Gaius Julius Caesar, known by his nomen and cognomen Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, military general, historian who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He wrote Latin prose. In 60 BC, Caesar and Pompey formed the First Triumvirate, a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years, their attempts to amass power as Populares were opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in the Roman Republic through a number of his accomplishments, notably his victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC. During this time, Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the English Channel and the Rhine River, when he built a bridge across the Rhine and crossed the Channel to invade Britain. Caesar's wars extended Rome's territory to past Gaul; these achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC.
With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Leaving his command in Gaul meant losing his immunity from being charged as a criminal for waging unsanctioned wars; as a result, Caesar found himself with no other options but to cross the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms. This began Caesar's civil war, his victory in the war put him in an unrivaled position of power and influence. After assuming control of government, Caesar began a program of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar, he gave citizenship to many residents of far regions of the Roman Empire. He initiated land support for veterans, he centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was proclaimed "dictator for life", giving him additional authority. His populist and authoritarian reforms angered the elites. On the Ides of March, 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus and Decimus Junius Brutus, who stabbed him to death.
A new series of civil wars broke out and the constitutional government of the Republic was never restored. Caesar's adopted heir Octavian known as Augustus, rose to sole power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power, the era of the Roman Empire began. Much of Caesar's life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns and from other contemporary sources the letters and speeches of Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust; the biographies of Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch are major sources. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history, his cognomen was subsequently adopted as a synonym for "Emperor". He has appeared in literary and artistic works, his political philosophy, known as Caesarism, inspired politicians into the modern era. Gaius Julius Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas the son of the goddess Venus.
The Julii were of Alban origin, mentioned as one of the leading Alban houses, which settled in Rome around the mid-7th century BC, after the destruction of Alba Longa. They were granted patrician status, along with other noble Alban families; the Julii existed at an early period at Bovillae, evidenced by a ancient inscription on an altar in the theatre of that town, which speaks of their offering sacrifices according to the lege Albana, or Alban rites. The cognomen "Caesar" originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor, born by Caesarean section; the Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair. Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored this interpretation of his name. Despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of their political fortunes in the early 1st century BC. Caesar's father called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of Asia, his sister Julia, Caesar's aunt, married Gaius Marius, one of the most prominent figures in the Republic.
His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of Caesar's childhood. In 85 BC, Caesar's father died so Caesar was the head of the family at 16, his coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both sides carried out bloody purges of their political opponents whenever they were in the ascendancy. Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated as the new Flamen Dialis, he was married to Cinna's daughter Cornelia. Following Sulla's final victory, Caesar's connections to the old regime made him a target for the new one, he was stripped of his inheritance, his wife's dowry, his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding. The threat against hi
Natural History (Pliny)
The Natural History is a book about the whole of the natural world in Latin by Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and naval commander who died in 79 AD. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover all ancient knowledge; the work's subject area is thus not limited to. It is encyclopedic in scope; the work is divided into 37 books, organised into ten volumes. These cover topics including astronomy, geography, anthropology, human physiology, botany, horticulture, mining, sculpture and precious stones. Pliny's Natural History became a model for encyclopedias and scholarly works as a result of its breadth of subject matter, its referencing of original authors, its index; the work is dedicated to the emperor Titus, a son of Pliny's close friend, the emperor Vespasian, in the first year of Titus's reign. It is the only work by Pliny to have survived, the last that he published, he began it in 77, had not made a final revision at the time of his death during the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius.
Pliny's Natural History was written alongside other substantial works. Pliny combined his scholarly activities with a busy career as an imperial administrator for the emperor Vespasian. Much of his writing was done at night; as for the nocturnal hours spent writing, these were seen not as a loss of sleep but as an addition to life, for as he states in the preface, Vita vigilia est, "to be alive is to be watchful", in a military metaphor of a sentry keeping watch in the night. Pliny claims to be the only Roman to have undertaken such a work, in his prayer for the blessing of the universal mother: Hail to thee, thou parent of all things! and do thou deign to show thy favour unto me, alone of all the citizens of Rome, have, in thy every department, thus made known thy praise. The Natural History is encyclopaedic in scope. However, it does have structure: Pliny uses Aristotle's division of nature to recreate the natural world in literary form. Rather than presenting compartmentalised, stand-alone entries arranged alphabetically, Pliny's ordered natural landscape is a coherent whole, offering the reader a guided tour: "a brief excursion under our direction among the whole of the works of nature..."
