On this day in history, a head of state was deposed by a group of Senators led by one of his closest friends. A successful general, he enjoyed popular support among the citizens, but was accused of numerous crimes against the republic; when ordered to stand trial, he responded not by submitting to the lawful jurisdiction of the courts, but by illegally bringing troops to the capital and starting a civil war that would result in his ascent to power.
An early proponent of what would come to be called the unitary executive, the leader consolidated power in his bureaucracy and assumed the status of dictator for life; to this day, his very name remains synonymous with emperor in more than thirty languages, and is used to describe unelected government positions of great power. He instituted Constitutional reforms that diminished the power of the provincial governments in favor of the national government and defaulted on substantial portions of the sovereign debt. He also established tight controls over the sale of grain, raised taxes on the wealthy via sumptuary taxes, and passed laws that rewarded citizens for profligate breeding.
According to popular tradition, most of the Senators acted out of envy for his power, and fear that their own ambitions would go unrealized; however, the dictator’s good friend is generally believed to have acted out of sincere concern for the fate of the republic, and was buried with great honors.