Julius Caesar, Roman Dictator

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Gaius Julius Caesar

Croatian: Gaj Julije Cezar
Also Known As: "Divus Julius", "Imperator", "Patris Patriae", "Julius Caesar"
Birthplace: Roma, Italia (Italy)
Death: March 15, -44 (55)
Curia Pompeii, Roma, Italy (Assassination by Marcus Junius Brutus, Tillius Cimber, Sevilius Casca and 60 others, stabbed 23 x)
Place of Burial: Mausoléu de Augusto, Roma, Italia
Immediate Family:

Son of Gaius Julius Caesar, III and Aurelia Cotta
Husband of Lucia Calpunia Piso Caesia; Cornelia Cinna Minor; Cossutia, wife of Caesar; Pompeia, wife of Caesar; Servilia Caepionis Maior and 1 other
Partner of Cleopatra VII Philopator, Pharaoh of Egypt
Ex-partner of Eunoë of Mauretania
Father of Julia Caesaris and Ptolemy XV 'Caesarion', Pharaoh of Egypt
Brother of Julia Caesaris Minor and Julia Caesaris Major

Occupation: Ruler of the Roman Empire, Roman Dictator, (technically not Emperor but sometimes called 1st EMPEROR of Rome), Kejsare, Dictator of Rome (This is THE Julius Caesar immortalized by William Shakespeare, Eerste keizer van Rome (Caesar)
Managed by: Sveneric Rosell
Last Updated:

About Julius Caesar, Roman Dictator

Gaius Julius Caesar ( July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC ) Wikipedia

Gaius Julius Caesar, one of the most influential political and military leaders in history, helped establish the vast empire ruled by Rome. Caesar’s triumph in a civil war in the 40s bc made him the absolute ruler of Rome, but political jealousies among his opponents motivated them to assassinate him.

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on July 12, 100 Bc, and he was assassinated on the ides of March, the 15th of March, in 44Bc. He was born to Gaius Julius Caesar and Aurelia putting him in probably the most prestigious and strong rooted clans, the Julian clan. His uncle by marriage (oxford classical, Hornblower p.925) was the famous military leader and seven times consul, Gaius Marius and in an effort to keep Julius from becoming a great man in the history of Rome, Marius appointed him flamen diales, or priest of Jupiter.

As a young man, Caesar distinguished himself in roman society. He could declaim and recite poems very well. He also wrote poetry and became a favorite among the women of Rome. His first wife was Cornelia whom he married early. She was the daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna , therefore, Caesar was associated with the popular party in his early political career.

At first life was great for him in Rome; he was young, well liked, and he had his wife, but soon Caesar heard of Sulla's hostility toward him and he fled to Bythinia, under orders from the praetor of Asia, where he sought to raise a fleet under King Nicomedes, which was his first military campaign, in 81Bc (Caesars-might and madness-Brownjohn p. 48).

Later Caesar's enemies accused him of giving in to Nicomedes's unnatural desires. In an effort to disprove these rumors Caesar allegedly tried to have an affair with every patrician woman in Rome. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillius wrote, "Not even in the provinces were married women safe from him."

When he left Asia, pirates captured him and demanded a ransom of 20 talents (Ceasars-might and madness p. 49). Arrogant and confident, Caesar mocked them and he laughed at their demands. He told them that they did not know whom they had caught and told them his ransom should have been much more. Caesar manipulated the pirates and he began to have so much control over them that they would stop talking or making noise upon his demands if he was trying to sleep or read. He warned these pirates that when freed, he would find them and kill them. They should have heeded his warning, because upon his release, Caesar gathered men and went to find the pirates. After defeating them he crucified the pirates.

Julius Caesar

Ruthlessly ambitious, Julius Caesar used war, intrigue and political guile to make himself the most powerful man in Rome. Too powerful for some. Find out the facts about his rise and fall.

Roman Republic

When Caesar was born in 100BC, Rome ruled much of the Mediterranean. It was a Republic ruled by officials called magistrates (the most senior of which were two consuls) who were elected by assemblies of the people. Magistrates held office for one year before joining Rome's powerful advisory council, the Senate. Caesar would later fight these institutions to become dictator of Rome.

Rise to power

Hailing from a prominent family, Caesar quickly rose to political power. He was elected into many public offices and, in 63BC, bribed his way to become Pontifex Maximus (high priest). He financed himself by plundering Rome's Spanish provinces.

Caesar as consul

Popular with the army and the people, Caesar was elected joint consul with Bibulus in 60BC. But he had many enemies in the Senate, including the orators Cato the Younger and Cicero, who feared his growing strength. Caesar sidelined Bibulus and took steps to limit the power of the Senate.


In 59BC, Caesar formed a coalition (Triumvirate) with two important Roman citizens: Crassus, a rich banker and Pompey, Rome's leading general. They controlled Rome's public affairs and divided the provinces between them.

Growing power

The Triumvirate gave Caesar the Roman provinces in northern Europe and several legions. Between 58 and 50BC, Caesar enlarged his powerbase by conquering Gaul (much of modern France and Belgium). He even invaded Britain twice.


The Triumvirate ended when Crassus was killed fighting the Parthians in the east. In 50BC, the Senate, with support from Pompey, demanded that Caesar return to Rome without his army and surrender his office. Caesar, fearing that he would be put on trial, invaded Italy, defeated Pompey and the Senate, and became sole ruler.


Caesar's problem was that he became too powerful, alienating men who previously had a share of power. On 15 March, 44BC, a group of Republicans stabbed Caesar to death in the Senate.


By concentrating the power of the Republic in one man, Caesar opened the way for the creation of the Roman Empire ruled by an emperor. The first of these was his adopted successor, Octavian, in 31BC

Info from http://www.genealogy4u.com/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I52733&...

Bio below.


-Father Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder

-Mother Aurelia (related to the Aurelia Cottae)


-Julia Caesaris "Maior" (the elder)

-Julia Caesaris "Minor" (the younger)


First marriage to

-Cornelia Cinnilla, from 83 BC until her death in childbirth in 69 or 68 BC

Second marriage to

-Pompeia, from 67 BC until he divorced her around 61 BC

Third marriage to

-Calpurnia Pisonis, from 59 BC until Caesar's death


-1. Julia with Cornelia Cinnilla, born in 83 or 82 BC

-2. Caesarion, with Cleopatra VII, born 47 BC. He was killed at age 17 by Caesar's adopted son Octavianus.

-adopted: Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, his great-nephew by blood, who later became Emperor Augustus.

Marcus Junius Brutus: The historian Plutarch notes that Caesar believed Brutus to have been his illegitimate son, as his mother Servilia had been Caesar's lover during their youth.[128]


Grandson from Julia and Pompey, dead at several days, unnamed.


Cleopatra VII

Servilia Caepionis mother of Brutus

Eunoë, queen of Mauretania and wife of Bogudes

Notable relatives

Gaius Marius (married to his Aunt Julia)

Mark Antony

Lucius Julius Caesar

Julius Sabinus, a Gaul of the Lingones at the time of the Batavian rebellion of AD 69, claimed to be the great-grandson of Caesar on the grounds that his great-grandmother had been Caesar's lover during the Gallic war.


ID: I6895



Surname: CAESAR

Sex: M

_UID: C40B2AFA5118D811BE490080C8C142CC63E2

Change Date: 3 Jun 2004



Caesar, Gaius Julius (100-44 bc), Roman general and statesman, who laid the foundations of the Roman imperial system.

