Julius Caesar was born in 100 BC and lived until his assassination in 44 BC. By most measures, he is considered the first ruler of the Roman Empire, and he was instrumental in transitioning Rome from a Republic. He accomplished this through an alliance of leaders made at the First Triumvirate, culminating in the Gallic Wars and the civil war.
The First Triumvirate
The first triumvirate was an alliance formed by Julius Caesar and two Roman politicians: Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey. The Alliance lasted from 59 BC to 53 BC and paved the way in Rome's transition from a Republic to an Empire. While Julius Caesar was an ally of Crassus, a wealthy businessman as well as a politician, he sought to establish a coalition with Carssus's rival Pompey. These efforts subsequently awarded Julius considerable political power and influence. The agreement essentially staved off civil war in Rome while leading the way for Julius becoming the eventual ruler of the Roman Empire.
The Gallic Wars
From 58 BC to 51 BC, Julius Caesar was responsible for initiating a series of military campaigns against the Gallic tribes, who resided in what is now present-day France. These campaigns were collectively known as the Gallic Wars. The result of the wars was a Roman victory, and greatly expanded the borders of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar, through the constitutional reforms made on his behalf, became the sole ruler of Rome as a result of the victory. By 40 BC, Julius Caesar initiated further campaigns in Europe and Northern Africa, expanding Roman territory in what is now Spain, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey, Israel and Libya.
Caesar's civil war lasted from 49 to 45 BC. Julius Caesar's victory in the civil war, in conjunction with the victories in the Gallic Wars, served to solidify his role as sole leader of the Roman empire. The war was between Julius Caesar and his followers against the Optimates. The Optimates were a politically conservative wing of the Roman senate, and they had strong support of Pompey, one of the main players of the First Triumvirate. Caesar's victory in the war ensured that his main political rivals were defeated. The end result was Rome becoming more of a dictatorship, which was free to pursue any future conquests without internal political intervention.
By 48 BC, Julius Caesar made himself the sole ruler of the Roman Empire by giving himself permanent powers. These powers allowed him to veto any decisions made by the Roman senate. This later led to Julius Caesar's assassination. However, the legacy left by Caesar's reforms paved the way for rule for future Roman leaders including Augustus, Caligula and Marcus Aurelius.
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