They don’t feature amongst the world’s best sellers but quite few people around the world have actually read them, would you believe! They are not the easiest assignment for a quiet evening, I have to admit. Mention Julius Caesar to the average bloke and responses vary from: ‘Yuk!’ to ‘Not my cup of tea!’ to ‘Who?’, although some will admit to having enjoyed the spicier bits of the TV series ‘Rome’. Those who claim to have read their Shakespeare may even come up with the odd quote: “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him,” being perhaps one of the better known, placed in the mouth of Mark Antony – the lucky guy, who ran off with Cleopatra.
Most people only know Caesar as the Roman General who became dictator of Rome and was murdered by Brutus and his pals a few years later (‘Et tu, Brute’ – or ‘Ouch, you brute’ as we boys would have it!) For the next four or five hundred years the Emperors of Rome called themselves Caesar after him, and the titles Tsar and Kaiser echo his name. But the Roman Empire as ruled by his successors was definitely not what Julius Caesar wanted to see. It was the brainchild of his adopted son, Octavian, who re-invented himself as the Emperor Augustus.
Julius Caesar believed in equality a couple of thousand years before its time. He wanted the Empire run by men (sorry Ladies, he wasn’t that far ahead of his time) from every walk of life who could prove their worth. In other words, he believed in merit, not privilege. He wanted to reform the government of Rome from one run by obscenely rich nobles (mostly upper class patricians like himself) to one run by men of real ability. He even wanted the best men from the provinces to take part and stand for election to the Senate in Rome itself. Doesn’t sound much like what followed, does it?
It took me 17 years to write my story, because I thought it was time Caesar got a bit of good publicity. I was introduced to him at the Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone, where I ‘did’ Latin from 12- to 18-years old. We had to study Caesar’s books on the Gallic Wars in the original for O Level. We only studied the bits examiners thought were tricky, so I never did read all eight books on his wars that took him from modern Switzerland, through most of France, Belgium, bits of Germany and even to Engand’s shores (twice).
I wrote the books in two-year episodes from 60 BC to 50 BC and self-published them between 2006 and 2009, although I started work on the first couple of books in 1993-4 and got distracted by having to earn a living in between. I wanted to re-tell Caesar’s story, using his own version of events through the eyes of a modern man, Caesar’s Tribune (the title of the first book). It is not a dry-as-dust history. It’s a mix of fact and fiction, sticking as close to the facts as possible. There’s a love story in there somewhere and a fair bit of background that Caesar never explained, because his target readership knew it.
I have edited the five ‘journals’ down into a single volume entitled ‘Caesar’s Tribune – The Whole Story’. All the books are available through Amazon and on Kindle at a much more modest price.