Image
Many interesting personalities emerged during the last days of Rome's Republic, but one man stood head and shoulders above the rest. In what turned out to be our most popular radio show last year, the following SOTT Talk Radio show we did about Julius Caesar (part 2 on this subject, you can listen to part 1 here) took a deeper look at the life and times of man who was at once politician, statesman, engineer, inventor, astronomer, historian, poet, author and military general.

Caesar emerged at a time of political intrigues, civil war and rebellion. Standing for social justice, inclusive democracy and economic empowerment of the people, he sought to transform the conditions of ordinary people. But he encountered tremendous resistance from the ruling oligarchy, whose efforts to thwart him culminated in his assassination at the height of his power in 44 B.C.

Caesar's legacy is a mixed one. Was he really the tyrannical demagogue portrayed by Cicero and other contemporary historians? Or must his deeds be re-examined in light of the discovery by Francesco Carotta and others that his life and achievements were the model for the story of 'Jesus'?

Running Time: 02:25:00

Download: OGG, MP3


Listen live, chat, and call in to future shows on the SOTT Radio Network!

Here's the transcript:

Joe: Hi, and welcome to another edition of SOTT Talk Radio. I'm Joe Quinn. With me in the studio this week again, are Niall Bradley, Pierre Lescaudron, Jason Martin and historian and author Laura Knight-Jadczyk. This week we are going to be continuing our investigation into Julius Caesar and who he really was.

Many interesting personalities have emerged during the last days of Rome's Republic, but one man stood head and shoulders above the rest. That man was Julius Caesar. Caesar emerged at a time of political intrigues, civil war and rebellion. Standing for social justice, inclusive democracy and economic empowerment of the people, Caesar sought to transform the conditions of the lives of ordinary people. But he encountered tremendous resistance from the ruling oligarchy, whose efforts to thwart him culminated in his assassination at the height of his power in 44 BC.

Caesar's legacy is a mixed one. Was he really the tyrannical demagogue portrayed by Cicero and other contemporary historians? Or must his deeds be re-examined in light of the discovery by Francesco Carotta and others that his life and achievements were the model for the story of 'Jesus'?

That's our topic for this week. It is a continuation of last week. If you haven't listened to last week's show you should do so because we got into a lot of details there, kind of a preamble, where we discussed the kind of corruption of history in the historical record, in general, as a lead-in to this rather shocking idea that Julius Caesar was in fact Jesus Christ.

So without further ado, let's have at it with our panel of experts. I believe Laura has something to say after she introduces herself or says hello.

Laura: Hello everybody. No, I didn't get the super-soaker out of the barn to zap these guys when they interrupt me because I thought it's kind of useful when they help me remember things. Basically I've got slave labour going on here because I've got everybody reading everything they can possibly get their hands on about Caesar!

Joe: I have a shock collar for Pierre. (general laughter)

Jason: No, no, there are five people in this room, everybody gets a turn to talk you know!

Laura: Yeah, well that's not what people have been writing to me.

Joe: Everybody can talk; just not interrupt each other all at once

Jason: Right, right, but then if people don't obey the pause method of letting other people know they can interject at this point, if they just continue with the non-stop stream of verbiage, then nobody can say anything. So there's a way that that rule is basically a way of saying 'shut-up'.

Joe: Yup.

Laura: Okay. All joking aside what has become increasingly clear to me, as I'm digging through everything I can get my hands on about Julius Caesar, is that Western civilization has been presented with a really distorted picture. Now, if you remember last week, we were talking about the obvious manipulation of history that took place in respect of Edward II and Edward III of England where Edward II was supposedly murdered in a horrible way, but it didn't actually happen. Only nobody knew that until several hundred years later. And then, what I myself discovered, which was this huge gap in the history of the Eastern Roman Empire that suddenly appeared magically in the history of Gregory of Tours. I mean how amazing! There's exactly the same gap existing in the East as exists in the West.

Anyway, so we know that history is being deliberately manipulated and that generally the manipulation is done by those in power for their particular goals and agendas, and that was true during the time of Caesar, just as it is now. Even now we see history being re-written as it happens in our current affairs daily events and how much goes on at such things like the Bilderberger meetings or Skull and Bones, or in the hallowed halls of Government, when we have no access to what these people are doing. You file Freedom of Information Act requests and they get denied. Whistle-blowers nowadays are supposedly revealing these amazing revelations about everybody being spied on. This guy Snowden, Julian Assange and Wiki leaks and so on and so forth, none of this is new. It's just as awful as it was in those times past.

So, the problem is that Caesar has been presented to us in our history and in literature as kind of a negative republic destroying evil dictator who had this insatiable lust for power. Destroyed all of Gaul which when you actually read the stories and figure things out, you find it's not entirely true. And one of the worst representations is that, that was presented by Shakespeare in his play about Julius Caesar, he kind of ends the play with the idea that Brutus was a noble Roman. Brutus was the vilest of betrayers in history. He was truly Judas.

Jason: He was a usurer who lent money at exorbitant interest, I think 48% to the Cyprians or something like that, and then demanded of the Senate to lend him the legionnaires so that he could extort them by force when they couldn't pay it back. So that's how wonderful a guy Brutus was.

Pierre: About the similarities between Brutus and Judas, Carotta showed that phonetically it seems quite far away, Judas from Brutus, but actually the full name of Brutus was Decimus Junius Brutus, and from Junius to Judas there is already a smaller gap in the transposition.

Laura: That's true.

Jason: Yeah, it was Unias vs Udas. And the difference between D and N in Greek is actually one stroke.

Laura: You see they've been doing their research.

Pierre: Delta, a triangle shape and nu, which is only two strokes.

Jason: It's like the delta but without the bottom stroke.

Pierre: Exactly. It's an inverted V.

Jason: So someone could easily misread the names.

Laura: Easily. But how and why the Gospels got transposed is kind of not what we're looking at here. I want to talk about Julius Caesar and in order to talk about Caesar, I think we need to understand something about the time in which he lived, and we're going to have to do a little bit of imagining here. We know some things, but some other things we're going to have to imagine just a little bit.

As you know from reading my book "Horns of Moses", as well as many of my articles that've been published on the internet and elsewhere, I'm theorising along with many other people, I'm not the only person who's saying this that the Greek Dark Ages was caused by cometary cataclysms, possibly asteroids or meteorites. It depends upon which expert is writing about it or theorizing about it. But there's pretty good evidence that there were some really disastrous cosmic events going on, starting about 1200 BC, and things didn't start to come out of the darkness until about 800 BC. Just remember when we're dealing with BC it's kind of weird because you're counting backwards down to 1 so it's kind of easy to get confused there. From 1200 to 800 BC is 400 years forward so it's not like counting from 0 to 100 or 800.

Okay, so during that period of time, somewhere somehow, some literature emerged of which the main piece that we have extant is the Odyssey and the Iliad of Homer. A little bit later, possibly very close in time, we have Works and Days in Theogony and then various things happened, as I described in the book "Horns of Moses", that lead to the ideas of various philosophers in the Greek Classical period. And what is pretty clear is that these people were recreating civilization in their minds. They were re-establishing what was Law, what should be Law what wasn't Law, how to live, how to create a society, how to manage a city. And this is really kind of odd and interesting because prior to this Dark Age there had been these rather enormous and extensive civilizations; Babylon, the Hittites, the Metanians, Egypt, all over the Mesopotamia, the fertile crescent, Egypt and the Sumerians way way back. So they had had these cities, they had had these Empires, sometimes their empires extended over vast areas and they clearly knew how to do stuff because they were doing it, so why was it so important after the end of Greek Dark Ages for people to start figuring out how to do things again, obviously because they had forgotten. So many people had been killed, the population had been so reduced either by climate stress, weather, by volcanic eruptions, maybe by small asteroid impacts or cometary overhead explosions. The big theory now is the cometary explosions of the Tunguska type and also the kind that just recently occurred in Russia. Can we have that clip again? I've just gotta do this, we want to hear it. {sound of explosion of overhead comet in Russia}

So now just imagine a lot of that happening? Because what it does is it basically kills people, it ablates the landscape, it can probably deposit all kinds of micro-organisms on the planet, viral type things that can survive in space, bringing plagues, it can deposit a lot of dust in the atmosphere which can then create a veil in the atmosphere, block out the sun, destroy the crops, create famines, famines make people more susceptible to plagues, if the thing brings a plague with it then you've basically got 80 to 90% mortality rate and a lot of people dead. So what happens then is you have little pockets of survival. And you can almost say its not survival of the fittest, but survival of the luckiest, because it's pretty much accidental who's going to survive. So when people start recreating systems where they can live together, it began with the family. And here I'm going to defer to Pierre because he's made a pretty good study of this work by Fustel De Coulanges' 'Ancient City' where he takes all of the ancient literary references of their beliefs, their laws, their customs, their rituals etc, and he examines them and puts himself in the mindset of what kind of person can believe in these things, what kind of society would give rise to these kinds of beliefs, and he explains what the Romans believed. So Pierre, you want to give us a quick rundown on how the father, the primogeniture and marriage customs and the basic religion of the Roman Empire. This is the religion that continued to exist right down to the time of Caesar, so this is important to understand Caesar's mindset.

Pierre: First, let me remove the sock from my mouth. Yeah, that's much better. And before talking about Fustel religion just one point about the survival of the luckiest in Caesar's Wars of Gaul, it is mentioned that the Germanic people were eating mostly meat by comparison to the Roman people who were eating mostly wheat. And in addition, Caesar mentioned that German people were bathing from earliest age in very cold water. Interestingly after the 6th century AD event that erased most of history for three centuries, the people who emerged; the pockets of survival that emerged the most or survived the best were those Germanic tribes. All those survivors from the Germanic tribes were the luckiest yeah, but there might have been some nutritional factors that mitigated the impact of such a cataclysm. Okay, so I close the bracket.

Now Fustel's 'Ancient City'; basically Fustel discovered that initially the predominating religion was based on the family. Each family, or some families, had a god, a personal god, a house god. They had an altar, they had a sacrifice, they had a fire to which they were showing respect to their god, and the gods actually were their ancestors. The belief was once their ancestors die, actually they don't really die, you put them in the ground, and that's why on their tomb, you put every day wine, flowers, food, so they can survive underground by consuming those offerings. Well, that's the first step. The second step that Fustel shows you is that all the fundamentals of the society; the legal aspects, the financial aspect, property aspects, matrimonial aspects are defined by this religion. We are not into the world of rationality, objectivity; we are in 100% irrational, religious, faith-based world. Now you can start to see in this religious model the beginning of the fundamental split in society because in the beginning on one side you have the families who had and who made up a local cult and you had the ones who had no cult.

And it's from this duality that a few centuries later in Rome you would see the duality between the Optimates, the Senate, the powerful families who have all the power; political, social, religious, financial, legal, property, they can marry, they can do everything. And on the other side you have the plebeians. The plebeians come from families who do not have a local god, a house god, and plebeians have absolutely no rights. They cannot marry, they can be beaten, they can be killed, they cannot go to court, they cannot be defended, they cannot own a house, and they cannot work in the proper sense of the term. They actually have even less rights than the slaves because the slaves are affiliated to the house god of their masters. So basically that's the source, that's the paradigm that is the model of society from which the Roman society was inspired.

