Julius Caesar Quotes 1–30 of 30 Quotes

Gaius Julius Caesar (Classical Latin: GAIVS IVLIVS CÆSAR) (12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman religious, military, and political leader. He played an important part in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. His conquest of Gaul extended the Roman world all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, with the first Roman invasion of Britain in 55 BC. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest military geniuses of all time, as well as a brilliant politician and one of the ancient world's strongest leaders.

Below are 30 of 30 sourced Julius Caesar quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“Veni, vidi, vici.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: "I came, I saw, I conquered". Written in a report to Rome 47 B.C., after conquering Pharnaces at Zela in Asia Minor in just five days, as quoted by Plutarch in Life of Caesar, a work written in Greek (ἦλθον, εἶδον, ἐνίκησα). This is also reported to have been inscribed on one of the decorated wagons in the Pontic triumph in Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Julius, by Suetonius in Latin (veni, vidi, vici).
  • Inscription on the triumphal wagon reported in The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, as translated by Robert Graves (1957).

“Alea iacta est.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: The die is cast.
 • As quoted in Vita Divi Iuli [The Life of the deified Julius] (121 CE) by Suetonius, paragraph 33 (Caesar: … "Iacta alea est", inquit.Caesar said … "the die is cast".)
• Said when crossing the river Rubicon with his legions on 10 January, 49 BC, thus beginning the civil war with the forces of Pompey. The Rubicon river was the boundary of Gaul, the province Caesar had the authority to keep his army in. By crossing the river, he had committed an invasion of Italy.
• A contrasting account from Plutarch, Life of Pompey, 60.2.9:
Ἑλληνιστὶ πρὸς τοὺς παρόντας ἐκβοήσας, «Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος», [anerrhíphtho kúbos] διεβίβαζε τὸν στρατόν.
  He [Caesar] declared in Greek with loud voice to those who were present ‘Let the die be cast’ and led the army across.
  He was reportedly quoting the playwright Menander, specifically “Ἀρρηφόρῳ” (Arrephoria, or “The Flute-Girl”), according to Deipnosophistae, Book 13, paragraph 8, saying «Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος» (anerrhíphtho kúbos). The Greek translates rather as “let the die be cast!”, or “Let the game be ventured!”, which would instead translate in Latin as iacta ālea estō. According to Lewis and Short (Online Dictionary: alea, Lewis and Short at the Perseus Project. See bottom of section I.).

“Gallia est pacata.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: Gaul is subdued.
 • Written in a letter with which Caesar informed the Roman Senate of his victory over Vercingetorix in 52 BC

“Sed fortuna, quae plurimum potest cum in reliquis rebus tum praecipue in bello, parvis momentis magnas rerum commutationes efficit; ut tum accidit.”

— Julius Caesar

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Quote source: Fortune, which has a great deal of power in other matters but especially in war, can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces.

“I assure you I had rather be the first man here than the second man in Rome.”

— Julius Caesar

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Quote source: On passing through a village in the Alps, as attributed in Parallel Lives , by Plutarch, as translated by John Langhorne and William Langhorne (1836), p. 499

“I will not … that my wife be so much as suspected.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: His declaration as to why he had divorced his wife Pompeia, when questioned in the trial against Publius Clodius Pulcher for sacrilege against Bona Dea festivities (from which men were excluded), in entering Caesar's home disguised as a lute-girl apparently with intentions of a seducing Caesar's wife; as reported in Plutarch's Lives of Coriolanus, Caesar, Brutus, and Antonius by Plutarch, as translated by Thomas North, p. 53
• Variant translations:
• Caesar's wife must be above suspicion.

“It is not the well-fed long-haired man I fear, but the pale and the hungry looking.”

— Julius Caesar

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Quote source: As reported in Plutarch's ''Anthony'; William Shakespeare adapted this in having Caesar declare Cassius as having "a lean and hungry look."

“Καὶ σύ, τέκνον;”

— Julius Caesar

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Quote source:  • Reported as Caesar's last words, spoken to Marcus Junius Brutus, as recorded in Divus Iulius by Suetonius, paragraph 82; this gave rise to William Shakespeare's famous adaptation in Julius Caesar: "Et tu, Brute? — Then fall, Caesar!"

“Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: De Bello Gallico:
Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War] All Gaul is divided into three parts
 • Book I, Ch. 1; these are the first words of De Bello Gallico, the whole sentence is "All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third." http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0448.phi001.perseus-lat1:1.1.1

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“Consuesse enim deos immortales, quo gravius homines ex commutatione rerum doleant, quos pro scelere eorum ulcisci velint, his secundiores interdum res et diuturniorem impunitatem concedere.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: De Bello Gallico:
Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War] The immortal gods are wont to allow those persons whom they wish to punish for their guilt sometimes a greater prosperity and longer impunity, in order that they may suffer the more severely from a reverse of circumstances.
 • Book I, Ch. 14, translated by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: De Bello Gallico:
Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War] In most cases men willingly believe what they wish.
 • Book III, Chapter 18
  • As quoted in The Adventurer No. 69 (3 July 1753) in The Works of Samuel Johnson (1837) edited by Arthur Murphy, p. 32
• Compare: "What each man wishes, that he also believes to be true" Demosthenes, Olynthiac 3.19

“Sunt item, quae appellantur alces. Harum est consimilis capris figura et varietas pellium, sed magnitudine paulo antecedunt mutilaeque sunt cornibus et crura sine nodis articulisque habent neque quietis causa procumbunt neque, si quo adflictae casu conciderunt, erigere sese aut sublevare possunt. His sunt arbores pro cubilibus: ad eas se applicant atque ita paulum modo reclinatae quietem capiunt. Quarum ex vestigiis cum est animadversum a venatoribus, quo se recipere consuerint, omnes eo loco aut ab radicibus subruunt aut accidunt arbores, tantum ut summa species earum stantium relinquatur. Huc cum se consuetudine reclinaverunt, infirmas arbores pondere adfligunt atque una ipsae concidunt.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: De Bello Gallico:
Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War] There are also animals which are called elks [alces "moose" in Am. Engl.; elk "wapiti"]. The shape of these, and the varied colour of their skins, is much like roes, but in size they surpass them a little and are destitute of horns, and have legs without joints and ligatures; nor do they lie down for the purpose of rest, nor, if they have been thrown down by any accident, can they raise or lift themselves up. Trees serve as beds to them; they lean themselves against them, and thus reclining only slightly, they take their rest; when the huntsmen have discovered from the footsteps of these animals whither they are accustomed to betake themselves, they either undermine all the trees at the roots, or cut into them so far that the upper part of the trees may appear to be left standing. When they have leant upon them, according to their habit, they knock down by their weight the unsupported trees, and fall down themselves along with them.
 • Book VI

“It is, after all, well known that impulsive and inexperienced people are often terrified by false gossip and impelled to take inconsiderate action, making their own decisions about what should actually be matters of state.”

— Julius Caesar

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Quote source: De Bello Gallico:
Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War] Book V

“Vercingetorix, having convened a council the following day, declares, "That he had undertaken that war, not on account of his own exigencies, but on account of the general freedom; and since he must yield to fortune, he offered himself to them for either purpose, whether they should wish to atone to the Romans by his death, or surrender him alive." Ambassadors are sent to Caesar on this subject. He orders their arms to be surrendered, and their chieftains delivered up. He seated himself at the head of the lines in front of the camp, the Gallic chieftains are brought before him. They surrender Vercingetorix, and lay down their arms.”

— Julius Caesar

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Quote source: De Bello Gallico:
Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War] Book VII

“Qui se ultro morti offerant facilius reperiuntur quam qui dolorem patienter ferant.”

— Julius Caesar

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More on this quote: De Bello Gallico:
Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War] It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.
 • Book VII, Ch. 77

“Nihil enim malo quam et me mei similem esse et illos sui.”

Julius Caesar (Disputed)

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More on this quote: I prefer nothing but that they act like themselves, and I like myself.
• Reported by Marcus Tullius Cicero in a letter to Atticus.
• Variant translations:
• There is nothing I like better than that I should be true to myself and they to themselves.

“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”

Misattributed to Julius Caesar

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Quote source: This statement by an unknown author has also been wrongly attributed to William Shakespeare, but there are no records of it prior to late 2001. It has been debunked at Snopes.com

“I'd rather ten guilty persons should escape, than one innocent should suffer.”

