Caesar, born Edward Sallow, is the charismatic leader, dictator and co-founder of Caesar's Legion in 2281. He is the self-proclaimed "Son of Mars," a former member of the Followers of the Apocalypse and an ex-citizen of the NCR.
Edward Sallow was born in 2226 as an NCR citizen. When he was two years old, he and his mother fled the Boneyard when raiders killed his father, eventually finding sanctuary with the Followers of the Apocalypse in 2231. He received a free education from the Followers and eventually became a scribe, specializing in anthropology and linguistics. Though he was intelligent and charismatic, the narcissistic and petulant Edward was never very popular among his peers. He did not feel like he belonged among the Followers and, in hindsight, considered their goals to be utterly naive.
In 2246, at the age of twenty, Sallow, fellow Follower Bill Calhoun, and seven others were sent to the east to study tribal dialects. He was instructed to meet with Joshua Graham, a Mormon missionary and tribal specialist from New Canaan. They embarked on a journey to the region known formerly as Arizona, as part of a nine-person expedition. Disgusted by the primitive conditions in which the tribals lived, he looked down upon them as inferior and immoral. During this expedition, they discovered a cache of books about ancient Rome. While he knew some basic facts about ancient history, the books shed new light on some of the details. Reading first The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and then Julius Caesar's own Commentarii, and personal accounts of his military conquests; those books changed his life and were the starting point of his grand plan.
Rise to Power
At some point in 2247, Sallow, Graham, Calhoun and the others became hostages of the Blackfoot tribe. While Sallow believed the tribe did this for ransom, Graham would later attribute the change in the tribe's relationship with the party to a mistranslation. At the time, the tribe was at war with seven other tribes; they were heavily outnumbered and Sallow recognized their defeat and subsequent demise was only a matter of time. Unwilling to be destroyed along with them, Sallow chose (against the wishes of his companions) to use his knowledge to train the Blackfoot tribe in the art of warfare after witnessing their lack of knowledge first hand. He showed them how to clean and maintain guns, operate with small unit tactics, manufacture explosives and to strike at their weakest enemies first; divide et impera (divide and conquer). He quickly impressed them enough to the point where he was made their leader, taking upon himself the name Caesar.
Caesar introduced the tribe to the concept of total war against the tribes around them. Sallow knew that, even though the tribes had always fought each other via occasional skirmishes, he considered them to only be "playing at war," having never seen warfare at its most destructive and barbaric state. They defeated the weakest of their enemies first and enslaved many of the able-bodied survivors; but Sallow had the rest, including women and children, killed to the last, leaving their remains piled high. When Sallow surrounded the next of the Blackfoot tribe's foes, they refused to surrender. Sallow brought an emissary of the tribe back to witness the fate of the first tribe. The tribe surrendered, rather than suffer the same fate. The concept of total war was an entirely new and terrifying type of conflict that the tribes had never encountered before. Such brutality would form the core of the Legion's tactics and philosophy.
Surprisingly, Joshua Graham decided to join Sallow as his right-hand man, in time becoming known as the Malpais Legate. While Calhoun was sent back to the Followers to inform them of what he was doing, the other six members of the expedition were murdered on the self-proclaimed Emperor's orders. The newly-christened Caesar formed his Legion out of the tribes that had either been conquered or had chosen to capitulate to avoid total destruction. He used the Commentarii as a blueprint―after all, which illiterate tribal would know that he was not the original Caesar, and his "Rome" was merely a copy of a civilization long gone. Caesar chose the concept of the Roman Empire as a model for the Legion because of its parallels to what he considered the "status-quo" of the post-apocalyptic world; he believed the concept of individualism had no place in facing the challenges of the wasteland. Ideologically, the Roman Empire also appealed to him for its ability to assimilate those it conquered; the destruction of "tribal" identities was a key part of the Legion's long-term strategy for unification. He intended to erase their individual identities and replace them all with a single, monolithic culture, The Legion, where individuals have no value outside of what they offer the greater whole.
