Caius Julius Caesar (100? B.C.–44 B.C.)

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Roman general, statesman, and historian who invaded Britain (55), crushed the army of his political enemy Pompey (48), pursued other enemies to Egypt, where he installed Cleopatra as queen (47), returned to Rome, and was given a mandate by the people to rule as dictator for life (45). On March 15 of the following year he was murdered by a group of republicans led by Cassius and Brutus, who feared he intended to establish a monarchy ruled by himself.

Legacy

Caesar has always been one of the most controversial characters of history. His admirers have seen in him the defender of the rights of the people against an oligarchy. His detractors have seen him as an ambitious demagogue, who forced his way to dictatorial power and destroyed the republic. That he was gifted and versatile there can be little doubt. He excelled in war, in statesmanship, and in oratory.

His literary works are highly esteemed. Of Caesar’s literary works, his commentaries on the Gallic Wars (seven books) and on the civil war (three books) survive. They are masterpieces of clear, beautiful, concise Latin, and they are classic military documents. Caesar wrote poetry, but the only surviving piece is a poem on Terence.
 
 

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