Julius Caesar: Roman Emperor, Migraineur

Patient Expert

Julius Caesar is a well known su

Julius Caesar is a well known subject in many movies, plays, books, and poems; a subject who also had Migraines. Gaius Julius Caesar was born on July 12, 100 B.C.E. into a family with noble, patrician roots. Although not rich or influential, his familial heritage enabled him certain opportunities, education and offices. Gaius Julius, his father, held moderate political success and offices, passed away when Julius was 15. Julius then decided that moderate success wasn't for him. He set his sights high in the political arena and learned how to better himself in everything he did.

Caesar's first political move was to marry into a more well-known family and begin to build his political connections, some of whom were supporters of the opposition party. This put Caesar in much danger, and while on a military mission to Greece, he was kidnapped by pirates. While he was being held, the pirates treated him fairly well. But much to his chagrin, the ransom was much lower than he thought he was worth. He promised to track his captors down and kill them once he was released as an example to other pirates - a promise he made good on. While in the military, he learned how to be an excellent solider, fighting many battles. This is when he received his "koruna vita" or laurel wreath for valor.

Caesar continued to make strides in his military and political career, leading soldiers into many winning battles; some with swords, others with bribery. Having been installed as a competent ruler, he went to Rome and formed 'The First Triumvirate' (a group of three men who shared rule) and began some progressive legislation. Tax demands were terminated on farmers, land given to families with three or more children; he seemed to be meeting the needs of the people.

Julius Caesar was an extremely skilled political leader and military official during the ancient Roman times. During his rule, he altered the government of the day and supplemented land to Rome's control. His death (in 44 B.C.E.) cannot negate immense political and social changes that Rome endured through this period.

There is plenty of controversy about Caesar's "fits." Some speculate they were due to epilepsy; others think it was malaria. He did, however, have at least four documented seizures as a youngster. He was also quite vain about his baldness, and once he was awarded his laurel wreath he was rarely seen without it. Caesar had little time for sleep due to his constant travel, which may have added to his Migraine troubles. This might have made for a great warrior, but certainly was not a good lifestyle for someone with Migraine disease. Skipping meals, poor sleeping patterns, and dehydration all are triggers for some people, and Caesar sounds like he had them all.

Whether you are in battle every day like Caesar was, or just trying to get through each day with Migraine disease, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control. Some of the things I am trying to help get through each day include staying focused on me for a change and trying out the word "no," keeping a Migraine diary, keeping a regular sleeping schedule and drinking lots of water. It is up to us to take charge of our health care because we will benefit from it - then once we feel better - I bet our family and friends will feel better too!


Seager, Robin. Plutarch Ancient Warfare Magazine. Caesar in Gaul. 2010.

Gaius Julius Caesar 100 - 44 B.C. Illustrated History of the Roman Empire. 2008.

McManus, Barbara F. Gaius Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar Historical Background. The College of New Rochelle. August 2009.

Museum of Learning. Explore a Virtual Museum of Learning. Julius Caesar: Health. Discovery Media. MuseumStuff.Com. 2010.

Image: Public Domain Images

Medical review by John Claude Krusz, PhD, MD.

© The HealthCentral Network, 2010 Last updated July 11, 2010.