Who were the closest friends and allies of Julius Caesar?

Julius Caesar, one of the most significant figures in the history of Rome, was known for his military prowess, political acumen, and also for the network of friends and allies he cultivated.

These relationships were instrumental in his rise to power, his conduct during the civil war, and his eventual role as dictator of Rome. Understanding his closest friends and allies provides insight into his strategies and his leadership style.

Julius Caesar’s life and his connections serve as a compelling narrative of how personal dynamics can significantly influence political histories. Image: A sculpture work of Caesar.

Gaius Marius

One of Caesar’s earliest and most influential family connections was his uncle by marriage, Gaius Marius. Although Marius had died by the time Caesar began his political career, the legacy of this prominent reformer and general significantly impacted Roman politics.

Marius was a champion of the common soldier and implemented reforms that significantly altered the Roman military system. Caesar, inheriting this legacy, often positioned himself as a populist, leveraging his family’s historical connection to Marius to secure the support of the plebeians.

Image: Marius (157 BC – 86 BC)

Pompey the Great

Initially, one of Caesar’s key allies was Pompey the Great, with whom he formed the First Triumvirate in 60 BC, alongside the wealthy Crassus. This alliance was both political and personal; Pompey married Caesar’s daughter, Julia, which helped cement their relationship.

However, after Julia’s death and Crassus’ demise in Parthia, the alliance began to deteriorate. Pompey, once a supporter, turned into a rival and adversary, aligning with the optimates and the Senate against Caesar, leading to the civil war.

Image: Pompey (106 BC – 48 BC)

Marcus Licinius Crassus

Crassus was essential for balancing the early triumvirate, as he was one of the wealthiest men in Rome. His financial resources helped support both Caesar’s and Pompey’s ambitions.

However, Crassus had his own agenda and sought military glory, which led to his involvement and eventual death in the Parthian campaign at Carrhae. His death destabilized the triumvirate, removing the financial and political buffer that his presence had provided.

Crassus (115 BC – 53 BC)

Mark Antony

Mark Antony was one of Caesar’s most loyal supporters and friends. He served as Caesar’s general and administrator, playing crucial roles both during Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul and in the civil war. Following Caesar’s assassination, Antony sought to consolidate power in his own right, leading to the formation of the Second Triumvirate with Octavian and Lepidus. Antony’s relationship with Caesar was based on mutual respect and loyalty, which was crucial during the critical periods of Caesar’s rule.

Antony (100 BC – 44 BC)

Decimus Brutus

Decimus Brutus was another of Caesar’s generals and was instrumental during the Gallic Wars and the civil war. Despite their close relationship, Decimus was involved in the plot to assassinate Caesar, a testament to the complex political landscape of Rome where alliances could quickly shift based on the changing dynamics of power and influence.

Lepidus

Lepidus was a member of Caesar’s inner circle and served as consul in the year Julius Caesar was assassinated. He was also part of the Second Triumvirate that divided the Roman territories after Caesar’s death. Although Lepidus was initially a major player, his influence waned as Octavian and Antony outmaneuvered him, eventually leading to his forced retirement from politics.

Gaius Oppius

Less known but crucial in Caesar’s personal and public life was Gaius Oppius, a close friend and sometimes financial manager for Caesar. Oppius was so trusted that during Caesar’s absence from Rome, he was often left in charge of his affairs. His role was primarily behind the scenes, but he was pivotal in maintaining Caesar’s interests in Rome while Caesar was on campaign.

Sallust

The historian Sallust, while not a political ally in the traditional sense, was a supporter of Caesar’s policies and benefited from Caesar’s patronage. As a praetor and later a governor, Sallust was aligned with the populares faction and shared many of Caesar’s ideals, though his career was marred by allegations of corruption.

Image: A portrait of Sallust (86 BC – 35 BC)

Servilia

Among the personal relationships that also influenced Caesar politically was his affair with Servilia, mother of Brutus. Servilia was from a prominent family and was a patrician. Their relationship is notable, particularly because of the potential influence Servilia may have had over Caesar in the Senate, and the ironic connection through her son Brutus, one of his assassins.

Cicero

Although their relationship was more complex and often strained, Cicero, the famed orator and statesman, was a contemporary of Caesar and at times his ally, particularly during the Catiline Conspiracy. However, their ideological differences often placed them at odds, particularly concerning the extent of Caesar’s powers and his methods.

Image: Cicero (106 BC – 46 BC)

Did you know…?

Following the Crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BC, Caesar reportedly dined with notable figures, including Hirtius, Gaius Oppius, Sallust, Lucius Cornelius Balbus, and Servius Sulpicius Rufus. This not only underscores the momentous nature of his decision, but also how his allies and friends facilitated his rise to power.

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