Damien F. Mackey
Finally, the ‘Julius Caesar’ that has come down to us is also found to have similarities remarkably akin to those of that historically verifiable Julius Caesar, Octavianus Augustus.
The Lord of History and
the Emperor of Rome
Jesus Christ, whose birth occurred during the reign of emperor (Julius Caesar) Augustus, is the absolute Fulcrum of history. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
Professor P. Kreeft, writing of Jesus as the philosopher par excellence, has reminded us that, owing to Jesus, history is now divided between what came before his birth and whatever is subsequent to it (The Philosophy of Jesus):
Amazingly, no one ever seems to have looked at Jesus as a philosopher, or his teaching as philosophy. Yet no one in history has ever had a more radically new philosophy, or made more of a difference to philosophy, than Jesus. He divided all human history into two, into “B.C.” and “A.D.”; and the history of philosophy is crucial to human history, since philosophy is crucial to man; so how could He not also divide philosophy?
He, as Paul tells us (Philippians 2:6-7):
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance ….
And He ‘found that human appearance’, as a helpless baby, during the reign of the aforesaid emperor Augustus (Luke 2:1-7. NIV):
The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. ….
Fortunately, in the last few years, the vexed problem of the “census” in Luke’s Gospel – and the true date for the Birth of Christ – has been sorted out by D. Graham in:
Ancient History, Archaeology and the Birth of Jesus Christ
Ancient History, archaeology, and the Birth of Jesus Christ
The date is 8 BC. The Lord of History apparently stands on the side of historical revisionism, correcting the conventional BC history by some 8 years.
In fact, He whose kingdom is Truth, came to correct every manner of human falsehood. Replying to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus proclaimed (John 18:37): ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’.
The Lord of the Cosmos and the Alpha and Omega of Creation, will even defer, in part, to the lord of empire and kingdoms (Mark 12:17): “Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’. And they marvelled at him”.
Yet this was He about whom (http://zimmerman.catholic.ac/):
Paul instructs us that God made our existence take its origin in Christ Jesus as our Alpha; that God created all things in and through the First Born, the Incarnate Christ; through that same Christ who is now fully in charge of this universe; who, when He will finalize His work of submitting the Cosmos to Himself, will deliver it back to God: “When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will [also] be subjected to the One who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 14:28).
‘Julius Caesar’ and Octavianus
Some of the ‘Julius Caesar’, ostensibly the ‘perfect man’, that has come down to us may have picked up elements from the Divine Jesus (Ecce Homo), the God-Man; and from the Hellenistic king worship; the undefeatable Alexander the Great, the military genius.
But even if that were so, does it mean that there was not an actual Julius Caesar apart from all of this?
In the case of my recent studies of the Prophet Mohammed, I eventually came to the firm conclusion that ‘he’, a composite biblical character, did not exist in reality as a C7th AD person, and that ‘his’ biography actually plays havoc with real history:
Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History
And that the ‘Mohammed’ that has come down to us was based largely – at least up until the time of ‘his’ marriage – upon Tobias (my Job), the son of Tobit:
Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part Two: From Birth to Marriage
Is the same type of conclusion to be reached about ‘Julius Caesar’, that he was a non-real composite, from whose biography a significant piece of presumed Roman history may need to be rescued?
These took ‘Julius Caesar’ to the same places wherein Octavianus would campaign: namely, Gaul; Britain; Greece; Spain; Africa (Egypt), with a famous civil war also involved.
The military campaigns of Julius Caesar constituted both the Gallic War (58 BC-51 BC) and Caesar’s civil war (50 BC-45 BC). They followed Caesar’s consulship (chief magistracy) in 59 BC, which had been highly controversial. The Gallic War mainly took place in what is now France. In 55 and 54 BC, he invaded Britain, although he made little headway. The Gallic War ended with complete Roman victory at the Battle of Alesia. This was followed by the civil war, during which time Caesar chased his rivals to Greece, decisively defeating them there. He then went to Egypt, where he defeated the Egyptian pharaoh and put Cleopatra on the throne. He then finished off his Roman opponents in Africa and Spain. Once his campaigns were over, he served as Roman Dictator until his assassination on March 15, 44 BC. These wars were critically important in the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.
Julius Caesar elaborated plans for a campaign against Parthia, but his assassination averted the war.
- 46 BCE: Octavius accompanied Julius Caesar in the public precession celebrating the victory of Caesar over his opponents in Africa.
- 45 BCE: Octavius accompanied Caesar on his military expedition to Spain to defeat and destroy the sons of Pompey, his defeated rival, who were trying to perpetuate their father’s opposition to Caesar.
