I know we’re in murky territory when we try to decide whether a person is good or bad, but please do bear with me.
Do we Catholic Christians consider Caesar to have been a good man or a bad man? I’m getting some oddly mixed anwers from my reading.
Reasons to think Caesar was bad include that he was a conqueror, which would mean that his job came with the necessity of killing. I’m not very well-versed in the era of history that he came from, so for all I know the killing may be justified, but it doesn’t seem so.
But the big thing is that he was, of course, a pagan. Furthermore, he was titled the “son of god” and he was deified. That clearly contradicts some of our most basic teachings.
However, there are also some reasons to think that he was a good man. Dante wrote that in hell, the conspirators that killed Caesar were in the same circle in hell that Judas Iscariot was in. Of course, it was just a work of fiction, but it at the very least reflects a negative outlook on Brutus and Casius, and by extension of that, giving a positive outlook on Caesar. Albeit, this example isn’t very concrete.
Popes pick their names out of respect for others with the same name. I read that Julius II chose his name after Julius Caesar, which is especially weird because it’s choosing the name of a pagan god, which was frowned upon; the first Pope to adopt a name did so because he didn’t think it was fitting to have a Pope named after the god Mercury.
I’m inclined to believe that Caesar was a bad man. Why, then, has he been held in this sort of esteem?