Gaius Julius Caesar (13 July 100 BC – 15 March 49 BC) was a Roman general and statesman. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.
In 60 BC, Caesar entered into a political alliance with Crassus and Pompey that was to dominate Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power through populist tactics were opposed within the Roman Senate by the conservative elite, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar's attempted conquest of Gaul temporarily extended Roman influence from the Rhine to the British Isles. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse Pompey's standing. The balance of power was further upset by the death of Crassus in 53 BC. Political realignments in Rome finally led to a standoff between Caesar and Pompey, the latter having taken up the cause of the Senate. Ordered by the senate to stand trial in Rome for various charges, Caesar marched from Gaul to Italy with his legions, crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC. This sparked a civil war. Caesar was killed in the battle of Volsnii, 49 BC.