15 Interesting Facts About Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar is one of the most recognizable names of all time. His name has
been a title, an insult, countless movies have been made about his life as well
as books, TV shows, and even the month of July is named after him. This is a man who was determined to conquer the world in any
way possible both in men’s hearts, and his desire of having more power than
anyone else ever had before.
Unfortunately for him, he was assassinated before all his plans could be
realized. While the assassination of Caesar was an understandably giant upheaval
especially because of the treasonous aspect of his death, and what came to pass
following the pivotal assassination was almost as fascinating as the
assassination itself. Surprisingly, not too much is known about Julius Caesar’s
life, but what is known interests readers and historians. Many people will be
studying his life for generations to come. There’s nearly as much misinformation out there as
information, and the official record as far as Caesar's life is almost never
straight. As is true with all historical accounts, stories vary and factual
accounts have quite a bit of variation depending on who is making a detailed
account of events years many after they occurred. Here are a few of the facts
and myths that will help you get a much more conception of Caesar's life, and
who he was as a man.
15) Julius Caesar was NOT born by Cesarean Section (C-section)
The medical term Cesarean Section,
was named after Julius Caesar who was believed to have been born by C-Section.
There are many reasons that the names Caesar and Cesarean could match up, but
Julius Caesar was not actually being born this way. Although C-Sections were an
option during Caesar's time, they were typically a last resort to save the
Early Cesarean Procedure
Mothers often died as a result of the
procedure. Cesarean sections during Caesar's time were only done as a last
resort, typically when the arriving baby would most likely die without
performing one. The simple fact that Julius Caesar’s mother lived for some time
during her son’s life, makes it ascertainable that he was not born this way.
Plutarch suggests that one of Caesar’s ancestors may have been born that way.
Another common theory is that the word for the medical procedure comes from the
word “Caedere,” which means “to cut.” This seems plausible given the primitive
nature of medical science in the Roman Empire. Caesar himself, according to Plutarch’s “Caesar,”
believed his family name came from a word meaning “elephants,” and so elephants
were placed on the first series of coinage commissioned during his reign.
14) Julius Caesar Was Almost a Priest
History is shaped by men and women who live extraordinary
lives, and help shape the way of the world. Julius Caesar was absolutely lived
up to these standards.
Often a few different decisions could have drastically altered the course of
their lives, moving them towards a completely different life path. Caesar was
extremely close to becoming a priest and decided to worship
the god Jupiter. If everything had continued that way Caesar would have just
lived out his life, with no public power esteem. Priests were not permitted to
touch horses, nor were they not permitted to sleep for three
nights outside of their temple cities. Young Julius Caesar could
never have been a military man if he kept pursing the life of a priest.
Warrior Vercingetorix Throws Down his Weapons at the Feet
of Caesar (sitting)
Soon after Caesar was made a priest, his rival for
power in Rome, Sulla, made a move that would devastate young Julius Caesar’s life.
All of his inheritance, as well as his wife’s dowry, were taken from him. He was stripped of his priesthood,
the last thing he really had. If Sulla had known that the young boy he
personally stole everything from was going to turn out to be, he may of thought
twice about stealing from him.
13) Julius Caesar Was Kidnapped by Pirates
During his youth, Julius Caesar traveled quite frequently. His family
had a tendency to be in power one week, and at then suddenly at mercy of the
people during another. When he was young, he
spent time at the court of King Nicodemus of Bithynia, partly because he did not
feel he could come home. When he discovered at the age of 22 that his
most ruthless rival had, so Caesar saw that he had the opportunity to come home
Along the way, his boat was hijacked by pirates. The records detail that Caesar was
charismatic person, and on the journey he got into favor with the pirates that
had accosted him. He did not grovel or beg, and even told the pirates that they
should ask for more than twice the money for ransom that they had planned, 50
talents instead of the planned 20. When his uncle paid the sum, Caesar asked him
for a fleet. Once he took control of the fleet he chased the pirates down, and
had each of their throats slit.
