Julius Caesar rises to power through a secret alliance with former rivals Pompey and Crassus. He also has a controversial affair with Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. 

AGE OF CICERO

Marcus Cicero

Marcus Cicero is born into a noble family and becomes a brilliant student. The name Cicero is derived from the Latin word for chickpea, which may indicate that his family sold the crop.

Greek Translations

Cicero translates many Greek philosophical writings into Latin. He introduces Greek philosophy to a wide Roman audience and creates a Latin philosophical vocabulary.

Classical Latin

75 BCE: Historians and poets write literature and a standardized form of Latin begins to emerge: Classical Latin. It becomes the official language and is taught in grammar and rhetoric schools.

Ciceronian Age

Cicero’s translations, writings, and speeches gain renown for their style. It is a heavy influence on Latin; this early period of Classical Latin is known as the Ciceronian Age.

Ciceronian, an English word meaning eloquent, is derived from Cicero. Latin will evolve into Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and many other Romance languages. 

Death of Cornelia

69 BCE: 31-year-old Julius Caesar is elected as a quaestor; low-ranking financial administrator. His wife Cornelia dies in the same year, possibly during childbirth.

Birth of Cleopatra VII

Cleopatra VII Philopator is born to Pharaoh Ptolemy XII in Alexandria, Egypt. She is likely the daughter of Cleopatra V, who may have died during childbirth or shortly after.

Affair with Servilia

Caesar has a secretive relationship with noblewoman Servilia, which may have been a rekindling of a teenage relationship. Servilia is the half-sister of senator Cato the Younger.

Marcus Brutus

Julius becomes friends with Servilia’s son: Marcus Brutus. His family is said to descend from Lucius Brutus, who helped overthrow the tyrant King Tarquinius and establish the Republic.

Some ancient sources speculate that Marcus Brutus may have been the illegitimate son of Julius Caesar. If so, Caesar would have only been 15 years old at the time.

Consul Cicero

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.

Catiline Conspiracy

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. 

Catiline Orations

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.

RISE OF THE FIRST TRIUMVIRATE

Return of Pompey

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. 

Imperator Caesar

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.

First Triumvirate

Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus agree to combine their money and power to influence senate decisions. Their covert alliance is partially in response to opposition from Cato the Younger. 

Cicero’s Refusal

Caesar asks Cicero to join as the fourth member of the alliance. However, Cicero believes that such a partnership would hurt the Republic and refuses the invitation.

Caesar’s Consulship

59 BCE: With the help of his triumvirate alliance, Julius Caesar is elected as consul alongside Marcus Bibulus. However, due to heavy spending on the election, Caesar is once again in great debt. 

Caesar’s Bill

Caesar presents a bill to purchase land to settle Pompey’s veterans. Bibilus opposes the bill, but the people protest and throw feces on him. Bibulus stops going to government meetings.

Some writers refer to this consul year as the consulship of “Julius and Caesar”.

Diplomatic Marriage

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.

Caesar Remarried

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.

Daily Acts

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.

GALLIC WARS: 58-51 BCE

Gallia Region

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.

Governor Caesar

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.

Extended Governship

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.

Helvetti Migrations

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.

Gallic Campaign

Caesar launches a military campaign into western Europe. While he claims that it is for a defensive buffer against the Helvetii, many believe it is for military prestige and wealth.

Caesar’s Defenses

Caesar dismantles a bridge on the Rhone river to slow the Helvetii advance. His Roman legions proceed to build 19 miles of fortifications and trenches.

Battle of the Arar

The Helvetii migrate by another route and begin to cross the Arar river. Caesar arrives and surprise attacks tribespeople that still remain on the original side of the river.

Battle of Bibracte

Caesar withdraws his forces to gather supplies. The Helvetti and their allies attempt a counter-offensive. After a long drawn-out battle, Caesar and his legions are victorious.

The Helvetii originated from what is now Switzerland.

Suebi Migrations

The Suebi and several other Germanic tribes cross the Rhine river and attempt to settle in Gallia. They are led by a military chieftain named Ariovistus, who attempts to negotiate with Caesar.

