The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest and the Po Valley; the countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania and Herzegovina, Italy and Slovenia. The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands located along the Croatian part of its eastern coast, it is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres. The Otranto Sill, an underwater ridge, is located at the border between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas; the prevailing currents flow counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast and back to the strait along the western coast. Tidal movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are known to occur occasionally; the Adriatic's salinity is lower than the Mediterranean's because the Adriatic collects a third of the fresh water flowing into the Mediterranean, acting as a dilution basin.
The surface water temperatures range from 30 °C in summer to 12 °C in winter moderating the Adriatic Basin's climate. The Adriatic Sea sits on the Apulian or Adriatic Microplate, which separated from the African Plate in the Mesozoic era; the plate's movement contributed to the formation of the surrounding mountain chains and Apennine tectonic uplift after its collision with the Eurasian plate. In the Late Oligocene, the Apennine Peninsula first formed, separating the Adriatic Basin from the rest of the Mediterranean. All types of sediment are found in the Adriatic, with the bulk of the material transported by the Po and other rivers on the western coast; the western coast is alluvial or terraced, while the eastern coast is indented with pronounced karstification. There are dozens of marine protected areas in the Adriatic, designed to protect the sea's karst habitats and biodiversity; the sea is abundant in flora and fauna—more than 7,000 species are identified as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic and threatened ones.
The Adriatic's shores are populated by more than 3.5 million people. The earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Etruscan and Greek. By the 2nd century BC, the shores were under Rome's control. In the Middle Ages, the Adriatic shores and the sea itself were controlled, to a varying extent, by a series of states—most notably the Byzantine Empire, the Croatian Kingdom, the Republic of Venice, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire; the Napoleonic Wars resulted in the First French Empire gaining coastal control and the British effort to counter the French in the area securing most of the eastern Adriatic shore and the Po Valley for Austria. Following Italian unification, the Kingdom of Italy started an eastward expansion that lasted until the 20th century. Following World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the eastern coast's control passed to Yugoslavia and Albania; the former disintegrated during the 1990s. Italy and Yugoslavia agreed on their maritime boundaries by 1975 and this boundary is recognised by Yugoslavia's successor states, but the maritime boundaries between Slovenian, Bosnian-Herzegovinian, Montenegrin waters are still disputed.
Italy and Albania agreed on their maritime boundary in 1992. Fisheries and tourism are significant sources of income all along the Adriatic coast. Adriatic Croatia's tourism industry has grown faster economically than the rest of the Adriatic Basin's. Maritime transport is a significant branch of the area's economy—there are 19 seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million tonnes of cargo per year; the largest Adriatic seaport by annual cargo turnover is the Port of Trieste, while the Port of Split is the largest Adriatic seaport by passengers served per year. The origins of the name Adriatic are linked to the Etruscan settlement of Adria, which derives its name from the Illyrian adur meaning water or sea. In classical antiquity, the sea was known as Mare Adriaticum or, less as Mare Superum, " upper sea"; the two terms were not synonymous, however. Mare Adriaticum corresponds to the Adriatic Sea's extent, spanning from the Gulf of Venice to the Strait of Otranto; that boundary became more defined by Roman authors – early Greek sources place the boundary between the Adriatic and Ionian seas at various places ranging from adjacent to the Gulf of Venice to the southern tip of the Peloponnese, eastern shores of Sicily and western shores of Crete.
Mare Superum on the other hand encompassed both the modern Adriatic Sea and the sea off the Apennine peninsula's southern coast, as far as the Strait of Sicily. Another name used in the period was Mare Dalmaticum, applied to waters off the coast of Dalmatia or Illyricum; the names for the sea in the languages of the surrounding countries include Albanian: Deti Adriatik. In Croatian and Slovene, the sea is referred to as Jadran; the Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, bordered in the southwest by the Apennine or Italian Peninsula, in the northwest by the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in the northeast by Slovenia, Croatia, B
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian, born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, he is considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and critically arranging them into an historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero. Despite Herodotus's historical significance, little is known about his personal life, his Histories deals with the lives of Croesus, Cambyses, Smerdis and Xerxes and the battles of Marathon, Artemisium, Salamis and Mycale. Herodotus has been criticized for the fact that his book includes a large number of obvious legends and fanciful accounts. Many authors, starting with the late fifth-century BC historian Thucydides, have accused him of making up stories for entertainment.
