The following timeline gives an outline of the major events in Julius Caesar life. If you want greater details regarding him it is worth reading his Gallic wars – written in a very straightforward way and tells you a lot about him and his approach. Caesar’s War Commentaries
13th July 100BC – This is quite likely Julius Caesar’s date of birth although the year 102BC is also possible. Caius Julius Caesar was born of a noble family: the Gens Julia. In this year General Marius defeated the Germanic tribes of Cimbri and Teutones who were threatening to invade northern Italy.
91-88BC – Rome’s social struggles
88BC – First war against Mithridates
13th Jan 86 AD – General Marius has taken control of Rome by force but then dies a natural death. His ally Cinna is Consul.
85BC – Julius Caesar marries Cinna’s daughter Cornelia.
82BC – General Sulla, sworn adversary of Marius and Cinna takes power by force. Caesar is proscribed and condemned to death as a supporter of Marius and Cinna but later pardoned thanks to intercession of friends. His daughter Julia is born (later in life she was wedded to General Pompey for political reasons).
78BC – Caesar takes part in the war against the Mediterranean pirates. General Sulla dies.
74BC – Second Mithridatic war
71BC – The Gladiator Spartacus is betrayed by pirates and defeated by Crassus.
70BC – Caesar holds the position of Questor in Spain. Pompey and Crassus are Consuls in Rome.
67BC – Caesar marries Pompea having been left a widower by Cornelia. General Pompey inflicts a devastating and final defeat on the Mediterranean pirates.
65BC – Caesar is Aedile.
63BC – Caesar is made Pontifex Maximus – a religious position which at that time was largely a honorific title. Cicero is Consul and averts the Catiline conspiracy. Octavian is born – future adoptive son of Caesar and first emperor of Rome known as Augustus Caesar.
62BC – Caesar repudiates his wife Pompea after she is involved in a marital scandal which doesn’t befit their public position. Caesar is given the position of Praetor.
61BC – Caesar barely manages to abate his creditors thanks to the aid of his rich friend Crassus. Caesar is sent to Spain.
60BC – First Triumvirate: Caesar, Pompey and Crassus.
59BC – Caesar is made Consul and obtains the military command in Gaul he desired. He marries his daughter Julia to his co-ruler Pompey.
58BC – Caesar wins war against the Helvetii (today’s Switzerland) and then forces germanic tribes back across the Rhine.
57BC – Caesar wins war against the Belgi (region between Switzerland and the Channel, to the north of Paris)
56BC – Caesar wins war against the Veneti in Armorica (westernmost France). The Triumvirate is reconfirmed as is Julius Caesar’s military command in Gaul. Crassus and Pompey become consuls and take military command of Syria and Spain.
55BC – Julius Caesar builds his amazing bridge across the Rhine in record time. War against the Sicambri. First incursion into Britannia (England)
54BC – More significant campaign against the Brittons with as many as 800 ships carrying five legions and four thousand horsemen. His victory wasn’t definitive as he was forced back to hold a grip on Gaul.
53BC – Crassus dies in battle against the Parthians & the equilibrium of the Triumvirate is broken, setting the stage for a power struggle between Caesar and Pompey. The death of Caesar’s daughter Julia who had been wedded to Pompey makes confrontation almost inevitable.
52BC – Uprisings in Gaul & Caesar’s famous siege of Alise (Alesia). 15km of fortified double ramparts were built around the city to siege whilst at the same time being sieged by the Gauls coming in aid of Vercingetorix. Roman victory against all odds.
51BC – Caesar writes his De Bello Gallico (Commentaries of his War in Gaul) praised even by his opponent Cicero for his ability as a writer. The 7 books have remained a landmark through the ages.
50BC – Caesar’s political enemies in Rome are capitalising on the futility of the campaign against the Brittons and getting the better of Caesar’s supporters. Pompey is convinced into joining Caesar’s opposition (the Optimates – Conservative party). Caesar demands an extention of his mandate and nomination as Consul.
11th January 49BC – All attempts at reconciliation between the opposition in Rome and Caesar in Gaul fail. Caesar refuses to depose arms and together with his legions crosses the small river Rubicon into Italy, against Pompey. “The die is cast” – “Alea Jacta Est”.
49-48BC – Pompey leaves Rome for the Italian port of Brindisi in time to rally in Greece with his army: three hundred ships, plenty of supplies and something in the region of 50,000 men.
Caesar makes for Rome and then on to Spain in order to fight one of Pompey’s factions. Having ensured food supplies to Rome through Sicily, Caesar takes control of the greater part of Spain within two months. Caesar showed great leniency towards Pompey’s Spanish legions and demanded they disband and choose to make their way back to Italy or follow him.
On the way back to Rome Caesar gives the final coup-de-grace to the siege of Marseilles (Massillia). Caesar has himself elected Consul in Rome.
Caesar makes for Greece in chase of his great adversary Pompey with some thirty thousand men – a net disadvantage.
After a few tentative skirmishes the first military encounter of significance is at Durazzo. Pompey has the better, Caesar is forced to retreat and Pompey’s caution means he fails to capitalise on his advantage. Caesar is aware of his luck.
48BC – Caesar’s complete victory over Pompey at Pharsalia (Eastern side of Greece). Pompey escapes for seven weeks to Egypt where he is treacherously killed by the Pharoah Ptolemy 14th who wanted to ingratiate Caesar. Plutarch tells us that Caesar was horrified and wept at the sight of Pompey’s head. Caesar risks his life several times whilst taking Alexandria. He places Cleopatra on the throne of Egypt. Love trip with Cleo down the Nile.
Caesar returns to Rome and is named dictator for life (Dictator Perpetuo), Consul for 5 years and Tribune for life.
47BC – Mithridates’ son Farnax, king of the Bosphorus wages war. Caesar wins the war in a lightning 5 days. “Veni Vidi Vici” – “I Came, I Saw, I Conquered”. It is unclear where exactly these words come from, whether in a letter or possibly displayed during his triumphal march.
46BC – Final defeat of Pompey’s allies in northern Africa. Cato commits suicide rather than having to live under dictatorship.
45BC – Caesar defeats Pompey’s son in Spain and obtains the title of “imperator” from the Senate. He sets about making order in the public estate. He reforms the calendar, begins great urban projects and adopts Octavian as his son and heir.
15th March 44BC – The ides of March – Julius Caesar’s life is ended at the feet of the statue of Pompey by Cassius, Brutus and other Republicans in the Senate.