Laura: It's really kind of bizarre when you think about it because I try to imagine in my own mind, what could give rise to something like this, and the only thing that occurred to me was that during a period of massive death and destruction with all of these kinds of things like we just heard exploding at least coming along regularly with the kinds of crazy weather we're experiencing ourselves nowadays happening fairly frequently; massive downpours or hails of ice, different kinds of really frightening things that people would have been quite terrified, and they would have been trying different things, kind of like pushing different buttons to see which combination made things work. And so maybe by some accident some person did something, they poured some wine on the ground and said 'Bless you, my grandfather', and shortly thereafter the rains stopped or the earthquake stopped or whatever, and so they came up with the idea that this is what's going to work. We have to honour the ancestors. Obviously fire was kind of the primary god of the Romans interestingly enough because each family had this altar, this hearth inside the home, and everything focussed around this fire. You couldn't allow evil people or outsiders to be around or look at the fire, because if they did they would insult the fire god because fire was alive, and if the gods got insulted you would get another one of these overhead boom booms going on. So it was really intense for them to obey the different methods they developed to control their environment, to keep the gods from killing them. Because its pretty clear that these kinds of ideas could only develop in an environment where there was that kind of terror, where people could really be convinced that if we don't appease our ancestors they're going to come up from the ground and haunt us, because that was one of their beliefs that if you don't appease the ancestors they come out of the grave and they become wandering spirits, kind of like vampires or something.

And the other belief was that if you appeased your ancestors properly then they could help you. If you went into battle, you weren't just going into battle alone because your ancestors were there with you. So you not only had to take care of the ancestors, you also had to take care of them for even fearful reasons. So it was really an intense belief system, and from this belief system all of the laws and customs of Rome developed. It's probably one of the more fascinating studies you'll ever read if you read Fustel de Coulanges 'The Ancient City'.

Pierre: Actually when you read this book something that becomes really obvious is that first they were aware of some kind of human-cosmic connection. That what we do here, human beings on Earth, has an influence on cataclysmic events. However a twist happens somewhere and they focus all their efforts on what we can call today superstitions. Before any decisions, they were checking the omens with bones, liver, wind, and birds, whatever. And actually most of the law, most of what transpired from the spiritual world, their religion to the temporal world, their law, the way they managed money properly was transferred to the superstition. If one day, I don't know you see a bird flying to the left and you don't manage to sell you house or you don't make a good deal, you can end up having a law that says when birds fly to the left no deal can be done.

Joe: It strikes me as, in terms of trying to answer that question of what could have produced this kind of law as bizarre. Okay, all religious beliefs tend to be a bit illogical, but this one is a bit out there if you know what I mean.

Laura: It was extreme.

Joe: It seems to me that it might have been the product of almost desperation, a time when people were just of their minds with 'Oh my god, we've gotta do something about this, let's come up with something, anything', and that led to the kind of thing that Pierre just mentioned.

Jason: It seems like by the time of Caesar this had developed to be a little bit more sophisticated than what has been described. By the time of Caesar this was established more as a State thing and not, there was still of course the house god.

Laura: Well, I'm going to get to that, just hang on. Because what happened was that groups of families with these particularly family god beliefs, that only a descendant can feed the ancestors. In other words you can't feed somebody else's ancestors because that service, that duty belongs to the family and only somebody who had a worship and who could remember their ancestors all the way back to some heroic being were considered to be people who had a real religion. You had to have gotten this from your ancestors.

Joe: Or have an exceptional person in your family history that was widely renowned.

Laura: Well yeah. So at some point in time, and this is something that I've really thought a lot about, at some point in time a bunch of people got together and they all said, 'Okay, I have a family religion and my ancestor was Hercules' and the other one says 'Mine was Venus', and blah, blah, blah. So you know these people were all freaking lying because they had these faked genealogies, this was a very popular pastime in Ancient Greece by the way so the Romans were just imitating what was already going on, and so they said we are the ones who have the ancestors and we all ultimately go back to this one main ancestor, the main god who had godly children and then cohabited with human beings. So in a funny sort of way it sounds like something that you get in the bible. In those days the sons of god intermarried with the daughters of men and they were mighty men, men of renown. So this is kind of what you're getting here.

Jason: It's represented throughout history, this same practice.

Laura: Yeah, it's the same thing.

Pierre: Actually here you have the Andreo of the Greek city state and the city of Rome, because when those families were checking their genealogies, true or fake, sometimes they were seeing common heroes, common ancestor, because probably to make the genealogy they were tapping into old traditions. For example Apollo was present in many genealogies. So when two families at that time, before the city, the family was the only social structure. Everybody else was totally foreign because you didn't have the same law, you didn't have the same property, you didn't have the same religion so it was a totally fragmented society and family based nothing else.

Laura: There's also a reason for that too that a family trying to survive in those kinds of harsh conditions, anybody out there when there is not a lot of food available or not a lot of resources would be an enemy. So this became a kind of religious belief that codified the way things were which was that outsiders out there were marauders, they're going to come into our family compound, they're going to steal our stuff, steal our women, kill the men, and boom so that was the reality on the ground and so the beliefs kind of reflected that. We have a family worship, all the men in our family were all connected to the same ancestor, we all support each other, it was kind of like a tribal thing. Then you find somebody, as Pierre was saying, who had created your genealogy and then you find another group that has a genealogy and their genealogy goes back to Hercules or Apollo. 'Oh well, we're just a cousin therefore we can intermarry with your group' and then they found another tribe. The thing about this was there were these travelling salvation show guys that were going around, I'm going to discuss this at some length in the next book so just hang on for that it's too detailed to get into, and provide these genealogies, they would get paid, they would get fed, they would get special benefits, they would perform cleansing actions if the family was having bad luck, if they were being attacked. The travelling salvation show guy would come in, the soothsayer or whatever, and make everything right, tell them the formula for their worship and he would travel onto the next group. So this is how they had a kind of a connection with each other. So what happened was a group of them got together and they all had the same ancestor twenty five generations back or something, say Hercules, and then they said 'Okay, we're going to form a pact and we're going to allow intermarriage within our groups. Anybody and everybody else outside of our groups, of our families, of our collective families, are outsiders. They do not have worship, they are dangerous, they must be excluded, they must be completely ignored, they can't be admitted to out fellowship.' That's how Rome was formed.

Pierre: And that's exactly how Rome was formed. Rome was formed, depending on the source, by thirty or a hundred families that claim the same ancestors; Hermes, Romulus, whatever. At this time you still have the religion that defines all the rest of the life, so you have those hundred families in Rome who control all the property, all the money, all the business, all the social matters, all the economic matters and legal matters.

Laura: Most importantly they were the citizens and only they, and only the people that they decided could be citizens, and being a citizen meant you had a part in the worship of one of these patrician families. They called them patrician because from pater for father. So anybody who was not a member of the patrician families did not have a worship and therefore was not able to be a citizen because this issue of citizenship is going to play a really big part in what happened during the time of Caesar.

Now, I've often speculated where the Romans originally came from and I think I mentioned it last week that I kind of set my sights on the Assyrian Empire because there are so many things about the Romans found in the archaeology that relate to the Assyrian Empire. This all started happening probably about 600 BC when trade began to expand and when the Assyrian Empire collapsed. Because when the Assyrian Empire collapsed you can imagine refuges going to find a new place to live and then they they sail through the Mediterranean, they show up along the coast of Italy and then they establish contacts with different people, but the thing is in the archaeology you find these livers that they use for divination, the same model livers are found in Roman areas and in the Etruscan areas and so forth as were created and found in the Assyrian areas. These may even have gone back before the Dark Ages to the Babylonians, to the Sumerians, possibly with the Hittites, whatever. So anyhow, they had this intense terror of the environment. If there was thunder, all business had to stop. Every single thing you did of any importance whatsoever required the augur to give you a kind of daily horoscope. And it's recorded that every Senator who went to the Senate house, to sit in on a Senatorial meeting of some kind of importance or whatever, Caesar included, they stopped at the door of the Senate and they sacrificed. Now this doesn't mean that they personally did it, but it was kind of like there was a little booth installed there, and there was some guy who probably has a little pen there.

Joe: 'Sacrifices here! Get your sacrifices here!'

Laura: Yeah, so they had a pen and it was full of lambs and birds, and probably pigs and cows and whatever, depending on the importance of the occasion the bigger the critter the more important the occasion or vice versa. So you stopped on your way in to do your business. Now imagine this happening in Congress in the United States! The senators or the congressmen go to sit in on a session to discuss laws and before they can go in the door they have to stop and somebody takes a lamb, slits its throat, cuts its belly open, takes its liver out, and says 'Yeah, you're going to have a good day sir, you know, here's your ticket, just go right on in there', and that's what they were actually doing, I'm not kidding!

Niall: Nowadays they have a drone strike and then a Senate hearing.

Joe: Yeah. I wonder if the Holy Water Fount at the entrance of Catholic Churches, as you walk in the door, you might dip your hand and bless yourself in some watered down (no pun intended) version of that because anybody that walks in the Catholic Church immediately does that on the left or right.

Laura: Well that's possibly very closely related. It was the thing to do. Sometimes you would have your sacrifice; you would do your sacrifice at home which meant that probably everybody had to have a little collection of critters that they were daily butchering.

Joe: There's no evidence of anybody smearing the blood of these animals on anybody is there?

Laura: I don't think so.

Jason: I don't know if they were killing some animal every single day or something like that.

Laura: Actually there were. Read the history.

Jason: I don't know. They'd run out of lambs.

Laura: This was so ubiquitous and so daily an event that every day you had to take the augurs.

Pierre: Yep, because it's not two different things. Amongst the parents augurs you have the sacrifice, but there were many other kinds of augurs. They were checking bones sometimes; they were checking the weather, the birds where they were flying...

Jason: You'd run out of animals pretty quick.

Pierre: ...the Sun, the stars, the moon.

Laura: But they ate them. That was how they got the meat for the day.

Pierre: And they gave it to the ancestors. They had to feed the ancestors as well, and so they burn it or put it in the ground. Really, one of the most striking ideas that transposed from this book is that every single decision made by people at this time was conditioned by augurs, by the superstitions. And another point that is worth mentioning is that in this ancient religion you have the seats of patriarchism. The father, the man, the leader of the family had all powers, he could kill if he wanted any member of his family, he was not accountable in front of any legal organisation or court, he had all powers, unlimited and there was not one single counter-powers.

Jason: This is an interesting point for considering later on with the Roman hatred of parricide which was an extreme crime.

Pierre: Yeah, of course, at the same time you realise what you see in Rome, hundred Optimate families ruling an empire that accounts tens of millions of people, maybe hundreds of millions of people, you understand that you made, quite involuntarily, but you reached the perfect oligarchy. You have a hundred families on the top, and hundreds of the millions at the bottom and the difference between the top and the bottom are great.

