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Gaius Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar was born on 13 July 100 BC to Gaius Caesar and Aurelia. His father was a praetor, while his father's sister, Julia was married to Gaius Marius- the leader of Rome at that time (Meier 24). He grew up to become a Roman statesman, general and famous author. As a politician and statesman, he is credit with changing the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire that came to rule most of modern-day Europe and North Africa. He came to be considered a dictator by some people, especially in the senate, where a group of senators led by Brutus conspired and assassinated him. After his death, civil war broke out in the Republic before his adopted son Octavius (later Augustus) succeeded him as ruler of the Roman Empire.

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In 85 BC, his father died suddenly and Julius Caesar became the head of the family at age sixteen. The following year he was appointed the priest of Jupiter and he married a patrician, Cornelia, the daughter of Lucius Cinna. From 82 BC to 80 BC, the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla took control of Rome and started killing his political opponents and anyone seen as being sympathetic to Gaius Marius, Caesar's uncle. Caesar was also targeted and he had to flee into exile. Sulla later reluctantly pardoned him after the intervention of his mother's influential family and connections. He joined the army and was posted to Cilicia as a military assistant, and he distinguished himself as a courageous soldier. After leaving the army he went to Italy to further his education, and this was to later boost him immensely in his political career as he distinguished himself as a polished orator.

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After the demise of Sulla, Julius Caesar returned to Rome and was elected first as military tribune, then in 69 BC as quaestor of Spain. In 67 BC he returned to Rome and married Pompeia, the granddaughter of Sulla, but later divorced her on suspicion of adultery. In 64 BC he clinched the post of chief priest of the Roman State. At the end of his praetorship, Caesar was sent back to Spain as governor. In 59 BC he returned to Rome and formed a powerful political alliance known as 'The First Triumvate' with Pompey and Crassus. This alliance propelled him to the highest electoral office in the land, The Consul of Rome. In 58 BC Julius Caesar left for a military campaign to Gaul where he enjoyed formidable victories.

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In January 49 BC, Julius Caesar went back to Italy and ousted Pompey who was ruler of Rome then (Jimenez 28). He helped Cleopatra ascend to the throne in Egypt and was also involved in a long affair with her. In Rome, he unilaterally appointed new senators, consuls and magistrates instead of having them elected. The assassination of Julius Caesar took place in 44BC and was planned and executed by a group of senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus (his nephew) and Gaius Cassius Longinus. They stabbed him at least 23 times at the foot of the statue of Pompey (Weinstock 204).

Julius Caesar deserves credit for setting the roadmap for the future Roman Empire. His military conquests expanded the territory under Roman rule, opened up the continent to medittarenean civilization, and brought considerable wealth to the Republic. His reforms in public administration swept away the old, corrupt system and ushered in more efficiency. He introduced a new system of taxation. Most of his methods may have been dictatorial, but in the end his rule marked a great turning point for the Roman Empire and much of the world.

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