…woke up this morning (after a lovely New Year’s, thank you)—hearing some professor on the military channel (Battles BC) proclaim that Julius Caesar went to Gaul as a completely inexperienced novice senate appointee who had never been in the field. Hello?
First of all, he was brought up in a military household (uncle Marius)
he spent a year living in a swamp, refusing to divorce his wife—who was daughter of a political rival then in the ascendancy: lost that battle when he caught malaria and got caught.
Went to the Asian district to avoid assassination. Winner of his nation’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor, the corona civica, for saving the life of another soldier in battle…”Roman citizens who saved the lives of fellow citizens by slaying an enemy on a spot not further held by the enemy that same day. The citizen saved must admit it; no one else could be a witness.” He was also first over the wall in the battle for an Asian city. When kidnapped by pirates as a young man, he went to an Asian-area-of-operations base to call in old favors and led the expedition back to get the pirates; he served in Spain, another of the world’s trouble spots, where assassins and political zealots lived under every bush, and returned to Rome to stand for office only when it looked as if he was going to be the Roman army’s oldest lieutenant: you couldn’t get above that until you got a senate appointment, and he had to go back and make a deal with the devil (Crassus) to get it. THAT is when he got the appointment to Gaul, which brought him the legion Uncle Marius had created (the 10th), and who were suffering under a Sullan commander, that they didn’t like.
Novice? I don’t think so. The Senate kept saddling him with novices as tribunes, but they learned. Fast. Before the big dustup with the Germans, the tribunes were famously hiding in their tents drawing up their wills. Perhaps the Military Channel’s pet historian got these fellows mixed up with Julius.
‘S cuse me, I just had to vent. That is the stupidest thing I have heard out of a Discovery channel this decade.