The Life of Julius Caesar Commonlit Answers

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Source: The Life of Julius Caesar by David White

  • 9th Grade
  • Lexile: 1130

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
PART A: Which of the following best describes a central idea of the text?Julius Caesar distinguished himself as one of the most impactful leaders in ancient Roman history, creating change even after his death.
PART B: Which TWO of the following quotes best support the answer to Part A?“After this historic victory, Caesar took the unusual step of pardoning all Roman citizens who were captured. One of those pardoned was Marcus Brutus.” (Paragraph 17)
“it was this young man, following in the footsteps of his uncle, who took the reins of power and became what Julius Caesar had dreamed of becoming: emperor of Rome.” (Paragraph 30)
PART A: What does the word “alienate” most likely mean, as used in paragraph 23?
to create a divide between allies
to create a divide between allies
PART B: Which sentence from paragraph 22 best supports the answer to Part A?“He regulated the amount of grain that could go out to people in need (so that the corruption of past years would not favor the rich anymore).”

How does the anecdote, or brief story, in paragraph 4 contribute to the author’s explanation of Julius Caesar’s life and character?

The anecdote in paragraph 4, which tells the story of Julius Caesar being kidnapped by pirates and insisting that his ransom be increased because he believed he was worth more than the amount initially demanded, contributes significantly to the author’s explanation of Caesar’s life and character in several ways:

  1. Illustrates Caesar’s Confidence and Valor: This story showcases Caesar’s immense self-confidence and his unshakable belief in his own value and importance. By demanding a higher ransom, Caesar demonstrates an early example of the boldness and audacity that would characterize his later political and military actions.
  2. Foreshadows His Leadership Qualities: The anecdote hints at Caesar’s future leadership and his ability to assert himself in challenging situations. It reflects his inherent charisma and ability to influence those around him, even his captors, which were key traits in his rise to power.
  3. Reveals His Strategic Thinking: Caesar’s response to his kidnapping and the way he dealt with his captors indicate his strategic mind and his understanding of human psychology. He turns a potentially weak and vulnerable situation into one where he asserts dominance, hinting at the strategic prowess he would later apply in his military campaigns and political maneuvers.
  4. Humanizes Caesar: By sharing a personal story from Caesar’s life, the author adds depth to the historical figure, making him more relatable and vivid to the reader. It humanizes Caesar, showing that his life was not just a series of political and military achievements but also included extraordinary and defining moments.
  5. Sets the Tone for His Legacy: This early episode in Caesar’s life can be seen as a microcosm of his later approach to challenges and obstacles, demonstrating his refusal to be undervalued or underestimated. It encapsulates the blend of courage, ambition, and wit that would drive Caesar’s actions throughout his life, contributing to his enduring legacy as one of history’s most dynamic leaders.

Overall, the anecdote enriches the narrative of Caesar’s life by providing a glimpse into the personality traits that underpinned his historic rise to power and his impact on the Roman world.

Discussion Answers

Consider Caesar’s actions. In your opinion, was he a good leader? Why or why not?

Alright, so when you think about whether Caesar was a good leader or not, it kinda depends on how you look at it. On one hand, dude was super smart and knew how to win battles and make Rome stronger.

He conquered a bunch of places like Gaul (which is basically France and some other areas today), and even tried to take over Britain. Plus, he was really into making Rome better by coming up with new laws and fixing up the calendar so people wouldn’t get confused about dates.

But, on the other hand, Caesar did a lot of things that were pretty sketchy. He made himself dictator for life, which is a fancy way of saying he didn’t want anyone else to have a say in how things were run.

That’s not really what you’d expect in a place that’s supposed to be a republic where people have a voice. And he kinda made the Senate mad because he was grabbing all the power for himself, which is why they ended up backstabbing him (literally).

So, was he a good leader? Well, if you’re talking about winning wars and making Rome strong, then yeah, he was pretty awesome. But if you think a good leader should also play fair and not hog all the power, then Caesar was not that great. It’s like being team captain and instead of letting everyone play, you just keep the ball to yourself the whole game. Sure, you might score, but it’s not really a team win, you know?


Did Caesar deserve to be betrayed? Explain.

So, talking about whether Caesar deserved to be betrayed is kinda tricky. On one hand, you could say he kinda asked for it.

He was grabbing all the power, making himself dictator for life, and basically stepping on the whole idea of the Roman Republic where people (well, not all people, but at least some) had a say in the government. That’s like telling everyone in class they can help make the rules, and then you just make all the decisions yourself. People are gonna get salty about it.

But then, saying someone “deserves” to be backstabbed (especially in the way Caesar was) is harsh. It’s like, even if someone cheats at a board game, you don’t just flip the table and storm off. There are ways to deal with things that don’t involve daggers and murder plots.

Also, Caesar did a lot for Rome. He expanded the empire, brought in a lot of money and land, and made reforms that helped the poor and made the calendar way better. So, it’s not like he was just some power-hungry tyrant who did nothing good.

In the end, maybe what he deserved was to be checked or stopped, but not in the way it happened. Betrayal by friends and advisors, especially with Brutus in the mix, who was like family to him, is pretty brutal.

It’s like if your best friend turned against you because they thought you were too bossy in a group project. It just feels like there should have been a better way to handle things.


In the context of this passage, what drives a person to betray? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

In the context of the passage about Julius Caesar, it seems like a mix of fear, jealousy, and a desire to protect personal power or the greater good can drive a person to betray. Caesar was making huge changes, grabbing a lot of power, and even got named dictator for life. This freaked out a lot of the Senate because Rome was supposed to be a republic, not a kingdom with a king.

So, they might have thought they were protecting Rome’s democracy by getting rid of him. The text mentions, “In Caesar, Cassius, Cato, and others (including Brutus) saw a new candidate for kingship and a return to the cruelty of the past.” This shows they were scared of losing the republic and going back to the bad old days of tyrant kings.

From my own experience, I’ve seen people betray friends because they got scared of losing their status in the group or were jealous. Like, if two friends are close and a new kid comes along, sometimes one friend might ditch the other to be more popular. It’s not cool, but it happens because they’re scared or jealous.

In literature, there’s the classic example of Brutus betraying Caesar, which is directly from history but also a major theme in Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.” Brutus betrays Caesar not because he hates him but because he believes it’s for the good of Rome.

He’s driven by his fear of tyranny and the belief that Caesar’s death is necessary to preserve the republic. This shows how complex betrayal can be, driven by a mix of personal beliefs and fears.

In art and history, there are tons of examples of betrayal driven by similar motives. Political intrigue and betrayal were common in the Renaissance as people jockeyed for power. Paintings from that era often depict historical or biblical betrayals, like Judas betraying Jesus in the Bible.

Judas’s betrayal, driven by a mix of greed and, according to some interpretations, disillusionment or misunderstanding of Jesus’s mission, shows how personal gain and misaligned values can lead to betrayal.

So, the reasons behind betrayal can be complicated, whether it’s in history, literature, or personal experiences. It often comes down to fear, jealousy, and sometimes a belief that the betrayal is for a greater good, even if it hurts someone close.

Other Commonlit 9th Grade Answers

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Dr. Evelyn Wordsworth
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Dr. Evelyn Wordsworth is a seasoned linguist and literacy educator with over 7 years of experience in the field. Holding a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the prestigious Harvard University, Evelyn has dedicated her career to exploring the intricacies of language acquisition and promoting literacy among diverse learner populations.

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