The work is unified but varied: "My subject is the world of nature... or in other words, life," he tells Titus. Nature for Pliny was divine, a pantheistic concept inspired by the Stoic philosophy which underlies much of his thought, but the deity in question was a goddess whose main purpose was to serve the human race: "nature, life" is human life in a natural landscape. After an initial survey of cosmology and geography, Pliny starts his treatment of animals with the human race, "for whose sake great Nature appears to have created all other things"; this teleological view of nature was common in antiquity and is crucial to the understanding of the Natural History. The components of nature are not just described in and for themselves, but with a view to their role in human life. Pliny devotes a number of the books to plants, with a focus on their medicinal value. Pliny's premise is distinct from modern ecological theories, reflecting the prevailing sentiment of his time. Pliny's work reflects Rome's imperial expansion which brought new and exciting things to the capital: exotic eastern spices, strange animals to be put on display or herded into the arena the alleged phoenix sent to the emperor Claudius in AD 47 – although, as Pliny admits, this was acknowledged to be a fake.
Pliny repeated Aristotle's maxim. Nature's variety and versatility were claimed to be infinite: "When I have observed nature she has always induced me to deem no statement about her incredible." This led Pliny to recount rumours of strange peoples on the edges of the world. These monstrous races – the Cynocephali or Dog-Heads, the Sciapodae, whose single foot could act as a sunshade, the mouthless Astomi, who lived on scents – were not new, they had been mentioned in the 5th century BC by the Greek historian Herodotus but Pliny made them better known."As full of variety as nature itself", stated Pliny's nephew, Pliny the Younger, this verdict explains the appeal of the Natural History since Pliny's death in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Pliny had gone to investigate the strange cloud – "shaped like an umbrella pine", according to his nephew – rising from the mountain; the Natural History was one of the first ancient European texts to be printed, in Venice in 1469. Philemon Holland's English translation of 1601 has influenced literature since.
The Natural History consists of 37 books. Pliny devised a summarium, or list of contents, at the beginning of the work, interpreted by modern printers as a table of contents; the table below is a summary based on modern names for topics. Pliny's purpose in writing the Natural History was to cover all learning and art so far as they are connected with nature or draw their materials from nature, he says:My subject is a barren one – t
Compsa was an ancient city of the Hirpini, near the sources of the Aufidus, on the boundary of Lucania and not far from that of Apulia, on a ridge 609 m above sea level. It recaptured two years later, it was occupied by Sulla in 89 BC, was the scene of the death of Titus Annius Milo in 48 BC. Most modern sources, for example Hülsen in Pauly-Wissowa's Realencyclopädie, refer Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Civili and Pliny's Naturalis Historiæ to this place, supposing the ancient manuscripts to be corrupt; the usual identification of the site of Milo's death with Cassano allo Ionio on the Gulf of Taranto must therefore be rejected. In imperial times, as inscriptions show, it was a municipium, but it lay far from any of the main highways; the ruins of the ancient city were studied again, when they reappeared after the destruction of the modern town in the 1980 Irpinia earthquake. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Compsa". Encyclopædia Britannica.
Cambridge University Press
The Roman Senate was a political institution in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city of Rome, it survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the barbarian rule of Rome in the 5th, 6th, 7th centuries. During the days of the kingdom, it was little more than an advisory council to the king; the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was overthrown following a coup d'état led by Lucius Junius Brutus, who founded the Roman Republic. During the early Republic, the Senate was politically weak, while the various executive magistrates were quite powerful. Since the transition from monarchy to constitutional rule was most gradual, it took several generations before the Senate was able to assert itself over the executive magistrates. By the middle Republic, the Senate had reached the apex of its republican power.
The late Republic saw a decline in the Senate's power, which began following the reforms of the tribunes Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. After the transition of the Republic into the Principate, the Senate lost much of its political power as well as its prestige. Following the constitutional reforms of the Emperor Diocletian, the Senate became politically irrelevant; when the seat of government was transferred out of Rome, the Senate was reduced to a purely municipal body. This decline in status was reinforced when the emperor Constantine the Great created an additional senate in Constantinople. After Romulus Augustulus was deposed in 476 the Senate in the West functioned under the rule of Odovacer, 476–489 and during Ostrogothic rule, 489–535, it was restored after the reconquest of Italy by Justinian I. However, the Senate in Rome disappeared at some point after AD 603. Despite this, the title "senator" was still used well into the Middle Ages as a meaningless honorific. However, the Eastern Senate survived in Constantinople, until the ancient institution vanished there, c. 14th century.
