Ancient Rome was a kingdom, then a republic, and finally an empire that lasted from 753 BCE to about 476 CE, over a thousand years! Although their impressive ideas and innovations in art, architecture, engineering, and politics were two thousand years ago, their legacy is seen all around us and still influences us today.
Gaius Julius Caesar was a world renowned general, politician, scholar, and dictator. He expanded Rome by conquering the vast region of Gaul and helped initiate the end of the Roman Republic.
Julius Caesar was born in July, 100 BCE in Rome to a patrician family that could trace their lineage to the founding of Rome. At 17, he married the daughter of Cinna, a powerful Roman politician.
WE SHOULD KILL HIM!
Emperor Sulla was at odds with Caesar's father-in-law and his uncle Marius, so Caesar joined the military to escape the conflict. He became an accomplished soldier, a beloved leader, and an influential public speaker with high ranking allies such as General Pompey.
At age 40, Caesar was elected consul. He was a very effective governor and continued to conquer new lands for Rome. After his term ended, Caesar became the Governor of Gaul. Other politicians became jealous of his popularity and power.
THE END OF THE REPUBLIC
A civil war broke out between Caesar and Pompey. Caesar defeated Pompey and retook Rome. In 46 BCE, Caesar made himself dictator for life. He built many buildings and made many changes, including the Julian calendar which we still use today.
People in the Senate thought Caesar seized too much power. They were worried his rule would put an end to the Roman Republic. Led by Cassius and Brutus, the senators plotted to assassinate Caesar. Brutus had been a friend to Caesar.
On March 15, 44 BCE, the "Ides of March", the senators carried out their plan. Caesar entered the Senate for a planned meeting. Senator Casca is said to have struck the first blow, but the other Senators joined in and stabbed Caesar 23 times.
Many Romans despised the Senators for the assassination, and a series of civil wars broke out. Caesar's grandnephew Octavian became Rome's leader, renamed Augustus Caesar. His reign marked the end of the Roman Republic and the start of the Roman Empire.