One of the most influential political and military leaders in history, Gaius Julius Caesar helped establish the vast empire ruled by Rome. Caesar’s triumph in a civil war in the 40s bc made him the absolute ruler of Rome, but political jealousies among his opponents motivated them to assassinate him.Culver Pictures


Julius Caesar: From The Conquest of Gaul

Ambitious and highly capable but frustrated in his political ambitions, the Roman general Julius Caesar knew that extending the empire through victory in war could help increase his political power in Rome. Under Caesar, the Romans gained control of Gaul, a region substantially identical to present-day France, by 57 bc. When the Veneti tribe revolted a year later, Caesar returned to quell the uprising and took the opportunity to boost his political standing in Rome by writing The Conquest of Gaul. This excerpt,describing the Veneti’s decisive defeat, was a piece of propaganda intended to impress Caesar’s enemies and win new supporters. Caesar wrote it in the third person.



From Plutarch's Lives: Caesar

This excerpt from Plutarch’s Lives, a collection of short biographies written by 1st-century-ad Greek essayist Plutarch, traced the rise of Gaius Julius Caesar from a young man to a powerful general and statesman in 1st-century-bc Rome. In Caesar’s youth, two factions existed in Rome—the supporters of Lucius Cornelius Sulla (also known as Sylla), and the followers of Roman general Gaius Marius, who was Caesar’s uncle by marriage. Sulla had declared Marius’s followers enemies of the state after the death of Marius in 86 bc. After Sulla resigned as consul in 79 bc, Caesar revived Marius’s party, and positioned himself as Marius’s natural successor. The following excerpt also relates how Caesar formed an alliance with statesman and general Pompey and politician and speculator Crassus that came to be known as the first triumvirate. This coalition gave Caesar the power to assume the consulship of Rome.

Born in Rome on July 12 or 13, 100 bc, Caesar belonged to the prestigious Julian clan; yet from early childhood he knew controversy. His uncle by marriage was Gaius Marius, leader of the Populares. This party supported agrarian reform and was opposed by the reactionary Optimates, a senatorial faction. Marius was seven times consul (chief magistrate), and the last year he held office, just before his death in 86 bc, he exacted a terrifying toll on the Optimates. At the same time he saw to it that young Caesar was appointed flamen dialis, one of an archaic priesthood with no power. This identified him with his uncle's extremist politics, and his marriage in 84 bc to Cornelia, the daughter of Marius's associate, Cinna, further confirmed him as a radical. When Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Marius's enemy and leader of the Optimates, was made dictator in 82 bc, he issued a list of enemies to be executed. Although Caesar was not harmed, he was ordered by Sulla to divorce Cornelia. Refusing that order, he found it prudent to leave Rome. He did not return to the city until 78 bc, after Sulla's resignation.

Caesar was now 22 years old. Unable to gain office, he left Rome again and went to Rhodes, where he studied rhetoric; he returned to Rome in 73 bc, a very persuasive speaker. The year before, while still absent, he had been elected to the pontificate, an important college of Roman priests.


In 71 bc Pompey the Great, who had earned his epithet in service under Sulla, returned to Rome, having defeated the rebellious Populares general Sertorius in Spain. At the same time Marcus Licinius Crassus, a rich patrician, suppressed in Italy the slave revolt led by Spartacus. Pompey and Crassus both ran for the consulship—an office held by two men—in 70 bc. Pompey, who by this time had changed sides, was technically ineligible, but with Caesar's help he won the office. Crassus became the other consul. In 69 bc, Caesar was elected quaestor and in 65 bc curule aedile, gaining great popularity for his lavish gladiatorial games. To pay for these, he borrowed money from Crassus. This united the two men, who also found common cause with Pompey. When Caesar returned to Rome in 60 bc after a year as governor of Spain, he joined forces with Crassus and Pompey in a three-way alliance known as the First Triumvirate; to cement their relationship further, Caesar gave his daughter Julia to Pompey in marriage. Thus backed, Caesar was elected consul for 59 bc despite Optimate hostility, and the year after (58 bc) he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul.

A Gallic Wars

Vercingetorix Surrenders to Caesar

Julius Caesar did not complete his conquest of Gaul without resistance. Vercingetorix, the chief of the powerful Arverni people, successfully launched an armed revolt against the Romans and inflicted heavy casualties. Caesar drew on his leadership abilities and military brilliance to rally his legions. He eventually drove the Gallic forces into Alesia (near modern Dijon, France) and surrounded the town with massive earthwork walls. After a long seige, Vercingetorix was forced to surrender. This picture depicts the rebel leader giving himself up to Caesar in 52 bc. Caesar took Vercingetorix back to Rome where he was later executed.Corbis

At that time Celtic Gaul, to the north, was still independent, but the Aedui, a tribe of Roman allies, appealed to Caesar for help against another Gallic people, the Helvetii, during the first year of his governorship. Caesar marched into Celtic Gaul with six legions, defeated the Helvetii, and forced them to return to their home area. Next, he crushed Germanic forces under Ariovistus. By 57 bc, following the defeat of the Nervii, Rome was in control of northern Gaul. A last revolt of the Gauls, led by Vercingetorix, was suppressed in 52-51 bc.


Appian: From The Civil Wars

Appian was a 2nd-century-ad Greek historian born in the great literary center of Alexandria, Egypt. Appian documented the history of the Roman Empire. The books that were compiled as TheCivil Wars are an important and detailed record of Rome during the turbulent period from 133 to 27 BC. In this passage, Appian chronicles Julius Caesar’s continued ascent to power following the Gallic Wars and the formation of the First Triumvirate in 60 bc. He goes on to describe the murder, in 52 bc, of Publius Clodius Pulcher, a tribune known for terrorizing people with his gladiators.

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From Plutarch's Lives: Caesar in Gaul

Plutarch was a Greek biographer and essayist who lived in the 1st century ad. His short biographies of notable Greek and Roman figures are renowned not only for what they reveal about ancient life, but also for their study of character. Plutarch’s portrait of the great Roman general and statesman Julius Caesar reveals a generous spirit behind his savvy military and political leadership. That Caesar also fought bravely in battle despite physical weakness inspired great loyalty in his soldiers and popularity with the Roman citizenry.

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Geoffrey of Monmouth: From History of the Kings of Britain

Typical of medieval chronicles purporting to relate historical events, TheHistory of the Kings of England, also known as History of the Kings of Britain, mixes myth and unverifiable popular tales with fact. Geoffrey of Monmouth was a 12th-century churchman whose work describes the “history” of the ancient British monarchy, from the mythical founding of Britain by Brutus, son of Aeneas of Troy, to Caedwalla, the king of North Wales who reigned from about 625 to 634 ad. The narrative recounts stories that later became the source material for much great British literature and art, such as the tales of Merlin and King Arthur, and King Lear and his daughters Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. This passage describes the Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar in 55 bc.

While Caesar was in Gaul, his agents attempted to dominate politics in Rome. This, however, threatened Pompey's position, and it became necessary for the triumvirs to arrange a meeting at Luca in 56 bc, which brought about a temporary reconciliation. It was decided that Caesar would continue in Gaul for another five years, while Pompey and Crassus would both be consuls for 55 bc; after that, each would have proconsular control of provinces. Caesar then went off to raid Britain and put down a revolt in Gaul. Crassus, ever eager for military glory, went to his post in Syria. Provoking a war with the Parthian Empire, he was defeated and killed at Carrhae in 53 bc. This removed the last buffer between Caesar and Pompey; their family ties had been broken by the death of Julia in 54 bc.



From Plutarch's Lives: Antony

Plutarch was a Greek biographer and essayist who lived in the 1st century AD. His brief biographies of notable Greek and Roman figures are renowned not only for their views of ancient life, but also for their study of character. Plutarch’s portrait of the legendary Roman soldier and politician Mark Antony reveals a driven and rather complex character, given to ruthlessness, drunkenness, and debauchery, but capable of shrewdness and great loyalty as well.

