In 60 B.C. a young and ambitious general by the name of Julius Caesar stepped into political life. Caesar had been very successful on the battlefield, and had greatly expanded Rome's borders.
The senate feared that Caesar would use his army to over throw the republican government. In an attempt to protect this from happening, the senate ordered Julius Caesar to return to Rome, but to leave his armies north of the Rubicon River.
Julius Caesar refused to do as he had been ordered. By crossing the Rubicon with his armies, he committed treason against the senate, and in effect declared civil war.
Caesar eventually defeated opposing forces, and by 45 B.C. had taken over control of the entire Roman Empire. Caesar had himself declared dictator for life, giving him absolute power over the empire. He then proceeded to reform the nation, giving jobs and land to the poor.
Caesar’s rule in Rome would be brief. The following year, in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was murdered by members of the senate, lead by Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius, who were worried that Caesar was destroying the republic.