12) Julius Caesar Traded Flattery for Power
Throughout Caesar’s life his social status and relative power in society
fluctuated. Sometimes he was very poor with almost no social pull, other times he was rich
and powerful. Usually, no matter how well a particular campaign would go for
him, he was not accorded what he thought were proper accolades from the people
or from the government. During his time as a military man, he won an extremely
important battle for the Empire, when himself and his army captured several
tribes in Spain. This was a fantastic victory for Rome, manly because of how
long the Roman Empire wanted to capture and control the region where Spain is
However, at the same time, Caesar was offered the opportunity to run for
consul, a position of high importance in Rome. Elections were being held for
this position within a few days of his return. If he wanted to have a triumph,
he would have to wait outside until the parade started, according to the laws.
However, no one inside would let him run for election in absentia, so he had to
choose between the triumph he felt he had earned, and the political office
he desperately wanted to win the election for. He chose the political office
instead of a bunch of public flattery.
11) Julius Caesar Used His Military Knowledge for Money
Early western civilization warfare was a much more messy and intimate killing
affair. Men slaughter each other on the battle field face to face. Technology
like drones and cruise missiles were not available to soldiers as they are in
modern warfare. Ware was spontaneous at times, horrifically messy, very primal
in that men would murder each other with primitive weaponry.
via Wikimedia Commons
This is not actually the case with Roman battles in that a lot of strategy
and planning needed to be calculated by commanding officers. The battles were
however, still very intimate and messy. When Caesar was a young man, he started
to see that he was going broke. In order to start generating income, Caesar went
to the military and attempted to make a deal. The deal involved financial
compensation in exchange for his leadership in key battles. This was a gamble
and if Caesar couldn't pull it off he would most likely be put to death by the
men who lent him the money, or die on the battlefield. Luckily they did give Caesar the money,
and young Caesar did not disappoint. He captured many areas of strategic
importance and won key battles, further strengthening the Empire.
10) Julius Caesar Became a “God”
Many people back in ancient times believed that gods lived all around humans,
laughing, walking, talking, and eating just as normal people did. Many cultures
believed in a god or goddess for just about every aspect of human life. It was
believed that divinity could be granted to a living being.
Cicero writes that Julius Caesar received the marks of deification, including the divine marks of
his rod, his staff, and his crown, right before his assassination. Some other scholars,
are certain that Julius Caesar was only deified after his death. After his
death, a cult based on the life and possible divinity of Julius Caesar came
together, remaining popular for many years.
9) One of Julius Caesar’s Assassins May Have Been His Son
While Julius Caesar was married many times (see #8), but that does not mean he
had a faithful marriage with any of them. It is well known that Caesar took many mistresses and lovers throughout
his many marriages. His most infamous affair, was with
Cleopatra, the Queen of
Egypt. He lived with her for 14 years and many scholars including Plutarch,
believe that if Caesar had been allowed to marry someone who wasn’t a Roman
Citizen, he would have married Cleopatra.
Julius Caesar Greeting Cleopatra
His love for Cleopatra came much later in Caesar’s life. Earlier, he had an affair with a
woman named Servilla, a member of a prominent house. Since she had a child that
was about the right age, Caesar believed that Marcus Junius Brutus (known as Brutus) was his son. In fact, he had before confessed
his desire to make Brutus his heir.
Betrayal and Murder of Julius Caesar
While many know Shakespeare’s famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” from the play
“Julius Caesar,” according to Suetonius, a consul member present at the
assassination, states that Caesar did not say this. He said that Caesar’s last words were, “You too, child?” to Brutus,
emphasizing the father-son relationship they had. Whether Brutus was truly
Caesar’s son or not is impossible to tell, but Caesar shows how someone who he
had a very close relationship with betrayed him.
8) Julius Caesar Was Married Many Times
Caesar was just like any powerful man in today's world. He had illegitimate
children, was engaged in affairs, he struggled against gay rumors, he was too famous for
his own good — in other words, he was a celebrity. Being a celebrity was not
easy back then any more than it is today, and Caesar found himself facing the
many challenges of being an early western civilization celebrity. One of these was his
struggle to have a mail heir. He was in love with his first wife, but she only
bore him only a single baby, his daughter named Julia (who later died before she
could be married). After Caesar's wife died, he got married for a second time
but it only lasted
seven years. Caesar would ultimately do something that would of made tabloid headlines,
that is if there were periodicals like Star magazine back then, he divorced her.
