[February 10, 2016] A recent discovery of ancient bones, weapons, and other combat gear from the First Century B.C. has shed new light on Julius Caesar’s conquest of what today is northern Europe.1 Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman statesman, general, author, and dictator. His conquests on the battlefield and his subsequent political successes have made him famous down through history.
Born in 100 BC, Caesar was known best for his generalship of the Roman Army. His victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC, extended Rome’s territory to the English Channel and the Rhine.2 The achievement provided him great power and threatened the civilian government of Rome. Ordered to relinquish his command of the Roman military, he refused. Returning to Rome with one of his Legions, he was able to wrest control of the government.
“Veni, vidi, vici” or “I came, I saw, I conquered.” – Julius Caesar after the Battle of Zela
Caesar was a different kind of leader. While most leaders in those days cared little about the people, Caesar became the Empire’s hero, because of his accomplishments that made Rome powerful and rich but also because he made laws fair and he brought happiness and prosperity to them. It has been said that he was the best leader the world has ever known.
We can imagine that with the unmatched military and political power that he held that there was much to his leadership that helped him get to that point. From what we know, his leader traits were:
- Willingness to gain the respect of his soldiers, the poor and the wealthy
- Rewarded courage through land grants, food, and prestige
- Forgave his enemies on the battlefield
- Obsessed with making the Roman Empire reach its potential
- A will of steel and an intensity of intellect
- Brave, hardworking, and cunning
While there is much we will never know about Julius Caesar, we do know that he was such a hero and well liked that his name has been passed down to us now for over two millennia.
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