Caesar's Women Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 46 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Caesar's Women.
This section contains 459 words
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Caesar's Women Summary & Study Guide Description

Caesar's Women Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Caesar's Women by Colleen McCullough.

Caesar's Women written by Colleen McCullough details Gaius Julius Caesar's rise to power in Roman government and society. Set between the years of 68 B.C.-58 B.C., the novel chronicles his political successes as well as his relationships with certain Roman noblewomen. It gives readers an insight into Caesar's personal life and the world behind Roman politics.

Beginning in June of 68 B.C, Caesar returns home from Spain determined to make a name for himself. He, along with the support of his mother Aurelia, attempts to dominate the Roman Senate. Caesar competes for power against the likes of famous Roman senators such as Cicero and Cato, who form part of an elite conservative faction called the boni that seek to destroy Caesar. Using his wit and foresight, Caesar outmaneuvers his enemies and strengthens his bonds with his allies. In the ten years that Caesar remains in Rome, he is elected Pontifex Maximus, chief priest and head of the Roman state religion, and forms the First Triumvirate.

Along with his public victories, the novel also reveals Caesar's private and intimate life. He is a well-known ladies' man. One of his main conquests, Servilia Caepionis, is a keen and spiteful aristocrat who begins a long-term affair with Caesar. She is the wife of a Roman senator and the mother of Brutus, who will one day assassinate Caesar. Even though Caesar dislikes Servilia, he is intrigued by her intellect and perverse ambition. She becomes his permanent mistress. However, he shows her no love or kindness. He even takes on other lovers and remarries. He views these women and Servilia as disposable.

Despite being cruel with his lovers, Caesar is an affectionate father and patriarch. He adores his beloved daughter Julia, spoils his third wife Calpurnia, and highly respects his mother Aurelia. He even consults with his mother on certain political and social matters. When he assumes the role of Pontifex Maximus, Caesar becomes the legal guardian of the Roman Vestal Virgins. He treats them with tenderness and kindness. Even though Caesar cares for the women under his protection, he still keeps them at a distance. He loves them but he is a very practical and ambitious man. He even marries his daughter to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus in order to secure his political ties.

Caesar becomes a senior consul of the Roman Senate and forms the First Triumvirate. When his term of consul ends, he becomes proconsul of Italian Gaul. With this office, Caesar sets out to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming one of Rome's most powerful men. In his wake, he leaves behind his devoted and loving women. They are Aurelia, Julia, Vestal Virgins, Calpurnia, and Servilia. All these women lament his departure and wait with great anticipation for his return.

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