Pompey’s Fight Against Piracy

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Did Pompey or Caesar do more of importance to fight piracy in the Roman Mediterranean? Consider piracy as an actual threat to shipping, as a source for propaganda, and as a basis for establishing and maintaining power in Rome and in the broader eastern Mediterranean coastal world.

During the final century of the Roman Republic, piracy was a serious threat in the waters known to the Romans as mare nostrum.[1] A young Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompey are two particular figures of the late Republic whose fight against piracy is focused on by the ancient sources early in their public careers. Caesar’s encounter with the pirates is often presented as theatrical anecdote, used to enhance the vital traits, being his speed and ruthlessness, presented of Caesar the general during his propaganda campaign later in his career. Subsequently, his confrontation with the pirates did not impact greatly on the fight against piracy. Comparably, Pompey’s campaign against the pirates was also aimed at gaining prestige in Rome, through his swift securing of the grain supply, in order to enable him to gain command in the war against Mithridates. However, his

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The Assassination of Julius Caesar

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Why was Caesar assassinated? To what degree was his murder his own fault?

Born in 100 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar[1] is one of history’s most prolific conquerors, playing a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire[2]. Born into an ancient patrician family, the gens Iulia, Caesar was successful in both the political and military spheres of Roman life, having achieved great victories in the Gallic Wars and Civil War, and having achieved the office of dictator perpetuo by his death on the Ides of March 44 BC, the result of a conspiracy by a group of Romans, led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, known as ‘the Liberators’[3]. Whilst many ancient and contemporary writers assign the reason for Caesar’s assassination to his display of arrogance and tyrannical nature, it was the manner Continue reading

Propaganda on the Legends of Roman Coins

Do the legends on Roman coins add to their propaganda value?

Throughout the late Republic and Empire, the authority and achievements of powerful individuals and the emperor, respectively, were conveyed to the population in a variety of ways. The most widespread of these, being Roman coinage, circulated throughout the provinces of the Empire, serving to familiarise the populaces with influential individuals and emperors of whom they would never see in person. Coinage also served to convey the message of changing policies, merits and achievements throughout the empire. Images upon these coins were of great importance since their development c.300 BC, however it was only in the second century BC that the importance of another feature emerged; the rising significance of the legend, the text that runs around the edge of the coin. Whilst images upon Roman coins were seen to be the source of propaganda[1], the ambiguity of the images became an issue as a greater number of individuals and Continue reading

The Establishment of Vespasian’s Regime

What strategies did Vespasian use to establish his new regime? How successful were his methods?

Ruling from AD69 until AD79, Titus Flavius Vespasianus[1] is best known for founding the Flavian dynasty after the civil wars that followed the emperor Nero’s death in AD68. Throughout the duration of his reign, Vespasian restored stability to an empire wracked by civil war and political instability, much like Augustus[2] before him.[3] Vespasian was able to successfully establish his new regime through employing the use of political and ideological reforms in order to solidify his office as emperor, stabilize the empire’s finances, and Continue reading