Caesar’s Reforms Essay

Caesar’s Reforms

Julius Caesar is one of the most famous statesman and soldier in the history of Rome. It is Caesar who paved the way for the transition from Roman republic to Roman Empire through the various reforms that he introduced during his time as a dictator in the Roman republic. In the capacity of a general or a soldier, Caesar, led a series of military exercise to expand the Roman republic through the conquering of nation surrounding Rome especially in Britain and even some parts of Africa. In the capacity of a dictator, he showed great leadership skills through various reforms with his major reform being the establishment of the Julian calendar which saw the formation of a year that consisted of 355 days. However, some of his actions such as his celebrated affair with Cleopatra saw some of his closest friend and members of the senate conspiring to assassinate him a thing that they later succeeded during a senate meeting (David, 2004, 26).

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Through the various political offices that Caesar established and with the help of the dictatorship powers vested on him by the senate, he was able to establish many reforms some for the benefit of the Roman society with others no doubt for his own benefit in the context of rule and power exercise.

In essence, when he accepted the dictatorship powers from the senate, Caesar faced various problems which can be summarized to four major ones. First, he needed to make the northern frontiers secure from any possible attacks. The frontiers at the borders had greatly been weakened by civil wars and measures needed to be taken to make them secure. The second problem was that of managing an army that would not be large but just enough for the needed military operations and the third problem arouse from the suffering of the urban population and small farmers. In this context, he was compelled to put measures in place that would see the helping of these urban dwellers and farmers.

Finally, for effective administration, he was under the obligation of promoting the necessary confidence with the senate to earn their cooperation. As such, various reforms were necessary for smooth operation and for popularity purposes. His allegedly reforms were carried out in a traditional manner, through the senate, edicts, and in the tribal assemblies (Horst, 2005, 59).

For one, Caesar instituted a program of colonization to fulfill his goal and ambition of expanding the Roman Republic and expand the social condition in Rome. This he initiated by forbidding any form of political movement that would jeopardize his ambitions and goals. The second thing that he sought to do was to carry out a census that saw the reduction in the amount of corn given out to the citizens. As opposed to saving money, this move was aimed at preventing Italians from migrating to the city. To him, this would further help in improving the life of the citizens in various provinces Italia included. In essence, families that had children were given additional corn to help improve their living standards (Rice, 1994, 94).

Next, Caesar sought to reduce the number of slaves and workers in large estates where he ordered slave owners to employ a free man for every two slaves owned. This he calculated would help in bringing down the level of slavery in the Republic and by extension reduce the level of unemployment.

Through the conquering of states that later formed the Roman Empire, thousands of families were offered a chance of living a new life in the newly founded colonies including the war veterans with home he fought many of his wars. Still, after the establishment of these colonies, he sought to implement a Romanization policy that sought to grant Roman citizenship and by extension a share in the newly formed Empire of Rome to the citizens of these colonies (Ramon, 2000, 78).

For smooth administration, Caesar established laws that stipulated how the newly acquired colonies and towns were to be governed. The law, commonly known as the Lex Julia Municipals later became the foundation and the cornerstone for the administration of not only the municipals but also the provinces within the empire.

Moreover, to further bid all the citizens in the colonies and in Rome to patriotism, Caesar sought to increase the number of members of the senate to include many citizens from the newly acquired colonies. History however records that most of the newly elected members of the senate included those people that were seen to be loyal to him and in this regard, his friends. This would help to strengthen his control of the senate and to ensure that he always would have a majority (Anthony, 1998, 56).

To further increase his popularity and help the minority in the context of the lower and middle class citizens, he introduced a new tax system that was aimed at preventing the extortion of money and property from the citizens by the provincial administration. He lowered all the interests supposed to be paid by these citizens and argued for the cancellation of all debts owned by the citizens to the provincial administration. This law reforms fell under the category of economic reforms that he sought to enact.

In regard to the debt problems that were prevalent in the Republic largely because of the various war periods in the process of colonization, he sought to get money in circulation in an effort to increase the liquidity in the country. These reforms are largely attributable for the economic boom that was later to be experienced in the Empire and the aftermath stability in the monetary sector of the Empire (David, 2004, 27).

Last but not least, he put reforms that saw an increase in infrastructure in the Empire. In this regard, public works were carried out that saw the rebuilding of the senate house, churches and temples, commercial centers and the speaker platform. All these helped in shaping the future of the Roman infrastructure besides improving on the economic condition of the people in Rome.

Finally, one of the most out outstanding reform by Caesar even to date was the reorganization of the calendar which had 365 days for a year and one leap year for every four years. This reform was to last until later reforms by Pope Gregory XIII who gave it its current form (Ramon, 2000, 83).

While most of the reforms carried by Caesar were aimed at consolidating the Roman Republic, they were also aimed at increasing his popularity among the citizens and to achieve personal ambitions. However, to Caesar, the prominence or the Republic seemed to be first in his mind as seen in the fact that he never tampered with the traditions of the republic while carrying out his reforms.

Work Cited:

Anthony Gill. Rendering unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the State in Latin America. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 56

David Shotter. Tiberius Caesar. London, Routledge Publishers, 2004, pp. 26, 27

Horst Zander. Julius Caesar: New Critical Essays. London, Routledge, 2005, pp. 59

Ramon L. Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War. Westport CT. Praeger Publishers, 2000, pp. 78, 83

Rice Holmes. Ancient Britain and the Invasions of Julius Caesar. Westport CT. Praeger Publishers, 1994, pp. 94