First Triumvirate - Wikipedia
relationships within many different interest groups-in short, by fol an essentially Rome, Crassus left the city, not in flight from Pompey but in a purposeful journey to political goals, and efforts were begun toward the end of 61 to senatorial. It may seem like Crassus is an obscure fellow compared to Pompey the Magnus and Julius Caesar. Caesar had a good relationship with Crassus. to be his loyal servant in order to advance his career and achieve his personal goals. Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar formed the unofficial and at first secret “First Triumvirate. He refused further offers from Caesar of a marriage alliance.
His third triumph 61 trumpeted the grandeur of his achievement. The nobles meanwhile had gradually reasserted their dominance in Rome and hampered attempts to alleviate the condition of Italy and the Roman populace. Once back in Italy, Pompey avoided siding with popular elements against the Optimates.
He was no revolutionary. He wanted all classes to recognize him as first citizen, available for further large-scale services to the state. He had divorced his third wife, Mucia, allegedly for adultery with Caesar, and now proposed to ally himself by marriage to the party of the young senatorial leader Marcus Porcius Cato the Younger.
But the nobles were closing their ranks against him, and his offer was rebuffed. It was to become more than a mere election compact. It would strain all the resources of the triumvirs to wrest one consulship from the Optimates; their continued solidarity was essential if they were to secure what Caesar gained for them in Caesar, for his part, wanted a long-term command. Caesar, once consul, immediately forced through a land bill and, shortly after, another appropriating public lands in Campania.
The year 56 was a critical one for the triumvirs. The nobles concocted religious impediments to prevent the dispatch of Pompey on a military mission to Egyptwhile Publius Clodius contrived to persuade Pompey that Crassus had designs on his life. The Luca conference 56 prepared the ground for the next phase of cooperation: The three secured their ends by violence and corruption after a prolonged struggle.
Early in 55 Pompey and Crassus were at last elected consuls, with most of the lesser magistracies going to their supporters. Caesar obtained the extension of his command, while Pompey and Crassus received commands in Spain and Syria, respectively. Pompey could stay on in Italy and govern his provinces by deputies.
But their cooperation was coming to an end. The death of Julia 54 destroyed the strongest bond between Pompey and Caesar, and Crassus suffered disastrous defeat and death in Mesopotamia. The compact existed no longer, but Pompey as yet showed no inclination to break with Caesar. Civil war Meanwhile, from outside the walls of Rome, Pompey watched the anarchy in the city becoming daily more intolerable.
He was prepared to wait without committing himself until the Optimates found an alliance with him unavoidable. He refused further offers from Caesar of a marriage alliance. There was talk in Rome as early as 54 of a dictatorship for Pompey. Street violence made it impossible to hold the elections. In January 52 Clodius was killed by armed followers of Titus Annius Milowhose candidacy for the consulship was being bitterly opposed by both Pompey and Clodius. Now both factions exploded into even greater violence.
The senate house was burned down by the mob. With no senior magistrates in office, the Senate had to call on Pompey to restore order.
It was the hour he had waited for. He speedily summoned troops from Italy. The nobles would not have him as dictator; they thought it safer to appoint him sole consul.
He reformed procedure in the courts and produced a panel of respectable jurors. Another useful law enforced a five-year interval between tenure of magistracies in Rome and assumption of provincial commands. Several attempts were made in the years 51—50 to recall Caesar before the expiration of his second term in Gaul. He declared that he would not consider the suggestion that Caesar should become designated consul while still in command of his army.
When war came, the Senate was evenly divided between Caesar and Pompey. The consulars were solidly for Pompey, although they saw him simply as the lesser evil.
Late in 50 the consul Gaius Marcellus, failing to induce the Senate to declare Caesar a public enemy, visited Pompey with the consuls designate and placed a sword in his hands. Pompey accepted their invitation to raise an army and defend the state. Caesar continued to offer compromise solutions while preparing to strike. On January 7, 49, the Senate finally decreed a state of war. Four days later Caesar crossed the Rubicon.
Caesar, after a hazardous crossing in pursuit, found himself cut off from his base in Italy by sea and facing superior land forces. At this juncture, Pompey, under pressure from his Optimate allies, decided for battle, a sensible enough decision if his opponent had not been a commander of genius.
Pompey suffered a disastrous defeat on the plain of Pharsalus He told them that by concentrating their united strength on him, they could succeed in changing the form of government.
He left Hispania in a hurry, even before his successor arrived, to get to Rome in time for the elections. He sought the office before holding his triumph as it was too late to celebrate this before the elections. He was refused the triumph through Cato's opposition. Caesar didn't press the matter, thinking that he could celebrate greater exploits if he was elected consul, and so entered the city to canvass for office.
As the day of the election for the consulship had already been set, he had to register his candidacy as a private citizen and had to give up his military command and his triumph. When his intrigues to obtain an exemption caused a fuss he gave up the triumph and chose the consulship.
Caesar made entreaties to the former because he was rich and could treat the electorate with largesse. The aristocracy funded Calpurnius Bibulus for his electoral canvassing because he was a staunch opponent of Caesar, and would keep him in check.
Even Cato the Younger, who was a very upright man, "did not deny that bribery under such circumstances was for the good of the republic. Normally the new consuls were assigned important areas of military command, but, in this instance, they were assigned "mere woods and pastures" -- another measure intended to blunt Caesar's ambitions. Caesar, angry about 'this slight', tried hard to win over Pompey, who was himself aggrieved at the senate for not ratifying the settlements he made after winning the Third Mithridatic War.