Laura: Yeah, well we've gotta get there though. Let's proceed a little bit more slowly instead of jumping ahead here. What happened was Rome created this little city and back in those days Rome was not the Rome we know today. It was basically what you would consider an Indian fort in the Wild West. It was like a wooden fort with palisades and so forth, and earthworks and everything inside was pretty much built out of wood. Even at a very early stage they started using tufa, which is a volcanic block which was easy to cut, so they were using that to build walls later on, but what they did was essentially the only people who really lived in the city were the families, the Optimates (what they later came to be called, the Optimate families, the Patrician families) and who were the other people, the plebeians. The plebeians were people who lived around there, shopkeepers, there were artisans of various sorts, they were labourers, they were shoe-makers, they were this that and the other, they were everybody who did anything that didn't belong to the Optimate or the patrician families, so there were quite a lot of them. As time went by what the Romans did was they began to conquer their neighbours. They began to take over other cities and take their stuff and sometimes they would put Roman citizens, because they started having a lot of kids in these families and so they needed new cities to run, so they would put some of their kids in this city and some in another place and then they would create the same system there.

Pierre: Yeah, and when a Roman army was beating another army all the citizens on the side that lost the battle were losing their religion, their altar, so it means along with the Roman victories a massive inflow of plebeians.

Laura: Who didn't have a religion because their religion was destroyed. There was another thing about it was that in the early days the only people who were allowed to be soldiers in the army were citizens, people who had a certain amount of property, because they looked down on these people so much they didn't even figure out yet that hey we need to use them for soldiers, whatever. But anyhow, I want to give you a little bit from Appian, because Appian talks about this and he builds up the situation that existed at the time that Caesar himself was born, so bear with me. I'm going to make a few comments so everybody else will probably make a few comments. I'm going to give you some stuff directly from Appian who was a Greek historian during the time of Augustus thereafter.

So Appian writes 'The Plebeians and Senate of Rome (remember the Senate was composed only of Patricians) were often at strife with each other concerning the enactment of laws, the cancelling of debts, the division of lands or the election of magistrates. Internal discord did not however bring them to blows. They were dissensions merely and contests within the limits of the Law. However, once when the plebeians were entering in on a campaign they fell into a controversy but they did not use weapons, but withdrew to the hill which from that time on was called the Sacred Mass.' So this is what happened; when the plebeians decided that they were mistreated by the Senatorial class, instead of getting into a battle, what they did is they just withdrew, they stopped giving any services, they stopped making shoes, they stopped being blacksmiths, they stopped making clothes, they stopped serving food, they stopped basically everything.

Pierre: Yes, at the time most of the work is provided by the plebeians.

Laura: So they just simply withdrew from the city, stopped doing anything for the Senatorial class, for the Patricians. That was when they instituted the office of the tribune because the people demanded that they should have tribunes or representatives to represent their interests. So they created a magistrate for their protection and called him a tribune of the plebs to serve as a check on the Consuls who were chosen by the Senate so that political power should not be exclusively in their hands. So at this point from this, there was a lot of bitterness because the magistrates became even more animositive towards each other and things went on and at a certain point in time, the plebs began to demand more and more rights, and this. They were suffering because, as Pierre just said, tens of thousands, maybe even millions of them were there, and this oligarchy still ran everything. So along came Tiberius Gracchus. Tiberius Gracchus was the first to fall victim to internal commotion and with him many others who were crowded together at the Capital round the temple were also slain. Tiberius tired to institute land reform and up to this point in time, according to the history, we don't know how true it is, there had been no armed conflict, but when Tiberius Gracchus threatened their precious land situation, things got a bit violent. Senators actually picked up cudgels and stuff, and beat them to death.

Pierre: And it was a very hot topic, the land, because it was not only the source of income where you grow crops, it was only the land, it was only the ground where your ancestors were buried, where your god was, so attributing the land to people who did not worship the family god, who were not part of the family was a major religious breach.

Laura: Yeah, well what happened was, was that after Rome had conquered and assimilated the cities of Latium and the areas that surrounded it, they got together and decided that having the Carthaginians really close down there in the Greek and Punic area of the island of Sicily was not acceptable because they wanted it. And there was a long thing called the Punic Wars. The Punic Wars went on for 100 or 200 years, whatever, supposedly they just kept fighting with the Carthaginians, and finally they defeated them. But what happened during the course of these wars is that every time they had a war, not only did they get a lot of stuff, 'booty' as they call it, the spoils of war, parts of the spoils of war were massive numbers of slaves. And the fact is that the large scale use of slaves in Roman society came about because of the internal economic demands. Slaves were preferred as a source of labour because of the tremendous external advantages that the Roman state reaped from the conquest of the Mediterranean. And this conquest of the Mediterranean eliminated the serious competitors for power and this was all done by the mid second century. The influx of wealth that resulted from these conquests and the internal demands for larger scale agricultural production, because they had to feed these people, provoked the emergence of what could be called a new entrepreneurial economy based on slaves.

The great wealth derived from Rome's Mediterranean conquests was concentrated into the hands of guess who, the Patricians, that very small number of Romans. They expended it on luxury goods, and most important they purchased large, large tracts of land and then the thing was at a certain point in their history they had actually started using plebeians for soldiers. And what they did to the plebeians when they were using them for soldiers was they would take them off to fight these Punic Wars and then they would come back and they would lose their land because they were not able to pay the loans that they had to take out before they went to war so to buy the equipment to fight the war with. So they bought equipment to fight the war, went off to the war, came back, couldn't pay back the loans and then their land was lost to the Senatorial class. And also, at the same time that this was happening, these Roman Senatorial class type people were bringing back these large numbers of slaves, because it just seemed so obvious to them. I mean geez 'Slaves, paid labour, slaves, paid labour? Oh God the decision is so hard. I can't make up my mind!' And, of course, they went for slave labour because you don't have to pay slaves and, of course, if you're not paying anybody then the people who owned all the other little tracts of land lost their land because they weren't getting any pay to pay you back the money you were lending them to buy their outfits to go off and fight your wars for you. So they had a pretty good deal going on here.

The Senators, the Patrician class of Rome, simply acquired human beings and bought and sold them like pieces of movable property. And the most intensive development of what is called Agrarian slavery, known in the Ancient world, actually began in Rome. The most extreme form of this slave agriculture was located at the very heart of the Roman Empire. Now this is a little bit different from the slave economy that developed in the 16th Century in the Western civilization because what happened then was they were getting slaves and they were importing them to places on the outside or fringes of the Empire, or places that were being newly settled, and using them as slaves to develop undeveloped land or to create colonies or whatever. What Rome did was it went out and got them and brought them home. So probably by the time of Caesar, anywhere between 30 and 50% of the population of the entire Italian peninsula were slaves. Maybe even more, it may have been 60%.

Pierre: Citizens at the time of Caesar were maybe 1% of the population of the Roman Empire. 99% of people were without rights or barely any rights.

Laura: Interestingly, no matter what the ethnicity of the various slaves, and they were bringing them from the Eastern Mediterranean, they were bringing them down from Thrace, they were bringing them from Gaul, they were bringing them from North Africa; they called them all Syrians, because Syrians was kind of like a degrading term that they used.

So what happened was this Empire that was driven by slaves, was they had slave wars. The first slave war started in Sicily interesting, and it lasted from 135 to 132 BC. Now remember Caesar was born in 100 BC so this is like 35 years before he was born, of course, if you believe some experts, he may have been born in 102 BC so he was a little bit older, but anyhow, it's close enough. The Second slave war was from 104 to 100 BC and in both of these slave wars there were charismatic slave commanders who led the forces. In one case, it was Unis and Cleon, and in another one it was Athenion and Salvius. The last of the three great slave wars was fought in Southern Italy between 73 and 71 BC. Caesar was already born now, but let's go back to Appian and get there, because you've gotta remember these slave wars are going on in the background of what was happening in Rome. So slave wars were going on and Tiberius Gracchus is also trying to get land for all of the people, and they murdered him.

So he (Appian) say here, "Repeatedly, the parties came into open conflict, often carrying daggers, and from time to time in the Temples or the Assemblies or the Forum, some tribune or praetor or Consul or candidate for those offices or some person otherwise distinguished would be slain. Unseemly violence prevailed almost constantly, together with shameful contempt for Law and Justice. No unseemly deed was left undone until about 50 years after the death of Gracchus. Cornelius Sulla, one of the Chiefs of Factions doctoring one evil with another, made himself the sole master of the State for a very long time. Such officials were formerly called 'Dictators', an office created in the most perilous emergencies for six months only and had long since fallen into disuse. Though Sulla, although nominally elected, became Dictator for life by force and compulsion. Nevertheless he became satiated with power and was the first man, so far as I know, holding supreme power who had the courage to lay it down voluntarily and to declare that he would render an account of his stewardship to any who were dissatisfied with it. Obviously nobody had the kahonies to be dissatisfied with Sulla.

Pierre: Yeah, Sulla at the same time made a massive purge amongst his opponents. He created an atmosphere of terror so it is easy to say that he was willing to listen to his opponents and to be open minded while at the same time he is killing massively all his enemies.

Laura: Yeah, so anyhow the Romans, as they subdued the Italian people successively in wars, ceased parts of their land, built towns enrolled colonists of their own to occupy those already existing and their idea was to use these as outposts. But of the land acquired by war they assigned the cultivated part to the colonists or sold or leased it. Since they had no leisure as yet to allot the parts which lay desolated by war, this was generally the greater part they made proclamations. But in the meantime, anybody who was willing to work might do so on the ruined land if they would turnover 10% of their produce to the Senate. So they did these things in order to multiply the Italian race which they considered the most laborious of peoples, so that they might have plenty of allies at home. But the very opposite thing happened. For the rich getting possession of the greater part of the undistributed lands and being emboldened by the lapse of time to believe that they would never be dispossessed absorbing any adjacent strips, their poor neighbours, partly by purchase under persuasion and partly by force, came to own vast tracts instead of single estates using the slaves as labourers.

The ownership of slaves brought them great gain from the multitude of their progeny who increased because they were exempt from military service. Now this is another interesting point here because for the most part most of the military service was undertaken by the citizens and their offspring. It wasn't until later that they allowed anybody else to come and be part of the war or part of the army. And as a result, since they were excluding all of the poor people, the plebeians, and the slaves etc. from their warlike activities they were killing themselves off. Now how bright does that sound to you? They were killing off their own population because they refused to admit anybody else to their franchise of being a citizen.

Pierre: And then they reach a point where the growth of the Roman Empire where the Roman army was amounting to 100,000 to 200,000 soldiers according to the sources so basically they reached a point where they couldn't also have the earth coming from the citizen's families so they had to open the doors and add meat; slaves, plebeians.

Laura: Freedmen, whatever. So it says, 'Thus, certain powerful men became extremely rich and the race of slaves multiplied throughout the country while the Italian people dwindled in numbers and in strength and the ordinary Italian people, the ones who weren't slaves, became oppressed by penury taxes and military service.' Now the Senate, this brilliant body of great minds that is so haloed in our history, couldn't figure out how to fix this.

