Originally Posted by Mugwump
Caesar was unquestionably a great general (second only to Alexander the Great, IMO) - but I don't see any evidence to suggest he was an extraordinarily gifted fighter. Ditto the rest (a ragtag bunch of tyrants, criminals and freebooters - with the possible exception of Cato). Let's not forget that the documentary evidence surrounding these characters is dubious to say the least. Historians such as Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius (especially) were forever sexing up the narrative. I recently read Caesar's own account of his campaign against the Gauls and it was the most obvious piece of propaganda designed to gain him popularity amongst the senate.
Big claims require big evidence.
I Know a real lot about Caesar, and his commentaries indeed had a political bent to it, but he wasn't the true baddie then, the real snakes and villains were Cato's friends in the senate, it is a very complex story, and the events that brought him to the fore had their origins before he was born. There is much evidence of Caesars individual prowess as a soldier. He became a senator for the second time at just 17, he was earlier a senator as a young boy when he was the flamen Dialis, which made him automatically a senator. But, as Flamen Dialis he could never be a so;ldier, so SULLA released him from his preistly duties, and Julius was able to enter military service, no longer a senator. Apart from that position as the holiest of holies, the only way for a Patrician to become senator was to become a 30 year old and finally a man. There was one shortcut,................. the grass crown, given only to a commander of a cohort or more who not only risked his life in the most dire of situations, BUT to singlehandedly save the entire army from certain defeat into decisive victory by himself. Caesar did this at age 17 or maybe 18 at the siege of Mytilene. As a result, his own troops ( a cohort ) crowned him on the field of victory with a literal grass crown, He became a senator on the spot, not only that, but from that day onward, every time he entered the senate, every man-jack of them had to stand up and give him an ovation as per the laws of the senate,........................................... ........ .................. well this seems to be a first, a mere boy,...... and even his mortal enemies had to clap everytime the youngster came in,................. and Caesar probably rubbed their noses in it,... and may explain that streak of vanity,.................Now as for some of those others, most of them were physically superior and in pure hand to hand combat. As for Gaius Marius he is the second greatest General and soldier in Roman history and was built like a bear (Poet ?) and so was Quintus Sertorius, if you saw the bust of him, you would KNOW he was a warrior instantly, as the scar on one side of his face and the missing eye will testify,,,,, Sertorius would MANGULATE ANY MAN alive today, he was about as hard a killing machine as has ever lived, trust me, I know a little about this subject, Sertorius was also a Genius at being a General, unlike Caesar, he was not interested in politics, at least until they forced him to by declaring war on him just as they did 30 years later when the TOTAL Package came along. Julius Caesar is always bracketed with Alexander, but they had completely different circumstances, Alexander was born to power, heir to the throne. Caesar was at a disadvantage from birth, his life always under threat, He had to start from an impoverished family. Caesar climbed to the top purely through genius,....... great ability with a sword (or you'd never have ever heard of him), and unswerving belief that he was simply in a class of his own,..... and you know what ???....... HE WAS !!!!!