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Misunderstanding of Caesar’s speech

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Caesar in the series Rome
Caesar in the series Rome

According to Suetonius, when Julius Caesar in 49 BCE crossed the Rubicon, he decided to appear at a rally in front of his soldiers and speak to them to prove his point.

During the speech, Caesar gesticulated intensely, often lifting the finger of his left hand on which he wore his equestrian ring, assuring him that he would reward everyone who would stand by his side and allow him to save his honor. Many legionaries took the gesture as a promise of Equestrian status; There was also a rumor that each legionary would receive 400,000 sesterces.

It is worth noting that equites and senators were entitled to wear the golden ring and had to have a property of 400,000 sesterces. Hence probably the misconception and misunderstanding of Caesar’s speech.

Later, veterans repeatedly had to reproach Caesar for promises to pay, transfer land, and be released from service.

Sources
  • Suetonius, Julius Caesar, 33

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