The senate was a political institution in the ancient Roman Kingdom. The word senate derives from the Latin word senex, which means "old man"; the prehistoric Indo-Europeans who settled Italy in the centuries before the legendary founding of Rome in 753 BC were structured into tribal communities, these communities included an aristocratic board of tribal elders. The early Roman family was called a gens or "clan", each clan was an aggregation of families under a common living male patriarch, called a pater; when the early Roman gentes were aggregating to form a common community, the patres from the leading clans were selected for the confederated board of elders that would become the Roman senate. Over time, the patres came to recognize the need for a single leader, so they elected a king, vested in him their sovereign power; when the king died, that sovereign power reverted to the patres. The senate is said to have been created by Rome's first king, Romulus consisting of 100 men; the descendants of those 100 men subsequently became the patrician class.
Rome's fifth king, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, chose a further 100 senators. They were chosen from the minor leading families, were accordingly called the patres minorum gentium. Rome's seventh and final king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, executed many of the leading men in the senate, did not replace them, thereby diminishing their number. However, in 509 BC Rome's first and third consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus and Publius Valerius Publicola chose from amongst the leading equites new men for the senate, these being called conscripti, thus increased the size of the senate to 300; the senate of the Roman Kingdom held three principal responsibilities: It functioned as the ultimate repository for the executive power, it served as the king's council, it functioned as a legislative body in concert with the people of Rome. During the years of the monarchy, the senate's most important function was to elect new kings. While the king was nominally elected by the people, it was the senate who chose each new king.
The period between the death of one king and the election of a new king was called the interregnum, during which time the Interrex nominated a candidate to replace the king. After the senate gave its initial approval to the nominee, he was formally elected by the people, received the senate's final approval. At least one king, Servius Tullius, was elected by the senate alone, not by the people; the senate's most significant task, outside regal elections, was to function as the king's council, while the king could ignore any advice it offered, its growing prestige helped make the advice that it offered difficult to ignore. Only the king could make new laws, although he involved both the senate and the curiate assembly in the process; when the Republic began, the Senate functioned as an advisory council. It consisted of 300–500 senators, who were patrician and served for life. Before long, plebeians were admitted, although they were denied the senior magistracies for a longer period. Senators were entitled to wear a toga with a broad purple stripe, maroon shoes, an iron ring.
The Senate of the Roman Republic passed decrees called senatus consulta, which in form constituted "advice" from the senate to a magistrate. While these decrees did not hold legal force, they were obeyed in practice. If a senatus consultum conflicted with a
Recorded history or written history is a historical narrative based on a written record or other documented communication. It contrasts with other narratives of the past, such as mythological, oral or archeological traditions. For broader world history, recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world around the 4th millennium BC, coincides with the invention of writing. For some geographic regions or cultures, written history is limited to a recent period in human history because of the limited use of written records. Moreover, human cultures do not always record all of the information relevant to historians, such as the full impact of natural disasters or the names of individuals; because of this, recorded history in different contexts may refer to different periods of time depending on the topic. The interpretation of recorded history relies on historical method, or the set of techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and to write accounts of the past.
The question of the nature, the possibility, of an effective method for interpreting recorded history is raised in the philosophy of history as a question of epistemology. The study of different historical methods is known as historiography, which focuses on examining how different interpreters of recorded history create different interpretations of historical evidence. Prehistory traditionally refers to the span of time before recorded history, ending with the invention of writing systems. Prehistory refers to the past in an area where no written records exist, or where the writing of a culture is not understood. Protohistory refers to the transition period between prehistory and history, after the advent of literacy in a society but before the writings of the first historians. Protohistory may refer to the period during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing, but other cultures have noted its existence in their own writings. More complete writing systems were preceded by proto-writing.