In 52 bc, with Crassus out of the way, Pompey was made sole consul. Combined with his other powers, this gave him a formidable position. Jealous of his younger rival, he determined to break Caesar's power, an objective that could not be achieved without first depriving him of his command in Gaul. In order to protect himself, Caesar suggested that he and Pompey both lay down their commands simultaneously, but this was rejected; goaded by Pompey, the Senate summarily called upon Caesar to resign his command and disband his army, or else be considered a public enemy. The tribunes, who were Caesar's agents, vetoed this motion, but they were driven out of the Senate chamber. The Senate then entrusted Pompey with providing for the safety of the state. His forces far outnumbered Caesar's, but they were scattered throughout the provinces, and his troops in Italy were not prepared for war. Early in 49 bc Caesar crossed the Rubicon, a small stream separating his province from Italy, and moved swiftly southward. Pompey fled to Brundisium and from there to Greece. In three months Caesar was master of all Italy; his forces then took Spain and the key port of Massalia (now Marseille).

In Rome Caesar became dictator until elected consul for 48 bc. At the beginning of that year he landed in Greece and smashed Pompey's forces at Pharsalus. Pompey escaped to Egypt, where he was assassinated. When Caesar arrived there, he installed Cleopatra, daughter of the late King Ptolemy XII, as queen. In 47 bc he pacified Asia Minor and returned to Rome to become dictator again. By the following year all Optimate forces had been defeated and the Mediterranean world pacified.


Death of Julius Caesar The growing power of Julius Caesar, who assumed the title of dictator for life, threatened the prestige of many members of the Roman Senate. On March 15 in 44 bc a group of senators assassinated Caesar. The story of the assassination has become the subject of many plays and other works of art, including this painting by Italian Vincenzo Camuccini.Art Resource, NY/Scala

The basic prop for Caesar's continuation in power was the dictatorship for life. According to the traditional Republican constitution, this office was only to be held for six months during a dire emergency. That rule, however, had been broken before. Sulla had ruled as dictator for several years, and Caesar now followed suit. In addition, he was made consul for ten years in 45 bc and received the sanctity of tribunes, making it illegal to harm him. Caesar also obtained honors to increase his prestige: He wore the robe, crown, and scepter of a triumphant general and used the title imperator. Furthermore, as Pontifex Maximus, he was head of the state religion. Above all, however, he was in total command of the armies, and this remained the backbone of his power.


From Plutarch's Lives: Marcus Brutus

The Greek biographer Plutarch regarded Marcus Brutus (85?-42 bc) as a noble and conscientious man, who contributed to causes he believed were in Rome’s best interests even if they conflicted with his own. According to Plutarch, Brutus was well-loved by many, particularly Julius Caesar, who thought Brutus might be his son. This excerpt from Plutarch’s Lives concerns the complex relationship between Caesar and Brutus, and Brutus’s role in Caesar’s assassination, later immortalized in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar (1599?).

As a ruler Caesar instituted various reforms. In the provinces he eliminated the highly corrupt tax system, sponsored colonies of veterans, and extended Roman citizenship. At home he reconstituted the courts and increased the number of senators. His reform of the calendar gave Rome a rational means of recording time.

A number of senatorial families, however, felt that Caesar threatened their position, and his honors and powers made them fear that he would become a rex (king), a title they, as Republicans, hated. Accordingly, in 44 bc, an assassination plot was hatched by a group of senators, including Gaius Cassius and Marcus Junius Brutus. On March 15 of that year, when Caesar entered the Senate house, the group killed him.


After Caesar's first wife, Cornelia, died in 68 bc, he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla. When the mysteries of the Bona Dea, over which she presided, were violated, she was maligned by gossips, and Caesar then divorced her, telling the Senate that Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. His next marriage (59 bc) was to Calpurnia and was politically motivated. Since Caesar had no male heirs, he stipulated in his will that his grandnephew, Octavius, become his successor. It was Octavius who became Rome's first emperor under the name of Augustus.

Caesar was a gifted writer, with a clear and simple style. His De Bello Gallico (On the Gallic War), in which he described Gaul and his Gallic campaigns, is a major source of information about the early Celtic and Germanic tribes.


Scholarly opinion of Caesar's accomplishments is divided. Some regard him as an unscrupulous tyrant, with an insatiable lust for power, and blame him for the demise of the Roman Republic. Others, admitting that he could be ruthless, insist that the Republic had already been destroyed. They maintain that to save the Roman world from chaos a new type of government had to be created. In fact, Caesar's reforms did stabilize the Mediterranean world. Among ancient military commanders, he may be second only to Alexander the Great.

Contributed By: Michael S. Cheilik

© 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Birth: 12 JUL 100 BC in Subura, Italy

Death: 15 MAR 44 BC in stabbed in Roman Senate

Father: Caius Julius III of Rome Caesar

Mother: Aurelia (Cornelia) of Rome

Marriage 1 Lucia Calpurnia Piso



Marcus Julius Antonius Gneius Caesar

Forrás / Source:




Dictator of Rome.



Han tilhørte patrisierfamilien gens Iulia. Slekten førte sitt stamtre tilbake til Julus, sønn av den trojanske prinsen Aeneas, som ifølge legenden var sønn av gudinnen Venus.

Hans erobring av Gallia i Frankrike utbredte det romerske imperium helt til Atlanterhavskysten, noe som har gitt ringvirkninger helt opp til i dag. Cæsars militære bragder er derimot bare kjent fra hans egne rapporter til senatet. Rapportene viser at han fortolket sine ordrer meget bredt, og hans grunnleggelse av en regjering under det første triumvirat endte den romerske republikk. Han ble senere diktator på livstid og utarbeidet mange reformer, både sosialt og politisk. Reformarbeidet ble brått stoppet da han ble myrdet. Mange av hans reformer ble senere ført ut i livet av keiser Augustus. Mye om hans liv er kjent, både fra hans egne verker og fra senere historikere som Suetonius, Plutark og Cassius Dio.

Cæsar ble født i Roma, i en patrisierfamilie kalt gens Iulia. Slekt førte sitt stamtre tilbake til Julus, sønn av den trojanske prinsen Aeneas, som ifølge mytene var sønn av gudinnen Venus. Dette ble framhevet av Cæsar senere; på høyden av sin karriere bygde han et tempel til Venus Genetrix (Stammoren Venus) i Roma. Hans far, Gaius Julius Cæsar den eldre, var praetor. Hans mot var fra Cottae-grenen av Aureliafamilien, en rik familie som tilhørte plebeierne. Som ung gutt levde han i et beskjedent hus i bydelen Subura. Han fikk en god utdannelse, og lærte blant annet gresk og forskjellige galliske dialekter

Born : 101 BC - -

Died : 44 BC

Born : 101 BC - -

Died : 44 BC

Born : 101 BC - -

Died : 44 BC

Born : 101 BC - -

Died : 44 BC

Born : 101 BC - -

Died : 44 BC

The well known historical figure Julius Caesar.


Cayo Julio César n año 100 AC ¿? + Año 44 AC. Roma Gobernante y militar. Perteneció al Gens Julio. Como guerrero , se destacó por las conquistas de la Galia y territorios bárbaros. En el año 44 Ac.. es asesinado por el senador Bruto, en un acto de magnicidio al estado romano. Julio César participó de las intrigas con el Reino Egipcio, preferentemente con Cleopatra VII, con la cual tuvo un hijo natural Cesarión.

Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar[b] (Classical Latin: [%CB%88%C9%A1a%CB%90.i.%CA%8As ˈjuː.li.ʊs ˈkae̯.sar]; 13 July 100-15 March 44 BC) was a Roman statesman, general, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power through populist tactics were opposed by the conservative ruling class within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar's victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC, extended Rome's territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain.

These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC. With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Caesar refused the order, and instead marked his defiance in 49 BC by crossing the Rubicon with a legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms. Civil war resulted, and Caesar's victory in the war put him in an unrivaled position of power and influence.

After assuming control of government, Caesar began a programme of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar. He centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed "dictator in perpetuity", giving him additional authority. But the underlying political conflicts had not been resolved, and on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus. A new series of civil wars broke out, and the constitutional government of the Republic was never fully restored. Caesar's adopted heir Octavian, later known as Augustus, rose to sole power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power, and the era of the Roman Empire began.

Much of Caesar's life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns, and from other contemporary sources, mainly the letters and speeches of Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust. The later biographies of Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch are also major sources. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history.

Early life and career

Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas, supposedly the son of the goddess Venus. The cognomen "Caesar" originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor who was born by caesarean section (from the Latin verb to cut, caedere, caes-). The Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair (Latin caesaries); that he had bright grey eyes (Latin oculis caesiis); or that he killed an elephant (caesai in Moorish) in battle. Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored this interpretation of his name.

Despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not especially politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of their political fortunes in the early 1st century BC. Caesar's father, also called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of Asia, and his sister Julia, Caesar's aunt, married Gaius Marius, one of the most prominent figures in the Republic. His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of Caesar's childhood.

In 85 BC, Caesar's father died suddenly, so Caesar was the head of the family at 16. His coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both sides carried out bloody purges of their political opponents whenever they were in the ascendancy. Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated to be the new high priest of Jupiter, and he was married to Cinna's daughter Cornelia. Following Sulla's final victory, though, Caesar's connections to the old regime made him a target for the new one. He was stripped of his inheritance, his wife's dowry, and his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding. The threat against him was lifted by the intervention of his mother's family, which included supporters of Sulla, and the Vestal Virgins. Sulla gave in reluctantly, and is said to have declared that he saw many a Marius in Caesar.

Caesar felt that it would be much safer far away from Sulla should the Dictator change his mind, so he left Rome and joined the army, serving under Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia and Servilius Isauricus in Cilicia. He served with distinction, winning the Civic Crown for his part in the Siege of Mytilene. He went on a mission to Bithynia to secure the assistance of King Nicomedes's fleet, but he spent so long at Nicomedes' court that rumors arose of an affair with the king, which Caesar vehemently denied for the rest of his life. Ironically, the loss of his priesthood had allowed him to pursue a military career, as the high priest of Jupiter was not permitted to touch a horse, sleep three nights outside his own bed or one night outside Rome, or look upon an army.

Hearing of Sulla's death in 78 BC, Caesar felt safe enough to return to Rome. He lacked means since his inheritance was confiscated, but he acquired a modest house in Subura, a lower-class neighborhood of Rome. He turned to legal advocacy and became known for his exceptional oratory accompanied by impassioned gestures and a high-pitched voice, and ruthless prosecution of former governors notorious for extortion and corruption.

On the way across the Aegean Sea, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held prisoner. He maintained an attitude of superiority throughout his captivity. The pirates demanded a ransom of 20 talents of silver, but he insisted that they ask for 50. After the ransom was paid, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates, and imprisoned them. He had them crucified on his own authority, as he had promised while in captivity—a promise that the pirates had taken as a joke. As a sign of leniency, he first had their throats cut. He was soon called back into military action in Asia, raising a band of auxiliaries to repel an incursion from the east.

On his return to Rome, he was elected military tribune, a first step in a political career. He was elected quaestor for 69 BC, and during that year he delivered the funeral oration for his aunt Julia, and included images of her husband Marius in the funeral procession, unseen since the days of Sulla. His wife Cornelia also died that year. Caesar went to serve his quaestorship in Spain after her funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC. While there, he is said to have encountered a statue of Alexander the Great, and realized with dissatisfaction that he was now at an age when Alexander had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively little. On his return in 67 BC, he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla, whom he later divorced.

In 63 BC, he ran for election to the post of Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the Roman state religion. He ran against two powerful senators. Accusations of bribery were made by all sides. Caesar won comfortably, despite his opponents' greater experience and standing. Cicero was consul that year, and he exposed Catiline's conspiracy to seize control of the republic; several senators accused Caesar of involvement in the plot.

After serving as praetor in 62 BC, Caesar was appointed to govern Hispania Ulterior (modern south-eastern Spain) as propraetor, though some sources suggest that he held proconsular powers. He was still in considerable debt and needed to satisfy his creditors before he could leave. He turned to Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of Rome's richest men. Crassus paid some of Caesar's debts and acted as guarantor for others, in return for political support in his opposition to the interests of Pompey. Even so, to avoid becoming a private citizen and thus be open to prosecution for his debts, Caesar left for his province before his praetorship had ended. In Spain, he conquered two local tribes and was hailed as imperator by his troops; he reformed the law regarding debts, and completed his governorship in high esteem.

Caesar was acclaimed Imperator in 60 and 45 BC. In the Roman Republic, this was an honorary title assumed by certain military commanders. After an especially great victory, army troops in the field would proclaim their commander imperator, an acclamation necessary for a general to apply to the Senate for a triumph. However, he also wanted to stand for consul, the most senior magistracy in the republic. If he were to celebrate a triumph, he would have to remain a soldier and stay outside the city until the ceremony, but to stand for election he would need to lay down his command and enter Rome as a private citizen. He could not do both in the time available. He asked the senate for permission to stand in absentia, but Cato blocked the proposal. Faced with the choice between a triumph and the consulship, Caesar chose the consulship.

Consulship and military campaigns

In 60 BC, Caesar sought election as consul for 59 BC, along with two other candidates. The election was sordid – even Cato, with his reputation for incorruptibility, is said to have resorted to bribery in favor of one of Caesar's opponents. Caesar won, along with conservative Marcus Bibulus.

Caesar was already in Crassus' political debt, but he also made overtures to Pompey. Pompey and Crassus had been at odds for a decade, so Caesar tried to reconcile them. The three of them had enough money and political influence to control public business. This informal alliance, known as the First Triumvirate ("rule of three men"), was cemented by the marriage of Pompey to Caesar's daughter Julia. Caesar also married again, this time Calpurnia, who was the daughter of another powerful senator.

Caesar proposed a law for redistributing public lands to the poor—by force of arms, if need be—a proposal supported by Pompey and by Crassus, making the triumvirate public. Pompey filled the city with soldiers, a move which intimidated the triumvirate's opponents. Bibulus attempted to declare the omens unfavorable and thus void the new law, but he was driven from the forum by Caesar's armed supporters. His bodyguards had their ceremonial axes broken, two high magistrates accompanying him were wounded, and he had a bucket of excrement thrown over him. In fear of his life, he retired to his house for the rest of the year, issuing occasional proclamations of bad omens. These attempts proved ineffective in obstructing Caesar's legislation. Roman satirists ever after referred to the year as "the consulship of Julius and Caesar."

When Caesar was first elected, the aristocracy tried to limit his future power by allotting the woods and pastures of Italy, rather than the governorship of a province, as his military command duty after his year in office was over. With the help of political allies, Caesar later overturned this, and was instead appointed to govern Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) and Illyricum (southeastern Europe), with Transalpine Gaul (southern France) later added, giving him command of four legions. The term of his governorship, and thus his immunity from prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the usual one. When his consulship ended, Caesar narrowly avoided prosecution for the irregularities of his year in office, and quickly left for his province.

