Julius Caesar's "Bellum Ciuile" writes Caesar-articulates a particular construction of its subject: Caesar. The essay shows how writing in the civil war wins and loses the war, and how the writing of the Civil War exploits this throughout its course. The initial suppression of Caesar's letter to the senate in 49 BCE creates a lack which the rest of the text is to supply, and a structure of injustice inflicted on Caesar by villainous manipulation of communiqués. The narrative presents Caesar's withheld claims over and again, in an ever-lengthening set of dramatized formulations and vindications, both in the form of his own behaviour and in its contrast with his enemies'. The many and various roles of writing in the civil war are examined, from orders and despatches to the propagandist war of words, and it is shown how the conflict is moralized through polarity between the letters sent by the two sides. Caesar presents himself as the last proconsular conqueror of the republic, playing the patriotic general from Gaul to Alexandria, where the "Bellum Ciuile" gives out-in time for this the first writer and mythographer of the Roman Empire to hide his hero's overthrow of the political order. It is argued that Caesar runs Bellum Gallicum and "Bellum Ciuile" together to make a seamless continuum, as a vital strategy for occluding, denying, and displacing civil war from the triumphant procession across a welcoming Roman world he offers in the "Bellum Ciuile".

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.