That Caesar held the imperium which he enjoyed as dictator to be distinct in kind from that of the republican magistrates he indicated by placing the term imperator at the head of his titles. Besides the dictatorship, Caesar held the consulship in each year of his reign except 47 B.C. (when no curule magistrates were elected save for the last three months of the year); and he was moreover invested by special enactments with a number of other privileges and powers; of these the most important was the tribunicia potestas, which we may believe to have been free from the limits of place (i.e. Rome) and collegiality. Thus, too, he was granted the sole right of making peace and war, and of disposing of the funds in the treasury of the state. Save for the title of dictator, which undoubtedly carried unpopular associations and was formally abolished on the proposal of Antony after Caesar's death, this cumulation of powers has little to distinguish it from the Principate of Augustus; and the assumption of the perpetual dictatorship would hardly by itself suffice to account for the murder of Caesar. But there are signs that in the last six months of his life he aspired not only to a monarchy in name as well as in fact, but also to a divinity which Romans should acknowledge as well as Greeks, Orientals and barbarians.
His statue was set up beside those of the seven kings of Rome, and he adopted the throne of gold, the sceptre of ivory and the embroidered robe which tradition ascribed to them. He allowed his supporters to suggest the offer of the regal title by putting in circulation an oracle according to which it was destined for a king of Rome to subdue the Parthians, and when at the Lupercalia (15th February 44 B.C.) Antony set the diadem on his head he rejected the offer half-heartedly on account of the groans of the people. His image was carried in the pompa circensis amongst those of the immortal gods, and his statue set up in the temple of Quirinus with the inscription "To the Unconquerable God." A college of Luperci, with the surname Juliani, was instituted in his honour and flamines were created as priests of his godhead. This was intolerable to the aristocratic republicans, to whom it seemed becoming that victorious commanders should accept divine honours at the hands of Greeks and Asiatics, but unpardonable that Romans should offer the same worship to a Roman.
Thus Caesar's work remained unfinished, and this must be borne in mind in considering his record of legislative and Legislative reforms. administrative reform. Some account of this is given elsewhere (see Rome: History, Ancient), but it may be well to single out from the list of his measures (some of which, such as the restoration of exiles and the children of proscribed persons, were dictated by political expediency, while others, such as his financial proposals for the relief of debtors, and the steps which he took to restore Italian agriculture, were of the nature of palliatives) those which have a permanent significance as indicating his grasp of imperial problems. The Social War had brought to the inhabitants of Italy as far as the Po the privileges of Roman citizenship; it remained to extend this gift to the Transpadane Italians, to establish a uniform system of local administration and to devise representative institutions by which at least some voice in the government of Rome might be permitted to her new citizens.
This last conception lay beyond the horizon of Caesar, as of all ancient statesmen, but his first act on gaining control of Italy was to enfranchise the Transpadanes, whose claims he had consistently advocated, and in 45 B.C. he passed the Lex Julia Municipalis, an act of which considerable fragments are inscribed on two bronze tables found at Heraclea near Tarentum. This law deals inter alia with the police and the sanitary arrangements of the city of Rome, and hence it has been argued by Mommsen that it was Caesar's intention to reduce Rome to the level of a municipal town. But it is not likely that such is the case. Caesar made no far-reaching modifications in the government of the city, such as were afterwards carried out by Augustus, and the presence in the Lex Julia Municipalis of the clauses referred to is an example of the common process of "tacking" (legislation per saturam, as it was called by the Romans). The law deals with the constitution of the local senates, for whose members qualifications of age (30 years) and military service are laid down, while persons who have suffered conviction for various specified offences, or who are insolvent, or who carry on discreditable or immoral trades are excluded.
It also provides that the local magistrates shall take a census of the citizens at the same time as the census takes place in Rome, and send the registers to Rome within sixty days. The existing fragments tell us little as to the decentralization of the functions of government, but from the Lex Rubria, which applies to the Transpadane districts enfranchised by Caesar (it must be remembered that Cisalpine Gaul remained nominally a province until 42 B.C.) we gather that considerable powers of independent jurisdiction were reserved to the municipal magistrates. But Caesar was not content with framing a uniform system of local government for Italy. He was the first to carry out on a large scale those plans of transmarine colonization whose inception was due to the Gracchi. As consul in 59 B.C. Caesar had established colonies Colonies. of veterans in Campania under the Lex Julia Agraria, and had even then laid down rules for the foundation of such communities. As dictator he planted numerous colonies both in the eastern and western provinces, notably at Corinth and Carthage. Mommsen interprets this policy as signifying that "the rule of the urban community of Rome over the shores of the Mediterranean was at an end," and says that the first act of the "new Mediterranean state" was "to atone for the two greatest outrages which that urban community had perpetrated on civilization." This, however, cannot be admitted.