Julius Caesar was a dictator

Julius Caesar: He came, saw and won

Hardly any Roman statesman is as famous today as Julius Caesar. He ruled over the Roman Empire, conquered today's France, had an affair with the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra - and said of himself: "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I won")

It is 100 BC. Gaius Iulius Caesar was born in Rome to an important family. Even as a young man he was very ambitious and wanted to get into politics, but the dictator Sulla at the time was against him. Sulla even demands that Caesar divorce his wife Cornelia because their family has a different political opinion than Sulla himself.

That is why Julius Caesar leaves Rome and goes abroad first: he travels to the east, studies rhetoric in Rhodes and becomes governor in Spain before he returns to his homeland and takes on low offices there. When his wife Cornelia died, Caesar Sulla's granddaughter, Pompeia, married and gained even more prestige in Rome through their relatives. But after a few years he divorced Pompeia.

Julius Caesar aims high

Caesar's goal, however, is very clear: he wants to become consul of Rome in order to have a lot of power in the state - but many of the senators want to prevent that because they hold different political views. That is why Caesar joins two allies: Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Crassus was the richest man in Rome at the time, Pompey was a successful general, and Caesar himself had great political influence and was very well known. Together they found the three-man rule, the so-called triumvirate, and thus rule the Roman Empire.

Julius Caesar's campaigns in Gaul

To expand his dominion as an influential proconsul, Caesar moved to Gaul in 58 BC. There he takes one place after the other - because at this point in time there are many small villages in Gaul that are at war with one another. His army is superior to the small tribes, so that he wins power over Gaul; an area that today includes France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

For ten years the general is on the road in Gaul, leading his master with tactical wisdom and waging bitter battles. The great general even crossed the Rhine, moved to Germania and across the English Channel to Britain - but Caesar could not conquer these areas.

Rome, Greece, Egypt

After many glorious victories, Caesar then has to return to Rome. His fellow consul Crassus died on a campaign and Pompey, the third ally, now wants to rule the state alone.

Of course, Caesar will not accept that; after all, he is also consul of Rome. He declares war on Pompey. Pompey flees to Greece, but Caesar follows him and defeats his army. But Pompey escapes and moves on to Egypt. The then Egyptian King Ptolemy XIII left him there. to murder. Caesar himself makes his way to Egypt and meets Cleopatra, the beautiful daughter of the king and later ruler of the country.

Julius Caesar falls in love with her and stays in Egypt for some time. Together, Caesar and Cleopatra have a son, Caesarion - while his third wife, Calpurnia, whom he married before he left for Gaul, is waiting for him in Rome.

Dictator for life

Although Caesar likes Egypt, the affairs of government call him back to Rome. Here he wants to rebuild everything, create new laws and reorganize and improve the Roman Empire under his rule. Caesar even changed the previous lunar calendar; it introduces the leap year and determines the length of the months. A modified form of this "Julian" calendar still exists today, and the month of July is also named after the great general.

In order to make all these changes, Caesar allows himself to be appointed dictator for life. Normally that was not even possible in what was then Rome. No ruler should be able to rule the state alone for such a long period of time. But Caesar simply changes the law and thereby gains full power over the Roman Empire. The senators, who have long been against Caesar's rule, don't like it at all - they band together against him.

Julius Caesar's assassination

This is how the conspiracy comes about: On March 15, 44 BC, a completely normal Senate meeting is actually planned. Caesar's health is not good and he does not want to attend the meeting - and his wife asks him to stay at home too. She had a nightmare and a feeling that something terrible was about to happen. But Caesar lets himself be persuaded by his closest confidante, Marcus Junius Brutus, and appears in the Senate. As always, he takes his place. But suddenly the senators surround him, draw their hidden daggers and knock him down. 23 stings kill Caesar on the spot. And among the conspirators is Brutus, whom Caesar always treated like his own son.

Caesar's story, however, will never be forgotten. Many works of world literature tell of his life - and the comments that the general himself wrote about the Gallic wars are still read and translated by many students today in class.

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