Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
Table of Contents
Important background 2
Gaius Julius Caesar was born in Subura, Rome in 100 BC to an aristocratic family that could trace their bloodlines back to Rome’s foundation. His parents were well-off but not rich by Roman standards.
Caesar's father died when he was sixteen years old. He became head of the family and responsible for his mother Aurelia and sister Julia. Aged seventeen, he married Cornelia, the daughter of a powerful politician in Rome.
Soon, young Caesar found himself in the middle of a power struggle between two government factions. Rome’s dictator, Sulla, was enemies with both Caesar's uncle Marius and Caesar's father in-law Cinna. Caesar joined the army and left Rome to avoid Sulla and his allies.
When Sulla died, Caesar returned to Rome, now a military hero from his army years. He quickly rose up the ranks in the Roman government. He made allies with powerful men such as the general Pompey the Great and the wealthy Crassus. Caesar was an excellent speaker and the people of Rome loved him.
Aged 40, Caesar was elected to consul – the highest ranking position in the Roman Republic, similar to president. There were two consuls and they only served for one year. At the end of his consul year, Caesar became governor of Gaul province. As governor, Caesar took charge of four Roman legions. An effective governor and general, he conquered all of Gaul. He gained the respect of his army and was considered, alongside Pompey, the greatest Roman army general.
Roman politics, meanwhile, became increasingly hostile. Many leaders were jealous of Caesar and his following. Even Pompey became jealous and soon he and Caesar became rivals: Caesar had the people’s support, Pompey the aristocracy’s.
Caesar later announced his imminent return to Rome to run fo...