Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus
Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus was a Roman general and consul, a loyal partisan of Caesar and Octavianus. Domitius Calvinus came from a noble family and was elected consul for 53 BC, despite a notorious electoral scandal, he was on Caesar’s side during the Civil War with Pompey. At the decisive battle of Pharsalus he commanded the center of Caesar’s army. After the battle he became governor of Asia, he tried to oppose the invasion of Pharnaces, the king of Bosphorus, who had taken the occasion of the Roman civil war to invade the province of Pontus. Direct intervention by Caesar brought a quick end to the conflict, Pharnaces' army was annihilated at Zela in 47 BC. Despite this failure, he remained a trusted friend of Caesar. Domitius Calvinus's activities after the death of Caesar are unknown, but in 43 BC he was a strong supporter of Octavianus and participated in the civil war against Brutus and Cassius. During the Philippi campaign in 42 BC, he had to bring reinforcements from Italia to Greece for Mark Antony and Octavianus' army, however his fleet was destroyed by the enemy in the Ionian Sea with the loss of two legions.
Despite this defeat he was awarded the honor of a second consulship in 40 BC and was sent by Octavianus as governor to Hispania, where he remained for three years. His military activities in Spain were successful, since he was saluted as imperator by his troops and on his return he was awarded a triumph, he rebuilt the Regia in the Roman Forum. Although we do not have many facts concerning his further political activities, an inscription shows that in 20 BC he was still alive and a member of the important Arval Brethren priesthood, reserved only for members of the nascent Imperial family and to the emperor's most distinguished supporters. Although Domitius Calvinus' career does not show any particular ability, either in politics or in war, he maintained an important political role; this was most because he was one of the few Roman nobles to support the Caesar/Octavianus party from the beginning. Matthias Gelzer. Caesar: Politician and Statesman. Harvard University Press, 1997. Ronald Syme; the Roman Revolution.
Oxford University Press, 1939
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. He came from a wealthy Italian provincial background, his father had been the first to establish the family among the Roman nobility. Pompey's immense success as a general while still young enabled him to advance directly to his first consulship without meeting the normal requirements for office, his success as a military commander in Sulla's second civil war resulted in Sulla bestowing the nickname Magnus, "the Great", upon him. His Roman adversaries insulted him as adulescentulus carnifex, "the teenage butcher", after his Sicilian campaign, he celebrated three triumphs. In mid-60 BC, Pompey joined Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gaius Julius Caesar in the unofficial military-political alliance known as the First Triumvirate, which Pompey's marriage to Caesar's daughter Julia helped secure. After the deaths of Julia and Crassus, Pompey sided with the optimates, the conservative faction of the Roman Senate.
Pompey and Caesar contended for the leadership of the Roman state, leading to a civil war. When Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated, his career and defeat are significant in Rome's subsequent transformation from Republic to Empire. Pompey was born in Picenum to a local noble family. Pompey's father, Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, was first of his family to achieve senatorial status, despite the anti-rural prejudice of the Roman Senate; the Romans referred to Strabo as a novus homo. Pompeius Strabo ascended the traditional cursus honorum, becoming quaestor in 104 BC, praetor in 92 BC and consul in 89 BC, he acquired a reputation for political double-dealing and military ruthlessness. He fought the Social War against Rome's Italian allies, he supported Sulla, who belonged to the optimates, the pro-aristocracy faction, against Marius, who belonged to the populares, in Sulla's first civil war. He died during the siege of Rome by the Marians, in 87 BC—either as a casualty of an epidemic, or by having been struck by lightning.
His twenty-year-old son Pompey inherited his estates, the loyalty of his legions. Pompey had served two years under his father's command, had participated in the final part of the Social War; when his father died, Pompey was put on trial due to accusations that his father stole public property. As his father's heir, Pompey could be held to account, he discovered. Following his preliminary bouts with his accuser, the judge took a liking to Pompey and offered his daughter Antistia in marriage. Pompey was acquitted. Another civil war broke out between the Marians and Sulla in 83–82 BC; the Marians had taken over Rome while Sulla was fighting the First Mithridatic War against Mithridates VI of Pontus in Greece. In 83 BC, Sulla returned from landing in Brundisium in southern Italy. Pompey raised three legions in Picenum to support Sulla's march on Rome against the Marian regime of Gnaeus Papirius Carbo and Gaius Marius the Younger. Cassius Dio described Pompey's troop levy as a "small band". Sulla was appointed as Dictator.
