Julius Caesar was a Roman military and political leader and one of the most influential men in world history. He played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.
A politician of the populares tradition, he formed an unofficial triumvirate with Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus which dominated Roman politics for several years, but was fiercely opposed by optimates like Marcus Porcius Cato and Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus. His conquest of Gaul extended the Roman world all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, and he also conducted the first Roman invasion of Britain in 55 BC; the collapse of the triumvirate, however, led to a stand-off with Pompey and the Senate. Leading his legions across the Rubicon, Caesar began a civil war in 49 BC from which he became the undisputed master of the Roman world.
After assuming control of government, he began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He was proclaimed dictator for life, and he heavily centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic. These events provoked a hitherto friend of Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus, and a group of other senators, to assassinate the dictator on the Ides of March (March 15) in 44 BC. The assassins hoped to restore the normal running of the Republic, but they provoked another Roman civil war, which led eventually to the establishment of the autocratic Roman Empire by Caesar's adopted heir, Gaius Octavianus. In 42 BC, two years after his assassination, the Roman Senate officially sanctified Caesar as one of the Roman deities.
Much of Caesar's life is known from his own Commentaries (Commentarii) on his military campaigns, and other contemporary sources such as the letters and speeches of his political rival Cicero, the historical writings of Sallust, and the poetry of Catullus. Many more details of his life are recorded by later historians, such as Appian, Suetonius, Plutarch, Cassius Dio and Strabo.
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