By 2250, Caesar had declared himself the son of Mars, Roman god of war, and five years later he established his first capital in the ruins of Flagstaff. By 2274, he had conquered most of the tribes of northern Arizona, southwestern Colorado, western New Mexico and eastern Utah, and became known as the "Conqueror of the 86 Tribes," whose Legion had never met any serious defeat until their confrontation with the NCR at the First Battle of Hoover Dam.
War with the NCR
The Republic has the dubious distinction of being recognized by Caesar as a worthy adversary. He views his campaign against NCR as similar to that of his namesake Gaius Julius Caesar who eventually seized power for himself after crossing the river Rubicon and capturing Rome; going on to take control of the Republic after years of campaigning against the tribes of Gaul more than two thousand years earlier. Likewise, the new Caesar has campaigned against the myriad tribes of the East and will now cross the Colorado River and begin his unstoppable conquest of the West and the NCR.
After succeeding in destroying one of their major fortifications, Fort Aradesh, Legion forces under the command of the Malpais Legate marched against the NCR garrison at Hoover Dam, in an attempt to take the strategic asset and river crossing. In what became known as the First Battle of Hoover Dam, the Malpais Legate initially had the upper hand, able to push the NCR defenders back and lead his forces over the dam. Lead elements of the NCR, including members of the 1st Recon Battalion and NCR Rangers, executed a tactical retreat west across the dam and into Boulder City, all the while using their prowess in marksmanship to kill the Legion officers (primarily centurions and Decanii). The Legate, unable to adapt to new strategies in combat, chose to order his Legionaries to push the rangers, not knowing the NCR had booby-trapped Boulder City, laying explosives along their line of retreat, drawing the Legion into a trap. When the Legion forces entered the city, the NCR detonated the explosives and inflicted severe casualties among the Legion forces, crippling their offensive. The NCR forces then counter-attacked, pushing back and eventually routing the Legion forces who fled back east over the Dam. Caesar, angered at the failure of his Legate, made an example of him to show that failure will not be tolerated even at the highest rank. The praetorian guard covered the Malpais Legate in pitch, set him on fire, and cast him into the Grand Canyon.
Now in 2281, Caesar makes his camp at Fortification Hill, poised to take the Dam and subsequently New Vegas as his new capital. Caesar is playing his cards more cautiously this time, and will not give the order for Lanius to attack the Dam until he can unearth the contents of the vault sealed beneath his base in the Mojave. Caesar also needs to neutralize House, attempt to forge an alliance with the Boomers and the White Glove Society, destroy the Mojave Brotherhood of Steel, deal with his brain tumor and attempt to assassinate President Kimball.
Aside from military defeat, Caesar's greatest fear is being exposed as a fraud. Most members of the Legion, excluding some of the most trusted ones, are oblivious to the fact that the Legion's culture is based on books about ancient Rome - they believe that all of the customs enforced by Caesar were dictated to him by Mars himself. Those who claim otherwise are viewed as ultimate blasphemers. While some of the newly captured slaves are skeptical, they don't tend to be vocal about it, and their children are taken away from their parents to be raised by Caesar's priestesses. Secretly, Caesar still doesn't feel like a real Emperor of Rome - with his loose nation of savages, he still thinks of himself as merely a barbaric king of the Gauls. By seizing New Vegas, Caesar felt that he would finally be able to elevate his Legion into a legitimate nation by giving it its own "Rome" - transforming them from a nomadic army into a true empire; a militaristic, patriarchal, imperialist, autocratic, culturally homogeneous empire whose ruler holds undisputed power - a "Pax Romana" which would prevent humanity from ever fracturing itself again. And in the NCR he found his Carthage.