Appian says, 'They did not perceive any remedy for it was not easy nor in any way just to deprive men of so many possessions they had held for so long. A law was at last passed with difficulty, at the insistence of the tribunes, that nobody should hold more than 500 jugera of this land (and that was about 330 acres) or pasture on it no more than 100 cattle or 500 sheep. To ensure the observance of this law it was provided also that there should be a certain number of free men employed on the farms whose business it should be to watch and report what was going on.' So they actually did pass some kind of a land law and this was in 367 BC, it's called The Lucinian Law. 'Having thus comprehended all this in a law, they took an oath over and above the law and fixed penalties for violating it and it was supposed to be that the remaining land would soon be divided among the poor in small parcels. But there was not the smallest consideration shown for the law or the oaths. The few who seemed to pay some respect to them conveyed their lands to their relations fraudulently, but the greater part disregarded it all together.' Geez, does that sound like modern day times or what? Finally Gracchus as I mentioned before came along and he delivered eloquent discourses and tried to pass the land law and then he was murdered because this was so extremely disturbing to the rich. So Appian writes about that and he goes on, 'The Senators would get up there and make speeches, and they would recount the military services they had rendered by which this very land had been acquired and they were angry that they should be robbed of their share of the common property.' So then the freed men and the slaves come along and they say exactly the same thing. 'They reproached the rich for employing slaves, who were always faithless and ill-disposed, and for that reason unserviceable in war, instead of free men, citizens and soldiers.' So they all got aggravated with each other and there were disturbances and people were fighting in the streets. And the fact is that the Romans possessed most of their territories by conquest and things got on and it went worse and worse and then the Marias came along and he was trying to pass another agrarian land law and he took over and then Sulla came along and restored the Senate to their full power and there were proscriptions and...

Pierre: Maybe at this point we can emphasise the fact the old Roman Empire is based on one fundamental dynamic; its expansion, armies, get territories and land, there's more people to feed, you need more land, more slaves, so you conquer more, so you have more people to feed. So the land and the army are the two foundations on which the Roman Empire expansion is based and you need both to grow and the problem is that it's a never-ending race. You always need more; more soldiers, bigger territory, and more land.

Jason: Anyway, so proscriptions were basically kill lists, they were posted up.

Laura: Yeah so it really got ugly, and what ended up happening was that the city of Rome was basically a Chicago style gang war, all day long, all night long, week after week, month after month, year after year, with one person or another. Sulla kind of set the precedent. He went off to fight a war and then he heard that these people who were going to pass agrarian laws had taken over so he brings his army back and he marches on Rome and puts up these proscription lists and basically it says if you kill this man, you will not have committed a crime, you bring his head, you'll get a reward.

Joe: Just to draw a little comparison to today, it strikes me that's quite similar to what Obama is doing with drone strikes. So they have this presidential kill list, which is very similar to what you are talking about, that's the people in foreign countries who are called terrorists but quite a lot of them are actually kind of what could be called social revolutionaries or people who are agitating, trying to agitate in their local countries for example and part of the modern American Empire. For example in Yemen there's a lot of people who are killed by drone strikes in Yemen that are said to be terrorist leaders but in fact they are people who are advocating for equal rights and social justice against the clan or leader of Yemen. So for me the parallels are stark.

Jason: When you read the history of the Roman Empire you begin to realise that nothing has changed in more than 2000 years.

Pierre: And this Sulla, it was so bad at one point that it was not a kill list that was published; he published a list of people who should not be killed.

Laura: Because everybody else was game, the list was shorter. So that's basically the situation into which Julius Caesar was born, because there were these slave wars...

Jason: But he was related to Marius.

Laura: Yeah, there were slave wars, there were civil wars going on, there were wars of the Italian allies because these other city states that were not being allowed to have citizenship, they were asking for citizenship, in one case it was really one of the social wars, the cities they call came against Rome, Rome almost lost. The funny thing is they claimed a victory because they made a concession that they would give citizenship to the most imminent members of the cities of these Latin communities, if they could just make peace, because they were on the verge of being destroyed. Now how many years did they fight to finally give them what they wanted? And this happened over and over and over again. The Senators, somebody would propose an idea, and it was a good idea, and it was fair and reasonable, they would just absolutely refuse to do it because they were conservative, they were authoritarian followers, it had never been done that way and no we don't do that, blah, blah, blah. And then they would end up in a war with slaves or other cities or with their own people and then they would end up conceding what they had refused to give in the first place and then acting like, 'Well, we thought of that all along. I mean because we made the law now that's okay.' And all the while this is happening, the population is being decimated. And interestingly decimation as we use it today is not the same thing that it meant back then. Back then when something got decimated it meant to kill one of every ten men.

Joe: In the Roman army when there was any insubordination or some misdemeanour or something within the ranks nobody would own up to it. They would basically say okay, we're going to take one of every ten people and kill them or actually you'll have to kill them. In a lot of cases the other nine would have to kill the one other soldier who was just picked indiscriminately and to pay for their sin. That's a recipe for insurrection among the troops eventually if you keep up that kind of abuse.

Pierre: And Caesar never conducted decimation. He threatened but cancelled it. And Caesar as a youngster, although he came from an Optimate family, from a family with a local cult, a famous one...

Laura: ...a patrician family...

Pierre: ...he grew up in a poor family in a poor district of Rome. So everyday during his childhood he was subjected to Sulla violence, to the Optimate violence targeting the poor people, he was on the other side, the plebeian side.

Laura: And his friends undoubtedly were being targeted.

Pierre: And at the same time he was indeed related to Marius, who was the hero of the people, of the plebeians, who wanted to liberate the people, was related to Cornelia his wife. So from the very beginning...

Laura: It was his aunt that was married; his father's sister was married to Marius.

Jason: So Sulla came in and he did all this stuff and then he left. Then Marius came back in and he did the Sullan thing which is the proscription thing and he killed a whole bunch of people. So while young Julius is here he is seeing this type of situation and its very important that you know that he was going through this, for how he acted later in life because he saw Sulla come in and, like Pierre mentioned, that at one point the Senators actually came to him and said, 'You know what, stop posting the proscription list, will you just post who no one can kill so that we can breathe easier and know that we're not on the list.' And when Sulla left Marius came in and did more or less the exact same thing with the proscriptions except he felt that he had been betrayed so he proscribed his enemies so that it was just back and forth and then Sulla came back and he got into all kinds of trouble.

Laura: Now if you can just imagine living in an environment like this. Growing up in an environment like this.

Jason: So Caesar is growing up in this situation and the other thing is, is you have to understand how people in Rome lived. These people were in abject third world poverty at most, or worse. They lived in these things called insulae which were basically tenement housing that were stacked 10 stories high, made of very shoddy construction, they very often collapsed. In fact at one point Cicero, who was very famous, was an owner of one of them and two of his collapsed and he was actually happy about that. He was very happy about it because he would be able to rebuild and charge higher rate.

Laura: Without a word for the thousands of people who were killed.

Jason: Yeah, he doesn't say anything. So all these people are living in abject poverty, tenement housing, very very poor, the big whodoos in the government are coming in, different factions and each time one of them comes in and takes charge he posts proscription lists and everybody is getting killed. This is what he was growing up in. That was the political environment and the social socio-economic environment that he grew up in.

Pierre: And it gives a lot of meaning to all what he is going to do later in his life. The two most documented actions he took in his early stage of his career are when he refused Sulla's order to divorce his wife Cornelia because she was related to Cinna and Marius. He was willing to lose his life in order to respect the engagement to Marius and Cinna related to Cornelia. The second action, soon after his first election, he would decide to make a celebration for Marius. So those two acts, Marius celebration, wedding with Cornelia are both related to the peoples' side.

Laura: They're getting ahead, they keep jumping ahead.

Jason: No we're not getting ahead because you introduced Marius and by this point Caesar is, at least, a boy. This whole situation going on, this whole political uprising, it's necessary to establish the surroundings with which he grew up in.

Laura: Yes, exactly. Anyhow, the point I want to make here is that we have this so called glorious record of that period of Rome that our civilization, our literature, Shakespeare, etc., they look up to this because we have the writings of people like Cicero and all these great orators that would declaim about the republic and liberty and democracy. Of course they only meant liberty and democracy for the 100 families or so, but nevertheless, they would get up there and make it sound like it was a really big important deal because for them the rest of the people didn't have a religion, they weren't people.

So in a sense hardly anybody else wrote any records of the time. We tend to see it through the eyes of Cicero. Bit it was an age of horrors. It was an age of revolutions and anarchy and the hundreds and hundreds of heads of the proscribed victims being mounted on poles in front of the Senate house, I mean it was just like...

Joe: Barbarians.

Laura: Yeah, it was horrible. There were battles in the street, there was butchery. It was a gang war of the worst kind. Constant struggles between the Patricians and the common people organised in Caesar's boyhood under the protection of his uncle, General Marius, and afterwards Sulla, the patrician leader on the other side, left no atrocity undone. Cicero and Caesar both lived in it at its worst and though not participants in the bloody deeds of their contemporaries, they were witnesses of them and each in his own way was ambitious to be a leader and to bring about improved administration of government and respect for law. Cicero of course wanted to do it for the sake of the Optimates only, Caesar wanted to do it for everybody.

So, we have gotten to the point where we've got Caesar. It's said that Caesar was a youth of extremely temperate disposition, and he had a dignity of character that placed him in a very good light to everybody who knew him, from what little can be discerned, even though the early story of his life has been lost. Early in life it apparently was Caesar's ambition to become a leader and leadership was basically an instinct in him. Caesar's forte was statesmanship. That was what he was actually best at, so in the end he ended up having to use warfare to get into a position where he could do what needed to be done as a statesman. But step by step, by every device of intelligence, self control, prudence or by bold and timely extravagance and audacity, he went through what they called the Path of Honours. Now the Path of Honours was what every Patrician family sent their sons through. In our civilization you go to elementary school, then you go to middle school, then you go to high school, you go to University and then at some in our history you got the grand tour, and then you decide what kind of thing you're going to do, and then you get a job with the family firm or the firm of a friend or a family neighbour whatever, so you have this path. And in Government to start out you may be a...

Pierre: A Quaestor?

Laura: I'm talking about our time right now, in our time you may start out as being a helper on a political campaign and then you become an aide, and you may be a ...

Joe: A fund-raiser today.

Laura: You may be a fund-raiser. Well, that's the easiest way to get into politics nowadays, but it used to be that you had to be an intern, you'd go and intern in Congress, and then you would run for some kind of small office in your local town, then you might become Mayor, then you might run for state senator, then maybe for governor, then maybe for Congress or whatever and then eventually you might run for President. But the way Rome had it set up, since they changed their Consuls which was the top position every year, they basically passed this position around in and amongst these families. Every year there were two of them elected, and this gave a chance for everybody to be on top and to follow this Path of Honours. You would start out and be a Quaestor, which was kind of like an administrative person, you took care of the finances, and you'd go and...

Pierre: Yeah, the meaning Quaestor or question the one in the Senate in the public debate asks questions, he doesn't give answer, he doesn't define laws, and he is just there to ask questions at a basic level.

Laura: And then you have an Aedile, and this was kind of a different position.

Pierre: Yeah, you have Praetor, you have Consul, and you have Proconsul positions.

Laura: Yeah, well you became a Proconsul after you served one year as a Consul. Then you were given a province to be governor of so, of course, everybody wanted to get to be a Consul because then after they got to be a Consul they could be a governor of a province which meant massive loot and booty because you get sent over there to be in charge and you get to tax the hell out of those inhuman people who are under the governor.

Jason: And you can raise legions and then go around conquering.