Herodotus, states that he is reporting what he has been told. A sizable portion of the information he provides has since been confirmed by historians and archaeologists. Herodotus announced the purpose and scope of his work at the beginning of his Histories as such: Here are presented the results of the enquiry carried out by Herodotus of Halicarnassus; the purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks. His record of the achievements of others was an achievement in itself, though the extent of it has been debated. Herodotus's place in history and his significance may be understood according to the traditions within which he worked, his work is the earliest Greek prose. However, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a literary critic of Augustan Rome, listed seven predecessors of Herodotus, describing their works as simple, unadorned accounts of their own and other cities and people, Greek or foreign, including popular legends, sometimes melodramatic and naïve charming – all traits that can be found in the work of Herodotus himself.
Modern historians regard the chronology as uncertain, but according to the ancient account, these predecessors included Dionysius of Miletus, Charon of Lampsacus, Hellanicus of Lesbos, Xanthus of Lydia and, the best attested of them all, Hecataeus of Miletus. Of these, only fragments of Hecataeus's works survived, the authenticity of these is debatable, but they provide a glimpse into the kind of tradition within which Herodotus wrote his own Histories. In his introduction to Hecataeus's work, Genealogies: Hecataeus the Milesian speaks thus: I write these things as they seem true to me; this points forward to the "international" outlook typical of Herodotus. However, one modern scholar has described the work of Hecataeus as "a curious false start to history", since despite his critical spirit, he failed to liberate history from myth. Herodotus mentions Hecataeus in his Histories, on one occasion mocking him for his naive genealogy and, on another occasion, quoting Athenian complaints against his handling of their national history.
It is possible that Herodotus borrowed much material from Hecataeus, as stated by Porphyry in a quote recorded by Eusebius. In particular, it is possible that he copied descriptions of the crocodile and phoenix from Hecataeus's Circumnavigation of the Known World misrepresenting the source as "Heliopolitans", but Hecataeus did not record events that had occurred in living memory, unlike Herodotus, nor did he include the oral traditions of Greek history within the larger framework of oriental history. There is no proof that Herodotus derived the ambitious scope of his own work, with its grand theme of civilizations in conflict, from any predecessor, despite much scholarly speculation about this in modern times. Herodotus claims to be better informed than his predecessors by relying on empirical observation to correct their excessive schematism. For example, he argues for continental asymmetry as opposed to the older theory of a circular earth with Europe and Asia/Africa equal in size. However, he retains idealizing tendencies, as in his symmetrical notions of the Nile.
His debt to previous authors of prose "histories" might be questionable, but there is no doubt that Herodotus owed much to the example and inspiration of poets and story-tellers. For example, Athenian tragic poets provided him with a world-view of a balance between conflicting forces, upset by the hubris of kings, they provided his narrative with a model of episodic structure, his familiarity with Athenian tragedy is demonstrated in a number of passages echoing Aeschylus's Persae, including the epigrammatic observation that the defeat of the Persian navy at Salamis caused the defeat of the land army. The debt may have been repaid by Sophocles because there appear to be echoes of The Histories in his plays a passage in Antigone that resembles Herodotus's account of the death of Intaphernes. However, this point is one of the most contentious
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a post-transition metal in group 14 of the periodic table of elements, it is obtained chiefly from the mineral cassiterite, which contains stannic oxide, SnO2. Tin shows a chemical similarity to both of its neighbors in group 14, germanium and lead, has two main oxidation states, +2 and the more stable +4. Tin is the 49th most abundant element and has, with 10 stable isotopes, the largest number of stable isotopes in the periodic table, thanks to its magic number of protons, it has two main allotropes: at room temperature, the stable allotrope is β-tin, a silvery-white, malleable metal, but at low temperatures it transforms into the less dense grey α-tin, which has the diamond cubic structure. Metallic tin does not oxidize in air; the first tin alloy used on a large scale was bronze, made of 1/8 tin and 7/8 copper, from as early as 3000 BC. After 600 BC, pure metallic tin was produced. Pewter, an alloy of 85–90% tin with the remainder consisting of copper and lead, was used for flatware from the Bronze Age until the 20th century.