Conquest of Gaul

Caesar was still deeply in debt, but there was money to be made as a governor, whether by extortion or by military adventurism. Caesar had four legions under his command, two of his provinces bordered on unconquered territory, and parts of Gaul were known to be unstable. Some of Rome's Gallic allies had been defeated by their rivals at the Battle of Magetobriga, with the help of a contingent of Germanic tribes. The Romans feared these tribes were preparing to migrate south, closer to Italy, and that they had warlike intent. Caesar raised two new legions and defeated these tribes.

In response to Caesar's earlier activities, the tribes in the north-east began to arm themselves. Caesar treated this as an aggressive move and, after an inconclusive engagement against the united tribes, he conquered the tribes piecemeal. Meanwhile, one of his legions began the conquest of the tribes in the far north, directly opposite Britain. During the spring of 56 BC, the Triumvirs held a conference, as Rome was in turmoil and Caesar's political alliance was coming undone. The Lucca Conference renewed the First Triumvirate and extended Caesar's governorship for another five years. The conquest of the north was soon completed, while a few pockets of resistance remained. Caesar now had a secure base from which to launch an invasion of Britain.

In 55 BC, Caesar repelled an incursion into Gaul by two Germanic tribes, and followed it up by building a bridge across the Rhine and making a show of force in Germanic territory, before returning and dismantling the bridge. Late that summer, having subdued two other tribes, he crossed into Britain, claiming that the Britons had aided one of his enemies the previous year, possibly the Veneti of Brittany. His intelligence information was poor, and although he gained a beachhead on the coast, he could not advance further, and returned to Gaul for the winter. He returned the following year, better prepared and with a larger force, and achieved more. He advanced inland, and established a few alliances. However, poor harvests led to widespread revolt in Gaul, which forced Caesar to leave Britain for the last time.

While Caesar was in Britain his daughter Julia, Pompey's wife, had died in childbirth. Caesar tried to re-secure Pompey's support by offering him his great-niece in marriage, but Pompey declined. In 53 BC Crassus was killed leading a failed invasion of the east. Rome was on the brink of civil war. Pompey was appointed sole consul as an emergency measure, and married the daughter of a political opponent of Caesar. The Triumvirate was dead.

Though the Gallic tribes were just as strong as the Romans militarily, the internal division among the Gauls guaranteed an easy victory for Caesar. Vercingetorix's attempt in 52 BC to unite them against Roman invasion came too late. He proved an astute commander, defeating Caesar in several engagements, but Caesar's elaborate siege-works at the Battle of Alesia finally forced his surrender. Despite scattered outbreaks of warfare the following year, Gaul was effectively conquered. Plutarch claimed that during the Gallic Wars the army had fought against three million men (of whom one million died, and another million were enslaved), subjugated 300 tribes, and destroyed 800 cities.

Civil war

In 50 BC, the Senate, led by Pompey, ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as governor had finished. Caesar thought he would be prosecuted if he entered Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a magistrate. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason. In January 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon river (the frontier boundary of Italy) with only one legion and ignited civil war. Upon crossing the Rubicon, Caesar, according to Plutarch and Suetonius, is supposed to have quoted the Athenian playwright Menander, in Greek, "the die is cast".[63] Erasmus, however, notes that the more accurate Latin translation of the Greek imperative mood would be "alea iacta esto", let the die be cast.[64] Pompey and many of the Senate fled to the south, having little confidence in his newly raised troops. Despite greatly outnumbering Caesar, who only had his Thirteenth Legion with him, Pompey did not intend to fight. Caesar pursued Pompey, hoping to capture him before his legions could escape.

Pompey managed to escape before Caesar could capture him. Heading for Spain, Caesar left Italy under the control of Mark Antony. After an astonishing 27-day route-march, Caesar defeated Pompey's lieutenants, then returned east, to challenge Pompey in Illyria, where, in July 48 BC in the battle of Dyrrhachium, Caesar barely avoided a catastrophic defeat. In an exceedingly short engagement later that year, he decisively defeated Pompey at Pharsalus, in Greece.

In Rome, Caesar was appointed dictator, with Mark Antony as his Master of the Horse (second in command); Caesar presided over his own election to a second consulship and then, after 11 days, resigned this dictatorship. Caesar then pursued Pompey to Egypt, arriving soon after the murder of the general. There, Caesar was presented with Pompey's severed head and seal-ring, receiving these with tears. He then had Pompey's assassins put to death.

Caesar then became involved with an Egyptian civil war between the child pharaoh and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, Cleopatra. Perhaps as a result of the pharaoh's role in Pompey's murder, Caesar sided with Cleopatra. He withstood the Siege of Alexandria and later he defeated the pharaoh's forces at the Battle of the Nile in 47 BC and installed Cleopatra as ruler. Caesar and Cleopatra celebrated their victory with a triumphal procession on the Nile in the spring of 47 BC. The royal barge was accompanied by 400 additional ships, and Caesar was introduced to the luxurious lifestyle of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Caesar and Cleopatra were not married. Caesar continued his relationship with Cleopatra throughout his last marriage – in Roman eyes, this did not constitute adultery – and probably fathered a son called Caesarion. Cleopatra visited Rome on more than one occasion, residing in Caesar's villa just outside Rome across the Tiber.

Late in 48 BC, Caesar was again appointed dictator, with a term of one year. After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to the Middle East, where he annihilated the king of Pontus; his victory was so swift and complete that he mocked Pompey's previous victories over such poor enemies. On his way to Pontus, Caesar visited Tarsus from 27 to 29 May 47 BC (25–27 Maygreg.), where he met enthusiastic support, but where, according to Cicero, Cassius was planning to kill him at this point. Thence, he proceeded to Africa to deal with the remnants of Pompey's senatorial supporters. He quickly gained a significant victory in 46 BC over Cato, who then committed suicide.

After this victory, he was appointed dictator for 10 years. Pompey's sons escaped to Spain; Caesar gave chase and defeated the last remnants of opposition in the Battle of Munda in March 45 BC. During this time, Caesar was elected to his third and fourth terms as consul in 46 BC and 45 BC (this last time without a colleague).

Dictatorship and assassination

While he was still campaigning in Spain, the Senate began bestowing honors on Caesar. Caesar had not proscribed his enemies, instead pardoning almost all, and there was no serious public opposition to him. Great games and celebrations were held in April to honor Caesar’s victory at Munda. Plutarch writes that many Romans found the triumph held following Caesar's victory to be in poor taste, as those defeated in the civil war had not been foreigners, but instead fellow Romans. On Caesar's return to Italy in September 45 BC, he filed his will, naming his grandnephew Gaius Octavius (Octavian, later known as Augustus Caesar) as his principal heir, leaving his vast estate and property including his name. Caesar also wrote that if Octavian died before Caesar did, Decimus Junius Brutus would be the next heir in succession. In his will, he also left a substantial gift to the citizens of Rome.

During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system that had made its members rich.

Between his crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BC, and his assassination in 44 BC, Caesar established a new constitution, which was intended to accomplish three separate goals. First, he wanted to suppress all armed resistance out in the provinces, and thus bring order back to the empire. Second, he wanted to create a strong central government in Rome. Finally, he wanted to knit together the entire empire into a single cohesive unit.

