The sites of Caesar's colonies were selected for their commercial value, and that the citizens of Rome should cease to be rulers of the Mediterranean basin could never have entered into Caesar's mind. The colonists were in many cases veterans who had served under Caesar, in others members of the city proletariat. We possess the charter of the colony planted at Urso in southern Spain under the name of Colonia Julia Genetiva Urbanorum. Of the two latter titles, the first is derived from the name of Venus Genetrix, the ancestress of the Julian house, the second indicates that the colonists were drawn from the plebs urbana. Accordingly, we find that free birth is not, as in Italy, a necessary qualification for municipal office. By such foundations Caesar began the extension to the provinces of that Roman civilization which the republic had carried to the bounds of the Italian peninsula. Lack of time alone prevented him from carrying into effect such projects as the piercing of the Isthmus of Corinth, whose object was to promote trade and intercourse throughout the Roman dominions, and we are told that at the time of his death he was contemplating the extension of the empire to its natural frontiers, and was about to engage in a war with Parthia with the object of carrying Roman arms to the Euphrates. Above all, he was determined that the empire should be governed in the true sense of the word and no longer exploited by its rulers, and he kept a strict control over the legati, who, under the form of military subordination, were responsible to him for the administration of their provinces.
Caesar's writings are treated under Latin Literature. It is sufficient here to say that of those preserved to us the The Commentaries. seven books Commentarii de bello Gallico appear to have been written in 51 B.C. and carry the narrative of the Gallic campaigns down to the close of the previous year (the eighth book, written by A. Hirtius, is a supplement relating the events of 51-50 B.C.), while the three books De bello civili record the struggle between Caesar and Pompey (49-48 B.C.). Their veracity was impeached in ancient times by Asinius Pollio and has often been called in question by modern critics. The Gallic War, though its publication was doubtless timed to impress on the mind of the Roman people the great services rendered by Caesar to Rome, stands the test of criticism as far as it is possible to apply it, and the accuracy of its narrative has never been seriously shaken. The Civil War, especially in its opening chapters is, however, not altogether free from traces of misrepresentation. With respect to the first moves made in the struggle, and the negotiations for peace at the outset of hostilities, Caesar's account sometimes conflicts with the testimony of Cicero's correspondence or implies movements which cannot be reconciled with geographical facts.
We have but few fragments of Caesar's other works, whether political pamphlets such as the Anticato, grammatical treatises (De Analogia) or poems. All authorities agree in describing him as a consummate orator. Cicero (Brut. 22) wrote: de Caesare ita judico, illum omnium fere oratorum Latine loqui elegantissime, while Quintilian (x. i. 114) says that had he practised at the bar he would have been the only serious rival of Cicero.
The verdict of historians on Caesar has always been coloured by their political sympathies. All have recognised his commanding Character. genius, and few have failed to do justice to his personal charm and magnanimity, which almost won the heart of Cicero, who rarely appealed in vain to his clemency. Indeed, he was singularly tolerant of all but intellectual opposition. His private life was not free from scandal, especially in his youth, but it is difficult to believe the worst of the tales which were circulated by his opponents, e.g. as to his relations with Nicomedes of Bithynia. As to his public character, however, no agreement is possible between those who regard Caesarism as a great political creation, and those who hold that Caesar by destroying liberty lost a great opportunity and crushed the sense of dignity in mankind. The latter view is unfortunately confirmed by the undoubted fact that Caesar treated with scant respect the historical institutions of Rome, which with their magnificent traditions might still have been the organs of true political life.
He increased the number of senators to 900 and introduced provincials into that body; but instead of making it into a grand council of the empire, representative of its various races and nationalities, he treated it with studied contempt, and Cicero writes that his own name had been set down as the proposer of decrees of which he knew nothing, conferring the title of king on potentates of whom he had never heard. A similar treatment was meted out to the ancient magistracies of the republic; and thus began the process by which the emperors undermined the self-respect of their subjects and eventually came to rule over a nation of slaves. Few men, indeed, have partaken as freely of the inspiration of genius as Julius Caesar; few have suffered more disastrously from its illusions. See further Rome: History, ii. "The Republic," Period C ad fin.
The principal ancient authorities for the life of Caesar are his own Commentaries, the biographies of Plutarch and Suetonius, letters and speeches of Cicero, the Catiline of Sallust, the Pharsalia of Lucan, and the histories of Appian, Dio Cassius and Velleius Paterculus (that of Livy exists only in the Epitome). Amongst modern works may be named the exhaustive repertory of fact contained in Drumann, Geschichte Roms, vol. iii. (new ed. by Groebe, 1906, pp. 125-829), and the brilliant but partial panegyric of Th. Mommsen in his History of Rome (Eng. trans., vol. iv., esp. p. 450 ff.). J.A. Froude's Caesar; a Sketch (2nd ed., 1896) is equally biased and much less critical. W. Warde Fowler's Julius Caesar (1892) gives a favourable account (see also his Social Life at Rome, 1909). On the other side see especially A. Holm, History of Greece (Eng. trans., vol. iv. p. 582 ff.), J.L. Strachan Davidson, Cicero (1894), p. 345 ff., and the introductory Lections in Prof. Tyrrell's edition of the Correspondence of Cicero, particularly "Cicero's case against Caesar," vol. v. p. 13 ff. Vol. ii. of G. Ferrero's Greatness and Decline of Rome (Eng. trans., 1907) is largely devoted to Caesar, but must be used with caution.