- A rousing orator,
brilliant general, and cunning politician, Julius Caesar was one of
the dominant figures of Western civilization, paving the way for the
Coming from a powerful family, he rose to a position of influence
within the Roman political establishment. After several years of service
in the Senate, at age 40 Caesar formed a ruling alliance with Pompey
and Marcus Licinius Crassus. He then conducted successful campaigns
in the north that brought Gaul under Roman control.
After the death of Crassus and the dissolution of the triumvirate,
Caesar fought Pompey in a struggle for supremacy. In 48 BC he was
elected dictator of Rome, improving provincial administration, extending
citizenship, alleviating Rome's debt, and instituting the Julian calendar.
Despite his great talent and charisma, the autocratic Caesar was regarded
as a threat to the Roman Republic, and in 44 BC he was assassinated
by conspirators. His death opened the way for other would-be autocrats
and actually hastened Rome's transition into an empire ruled by family