The secret to his success was his speed of movement and the other feats which he could persuade his invariably outnumbered legions to perform against his barbarian foes. Grant says "he knew exactly how to treat his men, when to loosen the rein and when to tighten it" (34). While like Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and other great commanders, he could inspire them to great acts of derring-do, this should not be confused with love. Caesar had the respect of his soldiers because he never lost a single battle.
In his wars, especially those in Spain and in Central Europe, Caesar "prosecuted [them] . . . with unequalled brutality and treachery" (Grant 33). He was criticized in the Senate by Cato for using dishonorable means in his campaign against two Teutonic tribes. According to Duggan, "men of honor were genuinely shocked. Caesar had attacked [these tribes] while ambassadors were in his camp seeking peace" (116). He says that thereafter "Caesar's reputation for ruthless, bloodthirsty cruelty was firmly established, among his friends as among his enemies" (55). Caesar was not, however, a sadist; his cruelties were always designed to serve some military or political purpose.
Caesar was disarmingly frank about why he did what he did. According to Balsdon, "In personal relationships with men he was frank, forthcoming and utterly uninhibited" (57). Caesar openly enjoyed exercising dominion over others. He would not make much of a subject for psychiatric examination.
When Caesar crossed the Rubicon in January 49, he defied the will of the Senate. However, his alliance with Pompey had already broken down. He had no other alternative in order to salvage his own future but to prevail in the Civil War and defeat Pompey's forces which he accomplished at the Battle of Pharnaces in Asia Minor in 47. Despite his frequent absences between 49 and 44, in Gaul, Spain and Egypt for his interlude with Cleopatra, Caesar had little difficulty ...
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