Early examples are Vinča signs, early Indus script and Nsibidi script. There is disagreement concerning when prehistory becomes history, when proto-writing became "true writing". However, invention of the first writing systems is contemporary with the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic of the late 4th millennium BCE; the Sumerian archaic cuneiform script and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are considered the earliest writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400–3200 BCE with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BCE. The earliest chronologies date back to the earliest civilizations of Early Dynastic Period Egypt, Mesopotamia & Sumerians which emerged independently of each other from 3500 B. C. Earliest recorded history, which varies in quality and reliability, deals with Pharaohs and their reigns, made by ancient Egyptians. Much of the earliest recorded history was re-discovered recently due to archaeological dig sites findings. A number of different traditions have developed in different parts of the world as to how to interpret these ancient accounts.
In China, the earliest history was recorded in oracle bone script, deciphered and may date back to around late 2nd millennium B. C.. The Zuo zhuan, attributed to Zuo Qiuming in the 5th century B. C. is the earliest written of narrative history in the world and covers the period from 722 to 468 B. C.. The Book of Documents is one of the Five Classics of Chinese classic texts and one of the earliest narratives of China; the Spring and Autumn Annals, the official chronicle of the State of Lu covering the period from 722 to 481 B. C. is among the earliest surviving historical texts to be arranged on annalistic principles in the world. It is traditionally attributed to Confucius. Zhan Guo Ce was a renowned ancient Chinese historical compilation of sporadic materials on the Warring States period compiled between the 3rd and 1st centuries B. C.. Sima Qian was the first in China to lay the groundwork for professional historical writing, his written work was the Records of the Grand Historian, a monumental lifelong achievement in literature.
Its scope extends as far back as the 16th century B. C. and it includes many treatises on specific subjects and individual biographies of prominent people, explores the lives and deeds of commoners, both contemporary and those of previous eras. His work influenced every subsequent author of history in China, including the prestigious Ban family of the Eastern Han Dynasty era. Herodotus of Halicarnassus has been acclaimed as the "father of history" composing his The Histories written from 450s to the 420s B. C.. However, his contemporary Thucydides is credited with having first approached history with a well-developed historical method in his work the History of the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides, unlike Herodotus, regarded history as being the product of the choices and actions of human beings, looked at cause and effect, rather than as the result of divine intervention. Saint Augustine was influential in Christian and Western thought at the beginning of the medieval period. Through the Medieval and Renaissance periods, history was studied through a sacred or religious perspective.
Around 1800, German philosopher and historian Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel brought philosophy and a more secular approach in historical study. According to John Tosh, "From the High Middle Ages onwards, the written word survi
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the success of a military commander who had led Roman forces to victory in the service of the state or and traditionally, one who had completed a foreign war. On the day of his triumph, the general wore a crown of laurel and the all-purple, gold-embroidered triumphal toga picta, regalia that identified him as near-divine or near-kingly, was known to paint his face red, he rode in a four-horse chariot through the streets of Rome in unarmed procession with his army and the spoils of his war. At Jupiter's temple on the Capitoline Hill, he offered sacrifice and the tokens of his victory to the god Jupiter. Republican morality required that, despite these extraordinary honours, the general conduct himself with dignified humility, as a mortal citizen who triumphed on behalf of Rome's Senate and gods; the triumph offered extraordinary opportunities for self-publicity, besides its religious and military dimensions.
Most Roman festivals were calendar fixtures, while the tradition and law which reserved a triumph to extraordinary victory ensured that its celebration, attendant feasting, public games promoted the general's status and achievement. By the Late Republican era, triumphs were drawn out and extravagant, motivated by increasing competition among the military-political adventurers who ran Rome's nascent empire, in some cases prolonged by several days of public games and entertainments. From the Principate onwards, the triumph reflected the Imperial order and the pre-eminence of the Imperial family; the triumph was consciously imitated by medieval and states in the royal entry and other ceremonial events. In Republican Rome exceptional military achievement merited the highest possible honours, which connected the vir triumphalis to Rome's mythical and semi-mythical past. In effect, the general was close to being "king for a day", close to divinity, he wore the regalia traditionally associated both with the ancient Roman monarchy and with the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus: the purple and gold "toga picta", laurel crown, red boots and, again the red-painted face of Rome's supreme deity.
