Portrayals of Caesar Essay examples

Submitted By chickenbreast
Words: 3512
Pages: 15

Portrayals of Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar has proven to be one of the most powerful, influential and remembered men of all time. He rose to the top of the Roman government and defeated many enemies, in battle and in office. Caesar proved to be a great judge of character, and was able to manipulate men and women alike. He had many, if not all, the tools bound for greatness. There is a variety of events during Caesar’s life that one may be more attracted to than others. His life entailed a wide range of political accounts as well as mighty and in depth battles. Consider the author’s Plutarch and Suetonius and their two separate portrayals of Caesar. Plutarch was highly invested in describing the patterns of war and the heroism put forth in Caesar’s battles. While on the other hand, Suetonius was more drawn to the affects of Caesar’s voice in climbing through office. While Plutarch, as well Suetonius, map out the life of Caesar, the two ultimately write about the same events but their interests in each event become apparent simply due to the details of each writer. They both invest much of their time into research and coincidentally use some of the same resources, but when touched on a certain topic, each easily share their own viewpoint, naturally. They both share many similarities, in terms of the events that took place, but the writing style of each Plutarch and Suetonius were much different. It just goes to prove everyone is indeed different, as both of their works were organized much differently. Both Plutarch and Suetonius begin writing of Caesar at a much later stage in his life. This must be because it is where all of the action starts in Caesar’s life, kind of like skipping the opening credits of a movie. They both mention how the consul Sulla was intending to rid of Caesar cursing him and expressing to other’s the comparison to Caesar and his longtime enemy Marius (Plutarch, 244 and Suetonius, 14). So it seems from an early time, that Caesar was feared among the rich and powerful even before he started his climb to power. The fact that the two start relatively in the same area makes one wonder why. It could also simply mean that Plutarch and Suetonius used a resource that only knew of Caesar at that time, when Caesar first became of any real importance. The two authors, then, start to split and go their separate ways on describing Julius Caesar’s life. The makeup or description of Caesar and his physique was only described by Suetonius. Plutarch probably didn’t purposefully avoid this, it was just the way Suetonius plotted out the way to describe Caesar and his qualities. Suetonius doesn’t describe him as a godly figure who could kill ten men with one swing of his sword, in relation to all of his war victories, but he illustrated him as “tall, fair, and well-built” (Suetonius, 34). This is not out of the ordinary, but influential historical figures typically are described in exaggeration. The only account where Plutarch describes the well-being of Caesar is when he tells of an illness. Suetonius agrees with this account though he said Caesar only encountered epileptic fits, twice, and said he was a healthy man (Suetonius, 34). He then goes on to describe how Caesar liked to be well groomed and calling him a “dandy”, and another detail was that he wore a laurel wreath on all occasions (Suetonius, 34). One other issue Plutarch never touched base on was the reputation Caesar had of being King Nicomedes’ “bedfellow” (Suetonius, 35). Plutarch seemed to be in more praise of Caesar than Suetonius, which could be why he did not mention this account. This doesn’t necessarily imply that Caesar was a homosexual, especially because Suetonius also describes him as a man to have many women. Suetonius ultimately would be a much better resource in terms of describing Caesar and his personal life. Plutarch may have avoided most of this, to a certain extent, maybe due to the fact for his love of war and preferring to…