By the midpoint of the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar recognized that his political fate rested in the hands of the populus Romanus; Caesar's senatorial colleagues had largely made up their minds about him, but he could continue to cultivate public support through his commentaries despite his absence from Rome. Contrary to the long-held assumption that Caesar's Gallic War commentaries were written to be read by a senatorial audience, my talk will argue that the commentaries had a second, equally important audience: "ordinary" Romans who gathered to hear public performance of the commentaries on an annual basis. In particular, this talk will explore how Caesar used allusions to tragic and epic characters and plots to appeal to the Roman people by casting himself as the divine restorer of order.
Professor Jennifer Gerrish of the College of Charleston's Classics Department is presenting in the third of four guest lectures in a series, "How to Talk about (Ancient) Politics". This series is presented with the help of funding from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.
More information on Professor Gerrish can be found here.