Julius Caesar and War Research Papers
Julius Caesar research papers show he was involved in many battles and conflicts over his long career, leading successful campaigns in Gaul, Italy, Greece, Britain, Asia Minor, North Africa, and Spain.
Caesar’s Military Leadership can generally be divided in military research papers into two main categories:
- Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul
- Caesar and the Roman Civil Wars
He immortalized these conquests for posterity in his now famous commentaries, because “fame,” for Caesar, “was a great spur”. And he would certainly have control over how he would be remembered in the future, given that his books are largely stories of victory and triumph. Often his essays will put forward a noble explanation for his military actions. He will point to the necessity of a certain conflict, given a clearly unjust situation, such as when he defends his need to attack the Veneti tribe in Gaul for reasons of “unlawful detention of Roman Knights”, a renewal of past hostilities, and so on. But, his stated justifications for war were never the whole story behind his military conquests.
Caesar was most noted for an unsurpassed military ambition. In the wars in Gaul, he was driven by his need for expansion, which suggests an interesting parallel between him and the earlier conqueror Alexander. Also, Caesar’s policy of unchecked military expansion into Gaul served many political and personal purposes, as well. For example, it allowed him to prove his worth, to himself and to Rome; and through his Gaul campaigns “his life took on higher meaning”. Additionally, his conquest opened central Europe to the Mediterranean civilization.
But the reality was that in Caesar’s wars on Gaul “he had no instruction to make conquest, no authority to do so” unless Rome’s interests were at stake. Rome’s policy was only to fight legitimate wars, but often that was not Caesar’s motivation. He felt, in this case, that he simply needed to conquer Gaul because it represented a potential, though not immediate, threat to Rome from invading forces. In 55 B.C., he crossed the Rhine to illustrate Rome’s power to Germany and prevent future Germanic invasions. Gaul, therefore, was a set of wars that anticipated the possibility of future wars. It was also a conquest that showed his impressive skills to the Roman Senate. He wrote that “his own integrity was attested by his whole life”.
The Roman Civil Wars were a different story. Caesar believed himself to be the victim, writing that “I alone have been denied the right always accorded to all commanders–that is, the right of coming home, after successful campaigns, with some honor, or at least without disgrace”. His campaigns in Gaul had an eye to his future political power. But his willingness for civil war “was not a programme, but a plea for his personal right, for the honor he was owed on the basis of his achievements”. His point was dignity.
But Caesar wrote of his noble ambition, as well. Early on in his commentaries on the civil wars, he reports an inspiring speech that he gave to his troops, saying that, “I did not leave my province with intent to harm anybody”; rather, he believed that he only sought to defeat the slander of his enemies and restore power to the people of Rome, reclaiming their democratic independence from those who he perceived to be unjustly in control.