He thought that he was useful for the administration of his affairs. He and his wife, persuaded Pompey to divorce Antistia and marry Sulla's stepdaughter Aemilia Scaura. Plutarch commented that the marriage was "characteristic of a tyranny, benefitted the needs of Sulla rather than the nature and habits of Pompey, Aemilia being given to him in marriage when she was with child by another man." Antistia had lost both her parents. Pompey accepted, but "Aemilia had scarcely entered Pompey's house before she succumbed to the pains of childbirth." Pompey married Mucia Tertia. We have no record of; the sources only mentioned Pompey divorcing her. Plutarch wrote that Pompey dismissed with contempt a report that she had had an affair while he was fighting in the Third Mithridatic War between and 66 BC and 63 BC. However, on his journey back to Rome he examined the evidence more and filed for divorce. Cicero wrote that the divorce was approved. Cassius Dio wrote that she was the sister of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer and that Metellus Celer was angry because he had divorced her despite having had children by her.
Pompey and Mucia had three children: The eldest, Gnaeus Pompey, Pompeia Magna, a daughter, Sextus Pompey, the younger son. Cassius Dio wrote, he was condemned to death, but released for the sake of his mother Mucia. The survivors of the Marians, those who were exiled after they lost Rome and those who escaped Sulla's persecution of his opponents, were given refuge in Sicily by Marcus Perpenna Vento. Papirius Carbo had a fleet there, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus had forced an entry into the Roman province of Africa. Sulla sent Pompey to Sicily with a large force. According to Plutarch, Perpenna left Sicily to Pompey; the Sicilian cities had been treated harshly by Pompey treated them with kindness. Pompey "treated Carbo in his misfortunes with an unnatural insolence", taking Carbo in fetters to a tribunal he presided over, examining him "to the distress and vexation of the audience", sentencing him to death. Pompey treated Quintus Valerius "with unnatural cruelty", his opp
A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum. Each year, the citizens of Rome elected two consuls to serve jointly for a one-year term; the consuls alternated in holding imperium each month, a consul's imperium extended over Rome and the provinces. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls became mere symbolic representatives of Rome's republican heritage and held little power and authority, with the Emperor acting as the supreme authority. After the legendary expulsion of the last Etruscan King, Tarquin the Proud, a harsh ruler at the end of the Roman Kingdom, most of the powers and authority of the king were ostensibly given to the newly instituted consulship; this change in leadership came about when the king's son, Sextus Tarquinius, raped the wife and daughter of powerful Roman nobles. A group of nobles led by Lucius Junius Brutus, with the support of the Roman Army, expelled Tarquinius and his family from Rome in 509 BC.
Consuls were called praetors, referring to their duties as the chief military commanders. By at least 300 BC the title of Consul became used. Ancient writers derive the title consul from the Latin verb consulere, "to take counsel", but this is most a gloss of the term, which derives—in view of the joint nature of the office—from con- and sal-, "get together" or from con- and sell-/sedl-, "sit down together with" or "next to". In Greek, the title was rendered as στρατηγὸς ὕπατος, strategos hypatos, simply as ὕπατος; the consul was believed by the Romans to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 BC, but the succession of consuls was not continuous in the 5th century BC. During the 440s, the office was quite replaced with the establishment of the Consular Tribunes, who were elected whenever the military needs of the state were significant enough to warrant the election of more than the two usual consuls; these remained in place until the office was abolished in 367/366 BC and the consulship was reintroduced.
Consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, in wartime held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rites which, as a sign of their formal importance, could only be carried out by the highest state officials. Consuls read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field. Two consuls were elected each year, serving together, each with veto power over the other's actions, a normal principle for magistracies, it is thought that only patricians were eligible for the consulship. Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had an aristocratic bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. However, they formally assumed powers only after the ratification of their election in the older Comitia Curiata, which granted the consuls their imperium by enacting a law, the "lex curiata de imperio". If a consul died during his term or was removed from office, another would be elected by the Comitia Centuriata to serve the remainder of the term as consul suffectus.
A consul elected to start the year - called a consul ordinarius - held more prestige than a suffect consul because the year would be named for ordinary consuls. According to tradition, the consulship was reserved for patricians and only in 367 BC did plebeians win the right to stand for this supreme office, when the Lex Licinia Sextia provided that at least one consul each year should be plebeian; the first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was elected the following year. The office remained in the hands of a few families as, according to Gelzer, only fifteen novi homines - "new men" with no consular background - were elected to the consulship until the election of Cicero in 63 BC. Modern historians have questioned the traditional account of plebeian emancipation during the early Republic, noting for instance that about thirty percent of the consuls prior to Sextius had plebeian, not patrician, names, it is possible that only the chronology has been distorted, but it seems that one of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus, came from a plebeian family.
