News World On This Day: Roman ruler Julius Caesar ambushed and killed
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On This Day: Roman ruler Julius Caesar ambushed and killed

The death of Gaius Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BC, by Vincenzo Camuccini in 1798. Photo: Getty
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More than 2000 years ago in ancient Rome, the brutal murder of a rising politician changed the course of history.

Back in 44BC, scenes of blood and torn flesh were commonplace in the Italian city.

Locals were used to watching gladiator battles, where slaves, prisoners of war and criminals fought to the death in the Colosseum.

But the killing was happening outside the arena, too.

On this day, on the Ides of March, a Roman general named Gaius Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Senate.

A statue of Gaius Julius Caesar, by Nicolas Coustou, on display at Le Louvre in Paris, France. Photo: Getty

Before his death, the statesman was quickly ascending to power, forming critical alliances and winning major military battles.

An expert in military strategy, Caesar’s victory in the civil war replaced a republic – ruled by the consuls and the Senate – with an empire, reigned over by emperors and their hereditary successors.

He became dictator of the new Roman Empire, marking a new age for Rome.

Caesar’s reforms boosted his popularity among Rome’s lower- and middle-class populations, but sparked jealousy among politicians threatened by his rise.

Old enemies joined forces with some of his supporters, who were fed up with his divisive leadership style.

Two men named Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, who dubbed themselves “the liberators”, co-ordinated the assassination.

Caesar’s final moments were of being ambushed and stabbed to death by a mob near the Theatre of Pompey.

His memory would long live on.