Laura: You can have an army. So just imagine all the numbers of people who were doing this back then. And, of course, once you had a Consul in your family, your family became noble. You were no longer just an ordinary patrician; you were part of the nobility. So it was just this incredibly stratified society with these people at the top. So, in any event, Caesar comes along and if you read the story of Caesar even written by his...

Jason: Exclusively written by his detractors.

Laura: Exclusively written by people who didn't like him, you realise that he worked for everything he got. He went through the Path of Honours, he was a Quaestor, he was an Aedile, he finally made it to be a Consul and then he became a Proconsul. The only thing he ever had given to him was when he was about 16 or 17 years old, his mother's influence with his uncle-in-law, the aged Marius, he was made a priest of Jupiter and a member of the Sacred College of Priests which had a small income attached to it. And at that time he married the daughter of Cinna who was the Second Consul along with Marius, and this is the girl that he refused to divorce.

Jason: Which by the way, Sulla took away his position.

Laura: So at twenty he refused Sulla's demands that he divorce his wife. So a price was put on his head, he was put on a proscription list, and he had to spend an entire year hiding in the hills and swamps around Rome. During this time his mother, who was a member of a very influential family and the Vestal Virgins along with a few other people, were pleading on his behalf with Sulla to lift the proscription off Caesar's head. Sulla had also confiscated his property, revoked his position etc. And so finally after being put under so much pressure by these other people, who knows how they managed to do it, he lifted the proscription on Caesar and he made the remark interestingly 'Take him, since you will have it so, but I warn you that in this lose skirt youth, there are many Mariuses.'

Pierre: It was prophetic.

Laura: Yeah. So after his proscription was lifted he went east. He went to serve in an army with Thermus, well not exactly an army, he went to serve with Thermus who had been assigned to clear the Greek seas of pirates. I'm going to talk about pirates at another time because these pirates are connected to that whole mithraic mysteries business, so we're just going to pass by that right now.

Not long after that he's heard of as having won an oak wreath of Rome for distinguished valour at the storming of Mydalene. He must have at this time been about twenty four years old. Then he is said to have a short period of a very gay life at the Court of King Nicomedes of Bithynia, and it's about this period of his life that a lot of very slanderous things are said. But that also is a little bit curious. I'm going to talk about that separately at another time because I think something very mysterious was going on, during that period when he was supposedly leading the gay life at the Court of King Nicomedes.

Then he comes back to Rome and decides to become an advocate, basically a lawyer. Now in those days, you weren't a lawyer and advocating because you got paid for it because you weren't allowed to get paid for it. I mean, of course, you could take bribes under the table but basically it gave you an opportunity to appear in The Forum in these court cases and demonstrate your capacities, your abilities as an orator, as a persuader. And people could sit around and watch and give you points. And if you were really good, they'd all hold a sign that says '10'.

Pierre: At the time, rhetoric was very important in Roman Life.

Laura: It was propaganda of the time, it was television.

Pierre: And you didn't have necessarily to win the case to get a good reputation as an orator. And as in the case of Caesar who defended hopeless cases, usually being on the side of the people, of the weak ones, he lost his case most of the time because he was alone against all the rest of the Senate but he was extremely brilliant as far as eloquence was concerned.

Jason: Yeah, he spent a lot of time trying to prosecute very high up people, which gained him a lot of favour with the people. I think he did it intentionally. He never expected to win. He did it intentionally to curry favour with the people.

Pierre: It was close from the beginning.

Laura: So anyway he was beaten over and over again because he would try to prosecute these people who'd gone off to be governors in the provinces, and they were involved in graft and corruption and oppression so he was trying to get them brought to justice. So after he was beaten a few times, he decided to head out for Rhodes where he was supposedly studying with Appolonius Molon, a famous professor of rhetoric and oratory. So he spent two years there. It was supposedly on this voyage that he was captured by pirates, and once again we're going to pass over this because that whole issue of what he was doing at Rhodes, where Posidonius the great Stoic scholar was and how that may relate to the Mithraic Mysteries that later came along is something I want to devote an entire discussion to. So we're going to skip that. But anyhow he supposedly spent about two years in Rhodes studying rhetoric.

Jason: So he was a Rhodes Scholar?

Laura: Yeah, kind of the original Rhodes scholars. So at the age of twenty five or twenty six then he returned to Rome. He was shortly thereafter elected military tribune. This gave him an official position as a speaker in public places. Cicero, who he probably knew to some extent one way or another as he was growing up and had previously been an acquaintance of his, described him after his return as 'an orator of graceful diction and persuasive force of reasoning. He was devoid of the flowers of rhetoric.' However there are almost no records left of this period of his life.

At the age of thirty two, he was made Quaestor. This gave him his seat in the Senate and the following year he was Aedile. Up to his thirty third year he seems to have had steadily in mind the procurement of laws designed to broaden the basis of citizenship in Italy. That was his main thing was to grant citizenship to people who had served the Empire. People who were steady stable people and as you can understand from what we described earlier, you know why there was this incredible conservative resistance to giving citizenship because it was like a holy thing. And even if by this time, the kind of holiness or belief about it had faded away, there was still this conservative idea that that's the way it's always been. You can't be a citizen if you're not a member of the families and we're the families. And, of course, there was probably even a conscious resistance to the idea that these other people would then be allowed to vote. Then if they were allowed to vote, they would vote on things that would take the power away from this small clique of families, take their land away and that was probably even a more compelling reason to resist the granting of citizenship to anybody else.

Pierre: At that time it's probably transition phase where you have two main reasons for this strong conservatism amongst the Senators. Some of them probably tried to respect the religious rules, and the religious rules were set in stone for centuries, so nothing can move, nothing can change. Another reason is probably conservatism is a good way to keep the power.

Jason: I mean the Senate at this time, just from what I understand, it's just my opinion of course regardless of what they say, but they were not particularly religious. It was very much motivated entirely by just plain old fashioned greed. I mean the religious underpinnings of their social order for the most part were nothing more than substance-less form at this point.

Laura: Well there were still some, who were the die hard religious types, but probably by and large most of the Senators and the Patricians had kind of lost their faith in their religion and it was purely...

Joe: They kept it up to hold the sway over the rabble.

Laura: Well, look at George Bush; he turned Christian and God told him to invade Iraq. Does anybody really believe the man was a Christian? I mean, c'mon, give me a rest.

Pierre: Often in antique texts you see the same remark; the Senators invoked a long forgotten rule/ law. The law was never cancelled because it came from the religion and apparently it was still here, this religion in the law, in the habits, in the way of thinking consciously or unconsciously, but indeed the active cult, the active religious activities have been watered down. It was still present in the times, we talked about human, we talked about sacrifice, there was a lot of celebrations, there was a lot of temples.

Jason: At this time, it was pretty much indicated, I can't remember his name the co-Consul of Julius Caesar, that everyone kind of knew that he was making the augurs up. So at this point, even among the Senate that the religion of the auguries was made up.

Laura: It was just being used.

Jason: And Caesar felt this way and he indicated that he felt this way about augurs and all this religious superstition that he experienced.

Laura: Well, we see that in the present day. The masses of people are controlled by religious leaders who clearly do not believe in what they are propagating.

Jason: Yeah, well there's this Billy Graham guy apparently is quoted as saying from another preacher that he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he had been doing it for so long and making so much money that he wasn't going to quit. Nothing changes, 2000 years and nothing has changed between now and then except the dress, the language that people use and that's about it.

Laura: So anyhow, we've got Caesar now, he's thirty three years old and he's trying to pass laws to grant citizenship. He's trying to pass agrarian legislation to give land to people and at this same time Pompey has been sent to pacify Spain and Crassus is fighting the war, one of the last slave wars against the great Spartacus. Now I want you to think about this that in our western literature we make this big hullabaloo with a book and a movie about Spartacus, the resistance against the Empire and what a great hero and that this was the most noble and wonderful thing etc., etc. And then on the other side we glorify the freaking empire that was making all these slaves that Spartacus led in his rebellion. I mean, how schizophrenic is that?

Jason: Cicero and Cato, these lauded Senators and Optimates of the time are held up as being this great example of...

Laura: ...freedom and democracy, and yet they were the ones who were making slaves?

Jason: Yeah, and Crassus, of course, killed the slaves and had them posted on pikes every so many metres down the Appian Way.

Pierre: 6000 rebels were crucified along the Appian Way, every 100 metres.

Jason: Every 100 metres.

Laura: Every 100 metres a body, can you imagine growing up in an environment like that? Well in a sense we do. But you know it's interesting because somewhere in Appian, he mentions the fact that when there was a battle, after the first battle they brought all the dead soldiers home to give them their proper burial, because of course their religion prescribed that they had to be properly buried so that they could be fed, right? But then, there was such an uproar in the city that they made a law that they had to either bury them on site, they could no longer bring them home because it upset the people and they didn't want the people seeing how many were being killed. Now what about the forbidding of the press coverage of American soldiers coming home from the Iraq war that was passed during the Bush administration? You're not allowed to see how many people are killed and how many people are coming home in a box. So these kinds of things are the same kinds of ideas that they have in these citadels of power, and it doesn't matter whether it was today or 2000 years ago. So Caesar didn't really have any military training, and at this point in time...

Jason: But he was at Cataline.

Laura: Yeah, he'd been there but there wasn't any training to be a commander or anything, he'd just been a soldier. And at this point no one understood or had any inclination that he had any talents in the military sphere. No one, of course, thought of Caesar as a military genius. He was just kind of a failure as an Advocate although he had made nice speeches and he was a real troublemaker because he was trying to give people citizenship and trying to give them land.

Pierre: Although at this point we can say that most Senators perceived him as a threat.

Laura: Yeah, they were beginning to, but sometimes they would get soft. Basically he was ripening as a statesman and a jurist and at the same time what he was seeing was Pompey getting all the power because Pompey was the towering military genius

Jason: And he wasn't really.

Laura: And he wasn't. And he was seeing that the way he was trying to change things, because it seems that his main interest was as an advocate, as a jurist, as somebody who learns the law, works with the law, works within the law but he was seeing he wasn't having any success and here's this guy Pompey over here, look at him, he's getting all this power.

Pierre: Because there had been a change over the previous decades in the Roman empire where actually generals, through the power of the their army, were gaining other ones who were having the most political power, like Sulla and Pompey to some extent although he didn't manage to transform totally his military success in to political power. And Caesar was living in the time where to conduct political reforms he wanted to conduct, either you had to be on the Optimates' side or you had to acquire enough military power to "convince" the Optimates.

Jason: On the grounds of Pompey, he came close to it but unfortunately Caesar kind of foiled him. And it turned out Pompey was riding on victories that were very easily won against poorly armed and poorly organised enemies who couldn't have offered his legions any resistance, so his legions were very soft and not particularly well trained. They hadn't fought any "real" wars as Caesar observed when he defeated them and did the whole 'Vini, Vidi, Vici' thing, that Pompey had been sending back all these reports of all these great victories and pumping up the threat of all the people he was conquering.