Battle of Vosges

58 BCE: When negotiations between Caesar and Ariovistus fail, the two sides engage in battle. The Germanic line breaks, forcing them to retreat back across the Rhine.

The United Belgae

The Celtic Belgae unite against the Roman threat. Although outnumbered, Caesar uses cavalry to raid the Belgae and attack isolated tribes. Many tribes soon surrender.

Battle of the Sabis

57 BCE: Some Belgae tribes coordinate a surprise attack against Caesar. His legions are overwhelmed, but the experienced soldiers turn the tide of battle in their favor.

The Belgae and their territory will eventually become known as Belgium.

Tennous Alliance

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.

Lucca Conference

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.

Celtic Britons

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 Eburones

The Eburones are a tribe of mixed Gallic and Germanic heritage that reside in the Belgea region of north-eastern Gallia. They are led by King Ambiorix, but are forced to pay tribute to Rome.

Ambiorix’s Revolt

54 BCE: Caesar’s general attempts to acquire their food levy from the Celtic people in Belgae. Struggling with a poor harvest, Ambiorix and the Eburones revolt and kill 9000 Roman soldiers.

Further Revolts

Ambiorix attempts to attack another Roman Camp. However, Caesar arrives and leads a successful defense. Meanwhile, additional Celtic and Germanic tribes are inspired to join the rebellion.

Caesar’s Retaliation

It takes several years for Caesar to subdue the widespread rebellions. He slaughters many rebels and burns much land in Belgae. However, Ambiorix escapes to Germania.

Following the Independence of Belgium in 1830 CE, Ambiorix became a national hero.

Parthian Empire

The Persian and Greek influenced Parthian Empire in Western Asia emerges as a political power. Rome and Parthia come soon into conflict over border issues and control of the Kingdom of Armenia.

Invasion of Parthia

53 BCE: Crassus, without the authorization from the senate, invades the Parthian Empire to obtain fortune and military renown. He marches his army through the Mesopotamian desert. 

Battle of Carrhae

The Roman engage the Partians in battle near the city of Carrhae in Anatolia. Although heavily-outnumbered, the cavalry-focused Parthian army outmaneuver and crushes the Roman army. 

Death of Crassus

Marcus Crassus, his son, and about 20,000 Roman soldiers are killed at Carrhae and an additional 10,000 are captured as prisoners. The Parthians proceed to conquer the Kingdom of Armenia.

The Battle of Carrhae is one of the costliest defeats in Roman history. 

Rome may have come into contact with Imperial China (Han Dynasty) around this time. However, the first certain China-Roman communication was in 166 CE.

King  Vercingetorix 

52 BCE: Vercingetorix becomes chieftain of the Arverni tribe at their hill-fort of Gergovia. He inspires other Celtic tribes in Gallia to unite and revolt against Roman rule.

Battle of Gergovia

Caesar and six legions attempt to capture Gergovia and put a quick end to the Celtic revolt. However, the Romans have limited supplies during the winter attack and are decisively defeated.

Celtic Counter-Attacks

In order to weaken Caesar’s foothold of Gallia, Vercingetorix attempts to disrupt Roman supply lines. However, the attacks are repelled and Vercingetorix’ forces withdraw to the fort of Alesia.

Battle of Alesia

Caesar builds a donut-shaped defense around Alesia to isolate Vercingetorix from his outside reinforcements. Despite a fierce attack from both directions, Caesar emerges victorious.

Arverni territory becomes known as the region of Auvergne in south-central France.

End of Gallic Campaign

51 BCE: Caesar’s military campaign comes to an end with an estimated million Celtic Galli killed and another million enslaved. Much of Gallia comes under Roman dominance.

Gallo-Roman Culture

While a few minor Gallic rebellions erupt, the Celtics gradually adapt to Roman rule and culture. They develop their own distinct Gallo-Roman culture and language.

Senate Criticism

Despite his victories, many senate members are irritated with Caesar’s extravagant and long-winded campaign in Gallia. Britannia was especially costly and provided little in return.

