This lesson provides an incisive look at a juncture of Roman history that can shed light on its most important themes. The lesson argues that Julius Caesar was a driving force in the all-important transformation between republic and empire. His military and executive genius built the empire into the vast territory it was destined to become but only at the price of violating the sense of personal independence which was the foundation of the republic (and so crucial to later Western civilization). The absolute power he assumed created a backlash in the form of his assassination. But this set into motion the establishment of the empire through his successor. This material makes Roman history concrete with one of its most colorful characters and pulls together important historical themes.
Descriptors: Julius Caesar, Rome, republic, empire
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