Caesar, Julius, in full Gaius Julius. 100 B.C.-44 B.C. Roman general and statesman. Patrician by birth; m. (84 B.C.) Cornelia (d. 68? ), daughter of Lucius Cinna, head of popular party in Rome; identified himself with popular party and became chief rival of Sulla, head of oligarchic party. Quaestor (68 B.C.); curule aedile (65); pontifex maximus (63); praetor (62); propraetor in Spain (61); m. Pompeia, a relative of Pompey.
Succeeded in reconciling the two influential statesmen in Rome, Pompey and Crassus, and with them formed an alliance (First Triumvirate, 60); elected consul (59) and proconsul in Gaul and Illyricum (58); m. (59) Calpurnia. Made military reputation in Gaul (58-50), defeating the Helvetii and Ariovistus (58) and the Belgi (57), invading Britain (55, 54), crossing Rhine (55, 53), and subduing revolt under Vercingetorix (52). When senate, induced by Pompey, voted that he should disband his army by a given date or be regarded as an enemy to the state, led army across the Rubicon (49), small river that separated his province from Italy, and moved against Pompey in Rome, beginning actual fighting of civilwar; quickly mastered all Italy; pursued Pompey to Thessaly and decisively defeated him at Pharsalus (48).
Roman dictator (from 49); aided Cleopatra (49) and brought her to Rome; defeated Pharnaces at Zela (47) and remnants of Pompey' s forces at Thapsus (46) and Munda (45). Offered the crown (Feb. 15, 44), but refused it. Murdered by group of nobles, including Brutus and Cassius, in senate building on ides of March (Mar. 15, 44). Renowned also as orator and writer; his works on the Gallic wars, Commentarii de bello Gallico, and civil war, Commentarii de bello civili, regarded as models of clear, concise, and vigorous historical composition.
While head of Roman state, effected many reforms, including reform of the calendar (Julian calendar, introduced 46 B.C.); prevented by death from completing other reforms he planned, including codifying the law, draining Pontine marshes, enlarging harbor at Ostia, building canal through Isthmus of Corinth.
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