Julius Caesar is arguably one of the best-known generals of the Roman Empire – and there are plenty of reasons why his formidable story is still told centuries on. The Empire was pretty brutal – and at the head of it was Caesar, a leader many people still aspire to in the modern era! While you might already know quite a bit about this regal Roman from history class, here are some more fun facts about Julius Caesar to clue you in on his legend.
1. Caesar established a major calendar.
Gaius Julius Caesar, to give him his full name, wasn’t just known for leading armies. He helped to change society in some pretty interesting ways – for example, he was responsible for establishing the Julian calendar, which shaped the way we plan out our weeks, months, and years! If you’re wondering where Caesar’s place on the calendar was, his birthday is July 13th!
2. He was killed the year after receiving the ultimate Roman title.
Caesar’s reign was so successful that, by the time the Roman Civil War had come to an end in 45 BC, he’d received the impressive title of Imperator. However, this wasn’t just a fancy title – it meant that, in practice, he’d be leader of the Empire for life. And, in fact, he was – but only for a year, as he was killed during the Ides of March in 44 BC!
3. His name became a title in itself.
Caesar’s time in charge of the Roman Empire inspired future leaders so much that many actually adopted the title of “Caesar” once they ascended to the top job. That didn’t stop with Rome, either – as the German word Kaiser and Russian word Tsar both derive from Caesar!
4. He might not be the inspiration for the caesarian section.
It’s a well-established “fact” that Julius Caesar was born by caesarian section – however, this might actually be a myth. While babies were delivered this way around the time of Caesar’s birth, it was only ever used in dire circumstances as it was rudimentary, putting the mother’s life at risk. In fact, historians believe that the term caesarean section actually relates to the Latin word for “cut,” “caesus.”
5. Caesar and Cleopatra had a child together.
Queen Cleopatra of Egypt is said to have been romantically involved with Julius Caesar at some point around 48 BC. This eventually led to the birth of Ptolemy Caesar, who many referred to as Caesarion, or Little Caesar. Caesarion was Caesar’s only child that survived childbirth – his daughter Julia, it’s said, died before infancy as far back as 54 BC.
6. Caesarion became Pharaoh of Egypt.
Following somewhat in his parents’ footsteps, Caesarion would eventually ascend to the role of Pharaoh in Egypt, though he’d be killed by Octavian of Rome, who was deemed Caesar’s heir to the Roman Empire. Octavian would eventually take the name Augustus, and would lead the Roman Empire for over 40 years.
7. Caesar was the very first Roman established on currency.
Julius Caesar holds the honor of being the first politician in Rome to emboss his portrait on coins. Choosing to display his image via currency as of 44 BC, this was seen as something of a big marketing move – and a huge power play for Caesar, who would further cement his influence!
8. People loved Caesar as a ruler.
There have been many controversial and brutal moments in Roman Empirical history, however, Julius Caesar was seen as something of a beloved figure. Although he was effectively a dictator, Caesar ensured that poor people had plenty of employment opportunities, and that they received ample land. Even after his death, Caesar ensured his assets – such as his gallery, gardens, and villa – would be given back to the people, and that his fortune would be divided among all Roman citizens.
FAQs about Julius Caesar
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