The first goal was accomplished when Caesar defeated Pompey and his supporters. To accomplish the other two goals, he needed to ensure that his control over the government was undisputed, so he assumed these powers by increasing his own authority, and by decreasing the authority of Rome's other political institutions. Finally, he enacted a series of reforms that were meant to address several long-neglected issues, the most important of which was his reform of the calendar.


When Caesar returned to Rome, the Senate granted him triumphs for his victories, ostensibly those over Gaul, Egypt, Pharnaces, and Juba, rather than over his Roman opponents. Not everything went Caesar's way. When Arsinoe IV, Egypt's former queen, was paraded in chains, the spectators admired her dignified bearing and were moved to pity. Triumphal games were held, with beast-hunts involving 400 lions, and gladiator contests. A naval battle was held on a flooded basin at the Field of Mars. At the Circus Maximus, two armies of war captives, each of 2,000 people, 200 horses, and 20 elephants, fought to the death. Again, some bystanders complained, this time at Caesar's wasteful extravagance. A riot broke out, and only stopped when Caesar had two rioters sacrificed by the priests on the Field of Mars.

After the triumph, Caesar set out to pass an ambitious legislative agenda. He ordered a census be taken, which forced a reduction in the grain dole, and that jurors could only come from the Senate or the equestrian ranks. He passed a sumptuary law that restricted the purchase of certain luxuries. After this, he passed a law that rewarded families for having many children, to speed up the repopulation of Italy. Then, he outlawed professional guilds, except those of ancient foundation, since many of these were subversive political clubs. He then passed a term-limit law applicable to governors. He passed a debt-restructuring law, which ultimately eliminated about a fourth of all debts owed.

The Forum of Caesar, with its Temple of Venus Genetrix, was then built, among many other public works. Caesar also tightly regulated the purchase of state-subsidized grain and reduced the number of recipients to a fixed number, all of whom were entered into a special register. From 47 to 44 BC, he made plans for the distribution of land to about 15,000 of his veterans.

The most important change, however, was his reform of the calendar. The calendar was then regulated by the movement of the moon, and this had left it in a mess. Caesar replaced this calendar with the Egyptian calendar, which was regulated by the sun. He set the length of the year to 365.25 days by adding an intercalary/leap day at the end of February every fourth year.

To bring the calendar into alignment with the seasons, he decreed that three extra months be inserted into 46 BC (the ordinary intercalary month at the end of February, and two extra months after November). Thus, the Julian calendar opened on 1 January 45 BC. This calendar is almost identical to the current Western calendar.

Shortly before his assassination, he passed a few more reforms. He established a police force, appointed officials to carry out his land reforms, and ordered the rebuilding of Carthage and Corinth. He also extended Latin rights throughout the Roman world, and then abolished the tax system and reverted to the earlier version that allowed cities to collect tribute however they wanted, rather than needing Roman intermediaries. His assassination prevented further and larger schemes, which included the construction of an unprecedented temple to Mars, a huge theater, and a library on the scale of the Library of Alexandria.

He also wanted to convert Ostia to a major port, and cut a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth. Militarily, he wanted to conquer the Dacians and Parthians, and avenge the loss at Carrhae. Thus, he instituted a massive mobilization. Shortly before his assassination, the Senate named him censor for life and Father of the Fatherland, and the month of Quintilis was renamed July in his honor.

He was granted further honors, which were later used to justify his assassination as a would-be divine monarch: coins were issued bearing his image and his statue was placed next to those of the kings. He was granted a golden chair in the Senate, was allowed to wear triumphal dress whenever he chose, and was offered a form of semiofficial or popular cult, with Mark Antony as his high priest.

Political reforms

The history of Caesar's political appointments is complex and uncertain. Caesar held both the dictatorship and the tribunate, but alternated between the consulship and the proconsulship. His powers within the state seem to have rested upon these magistracies. He was first appointed dictator in 49 BC, possibly to preside over elections, but resigned his dictatorship within 11 days. In 48 BC, he was reappointed dictator, only this time for an indefinite period, and in 46 BC, he was appointed dictator for 10 years.

In 48 BC, Caesar was given permanent tribunician powers, which made his person sacrosanct and allowed him to veto the Senate, although on at least one occasion, tribunes did attempt to obstruct him. The offending tribunes in this case were brought before the Senate and divested of their office. This was not the first time Caesar had violated a tribune's sacrosanctity. After he had first marched on Rome in 49 BC, he forcibly opened the treasury, although a tribune had the seal placed on it. After the impeachment of the two obstructive tribunes, Caesar, perhaps unsurprisingly, faced no further opposition from other members of the Tribunician College.

When Caesar returned to Rome in 47 BC, the ranks of the Senate had been severely depleted, so he used his censorial powers to appoint many new senators, which eventually raised the Senate's membership to 900. All the appointments were of his own partisans, which robbed the senatorial aristocracy of its prestige, and made the Senate increasingly subservient to him. To minimize the risk that another general might attempt to challenge him, Caesar passed a law that subjected governors to term limits.

In 46 BC, Caesar gave himself the title of "Prefect of the Morals", which was an office that was new only in name, as its powers were identical to those of the censors. Thus, he could hold censorial powers, while technically not subjecting himself to the same checks to which the ordinary censors were subject, and he used these powers to fill the Senate with his own partisans. He also set the precedent, which his imperial successors followed, of requiring the Senate to bestow various titles and honors upon him. He was, for example, given the title of "Father of the Fatherland" and "imperator".

Coins bore his likeness, and he was given the right to speak first during Senate meetings. Caesar then increased the number of magistrates who were elected each year, which created a large pool of experienced magistrates, and allowed Caesar to reward his supporters.

Caesar even took steps to transform Italy into a province, and to link more tightly the other provinces of the empire into a single cohesive unit. This addressed the underlying problem that had caused the Social War decades earlier, where individuals outside Rome and Italy were not considered "Roman", thus were not given full citizenship rights. This process, of fusing the entire Roman Empire into a single unit, rather than maintaining it as a network of unequal principalities, would ultimately be completed by Caesar's successor, the emperor Augustus.

In February 44 BC, one month before his assassination, he was appointed dictator for life. Under Caesar, a significant amount of authority was vested in his lieutenants, mostly because Caesar was frequently out of Italy. In October 45 BC, Caesar resigned his position as sole consul, and facilitated the election of two successors for the remainder of the year, which theoretically restored the ordinary consulship, since the constitution did not recognize a single consul without a colleague.

Near the end of his life, Caesar began to prepare for a war against the Parthian Empire. Since his absence from Rome might limit his ability to install his own consuls, he passed a law which allowed him to appoint all magistrates in 43 BC, and all consuls and tribunes in 42 BC. This, in effect, transformed the magistrates from being representatives of the people to being representatives of the dictator.


On the Ides of March (15 March; see Roman calendar) of 44 BC, Caesar was due to appear at a session of the Senate. Mark Antony, having vaguely learned of the plot the night before from a terrified liberator named Servilius Casca, and fearing the worst, went to head Caesar off. The plotters, however, had anticipated this and, fearing that Antony would come to Caesar's aid, had arranged for Trebonius to intercept him just as he approached the portico of the Theatre of Pompey, where the session was to be held, and detain him outside. (Plutarch, however, assigns this action to delay Antony to Brutus Albinus.) When he heard the commotion from the Senate chamber, Antony fled.

According to Plutarch, as Caesar arrived at the Senate, Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother. The other conspirators crowded round to offer support. Both Plutarch and Suetonius say that Caesar waved him away, but Cimber grabbed his shoulders and pulled down Caesar's tunic. Caesar then cried to Cimber, "Why, this is violence!" ("Ista quidem vis est!").