He was drawn in procession through the city in a four-horse chariot, under the gaze of his peers and an applauding crowd, to the temple of Capitoline Jupiter. The spoils and captives of his victory led the way. Once at the Capitoline temple, he sacrificed two white oxen to Jupiter and laid tokens of his victory at Jupiter's feet, dedicating his victory to the Roman Senate and gods. Triumphs were tied to season, or religious festival of the Roman calendar. Most seem to have been celebrated at the earliest practicable opportunity on days that were deemed auspicious for the occasion. Tradition required; the ceremony was thus, in some sense, shared by the whole community of Roman gods, but overlaps were inevitable with specific festivals and anniversaries. Some may have been coincidental. For example, March 1, the festival and dies natalis of the war god Mars, was the traditional anniversary of the first triumph by Publicola, of six other Republican triumphs, of the first Roman triumph by Romulus.
Pompey postponed his third and most magnificent triumph for several months to make it coincide with his own dies natalis. Religious dimensions aside, the focus of the triumph was the general himself; the ceremony promoted him – however temporarily – above every mortal Roman. This was an opportunity granted to few. From the time of Scipio Africanus, the triumphal general was linked to Alexander and the demi-god Hercules, who had laboured selflessly for the benefit of all mankind, his sumptuous triumphal chariot was bedecked with charms against the possible envy and malice of onlookers. In some accounts, a companion or public slave would remind him from time to time of his own mortality. Rome's earliest "triumphs" were simple victory parades, celebrating the return of a victorious general and his army to the city, along with the fruits of his victory, ending with some form of dedication to the gods; this is so for the earliest legendary and semi-legendary triumphs of Rome's regal era, when the king functioned as Rome's highest magistrate and war-leader.
As Rome's population, power and territory increased, so did the scale, length and extravagance of its triumphal processions. The procession mustered in the open space of the Campus Martius well before first light. From there, all unforeseen delays and accidents aside, it would have managed a slow walking pace at best, punctuated by various planned stops en route to its final destination of the Capitoline temple, a distance of just under 4 km. Triumphal processions were notoriously slow; some ancient and modern sources suggest a standard processional order. First came the captive leaders and soldiers walking in chains, their captured weapons, gold, silver and curious or exotic treasures were carted behind them, along with paintings and models depicting significant places and episodes of the war. Next in line, all on foot, came Rome's senators and magistrate
William Smith (lexicographer)
Sir William Smith was an English lexicographer. He made advances in the teaching of Greek and Latin in schools. Smith was born in Enfield in 1813 of Nonconformist parents, he attended the Madras House school of John Allen in Hackney. Destined for a theological career, he instead was articled to a solicitor. In his spare time he taught himself classics, when he entered University College London he carried off both the Greek and Latin prizes, he was entered at Gray's Inn in 1830, but gave up his legal studies for a post at University College School and began to write on classical subjects. Smith next turned his attention to lexicography, his first attempt was A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, which appeared in 1842, the greater part being written by him. Followed the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology in 1849. A parallel Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography appeared in 1857, with some leading scholars of the day associated with the task. In 1867, he became editor of a post he held until his death.
Meanwhile, he published the first of several school dictionaries in 1850, in 1853 he began the Principia series, which marked an advance in the school teaching of Greek and Latin. Came the Student's Manuals of History and Literature, of which the English literature volume went into 13 editions, he himself wrote the Greek history volume. He was joined in the venture by the publisher John Murray when the original publishing partner met difficulties. Murray was the publisher of the 1214-page Latin–English Dictionary based upon the works of Forcellini and Freund that Smith completed in 1855; this was periodically reissued over the next thirty-five years. It goes beyond "classical" Latin to include many entries not found in other dictionaries of the period, including Lewis and Short; the most important of the books Smith edited were those that dealt with ecclesiastical subjects. These were the Dictionary of the Bible; the Atlas, on which Sir George Grove collaborated, appeared in 1875. From 1853 to 1869 Smith was classical examiner to the University of London, on his retirement he became a member of the Senate.
He sat on the Committee to inquire into questions of copyright, was for several years registrar of the Royal Literary Fund. He edited Gibbon, with Guizot's and Milman's notes, in 1854–1855. Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology Smith was created a DCL by Oxford and Dublin, the honour of a knighthood was conferred on him in 1892, he died on 7 October 1893 in London. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Smith, Sir William". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 270–271. Works by William Smith at Project Gutenberg Works by or about William Smith at Internet Archive "Smith, Sir William". A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. 1910 – via Wikisource. A Short History of Ancient Greece with notes, study links and illustration by Elpenor Online facsimile version of Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology Online facsimile version of Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities