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Originally Posted by McGoorty
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 !!!!!
A slave was disadvantaged from birth. Caesar certainly wasn't. Whilst the Julii family had hit hard times, they were nevertheless ranked as one of the most established in the patrician class with lineage stretching back into antiquity. Even without money that name had an awful lot of clout - and Caesar used every inch of it.
Look, I don't dispute the veracity of ancient Roman historians. But I do question the facts on which their evidence is based. It's impossible to know for sure whether even half of what writers such as Tacitus left for us is even remotely true. Back then historians were in no way obliged to concentrate solely on events as they happened. For instance, you'll struggle to find many instances of Roman historians disputing the maxim that Rome never fought a war for anything other than good reason.
Let's not forget that Rome around the time of Caesar was a rough place. Today in the West just about anyone can write a scathing critical history of somebody or another without fear of reprisals. Back then telling the truth (warts and all) could get you killed. Especially if your subject was a certified loonball such as Sulla, Tiberius or Caligula. Consider what happened to Cicero for having a little fun at Mark Antony's expense.
4,000 years is a long, long time. Yes, I'm sure your average Roman centurion was a formidable foe. And in a gladiatorial battle against unskilled and/or inexperienced fighters of today they would be the undoubted favourite. But in a boxing ring - where they would enter with no experience whatsoever (experience of fistfighting is NOT boxing experience) fighting against guys who have eat, drunk and slept boxing for 20 or more years) they would be soundly thrashed.
Let's not fall into the trap of thinking these guys were supermen with adamantium re-enforced bones. They were not. For all his achievements Caesar (like Alexander, Hannibal, Atilla the Hun, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Richard the Lionheart & Saladin) was a man. Flesh and blood. You think he can go toe-to-toe with a Ray Robinson or a Stanley Ketchel with no experience and leave victorious? All I can say is let me know when the fight is on and I'll wager all my points against your man.