- University of California, Santa Barbara
Julius Caesar has been the subject of countless biographies and narratives. But such accounts do not grapple directly or deeply enough with Caesar as a phenomenon of Roman republican political culture. Caesar is typically seen as standing against “the Republic,” a polar opposition that structures most accounts. But recent work on late-republican political culture has revealed the popular role in constructing republican norms and values, and from this perspective the traditional opposition breaks down. What Caesar intended or planned is fundamentally unknowable; but the complex history of this relationship (not always untroubled) with the “populus Romanus” proves to be a new and useful way to think about the popular character of the Late Roman Republic and sheds new light on its crisis.