Julius Caesar, The Great Roman Leader.
Julius Caesar was one of the world’s greatest soldiers and statesmen. He was born into a noble family and became involved in politics as a young man. He joined with two other powerful Romans, Pompey and Crassus, to govern the Roman people. Caesar spent many years leading the Roman armies, conquering territory in Britain, Gaul (now France) and Spain.
Pompey, who controlled the government, became jealous of Caesar’s victories, and ordered Caesar to break up the army. But the soldiers respected and trusted Caesar, and instead of dispersing, they followed him across the Rubicon River to capture the city of Rome in 49 B.C. “The die is cast,” Caesar is supposed to have said when he crossed the Rubicon River into Italy. He meant that he could not turn back.
Caesar defeated Pompey’s forces in Spain, North Africa, and Asia Minor. One of Caesar’s famous victories occurred at the battle of Zela, now in Turkey, Caesar’s message to Rome was “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (”I came, I saw, I conquered”).
By 45 B.C., Caesar controlled a vast territory that later was the Roman Empire. The Roman government made Caesar dictator. Some people still feared his power. On March 15 (the Ides of March) in 44 B.C., conspirators stabbed him to death in the Senate building.
Caesar was an excellent leader and a man of many talents. His book, The Gallic (French) Wars, is still widely read. It is remarkable for the clarity of its language and for the period of history it discusses. It is an important book for language students and for historians.
During the short time that Caesar ruled Rome, he made many important changes. He pardoned his enemies and appointed many of them to public offices. He provided work for the soldiers of his army. He offered Roman citizenship to of the peoples he conquered. He developed plans to modernize city government. He built a public library and planned other public buildings. He and an Egyptian astronomer also devised the Julian calendar, which – with one change – is still in use in the Western world today.
At the time of his death, Caesar had plans for draining marshes to provide more land and for constructing a canal. He was organizing the management of the Roman Empire and preparing laws to be used throughout the empire. If Caesar had lived, he might have had an even greater effect on world history.