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Julius CaesarThe People's Dictator$
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Luciano Canfora

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619368

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619368.001.0001

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Striving after Tyranny?

Striving after Tyranny?

(p.137) Chapter 17 Striving after Tyranny?
Julius Caesar
Luciano Canfora, Julian Stringer
Edinburgh University Press

Suetonius rejected all other explanations, including the one ‘frequently repeated’ by Pompey, that Caesar took the path to revolution because he could not complete what he had undertaken; that is, finish the monuments and public works he had begun and satisfy the expectations he had aroused in the people. If Pompey really did say this it is clear that he understood nothing about his adversary's character. In reality, Pompey's remark was far less an attempt at analysis than a contemptuous judgement that reduced the figure of his opponent to the level of a party leader without prospects who was tormented by a pressing need for money, or rather, who was crushed by enterprises that were too great for him. This could describe ‘Catilinarian’ characters, and probably Clodius as well, but not an able career-builder like Caesar, who had derived an uncommon economic strength from the Gallic campaign. There is another explanation for Caesar's decision to face the risk of a breach: the ‘teleological’ image of a Caesar who from the outset of his career had one aim — a Caesar striving tirelessly to achieve ‘tyranny’.

Keywords:   Julius Caesar, Pompey, Suetonius, revolution

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