In modern times, tin is used in many alloys, most notably tin/lead soft solders, which are 60% or more tin, in the manufacture of transparent, electrically conducting films of indium tin oxide in optoelectronic applications. Another large application for tin is corrosion-resistant tin plating of steel; because of the low toxicity of inorganic tin, tin-plated steel is used for food packaging as tin cans. However, some organotin compounds can be as toxic as cyanide. Tin is a soft, malleable and crystalline silvery-white metal; when a bar of tin is bent, a crackling sound known as the "tin cry" can be heard from the twinning of the crystals. Tin melts at low temperatures of about 232 °C, the lowest in group 14; the melting point is further lowered to 177.3 °C for 11 nm particles. Β-tin, stable at and above room temperature, is malleable. In contrast, α-tin, stable below 13.2 °C, is brittle. Α-tin has a diamond cubic crystal structure, similar to silicon or germanium. Α-tin has no metallic properties at all because its atoms form a covalent structure in which electrons cannot move freely.
It is a dull-gray powdery material with no common uses other than a few specialized semiconductor applications. These two allotropes, α-tin and β-tin, are more known as gray tin and white tin, respectively. Two more allotropes, γ and σ, exist at temperatures above 161 pressures above several GPa. In cold conditions, β-tin tends to transform spontaneously into α-tin, a phenomenon known as "tin pest". Although the α-β transformation temperature is nominally 13.2 °C, impurities lower the transition temperature well below 0 °C and, on the addition of antimony or bismuth, the transformation might not occur at all, increasing the durability of the tin. Commercial grades of tin resist transformation because of the inhibiting effect of the small amounts of bismuth, antimony and silver present as impurities. Alloying elements such as copper, bismuth and silver increase its hardness. Tin tends rather to form hard, brittle intermetallic phases, which are undesirable, it does not form wide solid solution ranges in other metals in general, few elements have appreciable solid solubility in tin.
Simple eutectic systems, occur with bismuth, lead and zinc. Tin was one of the first superconductors to be studied. Tin can be attacked by acids and alkalis. Tin can be polished and is used as a protective coat for other metals. A protective oxide layer prevents further oxidation, the same that forms on pewter and other tin alloys. Tin helps to accelerate the chemical reaction. Tin has ten stable isotopes, with atomic masses of 112, 114 through 120, 122 and 124, the greatest number of any element. Of these, the most abundant are 120Sn, 118Sn, 116Sn, while the least abundant is 115Sn; the isotopes with mass numbers have no nuclear spin, while those with odd have a spin of +1/2. Tin, with its three common isotopes 116Sn, 118Sn and 120Sn, is among the easiest elements to detect and analyze by NMR spectroscopy, its chemical shifts are referenced against SnMe4; this large number of stable isotopes is thought to be a direct result of the atomic number 50, a "magic number" in nuclear physics. Tin occurs in 29 unstable isotopes, encompassing all the remaining atomic masses from 99 to 137.
Apart from 126Sn, with a half-life of 230,000 years, all the radioisotopes have a half-life of less than a year. The radioactive 100Sn, discovered in 1994, 132Sn are one of the few nuclides with a "doubly magic" nucleus: despite being unstable, having lopsided proton–neutron ratios, they represent endpoints beyond which stability drops off rapidly. Another 30 metastable isomers have been characterized for isotopes between 111 and 131, the most stable being 121mSn with a half-life of 43.9 years. The relative differences in the abundances of tin's stable isotopes can be explained by their different modes of formation in stellar nucleosynthesis. 116Sn through 120Sn inclusive are formed in the s-process in most stars and hence they are the most common isotopes, while 122Sn and 124Sn are only formed in the r-process (rapid neutr
Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera and died c. AD 45, his short work remained in use nearly to the year 1500. It occupies less than one hundred pages of ordinary print, is described by the Encyclopædia Britannica as "dry in style and deficient in method, but of pure Latinity, relieved by pleasing word-pictures." Except for the geographical parts of Pliny's Historia naturalis, the De situ orbis is the only formal treatise on the subject in Classical Latin. Little is known of the author except his name and birthplace—the small town of Tingentera or Cingentera in southern Spain, on Algeciras Bay; the date of his writing may be fixed by his allusion to a proposed British expedition of the reigning emperor certainly that of Claudius in AD 43. That this passage cannot refer to Julius Caesar is evidenced by several references to events of Augustus's reign, it has been conjectured that Pomponius Mela may have been related in some way to Marcus Annaeus Mela, the son of Seneca the Elder and father of Lucan.
