Julius Caesar was a renowned general, politician and scholar in ancient Rome who conquered the vast region of Gaul and helped initiate the end of the Roman Republic when he became dictator of the Roman Empire. Despite his brilliant military prowess, his political skills and his popularity with Rome’s lower- and middle-class, his rule was cut short when opponents — threatened by his rising power — brutally assassinated him.
Early Life of Gaius Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was born on or around July 13, 100 B.C., to his father, also named Gaius Julius Caesar, and his mother Aurelia Cotta. He was also the nephew of the famous Roman general Gaius Marius.
Caesar traced his bloodline to the origins of Rome and claimed to be a descendant of the goddess Venus through the Trojan prince Aeneas and his son Iulus. Despite his allegedly noble heritage, however, Caesar’s family was not wealthy or particularly influential in Roman politics.
Did you know? Unlike in the Shakespeare play, Caesar’s last words were not “Et tu, Brute?” (“And you, Brutus?”). Instead they were reported as “You, too, my child?”
After his father died suddenly in 85 B.C., Caesar became head of his family at age 16 — right in the middle of a civil war between his uncle Marius and the Roman ruler Lucius Cornelius Sulla. In 84 B.C., he married Cornelia, the daughter of an ally of Marius. Caesar and Cornelia had one child, a daughter named Julia.
In 82 B.C., Sulla won the civil war and ordered Caesar to divorce Cornelia. Caesar refused and went into hiding. His family intervened and convinced Sulla to spare Caesar’s life; however, Sulla stripped Caesar of his inheritance.
Despite the reprieve, Caesar left Rome, joined the army and earned the prestigious Civic Crown for his courage at the Siege of Mytilene in 80 B.C. After Sulla’s death in 78 B.C., Caesar returned to Rome and became a successful prosecutor widely known for his oratory skills
Pirates Capture Caesar
In 75 B.C., as he crossed the Aegean Sea in route to Rhodes to study philosophy and oratory, murderous pirates captured Caesar. Reportedly, Caesar acted more like a domineering leader with the pirates than their captive.
After his ransom was paid, the pirates let him go. But Caesar hired a private fleet to hunt them down and had the pirates crucified for their crimes.
Caesar soon began his political career in earnest. He became military tribune and then quaestor of a Roman province in 69 B.C., the same year his wife Cornelia died. In 67 B.C., he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla and relative of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great), with whom he formed an important alliance.
In 65 B.C., Caesar became aedile — an important Roman magistrate — and produced lavish games in the Circus Maximus which endeared him to the public but threw him heavily into debt. Two years later, he was elected Pontifex Maximus.
Caesar divorced Pompeia in 62 B.C. after a politician incited a major scandal by disguising himself as a woman and making his way into a sacred women’s festival hosted by Pompeia.
The First Triumvirate
One year later, Caesar became governor of Spain. A series of successful military and political maneuvers, along with the support of Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus (known as the richest man in Rome), helped Caesar get elected as senior Roman consul in 59 B.C.
Caesar, Crassus and Pompey soon formed an informal alliance (strengthened by the marriage of Caesar’s daughter Julia to Pompey) known as the First Triumvirate. The union terrified the Roman Senate who knew that a partnership between three such powerful men would prove unstoppable. They were right, and the triumvirate soon controlled Rome.
Caesar in Gaul
Caesar was appointed governor of the vast region of Gaul (north-central Europe) in 58 B.C., where he commanded a large army. During the subsequent Gallic Wars, Caesar conducted a series of brilliant campaigns to conquer and stabilize the region, earning a reputation as a formidable and ruthless military leader.
Caesar built a bridge across the Rhine River into Germanic territories and crossed the English Channel into Britain. But his great successes in the region caused Pompey to resent him and complicated the already-strained relationship between Pompey and Crassus.
As Caesar conquered Gaul, the political situation in Rome became increasingly volatile, with Pompey its lone consul. After the deaths of Pompey’s wife (and Caesar’s daughter) Julia in 54 B.C. and Crassus in 53 B.C., Pompey aligned with Caesar’s opponents and ordered him to give up his army and return to Rome.
Caesar refused and, in a bold and decisive maneuver, directed his army to cross the Rubicon River into Italy, triggering a civil war between his supporters and those of Pompey. Caesar and his armies pursued Pompey to Spain, Greece and, finally, Egypt.
Julius Caesar and Cleopatra
Hoping to prevent Caesar from invading Egypt, the child pharaoh Ptolemy VIII had Pompey killed on September 28, 48 B.C. When Caesar entered Egypt, Ptolemy gifted him Pompey’s severed head.