At the same time, Casca produced his dagger and made a glancing thrust at the dictator's neck. Caesar turned around quickly and caught Casca by the arm. According to Plutarch, he said in Latin, "Casca, you villain, what are you doing?" Casca, frightened, shouted, "Help, brother!" in Greek ("ἀδελφέ, βοήθει", "adelphe, boethei"). Within moments, the entire group, including Brutus, was striking out at the dictator. Caesar attempted to get away, but, blinded by blood, he tripped and fell; the men continued stabbing him as he lay defenceless on the lower steps of the portico. According to Eutropius, around 60 or more men participated in the assassination. He was stabbed 23 times.

According to Suetonius, a physician later established that only one wound, the second one to his chest, had been lethal. The dictator's last words are not known with certainty, and are a contested subject among scholars and historians alike. Suetonius reports that others have said Caesar's last words were the Greek phrase "καὶ σύ, τέκνον;" (transliterated as "Kai su, teknon?": "You too, child?" in English). However, for himself, Suetonius says Caesar said nothing.

Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators. The version best known in the English-speaking world is the Latin phrase "Et tu, Brute?" ("And you, Brutus?", commonly rendered as "You too, Brutus?"); this derives from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, where it actually forms the first half of a macaronic line: "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar." It has no basis in historical fact and Shakespeare's use of Latin here is not from any assertion that Caesar would have been using the language, rather than the Greek reported by Suetonius, but because the phrase was already popular when the play was written.

According to Plutarch, after the assassination, Brutus stepped forward as if to say something to his fellow senators; they, however, fled the building. Brutus and his companions then marched to the Capitol while crying out to their beloved city: "People of Rome, we are once again free!" They were met with silence, as the citizens of Rome had locked themselves inside their houses as soon as the rumor of what had taken place had begun to spread. Caesar's dead body lay where it fell on the Senate floor for nearly three hours before other officials arrived to remove it.

Caesar's body was cremated, and on the site of his cremation, the Temple of Caesar was erected a few years later (at the east side of the main square of the Roman Forum). Only its altar now remains. A lifesize wax statue of Caesar was later erected in the forum displaying the 23 stab wounds. A crowd who had gathered there started a fire, which badly damaged the forum and neighboring buildings. In the ensuing chaos, Mark Antony, Octavian (later Augustus Caesar), and others fought a series of five civil wars, which would end in the formation of the Roman Empire.

Aftermath of the assassination

The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic. The Roman middle and lower classes, with whom Caesar was immensely popular and had been since before Gaul, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had killed their champion. Antony, who had been drifting apart from Caesar, capitalised on the grief of the Roman mob and threatened to unleash them on the Optimates, perhaps with the intent of taking control of Rome himself. To his surprise and chagrin, Caesar had named his grandnephew Gaius Octavian his sole heir, bequeathing him the immensely potent Caesar name and making him one of the wealthiest citizens in the Republic.

The crowd at the funeral boiled over, throwing dry branches, furniture, and even clothing on to Caesar's funeral pyre, causing the flames to spin out of control, seriously damaging the Forum. The mob then attacked the houses of Brutus and Cassius, where they were repelled only with considerable difficulty, ultimately providing the spark for the Liberators' civil war, fulfilling at least in part Antony's threat against the aristocrats. Antony did not foresee the ultimate outcome of the next series of civil wars, particularly with regard to Caesar's adopted heir. Octavian, aged only 18 when Caesar died, proved to have considerable political skills, and while Antony dealt with Decimus Brutus in the first round of the new civil wars, Octavian consolidated his tenuous position.

To combat Brutus and Cassius, who were massing an enormous army in Greece, Antony needed soldiers, the cash from Caesar's war chests, and the legitimacy that Caesar's name would provide for any action he took against them. With the passage of the lex Titia on 27 November 43 BC, the Second Triumvirate was officially formed, composed of Antony, Octavian, and Caesar's loyal cavalry commander Lepidus. It formally deified Caesar as Divus Iulius in 42 BC, and Caesar Octavian henceforth became Divi filius ("Son of a god").

Because Caesar's clemency had resulted in his murder, the Second Triumvirate reinstated the practice of proscription, abandoned since Sulla. It engaged in the legally sanctioned murder of a large number of its opponents to secure funding for its 45 legions in the second civil war against Brutus and Cassius. Antony and Octavian defeated them at Philippi.

Afterward, Mark Antony formed an alliance with Caesar's lover, Cleopatra, intending to use the fabulously wealthy Egypt as a base to dominate Rome. A third civil war broke out between Octavian on one hand and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. This final civil war, culminating in the latter's defeat at Actium, resulted in the permanent ascendancy of Octavian, who became the first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus, a name that raised him to the status of a deity.

Julius Caesar had been preparing to invade Parthia, the Caucasus, and Scythia, and then march back to Germania through Eastern Europe. These plans were thwarted by his assassination. His successors did attempt the conquests of Parthia and Germania, but without lasting results.


Julius Caesar was the first historical Roman to be officially deified. He was posthumously granted the title Divus Iulius or Divus Julius (the divine Julius or the deified Julius) by decree of the Roman Senate on 1 January 42 BC. The appearance of a comet during games in his honour was taken as confirmation of his divinity. Though his temple was not dedicated until after his death, he may have received divine honors during his lifetime: and shortly before his assassination, Mark Antony had been appointed as his flamen (priest). Both Octavian and Mark Antony promoted the cult of Divus Iulius. After the death of Antony, Octavian, as the adoptive son of Caesar, assumed the title of Divi Filius (son of a god).

Personal life

Health and physical appearance

Based on remarks by Plutarch, Caesar is sometimes thought to have suffered from epilepsy. Modern scholarship is "sharply divided" on the subject, and some scholars believe that he was plagued by malaria, particularly during the Sullan proscriptions of the 80s. Several specialists in headache medicine believe that instead of epilepsy, a more accurate diagnosis would be migraine headache. Other scholars contend his epileptic seizures were due to a parasitic infection in the brain by a tapeworm.

Caesar had four documented episodes of what may have been complex partial seizures. He may additionally have had absence seizures in his youth. The earliest accounts of these seizures were made by the biographer Suetonius, who was born after Caesar died. The claim of epilepsy is countered among some medical historians by a claim of hypoglycemia, which can cause epileptoid seizures.

In 2003, psychiatrist Harbour F. Hodder published what he termed as the "Caesar Complex" theory, arguing that Caesar was a sufferer of temporal lobe epilepsy and the debilitating symptoms of the condition were a factor in Caesar's conscious decision to forgo personal safety in the days leading up to his assassination.

A line from Shakespeare has sometimes been taken to mean that he was deaf in one ear: Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf. No classical source mentions hearing impairment in connection with Caesar. The playwright may have been making metaphorical use of a passage in Plutarch that does not refer to deafness at all, but rather to a gesture Alexander of Macedon customarily made. By covering his ear, Alexander indicated that he had turned his attention from an accusation in order to hear the defense.

The Roman historian Suetonius describes Caesar as "tall of stature with a fair complexion, shapely limbs, a somewhat full face, and keen black eyes."

Name and family

Using the Latin alphabet of the period, which lacked the letters J and U, Caesar's name would be rendered GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR; the form CAIVS is also attested, using the older Roman representation of G by C. The standard abbreviation was C. IVLIVS CÆSAR, reflecting the older spelling. (The letterform Æ is a ligature of the letters A and E, and is often used in Latin inscriptions to save space.)