The general views of the De situ orbis agree with those current among Greek writers from Eratosthenes to Strabo. But Pomponius is unique among ancient geographers in that, after dividing the Earth into five zones, of which two only were habitable, he asserts the existence of antichthones, inhabiting the southern temperate zone inaccessible to the folk of the northern temperate regions from the unbearable heat of the intervening torrid belt. On the divisions and boundaries of Europe and Africa, he repeats Eratosthenes, his Indian conceptions are inferior to those of some earlier Greek writers. As usual, he places the Rhipaean Mountains and the Hyperboreans near the Scythian Ocean. In western Europe his knowledge was somewhat in advance of the Greek geographers, he defines the western coast-line of Spain and Gaul and its indentation by the Bay of Biscay more than Eratosthenes or Strabo, his ideas of the British Isles and their position are clearer than his predecessors. He is the first to name the Orcades or Orkney Islands, which he defines and locates pretty correctly.
Of northern Europe his knowledge was imperfect, but he speaks of a great bay to the north of Germany, among whose many islands was one, "Codanovia", of pre-eminent size. Codanovia and Scatinavia were both Latin renderings of the Proto-Germanic *Skaðinawio, the Germanic name for Scandinavia. Mela's descriptive method follows ocean coasts, in the manner of a periplus because it was derived from the accounts of navigators, he begins at the Straits of Gibraltar, describes the countries adjoining the south coast of the Mediterranean. After treating the Mediterranean islands, he next takes the ocean littoral—to west, north and south successively—from Spain and Gaul round to India, from India to Persia and Ethiopia. Like most classical geographers he conceives of the continent as surrounded by sea and not extending far south; the editio princeps of Mela was published at Milan in 1471. The English translation by Arthur Golding was celebrated. 352–368, D. Detlefsen, Quellen und Forschungen zur alten Gesch.
Und Geog.. A recent English translation is that of F. E. Romer published in 1998. Romer, Frank E.. Pomponius Mela's Description of the World. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472084524. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Mela, Pomponius". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
Galicia is an autonomous community of Spain and historic nationality under Spanish law. Located in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula, it comprises the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo and Pontevedra, being bordered by Portugal to the south, the Spanish autonomous communities of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Cantabrian Sea to the north, it had a population of 2,718,525 in 2016 and has a total area of 29,574 km2. Galicia has over 1,660 km of coastline, including its offshore islands and islets, among them Cíes Islands, Ons, Sálvora, and—the largest and most populated—A Illa de Arousa; the area now called Galicia was first inhabited by humans during the Middle Paleolithic period, it takes its name from the Gallaeci, the Celtic people living north of the Douro River during the last millennium BC, in a region coincidental with that of the Iron Age local Castro culture. Galicia was incorporated into the Roman Empire at the end of the Cantabrian Wars in 19 BC, was made a Roman province in the 3rd century AD.
In 410, the Germanic Suebi established a kingdom with its capital in Braga. In 711, the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate invaded the Iberian Peninsula conquering the Visigoth kingdom of Hispania by 718, but soon Galicia was incorporated into the Christian kingdom of Asturias by 740. During the Middle Ages, the kingdom of Galicia was ruled by its own kings, but most of the time it was leagued to the kingdom of Leon and to that of Castile, while maintaining its own legal and customary practices and culture. From the 13th century on, the kings of Castile, as kings of Galicia, appointed an Adiantado-mór, whose attributions passed to the Governor and Captain General of the Kingdom of Galiza from the last years of the 15th century; the Governor presided the Real Audiencia do Reino de Galicia, a royal tribunal and government body. From the 16th century, the representation and voice of the kingdom was held by an assembly of deputies and representatives of the cities of the kingdom, the Cortes or Junta of the Kingdom of Galicia.
This institution was forcibly discontinued in 1833 when the kingdom was divided into four administrative provinces with no legal mutual links. During the 19th and 20th centuries, demand grew for self-government and for the recognition of the culture of Galicia; this resulted in the Statute of Autonomy of 1936, soon frustrated by Franco's coup d'etat and subsequent long dictatorship. After democracy was restored the legislature passed the Statute of Autonomy of 1981, approved in referendum and in force, providing Galicia with self-government; the interior of Galicia is characterized by a hilly landscape. The coastal areas are an alternate series of rías and cliffs; the climate of Galicia is temperate and rainy, with markedly drier summers. Its topographic and climatic conditions have made animal husbandry and farming the primary source of Galicia's wealth for most of its history, allowing for a relative high density of population. With the exception of shipbuilding and food processing, Galicia was based on a farming and fishing economy until after the mid-20th century, when it began to industrialize.