Another possible explanation is that during the 5th century social struggles, the office of consul was monopolized by a patrician elite. During times of war, the primary qualification for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. With the passage of time, the consulship became the normal endpoint of the cursus honorum, the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman who chose to pursue political power and influence; when Lucius Cornelius Sulla regulated the cursus by law, the minimum age of election to consul became, in effect, 41 years of age. Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a consular year, a former consul would serve a lucrative term as a proconsul, the Roman Governor of one of the provinces; the most chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul. Although throughout the early years of the Principate, the consuls were still formally elected by the Comitia Centuriata, they were in fact nominated by the princeps.
As the years progressed, the distinction between the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa appears to have disappeared, so for the purposes of the consular
Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis. Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. During the early empire, the Roman army in Syria accounted for three legions with auxiliaries, they defended the border with Parthia. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis around 34 AD. Syrian province forces were directly engaged in the Great Jewish Revolt of 66–70 AD. In 66 AD, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order in Judaea and quell the revolt.
The legion, was ambushed and destroyed by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership. The future emperor Vespasian was put in charge of subduing the Jewish revolt. In the summer of 69, with the Syrian units supporting him, launched his bid to become Roman emperor, he defeated his rival Vitellius and ruled as emperor for ten years when he was succeeded by his son Titus. Based on an inscription recovered from Dor in 1948, Gargilius Antiquus was known to have been the governor of a province in the eastern part of the Empire Syria, between his consulate and governing Asia. In November 2016, an inscription in Greek was recovered off the coast of Dor by Haifa University underwater archaeologists, which attests that Antiquus was governor of the province of Judea between 120 and 130 prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt. Syria Palæstina was established by the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135; the Syria-based legion took part in the quelling of the revolt in 132–136, in the aftermath, the emperor Hadrian added the depopulated province of Judea to the province of Syria thus forming Syria-Palaestina.
The governor of Syria retained the civil administration of the whole large province undiminished, held for long alone in all Asia a command of the first rank. It was only in the course of the second century that a diminution of his prerogatives occurred, when Hadrian took one of the four legions from the governor of Syria and handed it over to the governor of Palestine, it was Severus who at length withdrew the first place in the Roman military hierarchy from the Syrian governor. After having subdued the province amidst resistance from the capital Antioch in particular, he ordained its partition into a northern and a southern half, gave to the governor of the former, called Coele-Syria, two legions, to the governor of the latter, the province of Syro-Phoenicia, one legion; the emperor Septimius Severus divided up Roman Syria in the fashion it would remain until the rule of the Tetrarchs. Under his reign it was divided into three parts, Coele Syria in the north with Antioch as its provincial capital, Syria Phoenice with Tyre as the provincial capital and in the south Syria Palestina with Caesarea Maritima as the provincial capital.
From the 2nd century, the Roman Senate included several notable Syrians, including Claudius Pompeianus and Avidius Cassius. Syria was of crucial strategic importance during the Crisis of the Third Century. In 244 AD, Rome was ruled by a native Syrian from Philippopolis in the province of Arabia Petraea; the emperor was Marcus Iulius Philippus, more known as Philip the Arab. Philip became the 33rd emperor of Rome upon its millennial celebration. Roman Syria was invaded in 252/253 after a Roman field army was destroyed in the battle of Barbalissos by the King of Persia Shapur I which left the Euphrates river unguarded and the region was pillaged by the Persians. In 259/260 a similar event happened when Shapur I again defeated a Roman field army and captured the Roman emperor, alive at the battle of Edessa. Again Roman Syria suffered as cities were captured and pillaged. From 268 to 273, Syria was part of the breakaway Palmyrene Empire. Following the reforms of Diocletian, Syria Coele became part of the Diocese of Oriens.