Misattributed to Julius Caesar

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Quote source: Attributed by Edward Seymour in 1696 during the parliamentary proceedings against John Fenwick ("I am of the same opinion with the Roman, who, in the case of Catiline, declared, he had rather ten guilty persons should escape, than one innocent should suffer"), to which Lieutenant General Harry Mordaunt replied "The worthy member who spoke last seems to have forgot, that the Roman who made that declaration was suspected of being a conspirator himself" (Caesar was the only one who spoke in the Senate against executing Catiline's co-conspirators and was indeed suspected by some to be involved in the plot). However, the Caesar's corresponding speech as transmitted by Sallust contains no such phrase, even though it appears to be somewhat similar in spirit ("Whatever befalls these prisoners will be well deserved; but you, Fathers of the Senate, are called upon to consider how your action will affect other criminals. All bad precedents have originated in cases which were good; but when the control of the government falls into the hands of men who are incompetent or bad, your new precedent is transferred from those who well deserve and merit such punishment to the undeserving and blameless.") The first person to undoubtedly utter such a dictum was in fact John Fortescue ("It is better to allow twenty criminals to mercifully avoid death than to unjustly condemn one innocent person"). It should also be noted that whether the exchange between Seymour and Mordaunt even happened is itself not clearly established.

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“Brutus, quia reges eiecit, consul primus factus est; Hic, quia consules eiecit, rex postremo factus est.”

Brutus was elected consul

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More on this quote: about Caesar Brutus was elected consul, when he sent the kings away; Caesar sent the consuls packing, Caesar is our king today.
 • Note left on a statue of Caesar in Rome, prior to the Ides of March, as reported in Suetonius, in The Twelve Caesars, as translated by Robert Graves (1957), Divus Iulius ¶ 80

“In that man were combined genius, method, memory, literature, prudence, deliberation, and industry. He had performed exploits in war which, though calamitous for the republic, were nevertheless mighty deeds. Having for many years aimed at being a king, he had with great labor, and much personal danger, accomplished what he intended. He had conciliated the ignorant multitude by presents, by monuments, by largesses of food, and by banquets; he had bound his own party to him by rewards, his adversaries by the appearances of clemency. Why need I say much on such a subject? He had already brought a free city, partly by fear, partly by patience, into a habit of slavery. With him I can, indeed, compare you [Mark Antony] as to your desire to reign; but in all other respects you are in no degree to be compared to him.”

Cicero

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Quote source: about Caesar Cicero, 2nd Philippic, section 116 and 117

“...the rule of Caesar, although during its establishment it gave no little trouble to its opponents, still, after they had been overpowered and had accepted it, they saw that it was a tyranny only in name and appearance, and no cruel or tyrannical act was authorized by it; nay, it was plain that the ills of the state required a monarchy, and that Caesar, like a most gentle physician, had been assigned to them by Heaven itself. Therefore the Roman people felt at once a yearning for Caesar, and in consequence became harsh and implacable towards his murders...”

Plutarch

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Quote source: about Caesar Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Dion and Brutus"

“In his campaigns I find more restraint and reflection than in those of Alexander, who seems to go looking for dangers and charging at them like a rushing torrent which indiscriminately batters and unselectively attacks anything it meets.”

Michel de Montaigne

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Quote source: about Caesar Michel de Montaigne, Essays, "Observations on Julius Caesar's methods of waging war" as translated by M. A. Screech (1993)

“The greatest man that ever lived was Julius Caesar.”

Alexander Hamilton

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Quote source: about Caesar Alexander Hamilton, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush (1811)

“Wherever you are, remember that you are equally within the power of the conqueror."”

About Julius Caesar

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Source: about Caesar

“Cicero in a letter to Marcus Marcellus on his Exile from Rome by Julius Caesar”

Bent

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Quote source: about Caesar Bent, (1887), Familiar Short Sayings of Great Mean

“Jesus, not Cæsar, I repeat,—this is the meaning of our history and democracy.”

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (c1921)

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Quote source: about Caesar Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (c1921), The Religious Conditions in Czechoslovakia, page: 7

“Caesar was a logical man; and the heir of Caesar displayed coherence in thought and act when he inaugurated the proscriptions and when he sanctioned clemency, when he seized power by force, and when he based authority upon law and consent.”

Ronald Syme

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Quote source: about Caesar Ronald Syme, The Roman Revolution (1939)

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