Laura: When there wasn't much. But in any event, Pompey was getting more and more powerful and the Senate was feeling like he was a little bit of a threat and there was a party in the Senate that was trying to suppress and keep Pompey down. Caesar, being the genius that he was, saw that 'Hmm, there was something about this I need to figure out and we need to do something.' So, instead of joining the Senate party that was trying to keep Pompey down, instead he stood up and made speeches on behalf of Pompey to give him the power to do various things. He joined with Cicero and Crassus and obtained for Pompey the supreme command of the Roman army and navy for the purpose of ridding the Mediterranean of the pirates once again, who had become masters of the sea. Pompey was given the power and made short work of them because they probably weren't really much of a threat anyway, and then he returned to Rome. Unfortunately Pompey wasn't much of a statesman, he didn't have any tact, he didn't know anything about civil government, and he fell under the influence of Cicero, Crassus and Caesar, which was probably not a bad thing, which was probably what Caesar had intended. 'I'll stick up for you, help you get what you want, make a friend of you, and then you come and help me.'

Pierre: Maybe another point to explain the position of the Senate towards Pompey and later towards Caesar, the Senate were playing tricky games with the generals. The generals were needed in the army to conquer more lands, to get more booty, more slaves, and more money. At the same time they feared generals who were getting too much power because they could overthrow them like Sulla did and gained dictatorship. So basically with Pompey, what they did and tried to do with Caesar, they use them as generals and gain victories.

Laura: And then strip them of their power, make them a regular citizen and then prosecute them for crimes so that they could send them into exile.

Pierre: Yeah, they didn't do that with Pompey, because Pompey was overall on the side of the Optimates.

Laura: He came over later.

Pierre: But with Caesar it was a bigger problem because he got all this military power and legitimacy, but at the same time he was not at all on the side of the Optimates.

Laura: So it is at this point that people are starting to really notice Caesar, the Senators. And it is at this point that Cicero's letters reveal that he is becoming very uneasy at Caesar's growing power, and he was writing this in his private letters, but he wasn't doing anything on the outside because Cicero was a real windbag and a weanie. He was the most officious twerp I have ever encountered in all of history. He could be a true friend or he could be an opponent. He was two-faced and hypocritical. So at this point, Caesar kept on going; he united Crassus and Pompey, and began prosecutions of the officers who had been enriched by serving Sulla in his systematic assassinations of Italians. And the ones that Sulla targeted particularly were those with democratic sympathies and confiscated their properties. So at this point, Caesar's having some success. He succeeded in convicting many of them and restoring the confiscated homes and estates to their former owners.

So now he is thirty seven years old. At this point, he is voted to the position of Pontifex Maximus, which is the Pope of the Roman religion, he is the head guy. This office was elective and lasted for your entire life. You were elected Pontifex Maximus and you were that until you died. So he got elected into this position and at about the same time the Cataline conspiracy filled all of Rome with fear. Cataline was supposed to be of Optimate family and he was going to get an army together and take over and make himself Dictator and Caesar aided Cicero in exposing the conspiracy, but in the Senate he opposed the unlawful decree to put the conspirators to death without trial, which was the big thing that Cicero wanted to do. So Cicero on his own authority executed Optimates without trial.

Jason: Cicero and Cato.

Laura: Cicero and Cato, this was really a dreadful precedent because they put themselves as being no better than Sulla, because these men were Roman citizens and they were entitled to a trial, but they never got one. So through Cato's influence against him, Cicero failed to persuade the Senate not to execute these people, and at the same time Caesar himself came close to being assassinated. He was at that point a Praetor, which was a judicial position which gave him power. Failing in the assassination attempt, the Cato party feared what he might do as Praetor to condemn their illegal acts executing the Cataline conspiracies. So they pushed a decree through the Senate to degrade him from that office and forbidding him to exercise its function.

What did Caesar do? He obeys the decree, but he reminded his friends and the people that obedience to the Law is the first duty of the citizen, and basically he looked pretty holy and they looked pretty shabby. So the people were muttering and making lots of noises about how shabby the Senators were and holy Caesar was, so the Senate fairly quickly recognised the weakness of their position and they repealed that decree. So at the end of his year as Praetor, and since Caesar had made it clear that he wasn't going to go against the Law they had degraded him and he had accepted meekly like a lamb, so they were kind of softened up as the ancient historians tell us, so they appointed Caesar Co-Praetor or Governor of Spain. So he went to Spain for two years, was governor, Chief Justice General, and for the first time he found himself in the command of an army.

Jason: Most specifically the very same 10th Legion was raised at this time.

Laura: Yes, this is where he created the 10th Legion. And it was at this point that his genius for civil administration and for statesmanship began to be revealed because he would go into a place, he would get the information from everybody, see what the problems were, and he was basically the go-to guy; he solved the problems. Here's an edict, a decree, this is how you're going to do things, make lists, this is fair and this isn't fair.

Pierre: The efficiency applied to most fields, it could be a social problem, it could be a population problem, logistics, building, food and he managed to find very quickly very good and very fair solutions, whatever the concerned field was.

Jason: And remember this stuff comes from his enemies. The people who are his enemies can't help but admit these things.

Laura: Because it was true. So now he is 41 years old. It's the end of his term as Governor of Spain and he was entitled to either have this glorious triumphal procession, or he could run for Consul for the next year. So he relinquished his Triumph and hurried back to Rome and stood as a candidate for Consul. He was elected almost unanimously.

Pierre: It's quite telling because the Triumph might not ring much bells today, but Triumph was a major...

Laura: That's what everyone wanted back then, they wanted to have a Triumph.

Pierre: And very few people got one, maybe before Caesar's Triumph, it was Pompey's Triumph, it was 10 days or 15 days Triumph, it was very rare. It was a very high distinction.

Laura: Yeah. So during the one year of his Consulship, he enacted into law most of the reforms that he had been working on for twenty years. You have to really understand that for twenty years Caesar's been trying to make these changes in the Roman government.

Joe: Slowly, slowly catch the monkey.

Pierre: And peacefully, respecting the law, not conducting assassination, not bribing but respecting the law, respecting the people.
Laura: Yeah.

Pierre: For twenty years and those laws he proposed were always along the same line; distribute land, give citizenship, make Consuls and the elites accountable.

Laura: That's it. So another thing that he did during his period as Consul, now you have to understand the "Roman Constitution" was unwritten. Basically they were a kind of reactive body, they would pass a law based on some little problem that was in front of them, usually it was a stupid law, but they would engrave it on some kind of brass plaque or something and tack it up on the wall, and then the next week they would decide, 'Ops, we made a really big mistake that's not turning out very well, the people are marching against us with pitchforks and firebrands so let's change it.' They'd make the next law, engrave it on a brass plaque, tack it up or put it in a box somewhere. It's not even certain to the historians how they collected all this stuff or how they knew what laws were what or what was tradition because other than these decrees that they wrote down, nothing was really set in stone so to say or written on paper.

So what Caesar did was he compiled all the laws known among the jurists as the Code Julian. Then he extended representation to the Italian cities outside the city of Rome, that is granted citizenship and he also passed the first law known requiring the daily publication of the doings of the Senate. This was a big one. Now, because if the people knew what the Senate was talking about, and what they were doing and what they were voting for and against, then the people had a better opportunity of knowing whether anything was being fair or reasonable.

At the end of his one year as Consul, he was entitled to be appointed as a pro-Consul or governor of a province as we already mentioned, but his vigorous forward movements in law-making while with the Consular spur he could urge his measures through, he had thrown the whole Senate into spasms of fury. They had concluded that they were going to clip his wings, so what they did was they said they were going to pass a decree that instead of Consuls going to be pro-Consuls and governing a province, we going to pass a decree now that Consuls can be supervisors of the forests, swamps and roadways,. Now, you see what I mean about how they were doing this governing?

Joe: Supervise that swamp.

Laura: Yeah. So they were going to assign him to the Department of Woods and Forests. So he kept his mouth shut for a little while, he didn't say anything, and then he appealed to the assembly of the people to assign him to a province where he might be most useful. He wanted Cisalpine Gaul, which was the Valley of the Po in Southern France, and Illyria, which is Croatia basically. So finally, because of the people putting pressure on the Senate, they realised they had to revoke this decree in a hurry because the people were coming with the firebrands and pitchforks and so they gave him his province.

Jason: You skipped some important details about that whole Consulship.

Laura: Well go ahead.

Jason: So the Romans had two co-Consulships, and he had what was his name, Balbus?

Laura: Balbus tried to block him passing these laws.

Jason: Well they would have like one month on, one month off and Balbus was always going behind him and undoing things, doing things contrary to anything he was doing and trying to block him constantly. And early on there was a confrontation between them where apparently the followers of Caesar while Balbus was trying to do one of his new decrees to screw over Caesar, where they pelted him with faecal matter and tomatoes and booed him off the podium, and then he went off and sequestered himself and basically did lots of auguries and prophecies and stuff like that and horrible things were going to happen and everyone was going to die.

Laura: Well he was trying to close the senate and deny the procedures to continue by everyday sacrificing a victim and saying 'Oh, it's not an auspicious day.' And finally Caesar got tired of this and he said the heck with Balbus, we're going to carry on with business because Balbus' intention was to stop any Senatorial activity for the entire year by claiming every single day that the omens were bad. And so the word went around and it was recorded by the historians of the time that the joke was there were two Consuls that year; Julius and Caesar.

Jason: Yeah because he basically shut the guy up but what the Senate was planning at the time was repealing all of his reform laws and even bringing criminal charges against him the minute he stopped being pro-Consul.

Laura: Yeah because you're immune to prosecution while you're a government official, but the minute you step down, you're a private citizen and you can be tried for whatever they wanted to accuse you of, and exiled. And that was kind of like their plan.

Jason: And Cicero and Cato had a history of executing people without trial, so it was a dangerous situation for him. And their blocking him from becoming pro-Consul was because if he transferred from Consul to pro-Consul in a short enough span of time, they couldn't bring actions against him.

Laura: But there was no gap of time. He was never a private citizen.

Pierre: Actually they were going to use 'Bibulus' Law' that every day was a sacred day therefore no law could be enacted and since Caesar had been enacting laws despite Bibulus' religious days it was unconstitutional therefore Caesar could be prosecuted at the end of his Consulship. And something interesting actually is that all his life, Julius Caesar has been struggling politically. He's never had one ally amongst the Senate. He has had few allies politically which is why systematically the people from the Tribune...

Laura: There was nobody to help him. He was fighting this battle alone.

Jason: Yeah, all of his support came from the populace.

Pierre: And of the top of my mind I can only think of two tribunes who were faithful to him until the end; Rufus and Vatianis, All the rest were either against him, or with him for a while and betrayed him eventually. He was alone against all of the Elite if Rome.

Jason: Well Joe mentioned the filibuster which is an interesting story with Cato, who I absolutely hate and I think is totally misrepresented in history, Cato was always trying to filibuster Caesar and Caesar had him basically arrested and taken away.

Laura: Yeah, put him in jail, threw him out.

Jason: Yeah, because he was doing it intentionally.

Laura: So you can bet that Cato hated him.

Jason: Oh yeah.

Laura: So anyhow the people's assembly voted him pro-Consul and gave him his provinces for a period of five years, and because the people were quite agitated, the Senate was forced to confirm it, because of course they didn't want them with the pitchforks and the firebrands. So Caesar spent some time getting an army of soldiers and mechanics ready and then he marched off. So at the age of forty two he began a military career that has no equal in the history of western civilization, at the age of forty two.

Jason: Greater than Alexander by far.

