The Reforms of Caesar
The Man of the People
Caesar spent little time in Rome, during the years in which he was master of Rome. Despite this, he managed to institute a large number of reforms in the short time he was granted.
Like all the other Populists, Caesar had used the people of Rome on his way to power. He was not alone in this.By his time, the citizens of Rome had evolved into a proletariat which subsisted on electoral bribery, feast, triumphs and above all the free corn dole. But although Caesar used the people, he never trusted them, being all too aware of how fickle they were. During the years of the Gallic Wars, he had often sent his soldiers home to vote during the elections.
In addition, people like Clodius and Milo had organized armed bands, organized in collegia (clubs), to disturb elections and terrorize the populace. The sum total of this was violence, unrest and social distress, and Caesar initiated radical reforms to deal with these problems.
He instituted a grand program of colonization to fulfil his goals: the social conditions in Rome were to be improved and the citizenship spread throughout the empire. He began by forbidding those collegia that were suspected of having political aims. The Jews where exempted from this, probably in thanks for their help during the Alexandrine Wars.
He then carried out a census of the civic lists, reducing the recipients of free corn from about 320,000 to 150,000. This was not so much to save money, as it was to prevent the citizens of Italia from coming to the city. Life in Italia and the provinces was to be made more attractive for the broad majority of citizens. To further this aim, a third of the workers on the large estates were freed -- slavery was to be reduced to decrease unemployment. As for the corn dole, families with children were given additional privileges. In general, Caesar attempted to carry out just reforms.
About 80,000 families were offered a new life in more than twenty newly fou