Home » Julius Caesar » Caesar And Naopoleon

Caesar And Naopoleon

Bonaparte’s success as a military leader and conqueror can also be seen in
great leader, Julius Caesar.  Both Napoleon and Caesar achieved great glory
bringing their countries out of turmoil.  It was Caesar, that Napoleon
modeled himself
after, he wanted to be as great, if not greater than Caesar.
Looking to the past, Napoleon
knew what steps to take in order to achieve
Napoleon devoured books on the art of war.  Volume after volume of
theory was read, analyzed and criticized.  He studied the campaigns
of history’s most
famous commanders;  Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Frederick
the Great and his favorite
and most influential, Julius Caesar (Marrin 17).
Caesar was the strong leader for the Romans who changed the course of
of the Greco – Roman world decisively and irreversibly.   Caesar was able to
the Roman Empire because of his strength and his strong war strategies
(Duggan 117).
Julius Caesar was to become one of the greatest generals,
conquering the whole of Gaul.
In 58 BC, Caesar became governor and military
commander of Gaul, which included
modern France, Belgium, and portions of
Switzerland, Holland, and Germany west of the
Rhine. For the next eight years,
Caesar led military campaigns involving both the Roman
legions and tribes
in Gaul who were often competing among themselves.  Julius Caesar
was a Roman
general and statesman whose dictatorship was pivotal in Romes transition
republic to empire (Duggan 84).
Caesar’s principles were to keep his forces
united; to be vulnerable at no point, to
strike speedily at critical points;
to rely on moral factors, such as his reputation and the
fear he inspired,
as well as political means in order to insure the loyalty of his allies and
submissiveness of the conquered nations.  He made use of every possible
opportunity to
increase his chances of victory on the battlefield and, in
order to accomplish this, he
needed unity of all his troops (Duggan 117).