Caesar soon found himself in the middle of a civil war between Ptolemy and his Egyptian co-regent Cleopatra. Caesar became her lover and partnered with her to overthrow Ptolemy and make her ruler of Egypt. The pair never married but their long-term affair produced a son, Ptolemy XV Caesar, known as Caesarion.
Caesar spent the next few years wiping out his enemies and what remained of Pompey’s supporters in the Middle East, Africa and Spain.
In 46 B.C. he was made dictator of Rome for ten years, outraging his political opponents and setting the stage for the eventual end of the Roman Republic. Caesar began making several drastic reforms to benefit Rome’s lower- and middle-class, including:
- regulating the distribution of subsidized grain
- increasing the size of the Senate to represent more people
- reducing government debt
- supporting military veterans
- granting Roman citizenship to people in Rome’s far-flung territories
- reforming the Roman tax codes
- creating the Julian calendar
Julius Caesar Quotes
Many people still consider Caesar a great leader with keen insights into human nature. Over the centuries, many of his words have become famous quotes, such as:
- “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
- “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”
- “The die has been cast.”
- “If I fail, it is only because I have too much pride and ambition.”
- “In the end, it is impossible to become what others believe you are.”
- “As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can.”
- “No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected.”
- “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
- “There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.”
- “Which death is preferable to every other? The unexpected.”
Caesar declared himself dictator for life in 44 B.C. However, his crusade for absolute power didn’t go over well with many Roman politicians. Fearing he would become king, a group of senators conspired to end his life.
On the Ides of March (March 15, 44 B.C.), the senators, led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, stabbed Caesar 23 times, ending both his reign and his life as he fell bleeding onto the Senate floor at the feet of a statue of Pompey.
Caesar’s assassination at age 55 made him a martyr and incited a cycle of civil wars resulting in the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise to power of his grandnephew and heir Gaius Octavius (Octavian) — later known as Augustus Caesar — to emperor of the Roman Empire.
Play: ‘The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’
In 1599, William Shakespeare wrote The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, a play based on Caesar’s life. Set in 44 B.C., it tells the story of a Roman politician named Brutus who plots with others to assassinate Caesar. It also portrays Caesar’s brutal murder and the aftermath.
The play is thought to have made its debut in 1599 at the Globe Theater in London and continues to mesmerize audiences to this day, inspiring songs, novels, films, television shows and even comedy acts. It has also provided many well-known quotes — attributed to Shakespeare, not Caesar — including:
- “Et tu, Brute?”
- “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”
- “The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.”
- “Beware the Ides of March.”
- “Death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
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Since the Commandments that we should all know about… have one Commandment, that gives to us a BLESSING… if only we will obey it.
“Honour thy Father and thy Mother.”…“that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”
Children and Parens
Ephesians 6: 1-3
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” shall refresh … that is, shall comfort her (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”
Life goes bye… too fast… but there will be a day… things will slow down… and when the love of your PARENTS is gone… what will your feelings be then… without them? D.V.
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Kahlua Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups sour cream (could use low fat)
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecan pieces
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Kahlua coffee liquor
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Then melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter and mix into the batter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the chopped pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Spread 1/3 of the batter in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Then sprinkle 1/3 of the pecan mixture over the batter. Repeat with another 1/3 of the batter followed by the nut mixture. Then spread the last of the batter over the top.
To the remaining 1/3 of the pecan mixture, add 1/4 cup flour. Cut the last 3 tablespoons of butter into cubes and mix into the nut mixture by hand, creating small chunky pebbles of dough. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the surface of the cake.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes over the surface of the cake for the glaze. Whisk the Kahlua and powdered sugar together in a small bowl, then drizzle over the surface while the cake is still warm. Allow the cake to cool and the glaze to harden. Cut and serve.
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NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY
On February 26, have a happily ever after kind of day. It’s National Tell A Fairy Tale Day!
What were once oral histories, myths, and legends retold around the fire or by traveling storytellers, have been written down and become known the world over as fairy tales.
The origins of most fairy tales were unseemly and would not be approved or rated as appropriate for children by the Association of Fairy Tales by today’s standards. Most were told as a way to make children behave, teach a lesson or pass the time much like ghost stories around a campfire today.
Many of the stories have some basis in truth. For example, some believe the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is inspired by the real-life of Margarete von Waldeck, the daughter of the 16th century Count of Waldeck. The area of Germany where the family lived was known for mining. Some of the tunnels were so tight they had to use children – or small people such as dwarfs – to work the mines.
Margarete’s beauty is well documented, and she had a stepmother who sent her away. She fell in love with a prince but mysteriously died before she could have her happily ever after.
As the stories evolved, they took on a more magical quality with fictional characters such as fairies, giants, mermaids and gnomes, and sometimes gruesome story plots.
Toes cut off to fit into a slipper, a wooden boy killing his cricket or instead of kissing that frog prince his head must be cut off, but those are the unrated versions.
The brothers Grimm collected and published some of the more well-known tales we are familiar with today. Jakob and his brother Wilhelm together set out on a quest to preserve these tales at a time in history when a tradition of oral storytelling was fading. In 1812, they published their first volume of stories titled Household Tales. Their stories had a darker quality and were clearly meant for an adult audience.
Rumpelstiltskin is one of the tales they collected. There were several versions, and the little man went by many names in different parts of Europe. From Trit-a-trot in Ireland to Whuppity Stoorie in Scotland, Rumplestiltskin was one difficult man to identify.
While some storytellers have a long and sometimes ancient history such as Aesop (The Fox and the Goose, The Ant and the Grasshopper), others are more recent like the Grimm brothers.
Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1829, brought to us written versions of the Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and many more. Where Grimm’s tales could take on a darker cast and unmistakably written with adults in mind, Andersen’s stories are sweet and warm.
HOW TO OBSERVE #TellAFairyTaleDay
How to Tell a Great Story:
- Engage your audience. Children like to participate. Have them quack every time the Ugly Duckling is mentioned, or make the motions of climbing Jack’s beanstalk.
- Use repetition. Repeated stanzas, syllables or movements will keep the kids engaged. It not only helps them to remember the story but sets them up for the next round of the repeated phrase or stanza.
- Give your characters a voice. Nobody likes a monotone storyteller. Buehler, Buehler, Buehler. No, not even children like the monotone. Varying your voice for each character and inflecting excitement, sadness and disappointment will create drama and stimulate the imaginations of the little minds listening to you.
- Ask questions as you go. It’s an excellent way to keep your story flowing and to gauge the children’s listening skills.
- Find out if someone has a story of their own. You might be in the presence of a great storyteller!
Share your favorite fairy tale with friends and family. Try relating them from memory as this has long been a tradition. Visit a library or local bookstore for storytime. Use #TellAFairyTaleDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY HISTORY
Within our research, we were unable to find the creator or the origin of National Tell A Fairy Tale Day.
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Tom McClarren celebrates a second year with the German St. Vincent Parochial School Champs! Ron Holtman is in this picture and is the team’s coach.
A complete Sports Program… for both Boys and Girls is a must in “my book” for all of the schools to have and to encourage all children in all grades as there are so many good things each child learns and in some cases leads to the perfect careers for them as well as and maybe bringing up many more good new coaches to continue all of the games with a look forward for better health and maybe even a well deserved career with wealth?
“That is a real Victory in LIFE… to work with young boys and girls and to see their superb accomplishments… that were made with your guidance and training.
Family and friends… do you see someone you recognize? Check out both photos.
Denny and Tom McClarren are on German St. Vincent Parochial School Team of “Champs!”
Ron Holtman is the Team Manager and a man who knows how to work with boys to bring out their best qualities both off and on the team. Everyone you talk to and with… will give the “thumbs-up” for an excellent job… done so well by Coach Ron!
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When you hear words and or names that sound funny to your ears… that is way back when you are a little kid… they have a way of getting stuck in your brain, somewhere.
My Mother had the best command of the “English Language” and with her voice and diction… she could have been a stand-in for actress, Bette Davis. When my Mother wanted your attention… she had the voice to let you know exactly what she wanted and there was no way for you escape… it came across so very clear!
As I grew up… taller and able to reach and do whatever she was not able to do… my Mother would refer to me as her… “Powerful Katrinka!” I always thought that I was the next “Super Woman”… since I was able to do whatever Mom wanted me to do.
There was the time when my Father was not around and not available and with the cold weather coming and Mom needed the “storm-windows” hung as she was unable to do the hanging… and she was not able to physically carry them up from the basement. So… I was the only one around and available to be told how you get these windows up from the basement… without breaking … clean them… and hang them!
We lived in North Saint Louis and you may have seen the windows on some of the old houses. The height was at least 6 foot and all in a “one piece unit” with the hanging hooks to be attached at the top of each window. So… NOW the job for me was to bring each one up, carefully from the basement and without breaking… wash both sides and dry. The windows have all been washed and on the outside of the house… in the backyard… clean and ready to be lined up with the correct window to be hung.
This was all done so that when each “storm-window” was finally hung… we would have a nice clean glass to see through. There were 6 storm-windows for me to hang now. So… I’m just thinking about doing all of that work, and I’m plum tucker and worn out and come to think about it…today, could not even begin to do any of that kind of work, not at all now… nor in the future , too darn hard to do and involved!
This was just one of those times… way back and then… when I was called “Powerful Katrinka!”
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