In 2012, the gross domestic product at purchasing power parity was €56,000 million, with a nominal GDP per capita of €20,700. The population is concentrated in two main areas: from Ferrol to A Coruña in the northern coast, in the Rías Baixas region in the southwest, including the cities of Vigo and the interior city of Santiago de Compostela. There are smaller populations around the interior cities of Ourense; the political capital is Santiago de Compostela, in the province of A Coruña. Vigo, in the province of Pontevedra, is the most populous municipality, with 292,817, while A Coruña is the most populous city, with 215,227. Two languages are official and used today in Galicia: Galician and Spanish. Galician is a Romance language related to Portuguese, with which it shares Galician-Portuguese medieval literature, Spanish, sometimes referred to as Castilian, used throughout the country. Spanish is spoken fluently by all in Galicia, in 2013 it was reported that 51% of the Galician population used more Galician on a day-to-day, 48% used more Spanish.
The name Galicia derives from the Latin toponym Callaecia Gallaecia, related to the name of an ancient Celtic tribe that resided north of the Douro river, the Gallaeci or Callaeci in Latin, or Καλλαϊκoί in Greek. These Callaeci were the first tribe in the area to help the Lusitanians against the invading Romans; the Romans applied their name to all the other tribes in the northwest who spoke the same language and lived the same life. The etymology of the name has been studied since the 7th century by authors such as Isidore of Seville, who wrote that "Galicians are called so, because of their fair skin, as the Gauls", relating the name to the Greek word for milk. In the 21st century, some scholars have derived the name of the ancient Callaeci either from Proto-Indo-European *kal-n-eH2'hill', through a local relational suffix -aik-, so meaning'the hill'. In any case, being per se a derivation of the ethnic name Kallaikói, means'the land of the Galicians'; the most recent proposal comes from linguist Francesco Benozzo afte
Tin sources and trade in ancient times
Tin is an essential metal in the creation of tin bronzes, its acquisition was an important part of ancient cultures from the Bronze Age onward. Its use began in the Middle East and the Balkans around 3000 BC. Tin is a rare element in the Earth's crust, with about two parts per million, compared to iron with 50,000 ppm, copper with 70 ppm, lead with 16 ppm, arsenic with 5 ppm, silver with 0.1 ppm, gold with 0.005 ppm. Ancient sources of tin were therefore rare, the metal had to be traded over long distances to meet demand in areas which lacked tin deposits. Known sources of tin in ancient times include the southeastern tin belt that runs from Yunnan in China to the Malay Peninsula. Syria and Egypt have been suggested as minor sources of tin, but the archaeological evidence is inconclusive. Tin extraction and use can be dated to the beginning of the Bronze Age around 3000 BC, during which copper objects formed from polymetallic ores had different physical properties; the earliest bronze objects had tin or arsenic content of less than 2% and are therefore believed to be the result of unintentional alloying due to trace metal content in copper ores such as tennantite, which contains arsenic.
The addition of a second metal to copper increases its hardness, lowers the melting temperature, improves the casting process by producing a more fluid melt that cools to a denser, less spongy metal. This was an important innovation that allowed for the much more complex shapes cast in closed molds of the Bronze Age. Arsenical bronze objects appear first in the Middle East where arsenic is found in association with copper ore, but the health risks were realized and the quest for sources of the much less hazardous tin ores began early in the Bronze Age; this created the demand for rare tin metal and formed a trade network that linked the distant sources of tin to the markets of Bronze Age cultures. Cassiterite, oxidized tin, most was the original source of tin in ancient times. Other forms of tin ores are less abundant sulfides such as stannite that require a more involved smelting process. Cassiterite accumulates in alluvial channels as placer deposits due to the fact that it is harder and more chemically resistant than the granite in which it forms.
These deposits can be seen in river banks, because cassiterite is black or purple or otherwise dark, a feature exploited by early Bronze Age prospectors. It is that the earliest deposits were alluvial and exploited by the same methods used for panning gold in placer deposits; the importance of tin to the success of Bronze Age cultures and the scarcity of the resource offers a glimpse into that time period's trade and cultural interactions, has therefore been the focus of intense archaeological studies. However, a number of problems have plagued the study of ancient tin such as the limited archaeological remains of placer mining, the destruction of ancient mines by modern mining operations, the poor preservation of pure tin objects due to tin disease or tin pest; these problems are compounded by the difficulty in provenancing tin objects and ores to their geological deposits using isotopic or trace element analyses. Current archaeological debate is concerned with the origins of tin in the earliest Bronze Age cultures of the Near East.
