For my part, I had rather be the first man among these fellows
than the second man in Rome.
I had rather be the first in this town than second in Rome. - Ibid.
~ Plutarch (A.D. 46?–A.D. c. 120) Life of Cæsar.
The following blurb was found on the Internet:
"There is a story told that while he was crossing the Alps he came to a small native village with hardly any inhabitants and altogether a miserable-looking place. His friends were laughing and joking about it, saying: "No doubt here, too, one would find there are struggles to get the first place and jealous rivalries among the great men." Caesar than said to them in all seriousness: "As far as I am concerned, I would rather be the first man here than the second in Rome"
This quote goes to show Caesar's ambition. He explains to his soldiers how he would rather be king of a country that was extremely poor than be a prince in a country that was extremely rich. Caesar was also very serious about what he said. It showed his need to become the ruler of Rome. Brutus and the conspirators were right, he would have taken the crown if he was left to live. This quote could have also been to explain how Caesar thought of himself as a leader. Caesar would not give up his leadership for riches, but would rather enjoy being a leader living in poverty. If Caesar were to have ruled over the pethetic country, he would have probably tried to make it wealthy and succesful. Such was Caesar's nature. By accomplishing that task Caesar would also get the respect from the people of the poor country. This is how he got the same respect that he had in Rome. He helped the people and not the higher class. Also, if Caesar was not a ruler, but was second in command, then he too would be of the higher class. This would go against his morals for working for the people, if he was only a rich man without accomplishing anything for his country.