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Gaius Julius Caesar, known by his cognomen Julius Caesar was born 12 or 13 July 100 B.C. – 15 March 44 B.C. He was a Roman politician and military general who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.
Julius Caesar, one of the world’s greatest military leaders, was born into a senatorial, patrician family. His father, also Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of Asia. His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of Caesar’s childhood. Caesar’s aunt, Julia, married Gaius Marius, one of the most prominent figures in the Republic.
See the fact file below for more information on Julius Caesar or alternatively, you can download our 27-page Julius Caesar worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life / Youth
- Little is recorded of Caesar’s childhood. In 85 B.C., Caesar’s father died suddenly, so Caesar became the head of the family at 16. Deciding that belonging to the priesthood would bring the most benefit to the family, he managed to have himself nominated as the new High Priest of Jupiter.
- His coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated to be the new high priest of Jupiter.
- Julius Caesar then was married to Cinna’s daughter Cornelia.
- After the death of Marius and the rise of Sulla, Caesar’s life was in jeopardy for a time, as Cornelia’s father was Sulla’s political rival.
- Sulla began a systematic purge of his enemies and particularly of those who held to the Populare ideology. Caesar was targeted and stripped of his inheritance, his wife’s dowry and his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding and fled Rome.
- Ironically, the loss of his priesthood allowed him to pursue a military career and become successful in it. He served under Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia and Servilius Isauricus in Cilicia.
- When Sulla died, he decided to return to Rome and try his luck as an orator (a modern-day lawyer). In this, too, he proved a success and became well known as an eloquent speaker. He relocated temporarily to Rhodes to study philosophy.
- In 75 B.C.E., while sailing to Greece, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held ransom. After the ransom was paid, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates, and had them crucified as he had promised while in captivity.
- On his return to Rome, he was elected military tribune, a first step in his political career, and since his wife Cornelia had died, he married Pompeia in 67 B.C. She was a wealthy Optimate granddaughter of Emperor Sulla, whom he later divorced in 61 B.C. after a scandal she was implicated in with another man.
- Caesar’s status was further enhanced in 74 B.C. when he put together a private army and combated Mithradates VI Eupator, King of Pontus, who had declared war on Rome.
- Caesar was elected one of the Curule Aediles in 65 B.C.E.
- In 63 B.C., he ran for election to the post of Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the Roman state religion, and won comfortably, despite his opponents’ greater experience and standing.
- In 61 to 60 B.C., Caesar served as Propraetor (governor) of the Roman province of Spain, Hispania Ulterior.
- In Spain, Caesar defeated the warring rival tribes, brought stability to the region and won the personal allegiance of his troops through his skill on the battlefield. He was hailed as Imperator and, in the Roman Republic, this was an honorary title assumed by certain military commanders.
- In 60 B.C., Caesar sought election as consul for 59 B.C., along with two other candidates. Caesar won and struck a deal with two of Rome’s leading figures, Pompey the Great and Crassus.
The First Triumvirate
- The strategic political alliance between Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus and Pompey came to be known as the First Triumvirate where they controlled Rome throughout the 50s B.C.
- Caesar married Calpurnia, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful senator, and married his daughter Julia to Pompey to further cement their political arrangements.
- Together, the three men effectively ruled Rome with Caesar as consul, by pushing through measures favored by Pompey or Crassus in the senate.
- Caesar proposed legislation for government reform and redistribution of land to the poor. Pompey filled the city with soldiers, a move which intimidated the Triumvirate opponents.
- After serving as consul in 59 B.C., Caesar became governor of Cisalpine l (northern Italy) and Transalpine Gaul (southern France). This allowed him to build a bigger military and begin the kind of campaigns that would cement his status as one of Rome’s all-time great leaders.
- Between 58 and 50 B.C., Caesar conquered the rest of Gaul up to the river Rhine.
- Early in 49 B.C., as his command in Gaul was coming to an end, Caesar began a civil war with his old associate, Pompey the Great, who had allied himself with the Roman Senate against Caesar.
- Meanwhile, Crassus had still never completely overcome his disdain for Pompey. The three leaders patched things up temporarily in 56 B.C. at a conference in Luca. Three years later, however, Crassus was killed in a battle in Syria and that same year, Julia died in childbirth.
- Pompey was appointed sole consul as an emergency measure and married the daughter of a political opponent of Caesar. Pompey was now the sole military and political power in Rome and had the senate declare Caesar’s governorship of Gaul void and, further, ordered him to return to Rome as a private citizen.
- Rather than returning to Rome as ordered, Caesar thought he would be prosecuted if he entered Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a magistrate. Caesar crossed the Rubicon River (the frontier boundary of Italy) with his legions and marched on the city in January 10, 49 B.C. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason.
- Pompey, rather than meet Caesar’s legions in battle, fled to Spain and then to Greece where he was defeated by Caesar’s much smaller force at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 B.C.E.
- By late 48 B.C., Caesar had driven his enemies out of Italy and pursued Pompey into Egypt. There, Pompey was killed and Caesar aligned himself with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.
- Caesar and Cleopatra became lovers and she gave birth to a son, Ptolemy Caesar (known as Caesarion) in 47 B.C.E. She proclaimed him heir and successor to her throne.
- Upon his return to Rome, Caesar was made dictator for life and hailed as the Father of his Country with Mark Antony as his Master of the Horse (second in command).
- He initiated many reforms, including further land redistribution to the poor and land reform for veterans, which eliminated the need to displace other citizens. He reformed the Roman calendar and reorganized the construction of local government, created a police force, ordered the rebuilding of Carthage, and abolished the tax system, among many other pieces of legislation.
- His time as dictator is generally regarded as a prosperous one for Rome but the Roman Senate feared he was becoming too powerful and could soon abolish the Senate entirely to rule absolutely as a king.
- Caesar’s inclusion of former Roman enemies in the government helped spell his downfall and assassination by Longinus and Brutus.
- On March 15, 44 B.C.E., Caesar was assassinated by the senators in the portico of the basilica of Pompey the Great. Caesar was stabbed 23 times by a mob of mutinous senators. The date of the assassination was called the Ides of March, which made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history.
- DID YOU KNOW: July, the seventh month of the Gregorian calendar, was named after Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.E? Its original name was Quintilis, Latin for the “fifth month”, indicating its position in the early Roman calendar.
Julius Caesar Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Julius Caesar across 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Julius Caesar worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Gaius Julius Caesar, known by his cognomen Julius Caesar who was born 12 or 13 July 100 B.C. – 15 March 44 B.C. He was a Roman politician and military general who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Julius Caesar Facts
- Guess that Name!
- Reforms! Reforms!
- Fill in the Blanks
- Word Hunt
- Caesar’s Story!
- The Rise of Caesar and the First Triumvirates
- Mark It!
- Strengths and Weaknesses
- The Ides of March
- That’s My Line!
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.