Caesar did marry for a third and final time to a woman named Calpurnia, which
Caesar stayed married until he passed away. Calpurnia did not bear him any
children, and the couple decided to adopt a child but not from Africa or China, as many celebrities
7) Julius Caesar Is the Reason Month Names Make No Sense
In Roman times, it was common practice for the people in power to have
buildings and cities named after themselves. One example would be the children
of a famous person all being named after their celebrity relative. Just like how
George Foreman named all of his children George. If the child’s parent’s name was Julius, the
child’s name would likely be Julia (the same daughter died very young.
Pre-Julian Roman Calendar
Julius Caesar took the privilege of naming things a few steps further. He invented the Julian
Calendar, which standardizes the length of year as 365 days, including a leap
year once every four years where there are 363 days in a year. He also wanted to
include his name directly into the calendar, and had the month of July named
He also did the same for Augustus, his adopted heir and named the month of
August after him. Thanks to Caesar there are a few months whose names really
don't make any sense.
Caesar Inspired Calendar from Norway circa 1636
Courtesy of stavacademy.co.uk
For example, “sept” from September means “seven,” while the “oct” from
October means “eight.” Since they are the ninth and tenth months of the year,
there is plenty of room for confusion about the naming strategy for the
months that make up the modern calendar.
6) Julius Caesar Dealt with Gay Rumors
It seems like a contemporary problem that surrounds many of today's
celebrities, is others coming to the conclusion that they were gay, without any
factual basis for the observation. Many people believe it was something that was
kept very hush-hush in ancient times, something that was simply too scandalous
to even enter a conversation about the public figure in question.
Carlos Reusser [CC-BY-2.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
Julius Caesar struggled with gay rumors his entire life, simply because of one
incident that would call his sexuality into question. When he was very young,
Julius Caesar and his wife traveled to Bithniya where the couple
met with King Nicodemus. He stayed for quite a while at King Nicodemus's court,
but when Caesar heard that his rival Sulla had died, Caesar immediately left for
Rome. Because he
was at the court for so long, rumor-mongers took this as a sign that he had been
in some kind of illicit relationship with the king, even though there was no
proof of anything morally questionable occurred. Caesar denied the accusations
vehemently and even while he was under oath. The accusation seemed to haunt the
rest of Caesar's life, much like any sex scandal in today's political arena
comes into play.
5) Julius Caesar Had a Mystery Disease
is a possibility that
Julius Caesar had malaria. He also may have had tapeworms. There is a strong
likelihood that he may have had epilepsy. The disease that Caesar had (for he
almost certainly had some sort of illness) is shrouded in historical mystery. Part of the reason
behind the mystery is that medical records were not kept with the same accuracy,
and thoroughness that they are in today's medical community. Another reason is
that many diseases like malaria were extremely hard to diagnose, because a the
time very little was known about infectious diseases. What is known is that
Julius Caesar had some kind of ailment that affected him for many years, and
that it looked enough like epilepsy to have many historians.
Again, these conclusions are only being drawn on what little information is
available to modern-day historians.
4) Julius Caesar Practiced Human Sacrifice
Julius Caesar may not have danced around fires screaming and chanting to
primitive deities. Back in the early days when was pursing the life as a priest, he
remained devoutly religious, even when he started to amass power.
One of the ways in which he was very strict was when it came to punishing criminals. Starting
when he was a youth and kidnapped by pirates, Caesar developed a strong sense
that the villains of the world must be punished in order to maintain law and
order. He threw a triumph which is another world for a giant parade,
in order to show off how well he’d conquered several lands. He also staged
massive fake battles, forcing thousands of people and animals to fight to the
death for the entertainment of the Roman people. This caused not only discontent
among those who believed it was wrong, but even caused the Roman people to stage
Early Roman Mosaic Depicting Human Sacrifice on the Field
Caesar’s response to the riot was to take some of the rioters and have the
priests sacrifice them on what was called the Field of Mars, making sure that other rioters understood
what was at stake.