Caesar’s Commentaries

Julius Caesar writes a firsthand account of the nine-year Gallic Wars. He uses it to increase his political influence by gaining popularity with the people and negate his critics.

The Gallo-Romance language evolves into Vulgar Latin and then the French language family.

CAESAR’S CIVIL WAR: 49-45 BCE

Tyrant Declaration

49 BCE: Caesar’s governorship of Gallia was supposed to end years ago. When he refuses to disband his army and return to Rome, the Senate declares Caesar a tyrant.

Crossing the Rubicon

Desiring to negotiate, Julius Caesar crosses the shallow Rubicon river and illegally approaches Rome with a single legion. Only consuls are allowed to command an army near Rome.

The Die is Cast

Pompey accuses Caesar of treason. Caesar quotes his favorite Greek playwright, Menander, and says the die has been cast; meaning he has passed the point of no return.

Flight of the Senate

Pompey is the governor of Hispania and his army is stationed there. Unaware that Caesar only has a single legion, Pompey and his supporters flee from Italy to Greece.

Crossing the Rubicon and The Die is Cast both become a synonym of Reaching the point of no return.

Hispania Campaign

Few navy ships remain in Rome. Instead of chasing after Pompey, Caesar marches to Hispania to subdue Pompey’s forces there. General Marc Antony is left to govern Rome and raise a fleet.

Siege of Massilia

Massilia, an ally of Rome in Gallia, sides with Pompey. On his way to Hispania, Caesar attacks the city-state. However, when it turns into a lengthy siege, Caesar passes command to General Trebonius.

Battle of Ilerda

Caesar makes an incredible 27-day forced march to Hispania and surprises Pompey’s forces. After several skirmishes, Caesar surrounds the rival Roman army and forces them to surrender.

Conquest of Massilia

Caesar returns from Hispania and helps complete the siege of Massilia. While the city remains semi-independent, Caesar annexes much of their surrounding territory for Rome.

Massilia eventually transforms into the French city of Marseille.

Greek Campaign

48 BCE: Caesar only has enough ships to sail half his forces to Greece. He plans to circumvent Pompey’s navy, transport his forces in two waves, and establish a beachhead at Epirus.

Reinforcement Race

Caesar successfully lands with his first wave, but his second wave is cut off by Pompey and forced to land further away. Caesar races to the reinforcements before he is blocked and trapped.

Battle of Dyrrhachium

Caesar reaches his reinforcements. After a long stalemate near Dyrrhachium, Caesar’s army is pushed back and forced to retreat. However, Pompey thinks it is a trap and doesn’t press the attack.

Battle of Pharsalus

Pompey surrounds Caesar near Pharsalus and attempts to starve him out. However, senators pressure him to attack their defensive position. The army is annihilated and Pompey is forced to flee to Egypt.

Ptolemaic Strife

Political violence has been weakening the Ptolemaic dynasty’s rule over Egypt in Alexandria. With Rome absorbing much of the Greek world, Egypt comes under heavy Roman influence.

Cleopatra & Ptolemy

When their father dies, 10-year old Ptolemy XIII and 18-year old Cleopatra VII become rulers of Egypt. The siblings were likely married, a practice the Greek rulers adopted from the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Egyptian Civil War

Cleopatra rejects her brother as co-ruler. However, Ptolemy and his allies usurp the throne. Cleopatra is forced to flee to Roman Syria, but soon returns to Alexandria with her own force.

Murder of Pompey

Ptolemy welcomes Pompey to Alexandria. However, hoping to gain Caesar’s support in the Egyptian civil war, he murders Pompey and delivers his severed head to the famous general.

Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and established Alexandria. Cleopatra is Greek (not Egyptian) and descends from Ptolemy, a general of Alexander, who became the ruler of Egypt.

Caesar’s Demand

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’s Wit

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.

Failed Diplomacy

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.

Siege of Alexandria

Ptolemy surrounds the island palace and attempts to starve out Caesar and Cleopatra. Ptolemy pumps saltwater into the palace’s reservoirs, but the fugitives survive by building makeshift wells.

