7.12.2008

Happy Birthday Julius Caesar

I'll start by noting that some people like to argue that Caesar was born on the 13th, but ... after his death and deification his birthday was celebrated on the 12th - if it's good enough for Augustus, it's good enough for me.

Caesar's year of birth is also a matter of some controversy - the always brilliant Adrian Goldsworthy favors 100 BC, I tend to prefer 102 BC for a whole host of reasons.

And whilst we're on the matter of things we don't know about the great general, I might as well mention the Rubicon. We know he crossed it. We know that the fact that he crossed it was very important, and that it was a momentous moment in the fall of the Republic ...

We just don't quite know where he crossed it. The river has changed course, and it's also quite long. I mention this as part of my 'ancient battles are darn near impossible to reconstruct because we cannot be sure of the terrain etc.' theme.

On a purely technical note, the birth was natural and did not involve a C-section - we know this as: i) it is likely to have been mentioned in the sources as a marvel, a sign of being fortune's favorite, had he been born by c-section, and ii) his mother Aurelia lived on after the birth, which was not the case with mothers who were 'given' c-sections until relatively recently. It took place in Rome, almost certainly in the family home.

JC was Gaius Marius' nephew, and helped rehabilitate Marius' reputation after a decade of libels by Sulla; in turn Marius' supporters gave Caesar a helping hand up the first rungs of the cursus honorem.

1 comment:

  1. Quote: Caesar's year of birth is also a matter of some controversy - the always brilliant Adrian Goldsworthy favors 100 BC, I tend to prefer 102 BC for a whole host of reasons.

    Deutsch already dealt with the matter very thoroughly, and afaik the majority of scholars (incl. Goldsworthy) follows not Mommsen, but Deutsch (i.e. they also follow all ancient historians except one late and shaky writer). Would you care to tell us your "whole host of reasons" for supposing 102 BCE? Do you have any new insights that go beyond Mommsen and haven't been debunked already?

    ReplyDelete

I do not moderate comments, but I remove spam, overt self-promotion ("read [link] my much better post on this") and what I consider hate speech (racism, homophobia etc).

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.