Sometime between 330 and 350, the province of Euphratensis was created out of the territory of Syria Coele along the western bank of the Euphrates and the former realm of Commagene, with Hierapolis as its capital. After c. 415 Syria Coele was further subdivided into Syria I, with the capital remaining at Antioch, Syria II or Syria Salutaris, with capital at Apamea on the Orontes. In 528, Justinian I carved out the small coastal province Theodorias out of territory from both provinces; the region remained one of the most important provinces of the Byzantine Empire. It was occupied by the Sassanids between 609 and 628 recovered by the emperor Heraclius, but lost again to the advancing Muslims after the battle of Yarmouk and the fall of Antioch; the city of Antioch was recovered by Nikephorus Phocas in 963 AD, along with other parts of the country, at that time under the Hamdanids, although still under the official suzerainty of the Abbasid caliphs and claimed by the Fatimid caliphs. After emperor John Kurkuas's failed to recover Syria up to Jerusalem a Muslim "reconquest" of Syria followed in the late 970s undertaken by the Fatimid caliphate which resulted in the o
The First Triumvirate was an informal alliance between three prominent Roman politicians: Julius Caesar and Crassus, at the end of the Roman Republic. The constitution of the Roman Republic was a complex set of checks and balances designed to prevent a man from rising above the rest and creating a monarchy. In order to bypass these constitutional obstacles, Caesar and Crassus forged a secret alliance in which they promised to use their respective influence to help each other. According to Goldsworthy, the alliance was "not at heart a union of those with the same political ideals and ambitions", but one where "all seeking personal advantage." As the nephew of Gaius Marius, Caesar was at the time well connected with the Populares faction, which pushed for social reforms. He was moreover Pontifex Maximus—the most important priest of the Roman religion—and could influence politics, notably through the interpretation of the auspices. Pompey was recognised as the greatest military leader of the time, having notably won the wars against Sertorius, Mithridates and the Cilician Pirates.
Crassus was known for his fabulous wealth. Both Pompey and Crassus had extensive patronage networks; the alliance was cemented with the mariage of Pompey with Caesar's daughter Julia in 59 BC. Thanks to this alliance, Caesar thus received an extraordinary command over Gaul and Illyria for five years, so he could start his conquest of Gaul. In 56 BC the Triumvirate was renewed at the Lucca conference, in which the triumvirs agreed to share the Roman provinces between them; the latter embarked into an expedition against the Parthians to match Caesar's victories in Gaul, but died in the disastrous defeat of Carrhae in 53 BC. The death of Crassus ended the Triumvirate, left Caesar and Pompey facing each other. Pompey sided with the Optimates, the conservative faction opposed to the Populares—supported by Caesar—and fought Caesar in the senate. In 49 BC, once the conquest of Gaul complete, Caesar refused to release his legions and instead invaded Italy from the north by crossing the Rubicon with his army.
The following civil war led to Caesar's victory over Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC and the latter's assassination in Ptolemaic Egypt where he fled after the battle. In 44 BC Caesar was assassinated in Rome and the following year his heir Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate with Marcus Antonius and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. In the background of the formation of this alliance were the frictions between two political factions of the Late Republic, the populares and optimates; the former drew support from the plebeians. They espoused policies addressing the problems of the urban poor and promoted reforms that would help them redistribution of land for the landless poor and farm and debt relief, it challenged the power the nobiles exerted over Roman politics through the senate, the body that represented its interests. The Optimates were an anti-reform conservative faction that favoured the nobles, wanted to limit the power of the plebeian tribunes and the Plebeian Council and strengthen the power of the senate.
Julius Caesar was a leading figure of the populares. The origin of the process that led to Caesar seeking the alliance with Pompey and Crassus traces back to the Second Catilinarian conspiracy, which occurred three years earlier in 63 BC when Marcus Tullius Cicero was one of the two consuls. In 66 BC Catiline, the leader of the plot, presented his candidacy for the consulship, but he was charged with extortion and his candidacy was disallowed because he announced it too late. In 65 BC he was brought to trial along with other men who had carried out killings during the proscriptions of Lucius Cornelius Sulla when the dictator had declared many of his political opponents enemies of the state, he received the support of many prominent men and he was acquitted through bribery. In 63 BC Catiline was a candidate for the consulship again, he presented himself as the champion of debtors. Catiline was defeated again and Marcus Tullius Cicero and Gaius Antonius Hybrida were elected, he plotted a coup d'état together with a group of fellow aristocrats and disaffected veterans as a means of preserving his dignitas.