Laura: So, he's going and campaigning and we are not going to cover all the campaigns, but at the end of his first campaign, it began to be suspected in Rome that he had a little bit of military talent.

Jason: Which was scary as hell for these guys.

Laure: The Patricians of course were hoping that he would get killed. At the end of the second campaign in Central and Eastern France, Rome was electrified by the dash, the vigour, and the scope of his military activities.

Pierre: Maybe one point here. The first campaign made by Caesar in Gaul is not imperialism, is not led by the desire to expand the Roman territory.

Laura: It was basically a peace-keeping, restore order because there were tribes encroaching on other tribes and there was pillaging and plundering going on.

Pierre: And formerly leaders of friendly tribes, the Aedians, request Caesar to help him against invaders namely Helvetian tribes. He goes there, he proposes to the Helvetian people to live and to the Helvetian leaders okay, no war, no booty, nothing, you just go back to Switzerland, to your land and you leave the Aedians free and living the life that they want. Don't invade and don't loot, just go back to your house. The Helvetians say yes, they take three days to make the decisions officially and in those three days they attack Caesar in the back. That's how it starts and along the whole nine years long Gaul campaign, it's basically a similar path that repeats again and again. Maybe we should mention something that is important I think is that that not only were all the Elites against Caesar, all the leaders of the tribes were against Caesar because he was bringing peace and equality and exposing people, but also history was against Caesar because he was so easy to manipulate tribes band by telling them 'You see Caesar coming now, you remember the previous emperor, the previous general, the previous Consul? All of them looted, killed, burned and raped. Caesar is a Roman. He is like all his predecessors. He is going to do the same, so follow me and all my tribe armies and fight against Caesar.' Caesar was fighting against all those enemies at the same time.

Laura: At the same time.

Jason: And there are some instances actually where the tribes had joined, especially with the Germanic tribes and the Belgian tribes, had joined with them to fight Caesar and lost and then ended up being forgiven by him when he accepted the fact that they had been manipulated into pacts with these various different tribes. So even in the cases of people who did that, he wasn't this sort of mad slaughterer that most people portray him as, he showed a lot of mercy, he showed a lot forgiveness and he really showed that what he wanted was stability and peace in the region and not so much that he wanted to expand the Empire.

Pierre: And here the context is important because maybe in the 20th century his mercy seems understandable but we have to keep in mind that Caesar was the very first leader to show mercy, forgiveness, equitable treaties and agreements. Always respecting his words while all the other leaders before Roman or from other Empires, for them the rules were if you win you have all the rights and they were exacting those rights; pillaging, raping, looting and killing.

Jason: Right, well most of them fed their army off of pillage.

Laura: yeah, well that's how they survived because it was easier than working.

Jason: It was easier than paying those soldiers.

Laura: So anyhow the third year passes and the campaign showed that Caesar was the greatest explorer and the most daring leader of small forces against great odds that had ever been known in history. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh years followed in successive victories in which we see him like a bolt of lightening passing from one cloud to another. He built a bridge over the Rhine with a quickness that inspired wonder and terror among the Germans.

Pierre: Well ten days the first time. The second time he built the bridge over the Rhine in one day.

Laura: And Caesar is the engineer of that job. He is the one who figured out how to do it. He was a brilliant engineer.

Pierre: And maybe the features, we can wonder how come Caesar won those 300 plus battles and he lost altogether maybe three where he was totally outnumbered, one of the factors is that he was a brilliant engineer and he designed new kind of boats to go to Britain, new machinery, new towers, new fortifications and walls. He was a great strategist. You can read some of his tricks, it's better than a novel. He was a great tactician, he had unlimited energy, walking non-stop day and night with his troops.

Laura: And he didn't have epilepsy.

Pierre: And I think maybe one of the key points that are not addressed often in those books about military tactics and strategies is that psychological factor. I think for several reasons Caesar really managed to transcend his troops. I think at point after maybe several months of campaign, seeing a kind of example of a father in Caesar, the troops reach an amazing level of coherence, solidarity, motivation and confidence. Caesar could have led them anywhere and they would have followed and fight to the end to defend them, their army, their leader and their emblem.

Laura: Caesar was the soul and the army was the body and that's the way it was. So the Patrician politicians of Rome were of course very disappointed that he didn't get himself killed and they once had a message conveyed to the German King Ariovistus who was opposed to him in the west of the Rhine that the death of Caesar would be no sorrow to them and they wouldn't come after Ariovistus if he killed Caesar. And Ariovistus of course told Caesar that and got his ass whooped. Excuse me but that's what happened. So the people were absolutely enthralled by Caesar's reports of his commentaries, his wars and the growing romance of his career excited everyone. This was a real hero, this was a real man, somebody who was for the people, somebody who was increasing the glory of Rome, showing what a real Roman should act like and be like, and it was giving inspiration to everybody.

Jason: More so than I think anyone else in history, more so than George Washington.

Laura: Yeah, and I think it really, really galled the Senate that they had to vote thanks for him and have ceremonies to praise him and so forth.

Pierre: He had twenty day Triumphs, something that had never been done in Roman history.

Laura: Yeah and because of what Caesar was doing, they kept having to postpone their planned assassination. So before his five years appointment as Governor of Sis Alpine Gaul and Illyria had ended, Caesar called a council at the city of Lucca within his own province and he brought there the ablest men of Italy, to consider the means to ensure some stability in the administration of public affairs of the capital. The Assembly was like another Senate. Two hundred of the leading men of the State, including a considerable number of the Senators formed an agreement by which Pompey, Caesar and Crassus were to be supported and to support each other. Pompey would maintain order in Rome, Crassus would keep the Senate and the popular leaders from getting at each others' throats, and Caesar was to have five more years as governorship of Gaul and Illyria, and to be given the First Consulship again at the expiration of his term as Governor.

Pierre: It was a Triumvirate.

Laura: This was the period of the Triumvirate. This united some of the major parties. There were no Patrician intrigues or plebeian violence that could endanger the internal peace of Rome for this period of time.

Pierre: It was kind of called an Age because Crassus was probably the wealthiest Roman citizen, Pompey was the old hero, the great military hero who pacified the east, and Caesar was the current hero who was pacifying Gaul.

Laura: Yeah, but, of course, the Optimates in the Senate hated this. This was oppression to them because for God's sakes, they were not allowed to rule and they were losing their opportunities to get booty and plunder.

Jason: It was just plain old fashioned greed.

Laura: Yeah, it was just basically greed.

Pierre: Maybe one point concerning Caesar as a leader as well, something I find striking is that how much on one side he was respecting and caring for the life of his soldiers and of the enemies actually, and on the other side how he was not caring somehow for his own life. There are many, many instances where Caesar makes the obvious choice of honour, of dignity, of keeping his word and of helping his fellow soldiers.

Laura: At the risk of his own life.

Pierre: At the risk of his own life and it's quite obvious that he's going to die. You need a miracle for him not to die. Well eventually he does not die which makes the story more exciting, but those values are much more important for him than his own life.

Jason: And again I would point out that all of this information comes from people who hated Caesar, who grudgingly admitted this.

Laura: But they couldn't deny the facts.

Jason: They couldn't deny the facts.

Laura: What they did was they would tell the facts and then they would attribute to Caesar, you know he was just out there looking for power so he was making friends just because he wanted power. They never ceased to misjudge, underrate and undermine him.

Jason: And he still succeeded.

Laura: Meanwhile, Cicero along with the Patrician Senate was spending all his time meditating on how to neutralize the effect of Caesar's growing fame. Pompey became jealous and drew away from the alliance, and then Crassus unfortunately was killed and his entire army annihilated on a campaign in Syria. So the Triumvirate kind of fell apart and things were in a bad way. All the rival interests were uneasy about the promise that they had made to Caesar that he should be the candidate for the First Consul in Rome at the end of his Pro-Consulate term. Cato and Cicero were scheming to cheat him out of it, and as the last year of his Governorship approached, combinations or factions were made against him in Rome which aimed at first depriving him of his army and then to the violation of the promise to Consulship, because of course they wanted him to become a private citizen so that they could prosecute him. Caesar, because he had a well developed intelligence network knew what was going on and at the same time he was patient, and he kept trying to work these problems out in the normal diplomatic channels at the time. He kept bringing up the injustice of trying to strike him down after he had been for nine years absent from the Capital, added territory to the domains of Rome, revenue to his Treasury. Finally he saw clearly that it was the plan of his enemies to give the command of his army to another General before his appointed term was ended, to force him to come to Rome where his life would be at the mercy of the hired assassins and he resolved at this point to defend his rights in his own province and to hold the army to protect himself while appealing to the people for his promised Consulship.

Pierre: Yeah, here we have a key point in Caesar's biography; the War of Gaul is over, we are in 49 BC and the civil war hasn't started yet. The key distinction was the Optimates wanted Caesar to get rid of his army because Caesar with his army was a big threat in their eyes, in their mind. But at the same time Pompey had a big army in Spain. So Caesar said 'Okay, I agree. I'll disband my army if Pompey, at the same time, disbands his army. So there's no more threat for Rome. No one can become a Dictator through the power of his army.' The Senate voted for a concomitant disbandment of the two armies despite the Sulla indecision of the Senate. Marcellus, the leader of the Senate at the time and opponent of Caesar, goes to Pompey and tells Pompey not to disband his army and to mobilise the country's army to prepare the neutralisation of Caesar's army in Northern Italy. The Senate said disband all the armies but actually they decided, with Pompey as the leader, to attack Caesar in Northern Italy. Caesar hadn't done anything.

Laura: Yeah, completely illegal.

Pierre: Caesar was in Northern Italy. He was Consul of Northern Italy. He was ruling the province he was in charge of. That's how the Civil War was started and I'll let you go on with it.

Laura: Well Cicero and the Senate were too cowardly and too vacillating to carry out their intent. Caesar did not violate any order of the Senate or do any unlawful act until finding that his friends were driven from Rome and that Pompey, at the urging of Marcellus, was determined to prevent his coming to Rome to claim the Consulship.Aand it is at this point that he crossed the Rubicon. To lead his army beyond that boundary was certainly an illegal act.

Pierre: But this move it was a reaction.

Laura: To another illegal act.

Pierre: Yeah, Pompey was marching toward Northern Italy and one of the reasons why Caesar, and you can see in all of his campaigns the same about him, one of his main strengths was his quickness, and instead of waiting in Northern Italy and having causalities in Northern Italy, the land he is in charge, he makes the first move and he goes to Rome and he doesn't go to Rome to kill them, he goes to Rome to establish order for the Senate's decision to be applied and for the election to be conducted.

Laura: Right! So at this point when Caesar goes on the move, the great Pompey and the Senators instead of feeling righteous about their position and organising to hold the city against some terrible violator, they acted like guilty men evading justice, which was what Caesar was bringing. There was the common understanding of the people that what was going on was unjust and indefensible and they all turned into cowards because they all knew it. Caesar, on the other hand, was strong in the consciousness that he was acting within his equitable rights. But, so accustomed had the higher classes in Rome become to bloody revenges and reprisals, they could believe nothing good of Caesar. They had compromised themselves at every step of the way by their opposition and reviling him that they could not comprehend an attitude of spirit that absolutely transcended anything they had ever known or understood. Caesar found that all of his attempts and efforts to prevent a civil war were misconstrued and evaded and he began his march, and on the way, towns opened their gates and welcomed him as he advanced. The kindly feeling of Italy toward him became evident, but Caesar still sent messengers to the senators to impress upon them that he wanted peace and not civil war. To Cicero he sent word that he would willingly live under the rule of Pompey if only they would guarantee his personal safety, and they refused to even answer him.

