The Julii Caesares were the most illustrious family of the patrician gens Julia. The family first appears in history during the Second Punic War, when Sextus Julius Caesar was praetor in Sicily. His son, Sextus Julius Caesar, obtained the consulship in 157 BC; but the most famous descendant of this stirps is Gaius Julius Caesar, a general who conquered Gaul and became the undisputed master of Rome following the Civil War. Having been granted dictatorial power by the Roman Senate and instituting a number of political and social reforms, he was assassinated in 44 BC. After overcoming several rivals, Caesar's adopted son and heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, was proclaimed Augustus by the senate, inaugurating what became the Julio-Claudian line of Roman emperors.