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6-08-2015, 14:56

A Mighty Empire

In March 44 BCE, a young Roman man named
Octavian learned his great uncle, the mighty Gaius
Julius Caesar, had been murdered. Caesar had been
a general in the Roman army before becoming a
statesman, an authority figure in Roman politics, and
then head of the government. Along the way, Caesar
had made enemies.

BETRAYAL AND ASSASSINATION


The ruling body of Rome, the Senate, did not care for the tactics Caesar used
to gain political power with his allies Crassus and Pompey. After the death
of Pompey in 48 BCE, Caesar became the most powerful man in Rome. Some
senators feared he would use his power to crown himself king. They plotted
to assassinate Caesar. His murder prompted a series of civil wars within
Rome. The Roman Republic started unraveling.

In his will, Caesar adopted Octavian and made the 19-year-old his sole
heir. The young man took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. He then
began an ascent to power that would usher in a new era in Rome.
Caesar’s chief lieutenant, Mark Antony, took control of Rome after
Caesar’s murder. Octavian raised an army of men who had been loyal to the
assassinated Caesar, and they defeated Mark Antony in 43 BCE. Octavian
forced the Roman Senate to elect him to a high-ranking position. He then
struck an agreement with Mark Antony, and the two men, along with an ally
of Caesar named Lepidus, divided the existing provinces among themselves.
Mark Antony took control of Rome’s eastern provinces. Octavian ruled the
western provinces. Lepidus oversaw Rome’s territory in North Africa.
The next year, in 42 BCE, Octavian joined military forces with Mark
Antony, and the two defeated Caesar’s assassins. Octavian had avenged the
death of Caesar and had risen to formidable power within Rome.

 

 

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