Julius Caesar's Bellum Civile and the Composition of a New Reality  book cover
1st Edition

Julius Caesar's Bellum Civile and the Composition of a New Reality

ISBN 9780367880583
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
212 Pages

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Book Description

In his Commentarii de Bello Civili Julius Caesar sought to re-invent his image and appear before his present and future readers in a way which he could control and at times manipulate. Offering a new interpretation of the Bellum Civile this book reveals the intricate literary world that Caesar creates using sophisticated techniques such as a studied choice of vocabulary, rearrangement of events, use of indirect speech, and more. Each of the three books of the work is examined independently to set out the gradual transformation of Caesar's literary persona, in step with his ascent in the 'real' world. By analysing the work from Caesar's viewpoint the author argues that by adroit presentation and manipulation of historical circumstances Caesar creates in his narrative a different reality, one in which his conduct is justified. The question of the res publica is also a key point of the volume, as it is in the Bellum Civile, and the author argues that Caesar purposely does not present himself as a Republican, contrary to commonly held views. Employing detailed philological analyses of Caesar's three books on the Civil War, this work significantly advances our understanding of Caesar as author and politician.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Bellum Civile I:  The six opening chapters.  Pompey and the Pompeians in Bellum Civile I.  Rei Publicae Causa?  Omissions and manipulations in Bellum Civile I.  Civil war and the ending of Bellum Civile I.  Part 2 Bellum Civile II: The uniqueness of Bellum Civile II.  Caesaris Miles.  The Pompeians in Bellum Civile II.  Civil War and the ending of Bellum Civile II.  Part 3 Bellum Civile III: The triumph of Caesar. Pompey and the Pompeians in Bellum Civile III.  Civil War and the ending of Bellum Civile III.

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Ayelet Peer currently teaches in the History department at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and has previously taught in the Classics department at TAU. She has lectured on a variety of topics, from Caesar's Commentaries to John Williams' Augustus. Her current research projects focus on different aspects of Virgil's Aeneid and Classical Reception in Asia.


"Ayelet Peer offers us a new and original exploration of the literary work of Caesar, guided by this question: 'how can you justify your victory in a civil war?' ... Peer's study contributes to a better understanding and consequently to a better use of what remains a unique historical source."

- François Porte, Université Paris Est Créteil, France, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017