- 44 BCE: …. The troops of Octavius joined with troops which the Senate has at its command. The combined forces drove Antony out of Italy into Gaul. In the battle with Anthony’s forces the two elected Consuls of Rome were killed. Octavius’s troops demanded that the Senate confer the title of Consul on Octavius. Octavius was officially recognized as the son of Julius Caesar. He then took the name Gaius Julius Caesar (Octavianus). He was more generally known as Octavian during this period.
- 42 BCE: The Senate deemed Julius Caesar as having been a god. This enhanced Octavian’s status still further. Antony and Octavian undertook a military expedition to the East to defeat Brutus and Cassius. In two battles at Philippi the troops of Brutus and Cassius were defeated and Brutus and Cassius killed themselves. The Triumvirate then divided up the Empire. Anthony got the East and Gaul. Lepidus got Africa and Octavian got the West except for Italy which was to be under common control of all three.
- 31 BCE: Antony decided to bring his forces to the western side of Greece. Cleopatra accompanied him. Octavian sent a military expedition under the command of Agrippa to challenge Antony’s control of Greece. Octavian later joined Agrippa and their fleet bottled up Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet in the Gulf of Ambracia. A naval battle ensued at Actium in which Cleopatra, for fear of being captured, pulled her ships out of the battle and headed back to Egypt thus ensuring the defeat of Anthony’s forces. Anthony and some of his ships escaped from the battle and followed Cleopatra.
- 30 BCE: Octavian invaded Egypt; Anthony commits suicide and Cleopatra follows suit in a tragic sequence of events. ….Octavian annexed Egypt into the Roman Empire and put it under his direct control.
- 20 BCE: The empires of Rome and Parthia reached a peace agreement in which Parthia accepted Armenia as being within the Roman sphere of influence.
Augustus prepared invasions [of Britain] in 34 BC, 27 BC and 25 BC. The first and third were called off due to revolts elsewhere in the empire, the second because the Britons seemed ready to come to terms. According to Augustus’s Res Gestae, two British kings, Dubnovellaunus and Tincomarus, fled to Rome as supplicants during his reign, and Strabo‘s Geography, written during this period, says that Britain paid more in customs and duties than could be raised by taxation if the island were conquered.
Crossing the Rubicon
This is a defining moment in the ambitious progress of Julius Caesar. N. Fields tells of it in Warlords of Republican Rome. Caesar versus Pompey (2008, pp. 145-146):
… on the night of 10 January Caesar crossed the Rubicon into Italy accompanied by a single legion, legio XIII, apparently repeating, in Greek, a proverb of the time, ‘let the die be cast’. ….
On one side [of the Rubicon] Caesar still held imperium pro consule and had the right to command troops, on the other he was a mere privatus, a private citizen. It was frank initiation of a civil war. ….
Moreover, just as Julius was then faced with the situation of “the fugitives Antonius and Cassius” (p. 146), so was Octavianus – as we shall shortly learn – when he crossed the Rubicon. In fact, he would cross it twice. Fields (p. 204):
For the second time in ten months Octavianus set out to march on Rome. Crossing the Rubicon at the head of his eight legions, he then pushed on to Rome with the celerity of Caesar …. On 19 August Octavianus took over one of the vacant consulships. Cicero’s protégé, the ‘divine youth whom heaven had sent to save the state … was not quite 20 years old.
…. Antonius entered Gallia Transalpina unopposed ….
(P. 207): Their next chief task was to eliminate Brutus and Cassius ….
Again an item common to Julius Caesar and Octavianus.
The First Triumvirate was a political alliance between three prominent Roman politicians (triumvirs) which included Gaius Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) and Marcus Licinius Crassus. “Pompey and Caesar now formed a pact, jointly swearing to oppose all legislation of which any one of them might disapprove. It lasted from approximately 59 BCE to Crassus’ defeat by the Parthians in 53 BCE. The alliance was “not at heart a union of those with the same political ideals and ambitions”, but one where “all [were] seeking personal advantage.”
The Second Triumvirate is the name historians have given to the official political alliance of Gaius Octavius (Octavian, Caesar Augustus), Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, formed on 26 November 43 BCE with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which is viewed as marking the end of the Roman Republic. The Triumvirate existed for two five-year terms, covering the period 43 BCE to 33 BCE. Unlike the earlier First Triumvirate, the Second Triumvirate was an official, legally established institution, whose overwhelming power in the Roman state was given full legal sanction and whose imperium maius outranked that of all other magistrates, including the consuls.
Whether or not Julius Caesar really existed as an entity distinct from, for example, Octavianus, by the time that all of the accretions that have been added to that presumed historical person have been removed from him, and from his history, the original model will have thinned out about as radically as Julius Caesar’s famous receding hairline.
13th August 2015