- , GAESASIANThis great soldier and statesman is responsible for many words in English and many expressions that have become commonplace. Caesar (100-44 B.C.) was named Gaius Julius at birth. He later assumed the cognomen Caesar, which became synonymous with "emperor," a title with the connotation of "leader" that spread in usage to other lands. It was adopted by Ivan the Terrible in 1547 in the form czar. The German emperor also called himself caesar but spelled it Kaiser. Caeser's adopted son, who succeeded him as ruler, took the name Augustus Caesar. There were, including Julius, twelve Caesars.Caesar, a punster might say, although not historically correct, became important at birth. A new method of giving birth was named after him. Rather than being born through the birth canal, Caesar was born when the walls of his mother's womb were cut, a procedure that has ever since been called a caesarian section.Young Julius became prominent in Roman politics. Following the cursus honorum (rungs of the political ladder), he reached the pinnacle when named consul in the year 59 B.C. Caesar then turned to military affairs, conquering Gaul in numerous campaigns from 58 to 50. In 49 the Senate ordered him to disband his army; instead he crossed the Rubicon River into Italy, thus initiating the Roman Civil War (49-45). It was at this time he declared "Alea iacta est" (the die is cast). At war's end he acquired the title dictator, but many in Rome opposed him. On March 15, 44 B.C. (the Ides of March), he was assassinated in the senate house (known as the Curia), falling at the base of the statue of Pompey, where he uttered those immortal words, "Et tu, Brute?" first recorded by the Roman historian Suetonius (69-122) in The Lives of the Caesars, and borrowed later by Shakespeare. Shakespeare and other Elizabethan writers were largely responsible for the impression that Caesar was murdered in the Capitol.The expression "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion" followed the unveiling of a certain Clodius, a man who dressed in female garb and attended an affair for women. Caesar's second wife, Pompeia, was the hostess, and although Caesar didn't think his wife was guilty of infidelity, he nonetheless divorced her. Though the affair has given us the basis for the foregoing expression, no one knows what Caesar actually said. Possibly the best-known of his expressions was the terse message he sent to Rome after his defeat of Pharnaces at Zela in 47 B.C.: "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered").Many places have been named for the great emperor, particularly Caesaria, a seaport in Israel dating back to ancient times. Caesar salad was not named for the Roman statesman. It was the creation, in 1924, of Italian-American chef Caesar Cardini. Chef Cardini operated restaurants in Tijuana.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.