Paper - The Romans in Gaul: Why Julius Caesar Campaigned...

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Unformatted text preview: The Romans in Gaul: Why Julius Caesar Campaigned Logan Miller HIST208M Crisis, Conflict, Chaos: Rome in the Age of Cicero and Caesar 13 May 2011 The Roman Republic, even during the turmoil of the first-century BC, dominated and controlled the Mediterranean world. During this time, statesman and general Gaius Julius Caesar conducted the first full-scale conquest of Gaul. From 58-51 BC, Caesar brought the entire area under Roman control. However, Caesar did not undertake this conquest to expand Romes borders or to Romanize the Gallic people. Caesars campaigns in Gaul were aimed at increasing his popularity, wealth, and prestige, rather than actually conquering the people of Gaul and making them Roman citizens. Caesar wanted control of the Gallic provinces in the hopes of gaining wealth and honor. His commentaries on his campaigns in Gaul do not mention plans for dealing with the Gauls after these provinces have been conquered. However, it does mention the vast wealth Caesar gains in his campaigns, the loyalty and respect he gains from his army, and the praise he receives from Rome. Lastly, the Roman people did not directly benefit from the campaigns, as the influx of wealth remained with the consul, and the colonization and Romanization of Gaul occurred slowly over the following few centuries after Caesar claimed to have conquered the territory. Julius Caesar took full advantage of his military campaigns in Gaul to increase his wealth and to gain popularity and honor with the Roman people. The only surviving account of the war is Caesars Commentarii De Bello Gallico . Caesar, an astute politician was, Fully aware of the importance of self-presentation. 1 The wars in Gaul captivated the Roman people, and Caesars eyewitness accounts offered them excitement at the progress of the war. Caesar ensured that his audience received a one-sided version of the events. His work stressed the magnitude of the Roman victories while often underplaying the size and 1 1 Kate Gilliver, Caesar's Gallic Wars 58-50 BC (London: Routledge, 2002), 7. 2 significance of the Gallic resistance. 2 These wars lasted from 58-51 BC. In this time, Caesar, almost bankrupt before being appointed ruler of this territory, gained vast amounts of wealth and popularity. He solidified his armys loyalty to him, and with his newly acquired wealth rivaled the fortunes of other Roman statesmen and generals such as Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Caesars ability to conquer such a large area was, in part, due to the intense cultural and political change in both Rome and Gaul at the time. By the mid-1 st century BC many southern territories of Gaul were urbanizing. These tribes had already begun to adopt many of the customs of the neighboring Roman province of Transalpine Gaul in southern France....
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This note was uploaded on 09/07/2011 for the course HIST 208M taught by Professor Burghart during the Spring '11 term at Maryland.

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Paper - The Romans in Gaul: Why Julius Caesar Campaigned...

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