Gaius Julius Caesar was born in around 100BC. His parents were Patricians but were not rich by Roman standards. Julius, a noted womaniser, married Cornelia Cinnilla before his 20th birthday. The marriage was frowned upon by Sulla, who became dictator in 81BC and after refusing to divorce Cornelia, Julius left Rome and joined the army. Julius served three years in the army and became noted for his bravery in combat.
In 78BC Sulla died and Julius returned to Rome and became an advocate in the Forum. After Cornelia died in childbirth in 69BC, Julius turned his full attention to politics and ten years later became consul – the highest position in Rome. It was law in Rome at the time that the position of Consul was only held for one year, but at the end of his year Julius did not want to give up power and made an agreement with two friends, Pompey and Crassus, to rule Rome together.
Julius Caesar was responsible for the conquest of Gaul (France) and many other countries that were claimed for Rome. Although his conquests brought advantages and riches to Rome, Julius Caesar was not popular. After Crassus died, Caesar and Pompey quarrelled over who should have the most power. Caesar’s army defeated Pompey and Caesar became ruler. He changed Rome from a Republic to an Empire with himself as Emperor. Many people feared that Caesar wanted to become King and a dictator.
A few days before his death, Julius had been told by a fortune-teller to “Beware the Ides (15th) of March”. On 15th March 44BC when Julius Caesar entered the Senate, a group of Senators known as the ‘Liberators’ were waiting for him. He was stabbed 23 times and fell, dying, at the feet of the statue of Pompey. The former Emperor’s last words are reported to have been “Et tu Brute?” – disbelief that his friend Brutus was among the group of assassins.