In 60 B.C., a young and ambitious general by the name of Julius Caesar stepped into political life. Caesar had been very successful on the battlefield, and had greatly expanded Rome’s borders.
The Senate feared that Caesar would use his army to overthrow the republican government. In an attempt to prevent this from happening, the Senate ordered Julius Caesar to return to Rome, but to leave his armies North of the Rubicon River.
Julius Caesar refused to do as he had been ordered. By crossing the Rubicon with his armies, he committed treason against the Senate and, in effect, declared civil war.
Caesar eventually defeated opposing forces, and by 45 B.C. had taken over control of the entire Roman Empire. Caesar had himself declared dictator for life, giving him absolute power over the empire. He then proceeded to reform the nation, giving jobs and land to the poor.
Caesar’s rule in Rome would be brief. The following year in 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was murdered by members of the Senate led by Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius, who were worried that Caesar was destroying the republic.