Gaius Julius Caesar (pronounced [ˈɡaː.i.us ˈjuːli.us ˈkaɪsar] in Classical Latin ), (13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman military and political leader. He played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.
As a politician, Caesar made use of popularist tactics. During the late 60s and into the 50s BC, he formed political alliances that led to the so-called "First Triumvirate," an extra-legal arrangement with Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ("Pompey the Great") that was to dominate Roman politics for several years. Caesar's conquest of Gaul extended the Roman world to the North Sea, and in 55 BC he also conducted the first Roman invasion of Britain. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse Pompey's, while the death of Crassus contributed to increasing political tensions between the two triumviral survivors. Political realignments in Rome finally led to a stand-off between Caesar and Pompey, the latter having taken up the cause of the Senate. With the order that sent his legions across the Rubicon, Caesar began a civil war in 49BC from which he emerged as the unrivaled leader of the Roman world.
After assuming control of government, he began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He heavily centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed "dictator in perpetuity" dictator perpetuo. A group of senators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, assassinated the dictator on the Ides of March (15 March) 44BC, hoping to restore the normal running of the Republic. However, the result was another Roman civil war, which ultimately led to the establishment of a permanent autocracy by Caesar's adopted heir, Gaius Octavianus. In 42 BC, two years after his assassination, the Senate officially sanctified Caesar as one of the Roman deities.
In 50 BC, the Senate, led by Pompey, ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as Proconsul had finished. Moreover, the Senate forbade Caesar to stand for a second consulship. Caesar thought he would be prosecuted and politically marginalised if he entered Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a Consul or without the power of his army. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason. On January 10, 49 BC Caesar crossed the Rubicon river (the frontier boundary of Italy) with only one legion and ignited civil war. Upon crossing the Rubicon, Plutarch reports that Caesar quoted the Athenian playwright Menander in Greek, saying let the dice be thrown.
Lacking a naval force since Pompey had already scoured the coasts of all ships for evacuation of his forces, Caesar decided to head for Hispania saying "I set forth to fight an army without a leader, so as later to fight a leader without an army." Leaving Marcus Aemilius Lepidus as prefect of Rome, and the rest of Italy under Mark Antony as tribune, Caesar made an astonishing 27-day route-march to Hispania, rejoining two of his Gallic legions, where he defeated Pompey's lieutenants. He then returned east, to challenge Pompey in Greece where on July 10, 48 BC at Dyrrhachium Caesar barely avoided a catastrophic defeat when the line of fortification was broken. He decisively defeated Pompey, despite Pompey's numerical advantage (nearly twice the number of infantry and considerably more cavalry), at Pharsalus in an exceedingly short engagement in 48 BC.
In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator, with Mark Antony as his Master of the Horse; Caesar presided over his own election to a second consulate (with Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus (consul 48 BCE) as his colleague) and then, after eleven days, resigned this dictatorate.
He pursued Pompey to Alexandria, where Pompey was murdered by a former Roman officer serving in the court of King Ptolemy XIII. Caesar then became involved with the Alexandrine civil war between Ptolemy and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, the Pharaoh Cleopatra VII. Perhaps as a result of Ptolemy's role in Pompey's murder, Caesar sided with Cleopatra; he is reported to have wept at the sight of Pompey's head, which was offered to him by Ptolemy's chamberlain Pothinus as a gift. In any event, Caesar defeated the Ptolemaic forces in 47 BC in the Battle of the Nile and installed Cleopatra as ruler. Caesar and Cleopatra celebrated their victory of the Alexandrine civil war with a triumphant procession on the Nile in the spring of 47 B.C. The royal barge was accompanied by 400 additional ships, introducing Caesar to the luxurious lifestyle of the Egyptian pharaohs.
Caesar and Cleopatra never married, as Roman Law only recognised marriages between two Roman citizens. Caesar continued his relationship with Cleopatra throughout his last marriage, which lasted 14 years – in Roman eyes, this did not constitute adultery – and may have fathered a son called Caesarion. Cleopatra visited Rome on more than one occasion, residing in Caesar's villa just outside Rome across the Tiber.
After assuming control of government, he began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He heavily centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed "dictator in perpetuity" dictator perpetuo. A group of senators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, assassinated the dictator on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC, hoping to restore the normal running of the Republic. However, the result was another Roman civil war, which ultimately led to the establishment of a permanent autocracy by Caesar's adopted heir, Gaius Octavianus. In 42 BC, two years after his assassination, the Senate officially sanctified Caesar as one of the Roman deities.
Type: SL (Special Gentleman)
Name: Julius Caesar