He regards the NCR as only an extension of the corruption that existed during the Old World and that it is ultimately doomed to repeat the same mistakes. He sees in it similar attributes associated with the Roman Republic before Julius Caesar seized power; extensive bureaucracy, corruption, senatorial infighting and filled with a people driven solely by greed and personal gain. It exists as the antithesis to the Legion and as a catalyst for change that only a confrontation with it can bring; a clash he sees as an inevitable product of Hegelian dialectics. The conflict is a vital one, not only for the future of his Legion strategically, but also philosophically; the NCR is the first of his enemies to which he is truly ideologically opposed and the first that can truly test the Strength of his Legion, as well as his philosophy.
In his view, the NCR does not have a long-term solution to the problems of the Wasteland - the bombs had reset humanity's progress and he believed the time had come to rebuild it into something new. He argues that NCR is weakened by its democracy, and that it was at its strongest when under the dominating rule of its second president - Tandi - whose popularity was such she remained leader of the NCR for most of her lifetime as the senate would never dare oppose her. He was taught to venerate her as a child and observes that she was ultimately more of a queen than an elected official and that it is similar centralized power that a new civilization needs.
He also regards self-sacrifice as a necessary part to rebuild civilization, as evidenced by the fact that he refuses the very notion of using the Securitrons hidden inside the bunker underneath his camp. He believes that the Legion soldiers would grow complacent and lazy with robots to fight for them.
Interactions with the player character
|This character is essential. Essential characters cannot be killed.|
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|This character starts quests.|
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- Render Unto Caesar: From here on out, the player can choose to work for Caesar, and thus, the Legion.
- Et Tumor, Brute?: Caesar has a lethal brain tumor that he desperately needs fixed.
- The House Always Wins, Wild Card: You and What Army?: When the player comes to The Fort, Caesar believes he has another pawn to use. He orders the Courier to go to the underground weather monitoring station and destroy the Securitron vault. When Mr. House or Yes Man contacts you from within the bunker and tells the Courier to activate all the Securitrons, the player can. The resultant shaking of the ground fools Caesar into thinking you destroyed whatever was there.
- Return to Sender: If Caesar has been killed or his sickness discovered, the player can complete the quest by convincing Chief Hanlon to stop his plot against the NCR, thus allowing both the Rangers led by the Chief and the Troopers led by Lee Oliver to be praised for their victory in Hoover Dam (If the Courier join the Republic), having Hanlon retire (If the Player join Yes Man/House), or the remaining Rangers being killed to the last by the Legion (If you join the Legion)
- I Forgot to Remember to Forget: If Caesar is killed, 2 companion points are gained, which helps gain access to Craig Boone's personal quest.
|Apparel||Weapon||Other items||On death|
|Caesar's armor||Displacer glove||Platinum chip
(If Benny survives the confrontation at The Tops)
If you manage to kill Caesar the effects on the game are fairly minor, (although the Legion ending is massively changed), due to the fact that Caesar, as the leader of the Legion, no longer directly participates in combat.
- If the Courier speaks to Caesar before attacking him, they can say "Death to tyrants!" This is a common mistranslation of the Latin phrase "Sic semper tyrannis." The actual translation of this phrase is "Thus always to tyrants." This is believed to have been uttered by the assassins of the real Julius Caesar. The latter is also the name of a challenge to assassinate the NCR's President.
- If Caesar dies for any reason other than his illness in Et Tumor, Brute?, Legion reputation will automatically change to Vilified, even if you didn't kill him yourself.
- Julie Farkas exclaims "So, the great Caesar is dead ..." and goes on saying that she doubts that it will have much effect on the imminent attack.
- If you talk to Mr. House about killing Caesar before he dies, Mr. House will reply that "[He] does not want you to touch one hair on that man's head, assuming you can find one." He says that Caesar provides a good distraction for the NCR.
- If you kill Caesar while working with Mr. House on the various "The House Always Wins" quests, you can return to Mr. House and tell him that Caesar is dead. Mr. House simply notes that this has a "minimal" impact on the battle for Hoover Dam and offers no reward or punishment for the action.
