Rome’s First Triumvirate 60 B. C. E. – 53 B. C. E

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Rome’s First Triumvirate

  • 60 B.C.E. – 53 B.C.E

What is a Triumvirate?

  • Tri-um-vi-rate – a government of three officers or magistrates functioning jointly.

Members of the Triumvirate

  • Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus – “Pompey the Great”

  • Marcus Licinius Crassus

  • Gaius Julius Caesar – “Julius Caesar”

Who Were These Men?

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus “Pompey the Great”

  • Pompey - Roman army under the rule of Sulla.

  • When Sulla died in 78 BCE Pompey asked the Senate for a series of special high commands so he could deal with the revolts that were plaguing the Republic at that time.

  • Pompey quickly dealt with the many problems plaguing Rome while all the time gaining more Senate approved powers.

  • In 70 BCE Pompey joined forces with the newly elected Consul, Crassus.

  • Before Pompey joined the triumvirate he single-handedly redrew the map of the Eastern Mediterranean by developing new cities through conquest. Pompey, through his victories had increased Rome’s annual income by 70 percent.

Marcus Licinius Crassus

  • Crassus was know in late Republic as Rome’s richest man.

  • not born into a life of money

  • gained much of his wealth through greedy schemes by becoming the cities greatest landlord

  • Crassus used this money to support political ambitions, which lead to his being appointed Consul in 70 BCE.

  • Crassus’s biggest military achievement was his defeat of Spartacus and the slave revolt in 71 BCE.

  • Crassus, had joined forces in 70 BCE with Pompey, and would eventually help form Rome’s triumvirate by 60 BCE.

Gaius Julius Caesar

  • Caesar, who was a military genius, was elected Consul in 59 BCE with the help of his triumvirate friends, Pompey and Crassus.

  • one of the most celebrated figures in all of Roman history.

  • popular at the time for his impressive victories in Gaul, (modern-day France).

  • By the end of his conquests in Gaul, Caesar had gained a huge section of land for the Roman Republic stretching from modern-day Spain to modern-day Germany.

The Triumvirate

  • With the alliance of Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar in 60 BCE Rome’s first triumvirate was born.

  • Immediately following the formation of the triumvirate Caesar left to conquer Gaul for the next seven years leaving Pompey and Crassus to govern much of the Republic.

  • The three rulers controlled most of the Roman military.

  • Crassus, wanting to gain more power left to conquer Syria but was killed in 53 BCE.

  • With the death of Crassus as well as Pompey’s wife, who happened to be Caesar’s sister, the triumvirate disintegrated into a two man alliance.

Triumvirate cont.

  • Finally in 52 BCE with Caesar still in Gaul, Caesar’s enemies persuaded the Senate to declare Caesar a “public enemy”

  • then they asked Pompey to “save the Republic”

  • The alliance of Pompey and Caesar was now in serious trouble

  • The civil war that was to follow would prove to be a great power struggle between Pompey, Caesar, and the Senate

Civil War and the fall of the republic

  • At the start of the war Caesar and his army marched on Rome

  • While crossing the Rubicon river (the northern boarder of Italy) Caesar declared, “the die is cast,”- no turning back

  • Caesar easily swept to victory over the Senatorial army lead by Pompey in 48 BCE, and completely destroyed them in 45 BCE.

  • In 45 BCE Pompey was stabbed to death while coming ashore in Egypt as he fled the wrath of Caesar.

  • Caesar was now the sole ruler of Rome, declaring himself. “dictator for life.”

  • That same year Caesar was assassinated by sixty Senators fearing his grip on power.

  • The assassination of Caesar was the first assassination of a head of state in Rome in eighty-nine years and would signal the start of the pattern of political scandal and murder. The Republic was now dead and the age of the Emperor was in place, Rome would stay much the same until the demise of the Western Empire in 476 CE.

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