Julius Caesar's rise to power in the Roman Republic was the culmination of years of political maneuvering and military prowess. After serving as a successful general in the Gallic Wars, Caesar returned to Rome in 49 BC, crossing the Rubicon River with his legions, an act of defiance that marked the start of a civil war. Caesar's forces defeated those of the Senate and his rival Pompey, culminating in his appointment as dictator of Rome in 45 BC, granting him unprecedented authority. Caesar's reforms during his dictatorship, such as the establishment of the Julian calendar and the expansion of citizenship rights, solidified his position and endeared him to the people of Rome. His assassination in 44 BC, orchestrated by a group of senators led by Brutus and Cassius, plunged the Republic into another civil war and ultimately led to the rise of Caesar's adopted heir, Octavian, who would become the first Roman emperor, Augustus.
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