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[[File: Julius One.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Modern statue of Julius Caesar]]
Caesar was born into the Roman aristocracy into a family that had been distinguished in the city for centuries. He was associated with the popular party in Rome and was related to the great general Marius<ref> Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar: Life of a Colossus (Yale University Press, 2008), p. 13</ref>. He was fortunate to escape the proscriptions of Sulla and to escape the attention of the dictator he joined the army. Caesar was a capable soldier and he received the highest award for bravery in the Roman Republic because of his role in a siege in modern Turkey. On one occasion he was captured by some pirates and after he was ransomed he returned and seized his former captors and crucified them, all. This led him to be awarded another award for bravery.
he became very prominent in Rome because of his lavish expenditures. He also forged a political alliance with Crassus, one of Rome's richest men. Caesar was later elected Pontifex Maximus (chief priest) of Rome and secured himself the governorship of a province in Spain. Here he defeated two tribal confederations and was voted a Triumph by the Senate, a singular mark of honor for the young aristocrat. Later he joined the First Triumvirate (59 BCE), an informal alliance between Caesar, Pompey and Crassus and they dominated Roman political life for ten years<ref>Goldsworthy, p. 112</ref>. This arrangement secured the consulship for the Roman aristocrat and the command of an army in northern Italy, this was to mark the start of his career as a general.
[[File: Julius Two.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Julius and Cleopatra]]
==Caesar’s career as a general==
Some allies of the Romans in Gaul (France) were defeated by invading Germanic tribes (55 BCE). Caesar used this as a pretext to intervene in the area, which was outside the Empire. He beat back the Helvetia and massacred many German tribes<ref> Caesar, The Gallic Wars (London, Penguin Books, 1984), p 19</ref>. This alarmed the Celtic tribes and they banded together in a defensive alliance. Once more, ever the opportunist Caesar used this as an excuse to invade Gaul. He was to spend the following years conquering the Celts who were organized into powerful confederation. Caesar in a series of battled defeated major tribes such as the Belgae. Caesar was able to extend his consulship as part of a deal with Pompey and Crassus. Caesar launched an invasion of Britain, to punish tribes who were supporting his Gallic opponents (55 BCE). The Roman also raided deep into Germany to deter the Germanic tribes from intervening in Gaul. In 52 BCE the general faced perhaps the greatest challenge of his life when the Gaul’s rebelled against Roman rule. A massive Gallic army surrounded the Romans but despite this, the legionnaires prevailed<ref> Caesar, p. 89</ref>. This victory for Caesar effectively was the end of all resistance to his conquest. The Roman general had conducted what many regarded as an illegal war and the Senate threatened him with prosecution. To avert this Caesar marched on Rome with his army and occupied the city. This led to a civil war between him and the optimates (senators), who were led by Pompey. They fled to the Balkans and recruited a large army. Caesar landed in the Balkans and attacked the Optimates army under the command of Pompey. This campaign was very difficult for Caesar and he was lucky to escape a decisive defeat. The conqueror of the Gaul’s maneuvered Pompey into a battle at Pharsalus in modern Greece. Caesar was out-numbered, and his opponent was a great general. He was able to defeat a numerically superior army at the Battle of Pharsalus. He enemies were shattered and fled all over the known world. Caesar followed Pompey to Egypt but found his old foe had been assassinated by orders of the Ptolemies. The Roman general became involved with Queen Cleopatra VII and at the Battle of the Nile, he defeated her rival for the throne. In that same year, Asia Minor was invaded by Pharnaces II, king of the Bosphoran kingdom (Crimea). Caesar annihilated the larger army in just five days and after this, he uttered the line ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’ </ref> Plutarch, Life of Caesar, 45, 7</ref>. The civil war was not over, and the senators and the followers of Pompey regrouped in North Africa. Caesar pursued them and landed in modern Tunisia. He fought a bloody draw with his old subordinate Titus Labienus at the battle of Ruspina. However, after receiving some reinforcements he inflicted a decisive defeat on his enemies, at the battle of Thapsus and this led to the suicide of many prominent senators including Cato the Younger. He knew that as long as his enemies were in the field that he was not secure. The remaining senators and Pompeiians regrouped in Spain and once more assembled a large army <ref>Jonathan P. Roth, Roman Warfare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 116</ref>. Caesar campaigned in Spain and he finally defeated his enemies at the Battle of Munda in 45 BCE in Spain. This was the end of the civil wars and the Roman general was supreme ruler in Rome and had himself made dictator for life. In Rome he began to plan invasions of Dacia and Parthia but before he could embark on these campaigns he was assassinated by some aristocrats in 44 BCE.