Europe has few sources of tin. Therefore, throughout ancient times it was imported long distances from the known tin mining districts of antiquity; these were the Erzgebirge along the modern border between Germany and Czech Republic, the Iberian Peninsula, Brittany in modern France, Devon and Cornwall in southwestern Britain. There are several smaller sources of tin in the Balkans and another minor source of tin is known to exist at Monte Valerio in Tuscany, Italy; the Tuscan source was exploited by Etruscan miners around 800 BC, but it was not a significant source of tin for the rest of the Mediterranean. At that time, the Etruscans themselves had to import additional tin from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, from Cornwall, it has been claimed that tin was first mined in Europe around 2500 BC in the Erzgebirge, knowledge of tin bronze and tin extraction techniques spread from there to Brittany and Cornwall around 2000 BC and from northwestern Europe to northwestern Spain and Portugal around the same time.
However, the only Bronze Age object from Central Europe whose tin has been scientifically provenanced is the Nebra sky disk, its tin, is shown by tin isotopes to have come from Cornwall. In addition, a rare find of a pure tin ingot. Available evidence, though limited, thus points to Cornwall as the sole early source of tin in Central and Northern Europe. Brittany – adjacent to Cornwall on the Celtic Sea – has significant sources of tin which show evidence of being extensively exploited after the Roman conquest of Gaul during the first century BC and onwards. Brittany remained a significant source of tin throughout the medieval period. A group of 52 bronze artifacts from the l
Gaius Julius Caesar, known by his nomen and cognomen Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, military general, historian who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He wrote Latin prose. In 60 BC, Caesar and Pompey formed the First Triumvirate, a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years, their attempts to amass power as Populares were opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in the Roman Republic through a number of his accomplishments, notably his victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC. During this time, Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the English Channel and the Rhine River, when he built a bridge across the Rhine and crossed the Channel to invade Britain. Caesar's wars extended Rome's territory to past Gaul; these achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC.
With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Leaving his command in Gaul meant losing his immunity from being charged as a criminal for waging unsanctioned wars; as a result, Caesar found himself with no other options but to cross the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms. This began Caesar's civil war, his victory in the war put him in an unrivaled position of power and influence. After assuming control of government, Caesar began a program of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar, he gave citizenship to many residents of far regions of the Roman Empire. He initiated land support for veterans, he centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was proclaimed "dictator for life", giving him additional authority. His populist and authoritarian reforms angered the elites. On the Ides of March, 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus and Decimus Junius Brutus, who stabbed him to death.
A new series of civil wars broke out and the constitutional government of the Republic was never restored. Caesar's adopted heir Octavian known as Augustus, rose to sole power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power, the era of the Roman Empire began. Much of Caesar's life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns and from other contemporary sources the letters and speeches of Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust; the biographies of Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch are major sources. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history, his cognomen was subsequently adopted as a synonym for "Emperor". He has appeared in literary and artistic works, his political philosophy, known as Caesarism, inspired politicians into the modern era. Gaius Julius Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas the son of the goddess Venus.
The Julii were of Alban origin, mentioned as one of the leading Alban houses, which settled in Rome around the mid-7th century BC, after the destruction of Alba Longa. They were granted patrician status, along with other noble Alban families; the Julii existed at an early period at Bovillae, evidenced by a ancient inscription on an altar in the theatre of that town, which speaks of their offering sacrifices according to the lege Albana, or Alban rites. The cognomen "Caesar" originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor, born by Caesarean section; the Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair. Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored this interpretation of his name. Despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of their political fortunes in the early 1st century BC. Caesar's father called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of Asia, his sister Julia, Caesar's aunt, married Gaius Marius, one of the most prominent figures in the Republic.
His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of Caesar's childhood. In 85 BC, Caesar's father died so Caesar was the head of the family at 16, his coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both sides carried out bloody purges of their political opponents whenever they were in the ascendancy. Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated as the new Flamen Dialis, he was married to Cinna's daughter Cornelia. Following Sulla's final victory, Caesar's connections to the old regime made him a target for the new one, he was stripped of his inheritance, his wife's dowry, his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding. The threat against hi