What do you see in front of you when someone says the word emperor? Probably a man sitting on some kind of throne. A stern facial expression and determined eyes. Maybe he’s dressed in red and perhaps he has a crown made out of olive branches. If this is who you’re seeing, then you’re most likely thinking about Julius Caesar. And no wonder really, since words like kaiser, kjesare and similar originates from his name. But who was this man and what can we learn from him?
As a member of the noble Julii family, Julius Caesar was born into politics. At this time, The Roman Republic was divided into two political groups: The Populares and The Optimates. The former fought for the rights of the lower classes while the latter supported the wealthy aristocrats. It was basically the rich against everybody else. But don't let that fool you, both groups were just as hungry for power.
In this climate you might think that the noble Julius Caesar would be at the side of The Optimates, but not at all. Once he became a politician with enough influence to actually change things, he did so in favor of the weak. Not only did he redistribute land to the poor, subsidize grain, and give Roman citizenship to individuals living in far-off territories, he also reduced government debt and supported the veterans of the military. This made him loved by the people but despised by the elite.
Nevertheless, Julius Caesar was not only fair and just, he was also fearless. When he was kidnapped by pirates he didn’t plea for his life or turn into a coward, he instead told them to demand a higher ransom since he was worth much more than what they had asked for. Furthermore, he promised he would find them and get his revenge once he was free. This courageous attitude was yet another characteristic he was admired for.
Apart from that, Caesar was also a great strategist. He led many victorious conquests across Europe and other continents like Asia and Africa. His armies defeated approximately 300 tribes and destroyed about 800 cities in total - a feat not easily accomplished. He also managed to defeat his rival Pompey who was backed by the powerful senate. Caesar’s orders were perfectly delivered and his plan of action masterfully thought out.
One might think that the powerful Julius Caeser would then kill the people who had opposed him, but once again, the man behind the name surprises you. He showed the men in the senate mercy, something they might not have deserved if you know all the facts.However, Caesar couldn’t have accomplished all of this without his soldiers, but why were they so loyal to him? Well, Julius Caesar was a man who believed in the power of his team. He, therefore, remembered the names of all of his officers or centurions. By doing this, he made his men feel special and valuable. The importance of this can’t be emphasized enough.
Sadly, this was not sufficient to protect Caesar from the group of senators who later assassinated him, but since he had the love of the people until his dying day, he’s still someone we should look up to. If we want to be praised for our leadership we need to stand up for the weak, be fearless but also show mercy to those who might not deserve it. Furthermore, it’s important for a great leader to have a clear strategy as well as to believe in his or her team. Making others feel important is also fundamental. If you can't do that, no one will remember how you came, you saw and you conquered. Don't let your Veni, Vidi, Vici be forgotten.
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