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. In 86 B.C., Caesar was appointed flamen dialis with the help of his uncle by marriage, Gaius Marius. The position was one of an archaic priesthood and held no power. Nevertheless, it identified Caesar with extremist politics. Caesar committed himself further to the radical side when he married Cornelia, daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna in 84 B.C..
In 82 B.C., Caesar was ordered to divorce his wife by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, an enemy of the radicals.
Caesar refused and prudently left Rome for military service in Asia and Cilicia. He returned in 78 B.C. when Sulla died and began his political career as a prosecuting advocate. Caesar then traveled to Rhodes to study rhetoric and did not return to Rome until 73 B.C. During his journey to Rhodes, pirates captured Caesar. While in captivity, Caesar convinced his captors to raise his ransom, which increased his prestige. He then raised a naval force, overcame his captors, and had them crucified.
In 68 B.C., Caesar was elected quaestor. His wife died shortly thereafter. In a purely political maneuver, Caesar seized the opportunity to laud his uncle, Cinna and father-in-law, Marius during the funeral orations for his deceased wife. Caesar was very much a political thinker, and he rarely wasted an opportunity to further his political interests. He then married Pompeia, a...