Julius Caesar was a unique individual in many respects. He had been delivered in the first of what quickly became known as a Caesarian Section; and he, as a child of twelve, began to write of his visions and dreams of leading Rome. While still a young man he recorded his conquests in Germania where he had been appointed Tribune in charge of the Northern legions. He was intelligent, ruthless, and uncommon and thereby made many enemies. On 10 January BC 49, Caesar and his legions crossed the Rubicon River, and a few days later entered the city of Rome initiating a civil war that was ended only with his forced declaration as First Consul. This was a violation both of longstanding tradition and Roman law – that no citizen should come armed against the city of Rome. Caesar gained sole control by BC 48. As noted, he had long before decided that he was destined to rule Rome, and considering his acquired power and fierceness, no one was in any position to withstand him.
Rome started down the path that would end the republic (which it had been for about 520 years) and Gaius Julius Caesar was granted the title as the first Imperator in BC 45. He was also elected as sole dictator for life, although the elected senate at the time still controlled daily business within Rome. His life was to come to an end almost as quickly as he had come to power. He ruled Rome less than five years and was Emperor for only 14 months before he was assassinated by a group of Roman Senators and other knife-wielding citizens on the Ides (the fourteenth) of March BC 44.
Rome continued through four centuries of despotic dictatorships, civil wars, and coups; and yet by its military prowess managed to survive as a world power in some form until the successive invasions of the Germanic tribes: the Thervingi or Visigoths (Western Goths), in their second but first full-scale invasion under Alaric in 409, the Vandals in 422, Huns in 440, ending with the Heruli and Greuthungi, known by the Romans as the Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths). The Dark Ages date from the fall of Rome to the Ostrogoths and Heruli in 476. By 488 the Ostrogoths had conquered all of Italia and much of Europe under Theodoric.