Burning the Library

In order to weaken Ptolemy’s naval blockade, Caesar’s soldiers set fire to Ptolemy’s naval fleet in the harbor. The nearby Great Library of Alexandria is also partially burned in the process.

Roman Reinforcements

47 BCE: After being trapped in the palace for several months, Caesar’s reinforcements finally arrive. Caesar and his legion join them and prepare to attack Ptolemy’s nearby position in the Nile delta.

Battle of the Nile

Caesar engages Ptolemy in a fierce hill battle and he gradually outmaneuvers the Pharaoh. While trying to escape, Ptolemy’s ship capsizes and the child Pharoah drowns in the Nile.

Contrary to popular belief, the Library of Alexandria was not completely destroyed in the fire. Along with the city, it went through a gradual period of decline.

Reign of Cleopatra

With the help of Marc Antony, Caesar is appointed dictator of Rome. This grants Caesar the legal authority to declare Cleopatra and her younger brother, Ptolemy XIV, as the official rulers of Egypt.

Egyptian Cruise

Cleopatra gives Caesar a lengthy cruise of the Nile on her massive double-decker pleasure barge. The vessel was built 150 years earlier and is known as the Thalamegos, which means room carrier.

Battle of Zela

Following Egypt, Caesar invades Syria and swiftly defeats King Pharnaces of Pontus. The son of Mithridates VI sided with Pompey. Due to his quick victory, Caesar declares “I came, I saw, I conquered”.

Son of Caesar

Cleopatra soon gives birth to a son, which she names Caesarion; The Son of Caesar. However, a non-Roman, he is considered illegitimate and Caesar remains quiet about the claim.

North African Refuge

Following the Battle of Pharsalus, Cato and the some supporters of Pompey regrouped in Utica, the provincial capital of Roman Africa. They form an alliance with King Juba of Numidia.

Battle of Thapsus

Caesar attacks the Port of Thapsus and forces Pompey’s regime to defend the strategic location. Despite their use of war elephants, Caesar crushes the Pompeian-Numidian force and conquers the port.

Death of Cato

Cato remained in Utica during the Battle of Thapsus, but soon hears of the defeat of his alliance. Not wanting to live in a Roman world led by Caesar, Cato commits suicide on his own sword.

Nova Africa

Having conquered King Juba of Numidia, Caesar converts his territory into the Province of New Africa. The previous Roman province in Tunisia becomes known as Africa Vetus; Old Africa.

The Battle of Thapsus is the last known large-scale use of war elephants in western warfare.

Despite his defeat and suicide, Cato is well-remembered for his fight against the authoritarianism that was unraveling the republic.

Hispania Rebellion

Former army veterans of Pompey initiate a rebellion in Hispania and expel Caesar’s governor. The rebels are soon joined by survivors from the Battle of Thapsus, including Pompey’s sons.

Hispania Campaign

46 BCE: Caesar begins a march to Hispania with his most trusted legions. His great-nephew, Gaius Octavius, is supposed to join the campaign. However, Octavius falls ill and is unable to join.

Octavius’ Shipwreck

Recovering from his illness, Octavius and some companions sail to Hispania. However, they are shipwrecked and forced to cross hostile territory in order to reach Caesar’s Camp.

Battle of Munda

45 BCE: Caesar and Pompey’s forces meet on the Plains of Munda in southern Hispania. After eight hours of fighting, Pompey’s army is outflanked and annihilated. The Pompeian regime comes to an end.

CAESAR’S DICTATORSHIP 

Imperator Caesar

Having defeated the majority of his opponents, Caesar is appointed as Dictator of Rome for a 10-year term. He is given the honorific title of Imperator, which means Great Commander.

Caesar’s Senate

With many senators killed in the civil war, Caesar appoints many new nobles to the senate. He also soon raises the membership to 900 senators. However, the new senators are nobles loyal to Caesar.

Caesar’s Reforms

Caesar desires to create a strong central government free of conflict. He gradually reforms Rome’s constitution to limit the powers of public officials and provincial governors.