In Classical Latin, it was pronounced [%CB%88%C9%A1a%CB%90jus ˈjuːljus ˈkajsar]. In the days of the late Roman Republic, many historical writings were done in Greek, a language most educated Romans studied. Young wealthy Roman boys were often taught by Greek slaves and sometimes sent to Athens for advanced training, as was Caesar's principal assassin, Brutus. In Greek, during Caesar's time, his family name was written Καίσαρ, reflecting its contemporary pronunciation. Thus, his name is pronounced in a similar way to the pronunciation of the German Kaiser.

In Vulgar Latin, the plosive /k/ before front vowels began, due to palatalization, to be pronounced as an affricate, hence renderings like [%CB%88t%CA%83e%CB%90sar] in Italian and [%CB%88tse%CB%90sar] in German regional pronunciations of Latin, as well as the title of Tsar. With the evolution of the Romance languages, the affricate [ts] became a fricative [s] (thus, [%CB%88se%CB%90sar]) in many regional pronunciations, including the French one, from which the modern English pronunciation is derived. The original /k/ is preserved in Norse mythology, where he is manifested as the legendary king Kjárr.

Caesar's cognomen itself became a title; it was promulgated by the Bible, which contains the famous verse "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's". The title became Kaiser in German and Tsar or Czar in the Slavic languages. The last tsar in nominal power was Simeon II of Bulgaria, whose reign ended in 1946. This means that for two thousand years after Julius Caesar's assassination, there was at least one head of state bearing his name.


  • Father Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder (proconsul of Asia in 90s BC)
  • Mother Aurelia (related to the Aurelii Cottae)


  • Julia Caesaris "Major" (the elder)
  • Julia Caesaris "Minor" (the younger)


  • First marriage to Cornelia Cinnilla, from 83 BC until her death in 69 or 68 BC
  • Second marriage to Pompeia, from 67 BC until he divorced her around 61 BC
  • Third marriage to Calpurnia Pisonis, from 59 BC until Caesar's death


  • Julia, with Cornelia Cinnilla, born in 83 or 82 BC
  • Caesarion, with Cleopatra VII, born 47 BC, and killed at age 17 by Caesar's adopted son Octavianus.
  • adopted: Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, his great-nephew by blood (grandson of Julia, his sister), who later became Emperor Augustus.
  • Marcus Junius Brutus: The historian Plutarch notes that Caesar believed Brutus to have been his illegitimate son, as his mother Servilia had been Caesar's lover during their youth.
  • Junia Tertia, the daughter of Caesar's lover Servilia Caepionis was believed by Cicero among other contemporaries, to be Caesar's natural daughter.


  • Grandson from Julia and Pompey, dead at several days, unnamed.


  • Cleopatra VII, mother of Caesarion
  • Servilia Caepionis, mother of Brutus
  • Eunoë, queen of Mauretania and wife of Bogudes

Notable relatives

  • Gaius Marius (married to his paternal aunt Julia)
  • Mark Antony (his relative through Antony's mother Julia)
  • Lucius Julius Caesar (his third-cousin)
  • Julius Sabinus, a Gaul of the Lingones at the time of the Batavian rebellion of AD 69, claimed to be the great-grandson of Caesar on the grounds that his great-grandmother had been Caesar's lover during the Gallic Wars.

Rumors of homosexuality

Roman society viewed the passive role during sexual activity, regardless of gender, to be a sign of submission or inferiority. Indeed, Suetonius says that in Caesar's Gallic triumph, his soldiers sang that, "Caesar may have conquered the Gauls, but Nicomedes conquered Caesar." According to Cicero, Bibulus, Gaius Memmius, and others (mainly Caesar's enemies), he had an affair with Nicomedes IV of Bithynia early in his career. The tales were repeated, referring to Caesar as the Queen of Bithynia, by some Roman politicians as a way to humiliate him. Caesar himself denied the accusations repeatedly throughout his lifetime, and according to Cassius Dio, even under oath on one occasion. This form of slander was popular during this time in the Roman Republic to demean and discredit political opponents. A favorite tactic used by the opposition was to accuse a popular political rival as living a Hellenistic lifestyle based on Greek and Eastern culture, where homosexuality and a lavish lifestyle were more acceptable than in Roman tradition.

Catullus wrote two poems suggesting that Caesar and his engineer Mamurra were lovers,[138] but later apologised.

Mark Antony charged that Octavian had earned his adoption by Caesar through sexual favors. Suetonius described Antony's accusation of an affair with Octavian as political slander. Octavian eventually became the first Roman Emperor.

Literary works

During his lifetime, Caesar was regarded as one of the best orators and prose authors in Latin — even Cicero spoke highly of Caesar's rhetoric and style. Only Caesar's war commentaries have survived. A few sentences from other works are quoted by other authors. Among his lost works are his funeral oration for his paternal aunt Julia and his Anticato, a document written to defame Cato in response to Cicero's published praise. Poems by Julius Caesar are also mentioned in ancient sources.


  • The Commentarii de Bello Gallico, usually known in English as The Gallic Wars, seven books each covering one year of his campaigns in Gaul and southern Britain in the 50s BC, with the eighth book written by Aulus Hirtius on the last two years.
  • The Commentarii de Bello Civili (The Civil War), events of the Civil War from Caesar's perspective, until immediately after Pompey's death in Egypt.

Other works historically have been attributed to Caesar, but their authorship is in doubt:

  • De Bello Alexandrino (On the Alexandrine War), campaign in Alexandria;
  • De Bello Africo (On the African War), campaigns in North Africa; and
  • De Bello Hispaniensi (On the Hispanic War), campaigns in the Iberian Peninsula.

These narratives were written and published annually during or just after the actual campaigns, as a sort of "dispatches from the front." They were important in shaping Caesar's public image and enhancing his reputation when he was away from Rome for long periods. They may have been presented as public readings. As a model of clear and direct Latin style, The Gallic Wars traditionally has been studied by first- or second-year Latin students.



The texts written by Caesar, an autobiography of the most important events of his public life, are the most complete primary source for the reconstruction of his biography. However, Caesar wrote those texts with his political career in mind, so historians must struggle to filter the exaggerations and bias contained in it. The Roman emperor Augustus began a cult of personality of Caesar, which described Augustus as Caesar's political heir. The modern historiography is influenced by the Octavian traditions, such as when Caesar's epoch is considered a turning point in the history of the Roman Empire. Still, historians try to filter the Octavian bias.

Many rulers in history became interested in the historiography of Caesar. Napoleon III wrote the scholary work Histoire de Jules César, which was not finished. The second volume listed previous rulers interested in the topic. Charles VIII ordered a monk to prepare a translation of the Gallic Wars in 1480. Charles V ordered a topographic study in France, to place in Gallic Wars in context; which created forty high-quality maps of the conflict. The contemporary Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent catalogued the surviving editions of the Commentaries, and translated them to Turkish language. Henry IV and Louis XIII of France translated the first two commentaries and the last two respectively; Louis XIV retranslated the first one afterwards.


Julius Caesar is seen as the main example of Caesarism, a form of political rule led by a charismatic strongman whose rule is based upon a cult of personality, whose rationale is the need to rule by force, establishing a violent social order, and being a regime involving prominence of the military in the government. Other people in history, such as the French Napoleon Bonaparte and the Italian Benito Mussolini, have defined themselves as Caesarists. Bonaparte did not focus only on Caesar's military career but also on his relation with the masses, a predecessor to populism. The word is also used in a pejorative manner by critics of this type of political rule.

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Julius Caesar, Roman Dictator's Timeline

July 12, -100
Roma, Italia (Italy)
January 1, -59
- January 1, -58
Age 40
Roman Republic
October -49
- March 15, -44
Age 51
Roman Republic
January 1, -48
- January 1, -47
Age 51
Roman Republic
June 23, -47
Alexandria (Egito)