From the time that he had first faced battle in Gaul and discovered his
own military
genius, Caesar was evidently fascinated and obsessed by military
and imperial problems.
He gave them an absolute priority over the more delicate
by no less fundamental task of
revising the Roman constitution.  The need
in the latter sphere was a solution which would
introduce such elements of
authoritarianism, which were necessary to check corruption
and administrative
weakness (Grant, Caesar 61).
The story of all his battles and wars has been
preserved in Caesar’s written
account, Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, originally
published in 50 B.C.  For this
period, Caesar is the only existent source
providing first-hand descriptions of Britain.
While no doubt self-serving
in a political sense when written, Caesar’s account is
nevertheless regarded
as basically accurate and historically reliable (Frere 68).
Caesar was
appointed dictator for a year starting in 49 B.C., for two years in 48
for ten years in 46 B.C. and finally dictator for life in 44 B.C. Taking over
Dictator for life, enabled Caesar to gain unrestricted  power.  He was
able to run a strong
military and even though he was considered only a dictator
he wrote laws that actually
made him have the same powers as a king.  The
conspirators saw the problem that had
arised and so they planned the murder
of Caesar on the Ides of March.  Caesar was killed
and there was another triumvirate
(government ruled by three) formed.  Caesar was a
strong military leader that
had showed strength and courage to take over the town and he
was able to form
a civilization that was strong militarily and politically (Grant, Caesar
Caesar was one of the great generals of history; his name became synonymous
leadership, hence the titles Kaiser, and Tsar.
Having been promoted
over the heads of older officers, Napoleon’s unbroken run
of victories over
the armies of both Austria and Piedmont established his credibility as a
while his concern for his previously ill-equipped soldiers won their loyalty.
the storming of a bridge at Lodi, he fought alongside his troops, and earned
them the nickname of “the little corporal” (Castelot 68).
Under the
new government Napoleon was made commander of the French army in
Italy. During
this campaign the French realized how smart Napoleon was. He developed a
that worked very efficiently. He would cut the enemy’s army in to two parts,
throw all his force on one side before the other side could rejoin them
(Weidhorn 86).
Napoleon read Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic Wars and
took note of the
propaganda he used. Napoleon would also use favorable descriptions
of battle to sell
himself to the Directory and to the people.  Letters were
written that showed Napoleon as
the victor even when he lost battles in Egypt.
The factualness of these letters were never
tested but proved to be a force
in showing his strength and ability to lead an army against
far bigger enemies
(Marrin 99).
Napoleon returned to find the Directory was a mess. He, in
his selfish way, saw
this as the perfect time for self-advancement. So in
November of 1799 he overthrew the
Directory. Napoleon set up a government
called the Consulate. He was the first of three
consuls. Three years later
he made himself first consul for life. Everyone in France loved
Napoleon at
that time. Then he started increasing his power (Marrin 81-82).
started calling himself Napoleon I, instead of General Bonaparte. He had
political and military power in France. But  he still hadn’t built up his great
empire.  The Austrian’s had been defeated at Marenegro. The German states and
were tired of fighting so they signed a peace treaty of Aimens in 1802. This
the first time since 1792 that France was at peace with the whole world.
During the next
14 months of peace Napoleon drastically altered Europe and
reshaped France. He became
president of the Italian Republic, he reshaped
Switzerland with France. He annexed
Piedmont, Parma, and the island of Elba
to France (Marrin 82-86).
Through his military exploits and his ruthless
efficiency, Napoleon rose from
obscurity to become Napoleon I, Emperor of
France. He is both a historical figure and a
legend, Napoleon was one of the
greatest military commanders in history. He has also
been portrayed as a power
hungry conqueror. Napoleon denied being such a conqueror.
He argued that,
instead, he had attempted to build a federation of free peoples in a Europe
under a liberal government. But if this was his goal he intended to achieve
it by
concentrating power in his own hands (Castelot 96). However, in the
states he created,
Napoleon granted constitutions, introduced law codes, abolished
feudalism, created
efficient governments and fostered education, science,
literature and the arts (Castelot 97).
Emperor Napoleon proved to be a superb
civil administrator. One of his greatest
achievements was his supervision
of the revision and collection of French law into codes.
The new law codes,
seven in number,  incorporated some of the freedoms gained by the
people of
France during the French revolution, including religious toleration and the
of serfdom. The most famous of the codes, the Code Napoleon or Code Civil,
forms the basis of French civil law (Marrin 90).
Napoleon should have learned
from Caesar’s one mistake of having too much
power, because it would eventually
cause him to be exiled to the island of Elba.   The
Grand Alliance had crushed
Napoleon’s Grande Armee.  Napoleon tried conquering all of
Europe, but not
all of Europe wanted to be ruled by a military dictator.  Instead, they
the return of the Bourbon empire, where peace could be restored and power
so no ruler could take matters into his own hands again. Too much power
became the downfall of Napoleon as it did Caesar.  People became fearful and
not like that one person could control all of Europe.  In the beginning they
supportive because he ended the wars and fighting, but now he brought
it back which
made his citizens oppose him and what he stood for (Weidhorn
Napoleon and Caesar took their struggling nations out of turmoil and
them order, and for that the people loved them.  Caesar put an end to
the Gallic and Civil
wars that Rome was involved in, with that, he entered
into power . Napoleon took France
out of the French Revolution by overthrowing
the then government, the Directory.
Napoleon instated a new government the
Consulate and crowned himself first Consul and
three years later, Consul for
life,  Caesar became all powerful when named dictator for life.
Both men knew
in order to be a successful leader, they had to have the full support of the
Power and territory were increased, because there armies were always the
and responsible for putting down any revolts that might occur.  Caesar introduced
and Napoleon followed his lead.  Favorable accounts were written which
to give them a political edge, and the support of the people.  Caesar was a
of his people and gave many lands to his soldiers and to the poor,
he built bridges, roads
and waterworks.  Napoleon was also civil in the beginning
of his reign, abolishing
serfdom, passing laws and granting universal male
suffrage.  Both men were well liked
until they abused there powers and privileges.
They fell for the same reason, too much
power. Caesar was murdered because
his role as dictator came to close to being a king
and Napoleon did not know
where to draw the line and his army eventually turned against
Bonaparte was able to rise to power because of another great general
came before him, Julius Caesar.  Napoleon was a success because he looked to
past, and emulated Caesar; he built up his army, conquered most of Europe,
became a
dictator for life and eventually fell from power, because like Caesar,
he did not know
where to draw the line.


Thomas.  The French Revolution Complete and Unabridged.  New York:
House, Inc., 1837.

Castelot, Andre.  Napoleon.  New York: Harper & Row
Publishers Inc., 1971.

Duggan, Alfred.  Julius Caesar A Great Life in Brief.
New York: Borzoi Books,

Ellis, Peter Berrsford.  Caesar’s Invasion
of Britian.  New York:  New York
University Press, 1978.

Frere, Sheppard.
Britannia: A History of Roman Britain (3rd edition). London:
Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1987.

Grab, Walter.  The French Revolution The Beginning of
Modern Democracy.
London:  Bracken Books, 1989.

Grant, Michael.  Julius
Caesar.  New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969.

Grant, Michael.  Caesar.
Chicago:  Follett Publishing Company, 1975.

Herold, J. Christopher.  The
Age of Napoleon.  New York:  American Heritage
Publishing Co., Inc., 1963.

J. Christopher and Marshall B. Davidson. The Horizon Book of The Age
Napoleon.  New York:  American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., 1963.

James.  Napoleon The Last Campaigns 1813-1815.  New York:  Crown
Inc., 1977.

Marrin, Albert.  Napoleon and The Napoleonic Wars.  New York:
Books, 1991.

Weidhorn, Manfred.  Napoleon.  New York:  Macmillian
Publishing Company,

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment