- Caesar’s family claimed that they were descended from the goddess Venus, through the Trojan hero Aeneas and his son Iulus (from whom their family derived their name).
- The name Caesar has a number of possible derivations. Probably the most well known is that the first Caesar was born by Caesarean section (Latin caedo, caedere, caesi- to cut). Other suggestions include that the first Caesar killed an elephant (caesai in Moorish) in battle; that he had a thick head of hair (Latin caesaries); that he had bright grey eyes (Latin oculis caesiis).
- He may have had epilepsy. Suetonius and Plutarch both record seizures, and Shakespeare mentions it in his tragedy Julius Caesar.
- Caesar was once kidnapped by pirates, who demanded a ransom of 20 talents of gold. Caesar was insulted by such a small sum, and demanded that the pirates raise their price to fifty talents.
- During the Catilinarian conspiracy, Caesar argued that the conspirators should be imprisoned rather than executed. During the senate’s deliberations, a slave brought came in with a note for Caesar. Cato, Caesar’s great adversary, accused him of being in league with the conspirators, and demanded that the note be read aloud. The note turned out to be a love-letter from Cato’s half-sister.
And three things Caesar (is supposed to have) said:
alea iacta est- the die is cast.
Caesar is supposed to have said this when he crossed the Rubicon with his army, initiating civil war with Rome. He meant that he had passed a point of no return- he had thrown the dice and now had to wait and see what the consequences would be. It’s unclear whether Caesar actually said this, or whether Suetonius made it up to add a bit of drama. If he did say it he probably said it in Greek anyway, as it’s a reference to a play by Menander.
veni vidi vici- I came, I saw, I conquered.
Apparantly Caesar said this to the senate after putting down a rebellion in Pontus (near the black sea). At the time Caesar was in the middle of a civil war, and so his nonchalance was calculated to remind the senate of his military strength.
et tu Brute?- not you too, Brutus?
Caesar’s final words (as his friend Brutus stuck the knife in) according to Shakespeare- but what would he know? Suetonius reports Caesar’s words (still addressed to Brutus) as ‘You too, my child?’ (in Greek), while Plutarch says that Caesar simply pulled his toga over his head in grief at seeing Brutus among the conspirators.