Octavius the Heir

Caesar has no legitimate heir, but was impressed by Octavius’ initiative in Hispania. Caesar adopts his great-nephew as his official son and heir. However, the choice disappoints Marc Antony.

Renovations in Rome

Caesar commissions significant restorations in Rome. Circus Maximus, Rome’s premier stadium and race track, is renovated with expanded seating that allows for up to 150,000 spectators.

Forum of Caesar

Caesar has a public square built in Rome that displays his deeds and accomplishments. Caesar spends a huge amount of money for grand games to be played during its opening dedication.

Temple of Venus Genetrix

In his forum, Caesar has a temple constructed for Venus Genetrix; the patron goddess of the Julian family. However, he controversially erects a gold statue of Cleopatra in the temple.

Temple Meeting

Caesar calls for senators to greet him at his temple before a meeting, but the practice is very unpopular. Caesar becomes increasingly disliked for honoring himself and reducing senate prestige.

Cleopatra in Rome

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.

Julian Calendar

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.

Dictator Perpetuo

44 BCE: Having centralized Roman government, Caesar has himself proclaimed a Dictator in Perpetuity. However, many nobles are critical of the lifetime appointment.

Liberators’ Conspiracy

Nearly 60 senators desire to restore the republic and begin to conspire against Caesar. This includes Caesar’s close friend Marcus Brutus; the son of Servilia. They become known as the Liberators.

Ides of March

A soothsayer warns Caesar that he would come to harm by March 15th. This middle day of the month is known as the Ides of March and features several religious observances.

Assassination of Caesar

On March 15th, during the Ides of March, Caesar is approached at the Senate with a petition. Senators crowd around to support the petition. During the process, Caesar is stabbed 23 times.

RISE OF THE SECOND TRIUMVIRATE

Funeral Riot

General Marc Antony gives a public speech at Caesar’s funeral and shows Caesar toga with stab wounds. The people riot, which forces the Liberator assassins to flee Rome.

Cicero’s Condemnation

In a series of speeches, Cicero condemns Marc Antony as trying to become Caesar’s successor and calls for a return to a republican government. Antony loses popularity.

Caesar’s Heir

18-year old Octavian returns to Rome and, as the official heir of Caesar, is given the title of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. As the new Caesar, he gains the popularity of people.

Cleopatra’s Flight

Cleopatra attempts to get Caesarion recognized as Caesar’s heir. However, with Octavian named as the heir and being regarded as a mistress, she is ignored and decides to return to Egypt.

Caesar became an imperial title in the Roman Empire. It is translated as Kaiser in German and Tsar in Russian.

Antony’s Gallia Campaign

43 BCE: Against the wishes of the senate, Marc Antony leads an army to take over Gallia Citerior from Governor Decimus Brutus; one of Caesar’s assassins. Antony is declared a public enemy.

Commander Octavian

In order to confront Marc Antony in Gallia, the senate officially grants 19-year-old Octavian command of the Roman military. His campaign is joined by Consuls Hirtius and Pansa.

Battle of Mutina

Octavian defeats Antony near the city of Mutina, but with heavy losses on both sides. Consuls Hirtius and Pansa were also killed in the battle. Antony and his forces retreat to Gallia Narbonesis.

Liberator Provinces

The Senate wants to strengthen the republic while Caesar’s generals are occupied. They grant Liberator leaders Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus the provinces around Macedonia.

Decimus Brutus is frequently confused with Marcus Brutus. They are distant cousins and fellow Liberators.

Caesarian Alliance

With the senate ignoring his victories and granting provinces to Caesar’s assassins, Octavian halts his campaign. He negotiates a secret alliance with Marc Antony to unite Caesar’s military.

Consul Octavian

Octavian demands a Consulship. When his request is rejected by the senate, the heir marches on Rome. The senate, having little military support, is forced to surrender and accept Octavian as Consul.

The Second Triumvirate

Octavian allies with Antony and Cavalry Commander Lepidus. To protect from the Liberator army forming in the east, a law is officially passed that makes them dictators for a five-year term.

