63 BCE: Following a fierce election period, 42-year-old Marcus Cicero is elected as a consul. A significant acheivement for both his age and his non-political family background.
Senator Catilina ran expensive campaigns for consularship, but lost three times in a row. Promising to abolish debt, he conspires to overthrow the government with nobles that are struggling financially.
Cicero uncovers the conspiracy and gives four passionate speeches to the senate against Cataline and his supporters. After a fierce debate, the conspirators are executed without trial.
Cato vs Caesar
Cato the Younger is strongly against corruption and supported the execution. Julius argued against executing the conspirators without trial. Cato accuses Caesar of being involved in the conspiracy.
Consul is the highest government position in the Roman Republic. Two consuls were elected every year for a one year term.
62 BCE: General Pompey returns from his victories in the east and seeks to approve all of his land agreements. However, Cato and other senators demand that he present his deals individually.
Julius Caesar becomes governor of Western Hispania and ends two local rebellions. Caesar is well-liked by his soldiers and is given the honorary title of imperator.
Alliance with Crassus
Caesar is in debt due to running expensive political campaigns. He forms an alliance with Crassus, the richest man in Rome. Crassus helps pay off some of Caesar’s debt in exchange for political support.
Return of Caesar
Caesar returns to Rome from a successful governorship in Hispania and applies for a triumph; a public ceremony of his achievements. However, the proposal is blocked by Cato.
Imperator was originally a title given to great generals, but became the official military title of rulers during the Roman Empire. It was later translated into English as emperor.
The life of Cato, history’s most famous foe of authoritarian power. He inspired the Founding Fathers of the United States. His life and lessons are urgently relevant in the harshly divided world of today.
Julia, Caesar’s only child, has grown into a lady known for her beauty and virtue. To secure the alliance, Caesar marries his 17-year-old daughter to 47-year-old Pompey. She is Pompey’s fourth wife.
41-year-old Julius Caesar marries 17-year-old Calpurnia. She is the daughter of senator Lucius Calpurnius; a rival of Cicero since the Catiline Conspiracy. Calpurnius is soon elected as consul.
Caesar orders the production of daily notices, which are carved into stone or metal and presented in public locations around Rome. They become known as the Acta Diurna.
Exile of Cicero
58 BCE: Calpurnius becomes consul and passes a law which prohibits the execution of Roman citizens without trial. Cicero is forced into exile due to the Catiline Conspiracy, but is recalled after a year.
The Daily Acts is the earliest known form of daily news.
The Romans call Western Europe Gallia after its Celtic Galli natives. The provinces of Gallia Citerior and Gallia Narbonensis near the Italian peninsula cover only a small portion of the large region.
58 BCE: With the help of the Triumvirate, Julius Caesar becomes governor of two provinces: Gallia Citerior and Illyricum. This will help pay off his debts from his political campaigns.
When the governor of Gallia Narbonensis dies, Caesar is also given governorship of the province. Once again due to the Triumvirate, his term is also extended from the usual one year to five years.
Displaced by Germanic tribes, over 250,000 Celtic tribe members attempt to migrate through Gallia Narbonensis. They are known as the Helvetii, a name which may indicate their multitude.
The English term for ancient Gallia is Gaul. Gallia includes France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. Gallia Narbonensis is roughly located in Southern France.
Crassus and Pompey become wary of Caesar’s vain military campaign and the admiration he is receiving. Meanwhile, Crassus and Pompey begin to develop their own political differences.
56 BCE: While Caesar’s breaks for winter, the Triumvirate meet in Gallia Citerior and reaffirm their alliance. For his continued political support, Crassus and Pompey agree to support Caesar’s campaign.
Battle Against the Veneti
Caesar continues his campaign in north-western Europe and engages the seafaring Venetti and their coastal forts. Despite aid from their cousins, the Britons, the Venetti are gradually defeated.
Consul Crassus and Pompey
55 BCE: With the aid of Caesar’s influence, Crassus and Pompey are once again elected as consuls. Following his term as consul, Crassus is given governorship of Roman Syria in the east.
The Celtic Britons live on the large island across the channel from northern Gallia. With the Britons speaking the Brittonic language, the Romans call the island Britannia.
Landing in Britannia
55 BCE: Caesar and two legions sail to Britannia and attempt to establish a foothold. However, Caesar withdraws after being weakened by a storm and seeing the unfamiliar sight of mass chariots.
Death of Julia
While in Britannia, Caesar learns that his daughter Julia has died while giving birth and that her baby died a few days later. The already tenuous relationship between Caesar and Pompey is further stressed.
Invasion of Britannia
54 BCE: Caesar returns to Britannia with five legions. Despite another damaging storm, he wins a few battles. However, unable to fully secure the region, Caesar once again withdraws.
The murder of Pompey horrifies Caesar. He travels to Alexandria and demands an immediate end to the civil war. It was the will of Cleopatra and Ptolemy’s father that the siblings be co-rulers.
Cleopatra, who is now 20 years old, rolls into a carpet and smuggles herself into Caesar’s residence in Alexandria. She amuses the Roman General with her courage and charm.
Caesar attempts to negotiate a peace treaty between Cleopatra and Ptolemy. However, Ptolemy believes Caesar is favoring Cleopatra and has his 20,000 soldiers attack Caesar and his legion of 4000.
Island Palace Retreat
Caesar, Cleopatra, and the legion retreat and fortify themselves at Cleopatra’s island palace in the harbour. Caesar requests aid from his allies, but the distant reinforcements are slow to arrive
Cleopatra is a Greek name meaning Glory of her Father. Alexander the Great’s sister was named Cleopatra, as well as the wife of general turned ruler Ptolemy. It becomes a popular name in the Ptolemaic royal family.
Cleopatra occasionally travels to Rome as a client queen and stays at a villa in Horti Caesaris; Caesar’s garden park. Cleopatra is granted the legal title of Friend and Ally of the Roman People.
With the help of Cleopatra’s astronomer, Sosigenes, Caesar changes the Roman calendar from a lunar to a solar one. He extends the total length to 365.25 days, with a leap year every fourth year.
The Scandalous Queen
Egypt is viewed as a decadent pleasure-loving culture and Caesar’s relationship with Cleopatra is scandalous in Rome. She further aggravates nobles by insisting to be called queen.
Rumours in Rome
Rumors emerge in Rome that Caesar is going to officially declare himself as king. There is also gossip of Caesar moving the seat of government from Rome to Alexandria.
Contrary to popular belief, Cleopatra’s physical beauty likely wasn’t her primary asset. She was extremely charming and intelligent. She spoke 12 languages and studied mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy.