On July 13, 100 B.C., Julius Caesar was born in Rome to a patrician family of relatively modest means. During his formative years, Rome was transforming and expanding. Caesar, perhaps seeing the success of his uncle, the statesman and general Gaius Marius, set his eyes on a career in the Roman military. He spent much of his life in the military before turning to a career in politics, and was elected consul in 59 B.C., the first of his five successful bids for Rome’s highest elected office.
Caesar’s political success and military adventurism eventually made him the greatest man in Rome, but this success, along with his burning ambition, also gained him many enemies. He was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 BC by 60 senators, suffering a total of 23 stab wounds.
Today, Caesar’s legacy still looms large. He is viewed as both martyr and dictator, the man who laid the foundation of the Roman Empire and was deified as “The Divine Julius.”
1. Cesarean sections (also called a C-section) was an option for child birth in Julius Caesar’s time, but, contrary to popular belief, he was not born this way. Some believe that the name for this type of delivery originated with one of Julius Caesar’s ancestors.
2. As a youngster, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates who demanded 20 talents of silver for his freedom. However, Caesar told them to ask for 50. When the ransom was paid and he was released, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and eventually captured the pirates and had them executed.
3. When Julius Caesar discovered giraffes, he named them “Camelopards” since they reminded him both of camels and leopards.
4. Caesar wrote fan fiction of Hercules and Oedipus in his youth.
5. The word “Emperor” in more than 30 different languages stem from Julius Caesar.
6. Some historians have speculated that Caesar wore his Laurel Wreath incessantly because he was embarrassed about his baldness.
7. Julius’ involvement with Cleopatra could not result in marriage because he was Roman and she was Egyptian. Roman law would only allow Roman citizens to marry other Roman citizens. It was not until Imperial period that soldier-citizens could marry non-citizens.
8. According to tradition, the king of diamonds in a traditional deck of playing cards is said to represent Caesar. (A few contend this card represents Odin, the Norse god.)
9. Caesar almost became a priest.
10. Caesar had an affair with Servilia Caepionis. Due to this relationship, it was rumored that Brutus was Julius Caesar’s son.
11. Caesar changed the Roman calendar system to the Julian Calendar. It’s why we have 12 months with 365 days a year in our calendar.
12. Legend has it that Caesar’s last words to Brutus were, “You too, child?”. This helped fuel the myth that Brutus was the illegitimate son of Caesar.
13. Other plots to kill Caesar included pushing him over a bridge and attacking him while he went on a walk.
14. According to Julius Caesar’s will, if Octavian had died or refused his inheritance, his second listed heir would be Brutus, the man who murdered him.
15. Caesar married a total of three times in his life. His first wife died, he divorced the second, and the third outlived him after his infamous assassination.
16. There are no known living ancestors of Caesar today. It is believed that all the children that were born to Caesar’s wives or girlfriends died either as infants or before they could have children of their own.