Warlords are not great
This essay presents a pantheon of contradictions and misleading statements that are not relevant to its main point. At its core, the essay conflates Greatness and Morality, suggesting that in order for a person to be considered great, they must not only possess exceptional abilities, but also have a strong moral compass.
It redefines the word “great” via a pseudo-interpretation establishing that “The sense of greatness here isn’t domain-specific, but general” just to suit a narrative. So, by this standard it’s impossible to disagree. Based on this philosophy one is able to publish a piece that would deduce why Caesar couldn’t eat apples because he loved riding chariots.
Greatness is the quality of being extraordinary at something specific, surpassing usual limits vs. morality being the state of how people ought to live and interact with each other.
Furthermore, the essay raises the question of whether or not an individual's moral character should be taken into account when assessing their greatness. Is the fastest runner no longer considered the fastest runner because they are not a nice person? Should the greatest heart surgeon be dismissed because they cheated on their partner? Caesar was an immoral war monger. Do we dismiss his tactical genius?
I do have questions regarding another of your conjectures.
You say: “Throughout history, Julius Caesar has been a controversial figure. He can be seen as the liberator of Rome or her tyrannical destroyer.”
This is a very interesting statement. Help me with this controversy you speak of as I fail to understand your mind mapping on history. Liberator? Sure, debate it. Tyrannical? Obviously. Destroyer of Rome? How did he destroy Rome? His life (and/or death) was the catalyst that set-in motion the rise of one of the largest empires in recorded history that lasted for over 500 years. You could say that the Republic was destroyed and an Empire was born. But Rome herself, destroyed?
This whole article is an attempt to bring to light that Julius Caesar was an immoral man, and that he should never be recognised as “Great” for that reason. The argument that one who is exceptional at executing a task should not be recognized unless he himself is good is disingenuous.
It is what it is. History of humanity is littered with atrocities. It would be irresponsible to allow those events to evaporate from our conciseness just because they were bad people. We learn from them. We use their tragedies to remind ourselves - Never again. We don’t redefine things.
General Caesar, bold and strong,
A man of power, did not last long.
He conquered lands and won great fame,
But his actions sparked much disdain.
A Roman warrior, stubborn and brave,
His armies marched to glory's pave.
But with each victory, came a cost,
As Caesar's morals were forever lost.
A Roman tyrant, cruel and cold,
His enemies' blood, on hands, he'd hold.
He sought a crown, at any price,
And in his quest, he wasn’t nice.
But still, his greatness cannot be denied,
His legacy, forever etched in time.
For though his morals were not sound,
His deeds and victories will forever astound.
So let us not dismiss his name,
For in history, he'll shall remain.
So let us learn from Caesar's tale,
And strive for goodness, without fail.
For true goodness, lies not in power,
But in the strength of one's moral hour.
Is it not more common to define your more "general greatness" case as "impactful" or "eminent in the context of history."?
With such a definition, Julius Caesar is great indeed. He is known 2000 years after his life by nearly everyone in the West. And not just in terms of notoriety, but on the basis of the impact of Rome on both historical and modern civilization.
Asking if he was "good" seems like a different question than greatness.