An Introduction to Ancient Rome

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Part 5: Caesar and Civil Wars

The three members of the Triumvirate soon became jealous of each other and fought for control of the government. The winner was Julius Caesar, who was such a champion of the people and of the army that he was made dictator for life by the Senate.

Jealous of his popularity and afraid of his ambitions, a group of Senators (including Marcus Brutus, whom Caesar thought was one of his best friends) killed Caesar in 44 B.C.

In the power struggle that followed, three men took the reins of government: Marc Antony, Caesar's right-hand man; Octavian, Caesar's step-son; and Lepidus, an important leader. This was the Second Triumvirate.

This, too, resulted in a power struggle, with Octavian defeating Marc Antony and declaring himself emperor. He renamed himself Augustus Caesar, and the Roman Empire was born.

Roman conquests followed after this for hundreds of years. The main reason was that the Roman soldiers were better-trained, better-equipped, and better-fed than their opponents. Germanic tribe after Germanic tribe soon found themselves conquered, invited to join the Empire, and even serving in the Imperial Army. The borders of Roman civilization soon stretched from Scotland to the Middle East.

Next page > Empire's Rise and Fall > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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David White