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Chapter 6 - No Return

Caesar’s Dignitas and the Coming of the Civil War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2021

Robert Morstein-Marx
Affiliation:
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Summary

Caesar is usually supposed to have sought to exploithis legal immunity as proconsul to escape judgment for his "crimes," and when he was prevented from doing so, to have plunged Rome into the first of the civil wars that would destroy the Republic. This is based on the ill-founded hypothesis that he was bound to face prosecution on his return to Rome with a predetermined verdict engineered by his enemies. In fact, what Caesar demanded was an honorific return from his victory in Gaul that was consistent with republican norms and traditions, while his inveterate enemies, now joined in increasing anxiety by Pompey, rejected his demands, fearing that if they did not do so he would escape the reckoning that they hoped for. To quash Caesar’s plans his enemies were "forced" to jettison various core principles of the Roman republican tradition, but most Roman citizens likely saw Caesar not as a rebel against "the Republic" but as its defender against a faction bent on vengeance. Neither Caesar nor Pompey appears to have sought this war; ultimately Cato and his faction forced this confrontation.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • No Return
  • Robert Morstein-Marx, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: Julius Caesar and the Roman People
  • Online publication: 05 August 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108943260.006
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  • No Return
  • Robert Morstein-Marx, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: Julius Caesar and the Roman People
  • Online publication: 05 August 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108943260.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • No Return
  • Robert Morstein-Marx, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: Julius Caesar and the Roman People
  • Online publication: 05 August 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108943260.006
Available formats
×