Caesar's Civil War

Caesar's Civil War
Part of the Roman civil wars
Jean Fouquet - The Flight of Pompey after the Battle of Pharsalus - WGA08035.jpg
The Flight of Pompey after the Battle of Pharsalus-15th century
Date 10 January 49 – 17 March 45 BC
From Caesar crosses the Rubicon to the Battle of Munda
Location Hispania, Italia, Graecia, Illyria, Aegyptus, Africa
Result Caesarian victory
Belligerents
Julius Caesar and supporters, the Populares Roman Senate, the Optimates
Commanders and leaders
Gaius Julius Caesar
Gaius Scribonius Curio
Mark Antony
Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus
Publius Cornelius Sulla
Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus
Pompey
Titus Labienus
Metellus Scipio
Cato the Younger
Gnaeus Pompeius
Publius Attius Varus
Sextus Pompey

The Great Roman Civil War (49–45 BC), also known as Caesar's Civil War, was one of the last politico-military conflicts in the Roman Republic before the establishment of the Roman Empire. It began as a series of political and military confrontations, between Julius Caesar (100–44 BC), his political supporters (broadly known as Populares), and his legions, against the Optimates (or Boni), the politically conservative and socially traditionalist faction of the Roman Senate, who were supported by Pompey (106–48 BC) and his legions. [1]

Prior to the war, Caesar had served for eight years in the Gallic Wars. He and Pompey had, along with Marcus Licinius Crassus, established the First Triumvirate, through which they shared power over Rome. Caesar soon emerged as a champion of the common people, and advocated a variety of reforms. The Senate, fearful of Caesar, demanded that he relinquish command of his army. Caesar refused, and instead marched his army on Rome, which no Roman general was permitted to do. Pompey fled Rome and organized an army in the south of Italy to meet Caesar. His forces later escaped to Greece.

The war was a five-year-long (49–45 BC) politico-military struggle, fought in Italy, Illyria, Greece, Egypt, Africa, and Hispania. Pompey defeated Caesar in 48 BC at the Battle of Dyrrhachium, but was himself defeated much more decisively at the Battle of Pharsalus. The Optimates under Marcus Junius Brutus and Cicero surrendered after the battle, while others, including those under Cato the Younger and Metellus Scipio fought on. Pompey fled to Egypt and was killed upon arrival. Scipio was defeated in 46 BC at the Battle of Thapsus in North Africa. He and Cato committed suicide shortly after the battle. The following year, Caesar defeated the last of the Optimates in the Battle of Munda and became Dictator perpetuo (Dictator in perpetuity) of Rome. [2] The changes to Roman government concomitant to the war mostly eliminated the political traditions of the Roman Republic (509–27 BC) and led to the Roman Empire (27 BC–AD 476).

Pre-war politico–military situation

Caesar's Civil War resulted from the long political subversion of the Roman Government's institutions, begun with the career of Tiberius Gracchus, continuing with the Marian reforms of the legions, the bloody dictatorship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, and completed by the First Triumvirate over Rome.

The First Triumvirate (so denominated by Cicero), comprising Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, ascended to power with Caesar's election as consul, in 59 BC. The First Triumvirate was unofficial, a political alliance the substance of which was Pompey's military might, Caesar's political influence, and Crassus' money. The alliance was further consolidated by Pompey's marriage to Julia, daughter of Caesar, in 59 BC. At the conclusion of Caesar's first consulship, the Senate (rather than granting him a provincial governorship) tasked him with watching over the Roman forests. This job, specially created by his Senate enemies, was meant to occupy him without giving him command of armies, or garnering him wealth and fame.

Caesar, with the help of Pompey and Crassus, evaded the Senate's decrees by legislation passed through the popular assemblies. By these acts, Caesar was promoted to Roman Governor of Illyricum and Cisalpine Gaul. Transalpine Gaul (southern France) was added later. The various governorships gave Caesar command of an army of (initially) four legions. The term of his proconsulship, and thus his immunity from prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the customary one year. His term was later extended by another five years. During this ten-year period, Caesar used his military forces to conquer Gaul and invade Britain, without explicit authorisation by the Senate.

Roman world in 56 BC, when Caesar, Crassus and Pompey meet at Luca for a conference in which they decided: to add another five years to the proconsulship of Caesar in Gaul; to give the province of Syria to Crassus and both Spains and Africa to Pompey

In 52 BC, at the First Triumvirate's end, the Roman Senate supported Pompey as sole consul; meanwhile, Caesar had become a military hero and champion of the people. Knowing he hoped to become consul when his governorship expired, the Senate, politically fearful of him, ordered he resign command of his army. In December of 50 BC, Caesar wrote to the Senate agreeing to resign his military command if Pompey followed suit. Offended, the Senate demanded he immediately disband his army, or be declared an enemy of the people: an illegal political bill, for he was entitled to keep his army until his term expired.

A secondary reason for Caesar's immediate want for another consulship was delaying the inevitable senatorial prosecutions awaiting him upon retirement as governor of Illyricum and Gaul. These potential prosecutions were based upon alleged irregularities that occurred in his consulship and war crimes committed in his Gallic campaigns. Moreover, Caesar loyalists, the tribunes Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius Longinus, vetoed the bill, and were quickly expelled from the Senate. They then joined Caesar, who had assembled his army, whom he asked for military support against the Senate; agreeing, his army called for action.

In 50 BC, at his Proconsular term's expiry, the Pompey-led Senate ordered Caesar's return to Rome and the disbanding of his army, and forbade his standing for election in absentia for a second consulship; because of that, Caesar thought he would be prosecuted and rendered politically marginal if he entered Rome without consular immunity or his army; to wit, Pompey accused him of insubordination and treason.

Other Languages
Bahasa Indonesia: Perang Saudara Caesar
Bahasa Melayu: Perang saudara Caesar
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Aleksandriya urushi
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Cezarov građanski rat
中文: 凯撒内战