Jason: They refused to even receive his messengers at a certain point.

Laura: So the senators and Pompey they fled across the sea where they were going to raise an army in Greece and come back and attack Caesar. Caesar the campaigns, the Civil War, I don't want to go into all the details of that because...

Jason: Well Cato committed suicide at this point?

Laura: Well, not at this point, that was quite a bit later.

Pierre: But maybe to summarise what happened during the Civil war, Pompey was raising a humungous army, about 50,000 soldiers, Caesar has a small army of about 25,000 soldiers. Pompey is in Greece, Caesar is in Italy. Caesar is going to Greece with a lot of difficulties but he manages to get part of his army to Greece and he wins despite being outnumbered. Pompey flees away and Caesar, realising that Pompey is the head and if he chase Pompey he can bring an end to the Civil War, like in a movie he is going to run away to the sea to the different countries; Cyprus, Lebanon up to Alexandria in Egypt, he is going to follow Pompey.

Laura: One of the things that Caesar did before he even went after Pompey was he went to Rome, convened the remaining Senators, those who hadn't run away, and addressed them and asked them to name him for the election to the Consulship that he had been promised. The Senators however seemed to consider it a weakness that he came to them asking them to do things in a lawful way and they got very haughty and resisting and negative and made it clear that they were not going to help him in any way. So at that point he declared that since they would not keep their promises to him and govern with him, he would govern without them. So he quickly organised the civil and military measures necessary for the peace of the Capital and then he went after Pompey. And his war against Pompey is pretty interesting, and it's just absolutely amazing.

Pierre: And maybe what can be pointed out as well is during the war against Pompey, several times, although Caesar is winning battle after battle and despite his coming victories, he keeps proposing peace to Pompey.

Laura: He keeps sending messengers to Pompey asking for peace.

Jason: Pompey kept refusing to even hear the messages. He wouldn't even receive his messengers.

Laura: So he is 52 years old when he embarks to go after Pompey. Pompey had three times the number of soldiers that Caesar had. He occupied a strong position and things did not go really well at first for Caesar. But at a certain point Caesar besieged Pompey which made Pompey look a little bit ridiculous. But Pompey did have command of the sea and he had the advantage of his defensive position so Caesar decided to take off and retreat inland because he figured that if he did that, Pompey would follow him, and then he would fight Pompey on the kind of ground he could command. So Pompey did follow him and the celebrated battle of Pharsalus was the result. And it was an easy victory for Caesar and a total and complete route of the Patrician forces.

Pierre: 30,000 soldiers on Pompey's side were killed.

Laura: Then Pompey ran away and went to Alexandria in Egypt. He was beheaded in the Bay of Alexandria by the servants of Ptolemy, the little brother of Cleopatra because Cleopatra and her little brother were kind of having a little private war between themselves. So they thought this would make Caesar happy. Caesar, when they brought Pompey's head on a dish...

Joe: He was aghast.

Laura: Wept because that is not what he wanted, so things went on and we're getting really short on time.

Jason: Right, I would like to put one thing out; the one word that hasn't been used when discussing what Caesar did when he came back to Rome is proscription. He didn't do it. He didn't kill any of his enemies when he came back in and could've killed all those Senators. That's what every single one of them did before. That's what Sulla did, that's what Marius did. They killed everybody who had "betrayed" them or had shown to be unfaithful and yet he did not do that. He didn't post any proscription lists.

Laura: And that's another thing; Caesar didn't pay attention to factions. When he was making laws he didn't go over from one side to the other. He wasn't all in favour of one side or the other. He let the people know that order was Heaven's first law. Debts must be paid and the law enforced but he would remit part of the debt or make the terms of repayment more equitable so that people could afford to repay their debts because people needed to pay their debts and the lenders needed to get their money or else society would collapse.

Joe: So the point here is that after defeating Pompey and his army which were essentially the forces of the Senate and the people who were against Caesar, Caesar returned to Rome victorious and was in a commanding position to finally affect the changes that he always wanted to change in terms of social society, more equality for the masses, pass laws and land reforms etc., and try to impose his vision of a better society.

Laura: Yeah he changes the calendar. Literally every area of society he was trying to improve. In the 53rd and 54th years of his life, his time was divided between military campaigns, being priest, he was a lawyer, he was a writer, he had been a Tribune, a Quaestor, a Praetor, a Pontifex Maximus, a judge, a Consul, he had been all of his material life these things before receiving his appointment as Pro-Consular Governor, and never before or since has there been such combination of all the powers of the human mind developed in a single individual on the stage of history.

Pierre: From 46 BC to 44 BC the two last years of his life, was the last part of his life after the Civil War; basically he has all the power. He is elected by the Senate as a Dictator for life, he is Pontifex Maximus, he is the political leader, he is the religious leader, and he would implement a lot of reforms in every field. And actually he will change Rome as a city state to Rome as the coordinating centre of an Empire that covered half the western world. And he would do that with a lot of brilliance and a lot of efficiency and a lot of what he decided and he created, his vision at that time, is still here today concerning law, logistics, organisation and administration. He was really a visionary individual.

Jason: At that time Rome was really close to collapsing and eating itself from within.

Laura: Yeah, it would have destroyed itself completely very quickly.

Jason: Yeah but it lasted for another 500 years.

Laura: Caesar's first act was to issue a general amnesty for any political offences that had been committed against himself. He carried the spirit of clemency toward his enemies to a degree that suggests the birth in his mind of some ethical truth that he wanted to perpetuate via Rome. There seems to have been no reform which his mind regarded as impossible. He wanted to build better character into the Roman people and he wanted to graft these moral principles into the laws and have the laws written. Corinth, Carthage and other desolated cities were re-populated by Italians. The waste farmlands were populated by his encouragement to do peaceful possession and his granting of tracts to soldiers and poor people. The provinces were gratified to be given representation. They were given citizenship. They were given home governments and their own provincial assemblies. Yes indeed Caesar engaged in putting on some rather costly circus type activities, but it was a necessity of the time to keep the masses and the citizens pleased and quiet while he instituted the changes that needed to be made. Any kind of upset or uproar would have been an interruption in the progress of his transformation of Rome into a real centre of administration of an Empire. He was laying broad and deep foundations for a better city, a better state and a better Empire. If he'd had twenty years left, can you imagine what he might have done? He could have crystallised everything.

Nowadays we think of the crime of the assassination of Julius Caesar as something that only happens in dens of violence like gang war fares, inner cities, that sort of thing. But in Rome it was the Patrician class of stilted Roman Senators who made the Senate a chamber of infamy and it was in the walls of the senate that they concocted the plan to assassinate one of the greatest human beings who's ever lived.

Pierre: There's an ironic point; the Senate was being refurbished at the time and the sessions were being held in a room nearby where Pompey's statue was standing, and Caesar was actually killed at the bottom of the statue of his nemesis.

Jason: The statue of Pompey, on his victory, had been knocked down, and he had it re-erected because he didn't think that it was very dignified for people to be wrecking the statue just because he had won. He didn't think that that should be done.

Joe: Yeah, nobody should have their nose rubbed in it. He wanted everybody to live peaceably and the striking thing about all of this when you look at the history of Caesar's life and what happened to him, you can't help but be struck by a certain naïveté on his part in terms of doing those kinds of things, believing too much in the goodness of the Elite, that you would think he should have had enough experience to suspect that, at the very least, they would be plotting against him.

Jason: Well he knew that, but he also knew that he couldn't live his life behind bodyguards. You can't live forever.

Laura: So it was that in the 56th year of his life, he might have been 58 if this other individual who has proposed that he was born in 102 BC is correct, then in the 56th year of his life he was killed and immediately the common people went into a frenzied rage of grief and loss and within a few years the assassins died horrible deaths. But unfortunately, down to the present time, historians have presented the apologies of the Patricians for the acts of these vile murderers as patriotic. This deed was not one bit more justifiable than Booth's assassination of Abraham Lincoln. And it's one of the saddest climaxes in history that such a man, gifted as Caesar was, was assassinated the way he was. A man of imagination, ambition, the temperance of a philosopher, the logical thoughtfulness of a mathematician, the electric energy and at the same time kindly and statesman like common sense was cut off at a time when the depraved Romans most needed his wise head and the conciliatory spirit which was the glory of his nature.

Joe: Well, so to answer our question then, which was the title of this show, Julius Caesar was he a dictator or messiah for humanity? I certainly think we can dispense with the idea that he was an evil dictator. Quite the opposite he was a dictator but not in the sense that people would understand that term today as we just explained. Messiah for humanity? Certainly he had a vision for humanity that was in the best interests of humanity.

Laura: Well Caesar has figured in literature as the typical destroyer, and the problem is there wasn't a Republic to destroy. There was a Patrician oligarchy that was hereditary, that lived like a leech on human slavery. It called itself a Republic but it wasn't. It lived on the robbery of conquered subjected states. Julius Caesar made an effort almost entirely alone to shape legislation so as to undermine pernicious prerogatives of that class and to build up a broader Roman citizenship. Caesar felt in himself the power to do something and he tried to do it. To what extent he might have succeeded if he had been given twenty more years can only be conjectured, but the fact that stands out from everything that is written about him is that when he had the power to do it, all he did was lay the foundation in law to make a fairer government and to better the people. That's the bottom line.

Joe: And I think even if he had another twenty years, he may have been able to push things further in that direction, and crystallise some things in society, but it's a sad indictment on human civilization that I really don't think things would have turned out differently than they did with subsequent leaders or emperors of the Roman empire, because of human nature being such as it is and the preponderance of people like Cicero and other corrupt and frankly largely insane leaders who came after him. I can't imagine how it was ever going to be different but certainly Caesar's life and what he tried to do should stand out as an example, as an inspiration if not for any leaders, certainly for the people themselves in terms of what they should demand and what they should not accept from corrupt elites today because today is not really much different than it was then.

Pierre: Today the only difference is that there is no Julius Caesar.

Laura: Well the object for which men seek wealth or power is shown by the way they use it when they have it. That's the difference between Caesar's life from beginning to end and the lives of nearly every other so called hero of our history. Caesar never sought power by the slaughter of other people nor by lying nor by unlawful seizure and banishment of his political opponents by violent or unlawful assumption of all power in his own person and the perpetuation of it. Audacious as he was it was his boldness governed and guided by respect for every form of law that was just and respectable. It was his intention obviously to rebuild the Republic of Rome without destroying it, beginning by the efforts to remove its tumours and its barnacles and then by adding great domains to its territory. But he found no help among the leaders to secure and maintain justice and fair laws and so he took responsibility for himself. Assassination was his reward.

Joe: And on that depressing note, we will leave our discussion of Julius Caesar for now.

Laura: Ave Caesar!

Joe: We may return to it at some point in the future. Thanks to all of our listeners and to all of our chat room chatters. We'll be back next week with another show.

Pierre: Goodbye.

Laura: Goodnight.