March 15 - 44 BCE - The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar was declared "dictator for life" in early 44 BCE, which was a natural contradiction, as the dictator was supposed to rule in times of crisis and return to the normal function of Republic when the crisis ended. A few of Caesar's political opponents, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, sought to do something about his increasing power and authority, seeking to preserve the Roman Republic. Among Senators and important figures, the idea of killing Caesar grew in popularity, and the threats on his life grew quite ominous. The assassins came upon Caesar in the Theater of Pompey in the middle of Rome on the Ides of March, or March 15th. Stabbed multiple times, Caesar was left for dead as his assassins went into the streets proclaiming that Rome was free. Roman citizens disagreed with them and stayed in their houses. Instead of preserving the Roman Republic, the assassins helped launch Rome into a series of civil wars that culminated in the creation of the Roman Empire with Caesar's grandnephew and heir Octavius becoming the first Emperor as Augustus Caesar.