caesar was actually a bit of a prankster and I once read that he was the inventor of the hot-foot gag
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
39,209 posts, read 18,070,406 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenFresno View Post
Caesar believed that wealth and prosperity made people more prone to defeat and therefore less noble. Hence his wars of conquest in Gaul were not done as excuse to make the Gallic more civilized. The conquests of Gaul was a demonstration to the people of Roman, that they were still militarily mighty.
Caesar's primary motivation for his conquest of Gaul was to make himself immensely wealthy and then use that immense wealth to make himself more powerful. He was very generous in rewarding the officers and Legionnaires who served under them, cementing a bond between general and army which insured their loyalty to Caesar above all.

Caesar was wealthy, his army was wealthy, but this did not appear to make them prone to defeat.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:04 PM
 
Location: 912 feet above sea level
2,094 posts, read 763,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghengis View Post
Caesar was actually a bit of a prankster and I once read that he was the inventor of the hot-foot gag
It was reportedly one too many instances of Julius putting a whoopee cushion on Brutus' chair that led to his assassination.
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