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The First Triumvirate. 60-53 BCE. Prelude to the First Triumvirate. Pompey opposed by Optimates Roman senate denied ratification of Eastern settlement Roman senate denied land for his veterans Failed to secure what he wanted – had no choice but to support Caesar.

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prelude to the first triumvirate
Prelude to the First Triumvirate
  • Pompey opposed by Optimates
    • Roman senate denied ratification of Eastern settlement
    • Roman senate denied land for his veterans
    • Failed to secure what he wanted – had no choice but to support Caesar.
  • Crassus opposed by Optimates
    • Equestrian tax-collectors denied a reduction of contract payments on collection of taxes in Asia.
    • Crassus had short-term objectives which Caesar (as consul) could help. Crassus also needed to safeguard against Pompey and political alliance with Caesar would achieve this.
  • Caesar denied by Optimates
    • Caesar had waged successful campaigns in Spain, where he had been governor.
    • He was denied exception to hold triumph and stand for consulship simultaneously.
the first triumvirate1
The ‘First Triumvirate’
  • A triumvirate was a legally established body – however, the alliance between Pompey, Crassus and Caesar was not official.
  • There were two important aspects of the triumvirate:
    • Combined wealth of the three men – they had prestige, wealth, popularity with the people, support of the equites and armed force (veterans)
    • Repercussions of their failure to maintain the alliance.
overview of the triumvirate
Overview of the Triumvirate
  • Pompey’s needs
    • Land for veterans
    • Eastern settlement ratified ‘en bloc’
  • Crassus’ needs
    • A rebate for the equestrian tax-farmers
  • Caesar’s needs
    • The consulship of 59BC
    • A province for 58 to give scope for his military ability
caesar as consul 59bc
Caesar as Consul – 59BC
  • Gains for Pompey
    • An agrarian bill plus a supplementary lex Campania for his veterans and the urban poor
    • Ratification of eastern arrangements
  • Gains for Crassus
    • A rebate of one-third of the contract price to the equestrian tax-farmers
  • Gains for Caesar
    • The province of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyricum and Transalpine Gaul for five years
significance of caesar s consulshi p
Significance of Caesar’s consulship
  • Caesar’s use of force and failure to adhere to legal process
  • Lex Campania caused more resentment than any other legislation (I’ll explain )
  • Pompey lost popularity with the people and optimates – this was humiliating
  • Pompey and Crassus return to dysfunction, particularly after Caesar left Italy to take up command in Gaul 58-50BC.
breakdown of the triumvirate
Breakdown of the Triumvirate
  • There are a number of key events that led to the collapse of the Triumvirate:
    • Pompey increases his political power – control of Spanish provinces and the East.
    • In 54 BC Julia, Pompey’s wife, died during childbirth. This broke the family connection between Caesar and Pompey.
    • Growing anarchy in Rome – 54 BC.
      • Plutarch states there was ‘a collapse of good government in Rome’.
    • 53 BC – Crassus dies at battle of Carrhae against Parthians.
      • Plutarch states ‘that fortune had removed from the ring the third competitor’.
    • Caesar’s marriage offer to Pompey refused (he offered his niece Octavia). Pompey weds Cornelia, daughter of a optimate senator.