Execution of Cicero

The Triumvirates mark over 2000 nobles as outlaws. A third of the senate, including 63-year-old Cicero, is hunted down and beheaded. However, some escape to the Liberators in the east.

Unlike the secretive First Triumvirate, the Second Triumvirate was an official alliance. Perhaps ironically, they were called the “Three-man commission for restoring the constitution of the republic“.

Caesar’s Comet

Following Caesar’s assassination, a bright comet appeared for seven days during his birth month. The people interpret it as a sign that Caesar has been deified and becomes known as the Julian Star.

The Divine Caesar

42 BCE: On January 1st, Caesar is officially recognized as divine by the senate. Marc Antony becomes Caesar’s High Priest and Octavian is given the title of Divi Filius; Son of the Divine.

Temple of the Divine Caesar

A temple is constructed in Rome dedicated to Caesar’s divinity and is sometimes known as the Temple of the Comet Star. A life-size statue of Caesar is erected that features 32 stab wounds.

Virgil’s Eclogues

Latin poet Virgil writes his first major work. The ten short poems follow rural herdsmen reflecting over the political events occurring in Rome. They become known as the Eclogues; Short Selections.

Julius Caesar is the first historical ruler to be deified in Roman culture. It also begins an Imperial Cult, where Roman rulers are viewed as divinely sanctioned.

Govenor Sallust

Sallust is a politician and friend of Julius Caesar. He was appointed governor of Africa Nova and acquired much wealth during his term, though some accuse him of extorting the province.

Gardens of Sallust

Sallust inherited property from Julius Caesar after his death. Using his wealth from governorship, he builds a large and splendous garden estate in northeastern Rome.

Historian Sallust

Sallust retires to his garden estate and devotes his time to reading historical literature. Sallust becomes especially fond of Greek historian and general Thucydides of Athens.

Works of Sallust

Sallust writes on recent Roman history, including the Jugurthine War and the Catiline Conspiracy. He is also extremely critical of the moral decline of Rome and the violent bickering in the senate. 

Sallust is the earliest Roman historian to be known by name.

LIBERATORS’ CIVIL WAR: 43-42 BCE

Eastern Campaign

42 BCE: Antony and Octavian lead 28 legions to confront Caesar’s assassins and regain control of the eastern Roman provinces. Lepidus remains in Rome to oversee the government.

Siege of Philippi

The Triumvirates try to lure the Liberators from their base at Philippi, but they remain on the defensive. Instead, Marc Antony attempts to flank by cutting a path through the adjacent swamp.

First Battle of Philippi

Cassius fails to block the flank, but Brutus surprise attacks and forces Octavian into a hasty retreat. However, hearing a false report that Brutus was also defeated, Cassius commits suicide.

Naval Battle of the Ionian Sea

Meanwhile, in the Ionian Sea, the Liberator’s naval fleet intercepts and sinks the Triumvirate’s ships carrying reinforcements and supplies. Philippi ends in a stalemate as both sides regroup.

Battle of Attrition

Brutus has the high ground and stays on the defensive. He builds up his fortifications and attempts to wear down the Triumvirates using the Liberator’s naval superiority.

Cleopatra’s Aid

Cleopatra attempts to aid the Triumvirate to defeat Caesar’s assassins. However, her fleet is heavily damaged in a Mediterranean storm and doesn’t make it to Philippi in time.

Second Battle of Philippi

Brutus’ soldiers become impatient. He fears a mutiny and is forced to go on the offensive, but the attack is repelled. Brutus’ forces are unable to recover their defensive positions and are defeated.

Death of Brutus

Marcus Brutus escapes to nearby hills and commits suicide on his sword. His body is brought to Marc Antony, who is respectful of Caesar’s former friend and sends his ashes to his mother Servilia.

The Battles of Philippi involved an estimated 200,000 soldiers. They are some of the largest civil war battles in Roman History.

CONCLUSION

The Second Triumvirate has defeated most of Caesar’s assassins and continues to rule the Roman Republic.