Julius Caesar was the leader of the Roman Republic from 49 BCE to 44 BCE, though he was a prominent political and military leader even earlier. Beginning as a military general and then becoming one member of a three-way political power-sharing structure known as a "triumvirate," Julius Caesar was eventually able to consolidate power and become the sole ruler of Rome. In ancient Rome, a "dictator" might be appointed, usually in times of emergency. Dictators were granted wide-ranging political power, but generally only temporarily. After the civil war that solidified Julius Ceasar's control of Rome, he was appointed dictator perpetuo (dictator in perpetuity).
JuliusCaesar is considered an important figure in Roman history because his rise to power marked a shift in Roman political organization. Before Julius Caesar, Rome was primarily a Republican form of government. Julius Caesar's reign represented a shift to single-person rule (dictatorship) that would last for roughly the next 160 years.
Some of Caesar's other achievements include conquering Gaul, launching the first Roman military excursion into Britain, rebuilding the ancient cities of Carthage and Corinth, and instituting Roman social reforms. He initiated government control on the purchase of state-subsidized grain, which helped to increase the availability of food to the poorest Romans, and he canceled a quarter of private Roman debt, which was also an aid to private citizens, especially the poor. His social reforms might have been inspired by self-interest (to keep the populace happy), but they also improved the lives of lowest sector of the Roman public.