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Julius Caesar

Italy 13 July 100 BC, Rome, Italy 15 March 44 BC, Rome, Italy


Roman general and statesman Julius Caesar turned the Roman Republic into the powerful Roman Empire. A coup ended his reign, and his life, on the Ides of March.

Allegedly, a descendent of Trojan prince Aeneas, Julius Caesar's auspicious birth, c. July 12 or 13, 100 B.C., marked the beginning of a new chapter in Roman history. By age 31, Caesar had fought in several wars and become involved in Roman politics. After several alliances, he became dictator of the Roman Empire. This led to a senatorial coup, and Caesar's eventual assassination, on the Ides of March.

Following Caesar's death, a power struggle ensued in Rome, leading to the end of the Roman Republic. A mob of lower- and middle-class Romans gathered at Caesar's funeral, with the angry crowd attacking the homes of Cassius and Brutus.

Caesar quickly became a martyr in the new Roman Empire, and just two years after his death he became the first Roman figure to be deified. The Senate also gave him the title "The Divine Julius."

Playing on the late ruler's popularity, Caesar's great-grandnephew, Gaius Octavian, assembled an army to fight back the military troops defending Cassius and Brutus. His victory over Caesar's assassins allowed Octavian, who would assume the name Augustus, to take power in 27 BC and become the first Roman emperor.