One of the conspirators, Gaius Manlius, assembled an army in Etruria and civil unrest was prepared in various parts of Italy. Catiline was to lead the conspiracy in Rome, which would have involved arson and the murder of senators, he was to join Manlius in a march on Rome. The plot was to start with the murder of Cicero. Cicero discovered this, exposed the conspiracy, produced evidence for the arrest of five conspirators, he had them executed without trial with the backing of a final decree of the Senate – a decree the senate issued at times of emergency. This was done. Julius Caesar opposed this measure; when Catiline heard of this he led his forces in Pistoria with the intention of escaping to northern Italy. He was defeated; the summary executions were an expedient to discourage further violence. However, this measure, an unprecedented assertion of senatorial power over the life and death of Roman citizens, backfired for the optimates, it was seen by some as a violation of the rig
Battle of Thapsus
The Battle of Thapsus was an engagement in Caesar's Civil War that took place on April 6, 46 BC near Thapsus. The Republican forces of the Optimates, led by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Scipio, were decisively defeated by the veteran forces loyal to Julius Caesar, it was followed shortly by his ally, Cato the Younger. In 49 BC, the last Republican civil war was initiated after Julius Caesar defied senatorial orders to disband his army following the conclusion of hostilities in Gaul, he crossed over the Rubicon river with the 13th Legion, a clear violation of Roman Law, marched to Rome. The Optimates fled to Greece under the command of Pompey since they were incapable of defending the city of Rome itself against Caesar. Led by Caesar, the Populares followed, but were outnumbered and defeated in the Battle of Dyrrhachium. Still outnumbered, Caesar recovered and went on to decisively defeat the Optimates under Pompey at Pharsalus. Pompey fled to Egypt, where to Caesar's consternation, Pompey was assassinated.
The remaining Optimates, not ready to give up fighting, regrouped in the African provinces. Their leaders were Caecilius Metellus Scipio. Other key figures in the resistance were Titus Labienus, Publius Attius Varus, Lucius Afranius, Marcus Petreius and the brothers Sextus and Gnaeus Pompeius. King Juba I of Numidia was a valuable local ally. After the pacification of the Eastern provinces, a short visit to Rome, Caesar followed his opponents to Africa and landed in Hadrumetum on December 28, 47 BC. After landing, Caesar's forces were engaged by the Optimates led by Petreius and Labienus, Scipio being absent; the result was indecisive and both sides retreated. The Optimates gathered their forces to oppose Caesar with astonishing speed, their army included 40,000 men, a powerful cavalry force led by Caesar's former right-hand man, the talented Titus Labienus, forces of allied local kings and 60 war elephants. The two armies engaged in small skirmishes to gauge the strength of the opposing force, during which two legions switched to Caesar's side.
Meanwhile, Caesar expected reinforcements from Sicily. In the beginning of February, Caesar arrived in Thapsus and besieged the city, blocking the southern entrance with three lines of fortifications; the Optimates, led by Metellus Scipio, could not risk the loss of this position and were forced to accept battle. Metellus Scipio's army circled Thapsus. Anticipating Caesar's approach, it remained in tight battle order flanked by its elephant cavalry. Caesar's position was typical of his style, with him commanding the right side and the cavalry and archers flanked; the threat of the elephants led to the additional precaution of reinforcing the cavalry with five cohorts. One of Caesar's trumpeters sounded the battle. Caesar's archers attacked the elephants, causing them to trample their own men; the elephants on the left flank charged against Caesar's center. This legion sustained the charge with such bravery that afterwards they wore an elephant as a symbol. After the loss of the elephants, Metellus Scipio started to lose ground.
Caesar's cavalry outmaneuvered its enemy, destroyed the fortified camp, forced its enemy into retreat. King Juba's allied troops abandoned the battle was decided. Around ten thousand enemies were killed, those surviving the battle being put to the sword by the furious soldiers in spite of Caesar's plea to spare them. Plutarch reports. Scipio himself escaped, only to commit suicide months in a naval battle near Hippo Regius. Following the battle, Caesar renewed the siege of Thapsus, which fell. Caesar proceeded to Utica. On the news of the defeat of his allies, Cato committed suicide. Caesar was upset by this and is reported by Plutarch to have said: "Cato, I must grudge you your death, as you grudged me the honour of saving your life." The battle preceded peace in Africa—Caesar pulled out and returned to Rome on July 25 of the same year. Opposition, would rise again. Titus Labienus, the Pompeian brothers and others had managed to escape to the Hispania provinces; the civil war was not finished, the Battle of Munda would soon follow.
The Battle of Thapsus is regarded as marking the last large scale use of war elephants in the West
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