- If you kill Caesar, Mr. New Vegas will say "it is still unknown how the assassin managed to evade security," even if you killed Caesar in a frontal assault on The Fort (i.e., didn't evade security).
- Even if Caesar is killed without being detected, many denizens of the Mojave will still openly praise the Courier for the deed.
- If Caesar is killed with Boone as a companion, Boone will smugly say "Thumbs down, you son of a bitch!" - a reference to the gesture that is commonly thought to have called for the execution of a failed gladiator in ancient Rome, interestingly though, thumb inside the fist actually meant "mercy" or "weapons down." He will subsequently have further dialogue options when selecting the "Talk" option. He will also talk about the death of Caesar having little effect on the attack on Hoover Dam, but admits, on prompting from the Courier, that he still enjoyed it immensely. You will also gain two points to use toward Boone's quest I Forgot to Remember to Forget.
- There is a speech dialogue, if speaking with the Legate at the end of the game, stating "So, Caesar giving orders from beyond the grave?" - an indication that Mr. House is right, and Caesar's death was no more than a minimal setback. However, House will also note that Lanius is a poor leader compared to Caesar, and predicts that within a year of his death the Legion will be torn apart by infighting.
- Caleb McCaffery greets you with "All hail the slayer of Caesar!"
- Marcus remarks that the Legion follow Caesar, not Caesar's ideals, and that when Caesar dies the Legion will fall apart—though perhaps not immediately.
- NCR troopers will say: "Wish I could have been there to see Caesar die. What an asshole."
- Chairmen at The Tops will state "You're the gasser who killed Caesar, ain't ya? Ring-a-ding!"
- Francine Garret states "here's one on the house for taking down Caesar, serves him right for treating women like livestock," and gives you a free bottle of liquor.
- James Garret will also give you a free bottle of liquor, like his sister.
- Some travelers on the Strip will comment, "Now that you've killed that Caesar bastard, the Strip's really going to bloom."
- White Gloves in the Ultra-Luxe will comment, "There's a rumor going around that you killed Caesar! I'm dying to know... is it true? That he used a hairpiece, I mean?"
- If Caesar is killed, Sergeant McCredie at Camp Golf will compliment the Courier on a great job, and Mags will say, "I hear Caesar's dead, and we have you to thank for it...nice work."
- In Honest Hearts you are able to tell Joshua Graham that you "saw to it" that Caesar died. He will not react much to the news but he will admit that he thought he would die before Caesar. He also remarks that Caesar's death is good news for the Mojave, and states that without Caesar's leadership the Legion will eventually fall apart. However, you cannot do the reverse, as killing the Legion's former No. 2 man (or even leaving him alive) brings no dialogue options with Caesar. (He will still mention Caesar in the final battle against the White Legs)
- If the player speaks to Lily, she will remark that Leo thinks there will be more people to chop up and that the player should be careful.
- If you speak to Ulysses after the end of Lonesome Road you can tell him if you have killed Caesar, he isn't angry despite his former allegiance to the Legion and states that the east may fall apart in time but that it's too soon to tell; he goes on to say that unless you do the same to Lanius he won't thank you.
- While near the end of Return to Sender, you can convince Chief Hanlon to come back to his senses and cease falsifying the reports by reporting Caesar's death to him.
- Caesar's ailment can be inquired about if your Medicine skill is high enough, but sometimes the pain will bother him enough that he will cut the conversation and lie down. You can talk to him, mentioning that you believe something is wrong, after which he will lie back down and warn you not to speak to him again until the following day. If you ignore him and speak to him again, he will call on his Praetorians and they will attack you.
- Members of the Legion pronounce Caesar's name /ˈkaizar/, a post-classical Latin pronunciation, emphasizing the diphthong. Legionaries who knew him before the Legion, as well as most other wastelanders, pronounce it as the Anglicized /ˈsiːzər/.
- Caesar is one of the characters that the player must eat in order to earn the Meat of Champions perk.
- It is possible to complete Legion quests even if you are Vilified by them upon entering The Strip, but this is a one time offer when you are granted the Mark of Caesar.
