HomeAncient HistoryAncient RomeSocial movement in Rome (48-47 BC) and last stage of Caesar's struggle...

Social movement in Rome (48-47 BC) and last stage of Caesar’s struggle with Pompey troops



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During the civil war in Roman Republic (struggle between Caesar and Pompey), the economic situation in Rome became worse. The value of money was decreased, living became expensive and as a consequence of that was the escalation of debt issues. In 49 BC, under the influence of the urban plebs Caesar implemented the following measures: an interest rate was calculated in debt, a price of the assets which served as the collateral for the loans was brought back to the level which was before the Civil War. He established that no one’s amount of money should exceed 60.000 sestertii (roman coin).

Such solutions did not satisfy debtors as well as creditors. In 48 BC, while Caesar was in the East praetor Marcus Caelius Rufus gave a proposal to postpone the repayment of debts up to 6 years but he did not succeeded in that. In 47 BC, Tribune Publius Cornelius Dolabella renewed a legal project about erasing of all debts. After that he raised rebellion with the help of the plebeians and freedmen. In 49 BC, Tribune Marcus Antonius (which Caesar had left in Italy), suppressed the uprising.

Although Pompey was murdered his supporters became stronger. When Caesar returned to Rome from the East, Nobility and part of the knights in Rome revived hopes of Caesar’s defeat. Caesar was therefore forced to seek support among the plebs. However, he did not ended relations with Publius Cornellius Dolabella, although he did not accept his program. In order to improve the Italian agriculture, Caesar conducted obligatory loan and he sold at auction the property of his rivals. At the same time, with great difficulty he managed to quell rebellions in the legions. Rebellions was against Caesar because he did not gave to the soldiers promised reward during the civil war. Caesar managed to established Order in Rome. Consuls were elected, and the Senate was filled with new members among whom there were a fair number of Caesar’s centurions.

Pompey troops again concentrated their forces in Africa while Caesar was in the East and after that handling the situation in Rome. Large army was gathered, which was supplied by the Numidian king Juba. In 47 BC, Caesar moved towards Africa. Caesars army was outnumbered compare to his rivals (Pompey army and Numidians). In April 46 BC, in a bloody Battle of Thapsus Caesar gave a decisive defeat to Pompey army.

Marcus Porcius Cato the Younger was at the head of the defence against Caesar in the city Utica (near Carthage). After realizing that making a resistance to Caesar was hopeless Cato the Younger ended his life by suicide. Numidian king Juba also lost his life, and Numidia was turned into a province under name the New Africa.

After returning to Rome, Caesar celebrated four triumphs for his victories in Gaul, Egypt, Asia and Africa. However, Pompey’s sons Gnaeus and Sextus established their quarters in Spain where they gathered large army. In 45 BC, they were defeated in the battle of Munda against Caesar. The elder Gnaeus was murdered, while Sextus manage to escape in northern Spain.