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Current time:0:00Total duration:9:55

Video transcript

I'm going to talk about one of the most significant figures in Western history and that's Gaius Julius Caesar now what we'll see is his life really marks the transition from official Roman Republic to the Roman Empire and I say official Roman Republic because it's important to keep in mind even at the time of Julius Caesar's birth at the beginning of the first century BCE the Roman Republic already looked something like an empire you might remember that during the Punic Wars they were able to take over Carthage's possessions in Africa and in Spain at the end of the third Punic War they were also and this wasn't part of the Punic War but they were separately in 146 BC II were also able to take over Greece so any state that has conquered these people that have different languages cultures and they don't have the same rights as a citizen of those atlas of the citizens of those be of that state well this is by most definitions what would constitute an empire but at the during Julius Caesar's birth and during his life it would grow muahh still officially a republic and that's referring more to its form of government you had a very powerful Senate you had these consuls were elected for these one-year terms and there were all of these checks and balances as we'll see his life especially the end of his life marks the transition to an empire in which there is a Roman Emperor who holds most of the power let's go into the story and there's going to be a significant cast of characters here that I'm going to go into so by 60 BCE Julius Caesar is roughly 40 years old and he's already a significant figure in the Republic he is born to a patrician family he rises up through the ranks he's a charismatic figure and in 60 he forms a triumvirate with two other powerful figures in Rome so you have this is Julius Caesar of course and he forms this triumvirate which later gets known as the first triumvirate with Crassus who is the richest man in Rome at the time it is believed to be one of the richest men in Roman history and you can see Crassus is a good bit older than Julius Caesar he's born more than a decade before Julius Caesar and he also forms this alliance with Pompey who is also a little bit older than Julius Caesar and is a significant military figure a general in the Roman Republic and this first triumvirate even though it wasn't an official it's not an official government group it allowed them to really hold the power of the Roman Republic and to really move and hold the power within the Senate this first triumvirate and and even though Julius Caesar was a patrician he was from the nobility they had populist tendencies they wanted to do things for the people you could view them as in certain ways progressive they wanted to do land redistribution versus kind of the Conservatives who wanted to hold the power in the aristocracy and so this first triumvirate is able to use their influence to put Julius Caesar in as consul for the year 59 BCE and as we as I just mentioned at the beginning this video there are two consuls the other one was a figure named Bibble as' but Julius Caesar is able to dominate the position and he's a very powerful consul he tries to put all of these populist reforms into place so this is already starting to cause a lot of tension in the Senate between the populist and the Conservatives now after he's done his one-year term he becomes proconsul which you can view as a military governor and he's given regions that border Gaul so he's given what would be considered southern France right over here he or the border with the Gallic tribes I guess you could say the near the Italian app Alps these are two of the regions two of the three regions that he's given to governor to given to govern and he uses his position as military governor as proconsul pro consul to expand the territories into Gaul to take on these Gallic tribes now the the got the Gauls are these Gallic tribes they were they're super fragmented there many many of them Plutarch says on the order of 300 of these Gallic tribes they were militarily fairly sophisticated they were many historians say comparable to the Romans but it was their fragmentation that allowed Julius Caesar to go after them so over the course of his governorship of his position is proconsul you also have the Gallic Wars are the Gallic Wars and that's what I have depicted here in red from 58 BCE to 52 BCE and they end here in Alesia where Julius Caesar's legions are able to win decisively and that is the end and he's able to take all of this territory for Rome now while that was happening in 53 BCE so in 53 BC which is right over here in 53 this is 53 52 yeah this is 53 BCE Crassus who you might remember was part of this first triumvirate he is off here he's off over here in the east fighting the Parthians you might remember the Parthians this is now the the Parthian persian empire they're the they're the successors of the Seleucids were the successor of Alexander the Great who was the successor in Persia of the Achaemenid Empire and while fighting the Parthians he is killed Crassus is killed while fighting the Parthians which breaks up this first triumvirate and then Pompey switches sides he switches sides over to the conservative side so now instead of becoming instead of being one of Julius Caesar's allies he becomes one of his opponents and so Julius Caesar he's victorious he's able to conquer these powerful Gallic tribes Plutarch according to him the the Julius Caesar's legions fought over or on the order of 3 million Gauls I don't know if those turtle if those numbers are exaggerations they sound like they might be a little bit of one of which 1 million were killed and 1 million were enslaved eight hundred cities were destroyed three hundred tribes were over were overrun and those might be exaggerations they probably were but it tells you the scope of what Julius Caesar did when he took over when he took over Gaul so he's already this very charismatic figure he was consul but he's not he's controversial figure in the Senate he has these more populist tendencies while there's a lot of these conservatives in the Senate the first triumvirate breaks pompey switch sides he's he's able to take over Gaul and so you could imagine as he is now victorious the Senators are worried they're like you know this this guy if he comes back to Rome he might have too much power and he might have too much power to do the things that we as especially the Conservatives don't want him to do you know this land redistribution and all of the things like that and so they tell him in 50 BCE so this is 50 BC let me circle that in 50 BCE they tell him to leave the his proconsul position disband his army and return to Rome now Julius Caesar is thinking to himself wait you know I I just did all of this I might be you know these people are afraid of me if I go without my title without my army who knows what they're going to do to me when they go when I go back to Rome so he says well I'm faced with a they go back with without my armies or I go with my armies and so he decides to do the latter he takes his armies and he crosses the Rubicon River now crossing the Rubicon I'm gonna write this down crossing the Rubicon is a now a phrase that we have in our culture that means you know you've gone past the point of no return there's a famous quote described to Julius Caesar once he crossed the Rubicon as the die has been cast it's the point of no return and this was a really big deal because it was illegal for a Governor General or proconsul to take their legions outside of territories are governed and this wasn't just any region he was taking it into the Italian peninsula he was taking it to Rome so this was very very very illegal so the Senators weren't happy about this so they said hey Pompey you have to go you have to go face your former Ally Julius Caesar now Pompey doesn't know that Julius Caesar only has one legion a Legion is about four or five thousand holder's he's thinking surely if julius caesar is crossing the Rubicon he must have a trick up his sleeve he's already had this that you know conquering Gaul he's established himself as this a significant military figure and so Pompey says you know senators I'm not going to keep them from going to Rome just yet I'm going to go over to the east into Greece where we can build up our armies and make sure we were prepared to retake Rome and so the Senators aren't too happy about this but a good number of them says okay well if if you're going to leave then we're going to go with you and so Julius Caesar is actually able to in 49 BCE take Rome but this isn't the end and we will continue it in the next video because you as I just said the power of Rome has now moved over to Greece a good number of the powerful senators you've Pompey and his armies or in Greece Pompey control significant fractions of the Navy and so a civil war has now broken out in the Roman Republic