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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 expenditure and oratory.
Caesar also forged a political alliance with Crassus, one of Rome's richest men. The ambitious young politician was later elected Pontifex Maximus (chief priest) of Rome and secured for 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.
====Caesar’s career as a general====