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A popular belief (at least in Russia) holds that Julius Caesar was good at multitasking; he was able to read, write and give orders simultaneously.

  1. Julius Caesar was the first person praised for his ability to do several tasks simultaneously. He could write, read and give orders at the same time, which made his contemporaries look at him in awe.

    –"Truth About Multitasking", via Internet Archive

  2. Like his physical prowess, his mind was robust with practical knowledge, excellent memory and, in today’s lingo, he could multitask with the best. His mental abilities were enhanced by his warmth of spirit. He expressed sincere affection and devotion to his mother, wives and his daughter. His ethics were beyond reproach.

    "Regarding Julius Caesar"

  3. A good example [of multitasking] is a story about Julius Caesar... Plutarch [wrote], “Caesar disciplined himself so far as to be able to dictate letters from on horseback, and to give directions to two who took notes at the same time, or as Oppius says, to more.” Plutarch’s Lives (New York, 1905), IV, p. 274. Pliny wrote, “We are told that [Caesar] used to write or read, and dictate or listen simultaneously, and to dictate to his secretaries four letters at once, on his important affairs—or, if otherwise unoccupied, seven letters at once.” Natural History (Cambridge, 1961), II, p. 565.

    "Mastering The Multitasking"

This has become a cliche in Russian, so a Russian can say "who does he think I am, Julius Caesar?" when, say, their boss gives them too many jobs to do at once.

Is it backed by any historical evidence?

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    Well, if your first link is to be believed (and I've certainly read the same thing more than once), he was not, because nobody is really "good at multitasking." – Casey Feb 9 '16 at 20:54
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    I'm pretty sure Caesar only had DOS! – Daniel R Hicks May 18 at 21:57
  • If Caesar could dictate while on horseback (entirely possible, most riders talk if outing together) that means someone could write down a dictate while following someone on horseback -a much more impressive feat. Yay for private secretaries: Try yourself, Freestyle as to different scribes: "usual greetings, but for X, more honey. to all but X and Y give a short intro about those carts pronto. now for X, go into detail about cart types and numbers. [...]". it is actually easier that way. and if emails of those people are open, you can be said to read those 'simultaneously' as well.... – bukwyrm May 19 at 8:22
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Probably, true.

There are several evidences in recognized sources.

Caesar disciplined himself so far as to be able to dictate letters from on horseback, and to give directions to two who took notes at the same time, or as Oppius says, to more.
Plutarch, "Lives" (New York, 1905), IV, p. 274.

We are told that [Caesar] used to write or read, and dictate or listen simultaneously, and to dictate to his secretaries four letters at once, on his important affairs — or, if otherwise unoccupied, seven letters at once.
Pliny, "Natural History" (Cambridge, 1961), II, p. 565.

However, there's also some critics about Caesar's multitasking phenomenon. The basic formulation of the idea can be put this way:

Caesar was required to attend most of the gladiators' fights due to the political value of Caesar's presidency at the popular shows. However, not all of these fights were interesting. So Caesar attended the shows, but at the same time did other things like reading and replying to mail, giving orders, and chatting on social networks. :)
Someone may marvelled that the great leader is capable of doing several things at once.

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    This makes me imagine slaves appearing next to Ceasar's seat and saying "pling, habes epistulam" – Hagen von Eitzen Feb 9 '16 at 20:09
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    @HagenvonEitzen: "Brutus amicus tuus fieri vult. Cognoscisne Brutum vitae verae?" – Quassnoi Feb 9 '16 at 21:32
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    @Quassnoi RIDENS MAGNA VOCE! Ceasar is known for many famous sayings, such as "veni vidi vici", "aleae iactae sunt", and "troglodytarum noli pascere" :) – Hagen von Eitzen Feb 9 '16 at 21:41
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    The theologian (Saint) Thomas Aquinas is also said to have been able to dictate to up to four scribes at once. In his case, we have the final result of these dictations (the Summa Theologica), and it's....surprisingly dense for something written by someone whose attention was divided four ways. – Kyle Strand Feb 9 '16 at 22:31
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    Writing is considerably slower than speaking so this sort of makes sense, if you can keep track of multiple letters in your head. He's not so much multi tasking as time slicing, switching his attention from one scribe/letter to another as each one finishes writing the previous sentence. – Tim B Feb 10 '16 at 9:46

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