Donnerstag, 27. Juni 2013, 17:00 - 20:00 iCal

Caesar Constructing Caesar

Prof. Dr. William Batstone (Ohio State University - Columbus, Ohio, USA)



Hörsaal 21, Hauptgebäudes der Universität Wien
Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien


The “myth of Caesar” is a commonplace of Caesar studies, whether it is seen as the residue of the great man’s actual achievements or as a romanticization of some of those achievements and the occlusion of others. In other words, “the myth of Caesar” is usually treated as a feature of Caesar’s historical accomplishments and his promise (and that promise is huge: can you imagine Caesar without the assassination? without what he could have been?). In this paper, I am interested, not so much in the facts and their mythic dimension (in this sense, both the Colossus and the Tyrant are mythic), as in the texts that Caesar wrote, and in how those texts are already complicit with the myth of Caesar. First, I will review both linguistic evidence and narratological structures, pointing out how they construct a particular version of Caesarian virtus. Then, I will turn to a view of “mythology” (taken from Barthes) which is less familiar to Classicists. This view will help us see that Caesar’s Bellum Gallicum is mythic in a different sense. The story is itself the signifier of something outside the story, of an abstract idea and not a thing, of the promise of absolute rightness, personal clarity and untouchable distance, total and totalizing effectiveness. Adventu Caesaris cognito, all will be well. Caesar’s story of Caesar is already the myth of Caesar, which is not an historical actor, but a desire which the history of the west shows we have too often believed in or desired: Césarité (pun intended).




Lavinia Ioana Enache
Universität Wien
Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel-und Neulatein