Veni, vidi, vici. 'I came, I saw, I conquered.' These are the words of the man who changed the course of Greco-Roman history.
Julius Caesar was born in Rome on July 12 or 13, in the year 100 B.C.. His father Gaius Caesar, died when Caesar was 16 years old, and it was his mother Aurelia, who proved to be quite influential in his life. Caesar's family was part of Rome's original aristocracy, called patricians, although they were not rich or particularly influential. At the time of Caesar's birth, the number of patricians was small, and their status no longer provided political advantage.
The First Triumvirate, consisting of Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, came to power in 59 BC when Caesar was elected consul. The Triumvirate reform program was enacted and Caesar got himself appointed governor of Illycrium and Gaul. The way to power in Rome was through military conquest; this gave the general a loyal army, wealth (from the conquered), and popularity and prestige at home. So the governorship of Illycrium and Gaul allowed Caesar to become the general and conqueror he so desperately desired to become.
Now the Romans really had no reason to conquer northern and central Europe; the people who lived there, the Germans and the Celts, were a tribal, semi-nomadic people. The province of Illycrium provided enough of a territorial buffer to defuse any threat from these people. But Julius embarked on a spectacular war of conquest anyway. In a series of fairly brilliant campaigns, Julius added a considerable amount of territory to the Roman Empire in northern France, Belgium, and even southern Great Britain, subjugating the Celts in all these territories. When he had finished his conquests, however, the Triumvirate had dissolved. Crassus had died in a war against the Parrhians in the Middle East, and Pompey had turned against Julius and had roused the Senate against him. The Senate declared Julius an enemy of the state and demanded that he hand over his generalship and province. Julius, however, decided on a different course of action. His troops were fiercely loyal to him; so in 49 BC, Caesar ordered his troops to cross the Rubicon River, which separated his province from Italy, thus committing a grave crime against the state. The Civil War started the minute the first of his legions had finished crossing the Rubicon.