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According to an unlikely legend Gaius Julius Caesar was born by Caesarean section to Aurelia and Gaius Julius Caesar a praetor on July 13 100 BCE His father died when Caesar was 16 years old and it was his mother Aurelia who proved to be quite influential in his life Caesars family was part of Romes original aristocracy called patricians although they were not rich or particularly influential At the time of Caesars birth the number of patricians was small and their status no longer provided political advantage After his fathers death he was betrothed and possibly married a wealthy young woman Cossutia This betrothalmarriage was soon broken off and at age 18 he married Cornelia daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna in 84 BCE She later bore him his only legitimate child a daughter Julia When the Optimate dictator Sulla an enemy of the family ordered Caesar to divorce her Caesar refused Sulla listed him among those to be executed and Caesar went into hiding Caesars powerful friends and relatives eventually got him a pardon When Sulla died in 78 BCE he returned to Rome and began his political career as a prosecuting advocate Caesar then traveled to Rhodes to study rhetoric and did not return to Rome until 73 BCE During his journey Caesar was kidnapped by Cilician pirates and held for ransom When informed that they intended to ask for 20 talents he is supposed to have insisted that he was worth at least 50 He maintained a friendly joking relationship with the pirates while the money was being raised but warned them that he would track them down and have them crucified after he was released He did just that with the help of volunteers as a caution to other pirates but he first cut their throats to lessen their suffering because they had treated him well While on the staff of a military legate he was awarded a civic crown for
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