Ides of March

Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome, is stabbed to death in the Senate house by Republican conspirators.

Elected consul in 59 B.C., Caesar was a popular reformer who often fought with the Senate. He also proved a brilliant military leader, conquering Gaul, making the first Roman inroads into Britain, and winning devoted supporters in his legions. Competition between Caesar and Pompey the Great erupted in civil war in 49 B.C., and Caesar emerged triumphant the next year.

Appointed Roman dictator, Caesar traveled around the empire for several years and consolidated his rule. In 45 B.C., he returned to Rome and was made dictator for life. As sole Roman ruler, Caesar launched ambitious programs of reform and planned new imperial expansions. In the midst of these vast designs, he was assassinated by a group of conspirators who believed that his death would lead to the restoration of the Roman Republic.

However, the result of the “Ides of March” was to plunge Rome into a fresh round of civil wars, out of which Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew, would emerge as Augustus, the first Roman emperor, and the Republic would be forever destroyed.