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The Life of Caesar Plutarch n/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Caesar*.html.

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Presentation on theme: "The Life of Caesar Plutarch n/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Caesar*.html."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Life of Caesar Plutarch n/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Caesar*.html

2 1. Read and summarise Bradleys analysis of Plutarch as a historian (p. 303). Additionally, find out when Plutarch lived and wrote.

3 Plutarch was a Greek who lived from 46 AD to 120 AD. At some point, he became a Roman citizen. He is most well known as a historian, biographer and essayist. Bradley (1990: 303) acknowledges the valuable detail provided in Plutarchs biographies of Caesar and others. However, she claims that these accounts suffer because of Plutarchs superficial understanding of Roman politics in the 1 st century BC. There is a particular lack of attention to the role of the optimates.

4 3. What is Caesar reputed to have said as he crossed the Rubicon (Chapter 32)? What did he mean by this statement?

5 Plutarch claims that as Caesar crossed the Rubicon he stated let the die be cast. According to Plutarch, had contemplated the decision to re-enter Italy for a long time because he appreciated that it would have grave consequences. His utterance indicates that he realised that he was taking a huge gamble and ultimately the outcome would be, to an extent, out of his control.

6 4. Briefly summarise Caesars conquest of Rome. How long did it take from the outbreak of the war?

7 Plutarch depicts a time of turmoil upon the outbreak of war. He states: … conflicting emotions and violent disturbances prevailed everywhere. Those who rejoiced did not keep quiet, but in many places, as was natural in a great city, encountered those who were in fear and distress, and being filled with confidence as to the future came into strife with them… (Plutarch, Ch. 32). Despite having a greater army, Pompey fled the city first to Brundisium and the across the Adriatic Sea to Dyracchium. Caesar assumed control of Rome before pursuing Pompey.

8 5. In Chapter 35, Plutarch tells of how Caesar broke into the treasury. How does Caesar rationalise his action to Metellus?

9 Caesars response to Metellus was to insist that the standards of peacetime do not apply to a time of war. … Caesar said that arms and laws had not the same season. (Plutarch, Ch. 35) Ultimately, Caesar answered Metellus continued objections by threatening to kill him.

10 6. If true, what does the anecdote in Chapter 38 reveal about Caesars character?

11 Caesar found himself without sufficient troops and so conceived a plan to sneak back to Italy and levy more, despite the fact that Pompeys men controlled the seas. When the captain felt that the weather made a crossing impossible, Caesar revealed himself and, according to Plutarch, declared: "Come, good man, be bold and fear naught; thou carryest Caesar and Caesar's fortune in thy boat." The sailors forgot the storm, and laying to their oars, tried with all alacrity to force their way down the river. (Plutarch, Ch. 38). If there is any truth in this anecdote, it is clearly testimony to Caesars courage and daring.

12 7. What happened to Pompey in Egypt? How did Cleopatra figure in events (Chapter 48)?

13 After defeat in northern Greece, Pompey fled to Egypt. The Egyptians, aware that Caesar was in the ascendancy and seeking to gain his favour, assassinated Pompey. When Caesar arrived, they presented him with Pompeys head. In return, Caesar had Pompeys assassins killed. Cleopatra apparently seduced Caesar and was to have a child by him. When Caesar had defeated an Egyptian uprising, he left Cleopatra on the throne.

14 8. Explain what we learn about Caesars rule after his victory in the civil war from Chapter 57.

15 We learn from Chapter 57 of Plutarchs life that Caesar became dictator for life and many of the Roman ruling class responded to his absolute power fawningly. Caesars rule exhibited qualities he was already well- known for. He displayed clemency and also magnanimity as when he ordered statues of Pompey to be reconstructed. He also ruled as a popularis, pandering to the mob by providing them with grain and the like.

16 9. What is the significance of the offering of a crown to Caesar in Chapter 61?

17 In Chapter 61, Plutarch recounts a public display in which Mark Antony offered Caesar a crown (or diadem) on three occasions. On each occasion, the crowd cheers when Caesar refuses the crown (as this is seen to be keeping faith with Romes republican tradition). However, Caesars enemies read these events with suspicion, concluding that Caesar had staged this public show to test the waters about popular attitudes to him becoming king. This was a pivotal source of inspiration for Caesars assassins who executed their deed about one month later.

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