- According to Antony, Caesar once owned a pet cyberdog before it was lost in battle.
- Caesar holds some level of respect for Aaron Kimball, calling him "a man of potential." He believes that Kimball would have been more powerful and had more control over the NCR if he had seized power, instead of being elected.
- If you complete Restoring Hope or I Put a Spell on You (on the NCR side), Caesar will mention how you have been so much trouble for the Legion. This also happens by completing Birds of a Feather, killing Dead Sea (can be done with or without completing Restoring Hope), breaking the alliance with the Khans in Oh My Papa, completing How Little We Know in Cachino's favor, killing Vulpes Inculta, or all of the above.
- He will turn hostile if you refuse to work for him twice.
- If you pickpocket Caesar while he sees you, he will automatically turn hostile (his inventory doesn't open).
- Despite the Legion's strong stance against advanced technology, Caesar uses a Displacer glove and has an Auto-Doc in his private tent.
- Whether out of hubris or blatant hypocrisy, Caesar is the only one in his faction who doesn't speak in a formal, bookish manner in any way. Barring his occasional use of latin and his occasional informative speech, he speaks in a casual, "modern-day," sour tone.
- If Caesar dies, his body will never disappear.
- If Caesar turns hostile, he appears to not have an "attacking expression," and will attack with an expression on his face as if he wasn't angry.
- Caesar is the only one of the Legion to swear; all other members do not swear whatsoever.
- "We have cities of our own, but nothing compared to Vegas. Finally, my Legion will have its Rome."
- "Oh yes, raised in that tradition. And the teaching stuck. I was taught it was my responsibility to bring the torch of knowledge to the wastes."
- "As an anthropologist and linguist, my assignment was to learn the dialects of the Grand Canyon tribes. What a fucking waste of time!"
- "I showed them total warfare. Like I said, there's a lot you can learn from old books."
- "Good. In hoc signo taurus vinces. (In this sign, you, the bull, will win.)"
- "Thesis and antithesis. The Colorado River is my Rubicon. The NCR council will be eradicated, but the new synthesis will change the Legion as well... from a basically nomadic army to a standing military force that protects its citizens, and the power of its dictator."
- "My conquest of the Mojave will be a glorious triumph, marking the transition of the Legion from a basically nomadic tribe to a genuine empire. Just as my namesake campaigned in Gaul before he crossed the Rubicon, so have I campaigned, and will cross the Colorado."
- "I've heard it's a bad idea to tempt the wrath of Caesar."
Caesar appears only in Fallout: New Vegas but is mentioned in the add-ons Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road. He was going to appear in Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios.
Behind the scenes
- John Gonzalez wrote Caesar and J.E. Sawyer asked for Caesar to present his rationale in the framework of his interpretation of Hegelian dialectics.
- Caesar possesses a number of parallels to his historical counterpart. For example, the historical Caesar actually suffered from a condition similar to the one depicted in-game. He had headaches, blackouts, and sometimes even seizures. In terms of appearance, Caesar is balding and has an Aquiline nose, a sign of nobility in ancient Rome. One thing of note is that Caesar is 55 years old in 2281, and the historical Julius Caesar was assassinated at the age of 56 on March 15, 44 B.C.
- Metzger, the leader of the Slavers Guild from the Den, was initially named Caesar.
- Caesar claims to be the son of Mars; through his claimed ancestor, Romulus, C. Julius Caesar claimed to be a descendant of the god Mars as well.
- In a quote, Caesar refers to the Rubicon River, which the real Julius Caesar actually crossed in 49 B.C., triggering the Roman Civil Wars. Roman armies were forbidden from crossing it (and, as such, entering Rome itself) except for few exceptions. Therefore, having his armies cross the river was the same as a declaration of war and as such an irreversible decision, a point of no return. This reference, in combination with Caesar's plan of making Vegas the true capital of his empire, parallels the historical Caesar.