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JULIUS Caesar was a Roman general, who famously declared himself as the dictator of the Roman empire, shortly before his death.
Caesar died in 44 BC after a rule which lasted less than a year. But why was he killed? This is what we know.
Who was Julius Caesar?
Julius Caesar was a politician born in 100 BC, who served as general of the Roman Republic between 60 and 68 BC.
Under his rule, the empire conquered the whole of modern France and Belgium.
Despite two unsuccessful attempts at invading Britain, in 55BC and again in 54BC, Caesar returned to Italy a hero, having crushed Gallic forces across Europe in the Gallic wars.
After defeating Republican forces in the ensuing civil war, Caesar took control of the Empire as a dictator.
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He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar.
Caesar's ambition and arrogance eventually led to his downfall, when a group of Republican senators assassinated him in 44 BC.
On 1 January 42 BC, Caesar became the first historical Roman to be deified, when he was posthumously granted the title 'the divine Julius'.
Why did he invade Britain?
During the Gallic Wars, Caesar invaded Britain twice in 55 and 54 BC wanting to make it part of the Roman empire.
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His first invasion was unsuccessful and the Romans gained little else besides a beachhead on the coast of Kent before retreating.
He returned the next year with 30,000 soldiers and captured a Celtic hill-fort before retreating again – deciding Britain wasn't worth a long war.
Was he married to Cleopatra?
While wed to Calpurnia, who he stayed married to for the remainder of his wife, Caesar had several mistresses.
One of these was Cleopatra VII, the queen of Egypt, with whom he had a son, Caesarion.
Cleopatra was beautiful and Caesar fell for her – abandoning his plans to annex Egypt and instead backing Cleopatra's claim to the throne.
The pair never married but she followed him to Rome, returning to Egypt after his death in 44 BC.
Why was Julius Caesar killed?
His assassination on March 15, 44BC is one of the most notorious events in history.
Cassius Longinus started the plot against the dictator – getting his brother-in-law Marcus Brutus to join.
But as he entered the hall at the Senate at Teatro di Pompeo, Caesar was surrounded by senators holding daggers.
Servilius Casca struck the first blow before other senators joined in.
As Brutus knifed Caesar in the groin, the dictator is said to remarked: "You too, my child?"
Caesar suffered 23 stab wounds but only one of them was fatal.
Thanks to the Shakespeare play, the stark warning of the soothsayer: "Beware the ides of March," means that people always remember March 15.
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