Gaius Julius Caesar was a famous Roman dictator and military general.
He was born on 13 July 100 BC to an aristocratic family in Subura, Rome, when Rome was a republic and not an empire.
His father governed the area of Asia controlled by Rome and his sister was married to a very important politician called Gaius Marius.
Caesar’s father died in 85 BC, leaving Caesar as the pater familias (head of the family). At the time, there was a civil war between Marius and his rival Sulla.
Caesar joined the army and fled Rome because he was worried that he would get targeted in the war.
Caesar became a military hero while he was away and returned to Rome to much popularity and new allies like Crassus and Pompey the Great.
Caesar quickly rose up in standing in politics. He put on extravagant games to gain popularity and won the position of Pontifex Maximus (chief priest of Roman religion), beating two experienced senators.
Eventually Caesar was named consul (leader of Rome). He put in laws to give the poor more land and was very popular with the common people.
After his year as consul, Caesar went to Gaul (now northwestern Europe) to govern the province. He took command of an army and invaded Britain twice.
With these successes, Caesar returned home with his army. However, the law was that an army had to break up before entering Rome, which Caesar did not do.
He entered Rome with the army and started a war to overthrow the government.
In 46 BC, Caesar won the civil war and named himself dictator of Rome; this was the start of the Roman Empire.
He built new temples and held celebrations in his own honour which included hunts and gladiator fights.
He created a new central government and brought in a new calendar, which is nearly identical the one we use now!
The Roman senate was worried that Caesar was becoming too powerful and acting like a king rather than an elected leader.
The senate wanted to remove this power to keep the Roman Republic safe, so some senators plotted to kill Caesar.
On the Ides of March, Caesar gave a speech in front of the senate. As he was speaking, a man snuck up behind him and stabbed him.
In total, Caesar was stabbed 23 times and about 60 men took part in the murder.
Caesar’s adopted grandson, Gaius Octavius, was named in Caesar’s will as his heir and so took over Caesar’s position as dictator.
After several years of civil war, Octavius became the first emperor of the Roman Empire and was named Emperor Augustus.
Facts about Julius Caesar
- Julius Caesar was born into a prominent political family.
- Caesar joined the army so he did not get wrapped up in the civil war going on.
- Pontifex Maximus was a position of Chief Priest of the Roman religion.
- Caesar was elected by the senate as consul at age 40.
- Caesar invaded Britain twice to try to bring it into the Roman Empire.
- Caesar’s army did not disband when he re-entered Rome, which was considered an act of war.
- Caesar overthrew the current government and was named dictator of Rome.
- The senate assassinated Caesar because they feared that he was too powerful.
- Emperor Augustus was Caesar’s grandson and the first emperor of the Roman Empire.
- Why did Caesar flee Rome in 85 BC
There was a civil war and Caesar was brother-in-law to one of the leaders, Gaius Marius.
- How did Caesar do well in politics?
He became a military hero and earned powerful allies called Crassus and Pompey.
- How did Caesar become dictator?
When returning from Britain, Caesar led his army into Rome and fought a civil war against the Republic.
- Why did the senate kill Caesar?
They thought that Caesar had too much power as one man and was acting like a king.
- Back to – Ancient Rome