The Life of Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar, whose full name was Gaius Julius Caesar, was born in July 100 BCE in Rome, Italy to family in the aristocratic class with family roots to early founders of Rome. Caesar became head of his family at age 16 when his father died. He joined the Roman army to escape the violent reign of dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla who set out to kill and exile his enemies, with Caesar being one of them.

In the army Caesar made a name for himself as one of the greatest military commanders of Rome. He returned to Rome a military hero and rose to political power as a lawyer and public speaker. In 59 BCE he was elected to many high political positions, his highest being consul of the Roman Roman Republic. Caesar struck a deal with the other consuls, Pompey the Great and Crassus creating the First Triumvirate in 60 BCE. Each brought something to help overcome the corrupt Senate and ensure their popularity and power in Rome.

Caesar became governor of Gaul, a province of Rome located in Northern Italy, Switzerland, and France. From 58-51 BCE he had fantastic military success in Gaul which brought him great popularity back in Rome. He conquered the areas we know as France, Belgium, southern Holland, western Germany, and most of Switzerland. After the death of Crassus, the balance of power in the Triumvirate was disturbed. Pompey allied himself with the Roman Senate against Caesar. In 48 BCE Caesar pushed Pompey and his army out of Italy and chased them to Egypt.

After his defeat of Pompey in 48 BCE, Caesar was named dictator perpetuo, partly because he had so many of his supporters named to the Senate. In 47 BCE, Caesar wanted to consolidate his power in Egypt. Cleopatra smuggled herself in to meet with Caesar to discuss plans to take over the Egyptian throne. The two became lovers and allies needing each other to secure power for themselves. Caesar defeated the Pharaoh and named Cleopatra as ruler.

Throughout Caesar’s rise to power he created many enemies. In 44 BCE he was named emperor for life. Worried that he had become too powerful and would end the Roman Republic, his opponents in the Senate, including his friends Brutus and Cassius, led a plot to assassinate him. On the Ides of March in 44 BCE, Caesar was attacked and killed as he entered a Senate meeting.

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