3) None of Julius Caesar’s Children Survived
Julius Caesar had a great deal of affairs in addition to being
married three times. With such a record it would be easy to believe that he had
followed in the footsteps of other dictators like Genghis Khan who was estimated
to have approximately 16 million offspring that live in today's world.
Mongol Warrior Genghis Khan
This is not the case when it comes to Caesar's legacy, no living relatives of
the infamous Roman Emperor exist today.
His first legitimate child Julia, died just after she was married leaving
behind only a son, who died shortly after. She was the only child Julius Caesar
had with his first wife, Cornelia. His second wife, Pompeia, did not bear him any children
and neither did his third wife, Calpurnia. Of his illegitimate children, the
only one that is confirmed to have been sired by Caesar is Cesarion. This was
his son from his romantic relationship with
Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. Cesarion died when he was just 17 years old and
never had any children of his own.
Brutus and the Ghost of Caesar
The only other child Julius Caesar is reputed to have is Marcus Junius
Brutus, another illegitamte child by his youthful lover Servilla. Brutus also
died before he could have any heirs.
2) A Caesar Reigned for Two Thousand Years
Julius Caesar represented more to the Roman Empire and to most of the known
world. To many
nations, he represented the first high king, and the most powerful dictator the world had ever seen. Although he was famously jealous of Alexander
the Great, Caesar once wept at Alexander’s statue because they were the same
age, and Caesar felt as though that Alexander the Great had already surpassed
him in history. Caesar’s legacy may be weighed as a much larger accomplishment
then even Alexander the Great.
Relief of Alexander the Great
While Caesar did not pass on his genetics, he certainly passed an extremely
The ruler of Germany for many years was known as the Kaiser, a direct
transliteration of the name Caesar, which was taken from Julius Caesar. In
another country, the Russian ruler was known as a Tzar (alternatively spelled
Czar, Tsar, and Csar), and ruled in a similarly inspired fashion. At least one
of these kinds of rulers was in power consistently for over two thousand years
after Caesar’s death, making Caesar's legacy live on.
Julius Caesar Looking Towards bust of Cleopatra
direct blood line may have ended, with his death Julius Caesar was able to pass
his title on through his adopted son, who became known as Caesar Augustus. His
name was even mentioned in the Bible if you look at the phrase, “Render unto Caesar the things which
are Caesar’s.” This represents one of very few actual historical people to be mentioned by name
in the bible, which is the most widely read across the world and across language
1) Julius Caesar Was Not a Roman Emperor
Most people don’t remember too much from history class, but can easily name a
few Roman emperors, if they need to. These usually include Nero, Claudius, and
possibly Caligula and Tiberius, as well, of course, Julius Caesar. With the
crown on his head and the scepter in his hand, he makes the perfect picture for
a Roman Emperor.
The fats are that Julius Caesar was never actually a Roman Emperor. He
held several offices, including consul, dictator for life, and god, but never
was an official
Emperor. His adopted son, Augustus, also known as Octavian, was the very first
Roman Emperor, according to “The Annals of Imperial Rome” by Tacitus.
Map of the Roman Empire in 40 BC Following His
As a fun fact, the crown of laurels that sits on top of his head was more out
of respect than actually being an Emperor. The reasons for Caesar wearing the
crown of laurels has more to do with cosmetic reasons that an official accessory
for Emperors to wear. He wore the symbolic laurel to help cover his
balding scalp as he lost hair with age.
Julius Caesar may be one of the most famous Ancient Romans to have ever left, but many of the
facts about him are considerably less well-known than his power and influence
would suggest. While he was perhaps the most famous man in the world during his
life, it is his name that lives on in contemporary society rather than the
memory of great deeds or actions he may of performed while holding leadership in
the Empire. Moreover, it is almost impossible to tell what kind of person he was
except reading some of his surviving works, and the comments made about him by
people in his inner circle.
While Julius Caesar’s life may have been turbulent, it was defiantly an
extremely memorable life. It seems that anyone you ask knows the name Julius
Caesar, especially if you ask any student in a history class. Trying to measure
who he was as a man is very difficult due to the immense amount of time that has
transpired since his life and assassination. His post as "dictator for life"
and the mere fact that he was assassinated by his peers, may shed some clues
that as far as tyrants go, he may of been impossible to live under.
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