Julius Caesar is arguably one of the most famous Romans to have ever lived. But how exactly did he die? The short answer is that Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate by a number of conspirators, including his friends Brutus and Cassius.
The long answer is a bit more complicated, and first we must explore the path to his assassination. Julius Caesar had spent much of his life gradually obtaining more power, all the while avoiding more powerful enemies such as Sulla, whose ire he gained along the way. Eventually Caesar formed the Triumvirate with his contemporaries Pompey and Marcus Crassus. This was when he truly experienced power like no other as together they virtually controlled the Roman Republic. But eventually the Triumvirate began to fracture and the three lost their hold on Rome.
Caesar sought power still, and in 49 BC he entered a civil war with a rival faction in Rome headed up by his old accomplice, Pompey. Caesar emerged from the civil war victorious and returned to Rome to consolidate power. He was bestowed with consecutive years as a consul, which while not unheard of over the last few decades, was still a breach of political protocol. Consuls were only meant to serve for one year in order to prevent corruption.
Not only this, but Caesar was also appointed as Dictator for 10 years. Dictator was an actual political position in Rome, meant to be used in times of great need for a single person to lead Rome out of whatever chaos had befallen the republic. However this was not the time for a dictator, and there was certainly no need for one for such a long period of time. Many grew wary of Caesar's attempts to seize power and style himself like a king. Rome had not had a king for over 500 years and many never wished to see another.
A group of senators and wealthy individuals from Rome's upper echelons of society formed a conspiracy to end Caesar's rule, by murdering him. Caesar had been generous to many of his former enemies, sparing them and giving them high ranking positions in Rome. Many of these now joined the conspiracy against him.
Julius Caesar was appointed as Dictator for life in 44 BC, now making him Rome's king in all but name. This action only cemented his fate at the hands on the conspirators, who now knew they had no choice but to kill Caesar if they were to save the republic. While in the Senate on the Ides (15th) of March, 44 BC, Caesar was attacked by the group of conspirators – some 60 people in total. Caesar was 55 years old when he died, and supposedly his last words were 'Kai su, teknon?' or 'You too, child?', referring to his disbelief at the betrayal by Brutus.
His death plunged Rome into another civil war, one from which his great-nephew Octavian would emerge victorious and become Rome's first emperor under the name Augustus, ultimately realising Caesar's lifelong goal.