Caesar succeeded, patched up the relationship between Crassus and Pompey, and "made a compact with both of them that no step should be taken in public affairs which did not suit any one of the three.
His version is also the only one that mentions the woods and pastures. Convergence of interests[ edit ] Ancient sources mention what brought Pompey into the alliance, but are silent on what interests might have brought Crassus into the fold.
There are only mentions of Caesar bringing Pompey and Crassus together, which Plutarch described as a reconciliation. Cassius Dio thought that this was something that required skill—almost as if it were a reconciliation of the irreconcilable. In the writings of Suetonius and Plutarch and in some letters and a speech of Cicero, we find clues about both what the interests of Crassus may have been, and indications that Crassus and Pompey might have been less irreconcilable than their portrayals suggest and that the three men of the triumvirate had collaborated before.
It could be argued that the formation of the first triumvirate was the result of the marginalisation of an enemy Caesar and an outsider Pompey and the rebuttal of interests associated with Crassus by the optimates who held sway in the senate.
A Roman bust of Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek With respect to the aristocratic circles of the optimates who wanted the supremacy of the senate over Roman politics, Pompey was an outsider. He built his political career as a military commander. He raised three legions in his native Picenum in central Italy to support Lucius Cornelius Sulla in retaking Rome, which had been seized by the supporters of Gaius Marius prior to Sulla's second civil war 83—82 BC.
Sulla then sent him to Sicily 82 BC and Africa 81 BC against the Marians who had fled there, where he defeated them, thereby gaining military glory and distinction, particularly in Africa. The latter two earned him the award of a consulship in 70 BC even though he was below the age of eligibility to this office and he had not climbed the cursus honorumthe political career ladder traditionally required to reach the consulship. Pompey was also given the command of a large task force to fight piracy in the Mediterranean Sea by the Gabinian law 74 BCwhich gave him extraordinary powers over the whole of the Sea, as well as the lands within 50 miles of its coasts.
In 66 BC the Manilian law handed the command of the last phase of the Third Mithridatic War over to Pompey, who brought it to a victorious conclusion. The political power of Pompey—who spent half of his career up to 63 BC fighting outside Rome—lay outside the conservative aristocratic circles of the optimates. It was based on his popularity as a military commander, political patronage, purchase of votes for his supporters or himself, and the support of his war veterans: The optimates were also weary of the personal political clout of Pompey.
They saw him as a potential challenge to the supremacy of the senate, which they largely controlled and which had been criticized for the summary executions during the Catilinarian conspiracy.
They saw a politically strong man as a potential tyrant who might overthrow the republic. Pompey remained aloof with regard to the controversies between optimates and populares that raged in Rome at the time when he returned from the Third Mithridatic War in 62 BC.
Whilst he did not endorse the populares, he refused to side with the senate, making vague speeches that recognised the authority of the senate, but not acknowledging the principle of senatorial supremacy advocated by Cicero and the optimates. Nor was the law exclusively about allotting land for the settlement of Pompey's veterans, who expected as much ever since Sulla had done likewise in 80 BC.
However, the law was framed in a way that the land would be distributed to the landless urban poor as well. This would help to relieve the problem of the mass of the landless unemployed or underemployed poor in Rome, which relied on the provision of a grain dole by the state to survive, and would also make Pompey popular among the plebeians. Populares politicians had been proposing this kind land of reform since the introduction of the agrarian law of Tiberius Gracchus in BC, which had led to his murder.
Attempts to introduce such agrarian laws since then were defeated by the optimates. Thus, the opposition to the bill sponsored by Pompey came within this wider historical context of optimate resistance to reform as well as the optimates being suspicious of Pompey.
A crucial element in the defeat of the bill sponsored by Pompey was the fact what the optimates had a strong consul in Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer who vehemently and successfully resisted its enactment, while the consul sponsored by Pompey, Lucius Afraniuswas ineffective. The lack of effective consular assistance had been a weakness for Pompey. As already mentioned above, Plutarch wrote that the defeat of the bill forced Pompey to seek the support of the plebeian tribunes, and thus of the populares.
Crassus and Pompey shared a consulship in 70 BC. Plutarch regarded this as having been dull and uneventful because it was marred by continuous disagreement between the two men.
He wrote that they "differed on almost every measure, and by their contentiousness rendered their consulship barren politically and without achievement, except that Crassus made a great sacrifice in honour of Hercules and gave the people a great feast and an allowance of grain for three months. He also forbade those who had held this tribunate from running for public office.
Sulla had done this because these tribunes had challenged the supremacy of the patrician-controlled senate and he wanted to strengthen the power of the latter.
Since these tribunes were the representatives of the majority of the citizens, the people were unhappy with this. Plutarch attributed this repeal to Pompey alone.
However, it is very likely that the optimates would have opposed this in the senate, making it unlikely that this measure could have been passed if the two consuls had opposed each other on this issue. Therefore, on this issue there must have been unity of purpose among these three men. This was an issue of great importance to the populares. There are indications that Caesar and Crassus may have had significant political links prior to the triumvirate.
Suetonius wrote that according to some sources Caesar was suspected with having conspired with Crassus, Publius Sulla, and Lucius Autronius to attack the senate house and kill many senators.
Crassus was then to assume the office of dictator and have Caesar named Magister Equitumreform the state and then restore the consulship to Sulla and Autronius. According to one of the sources from which Suetonius drew this information, Crassus pulled out at the last minute and Caesar did not go ahead with the plan.
Suetonius wrote that in 65 BC Caesar tried to get command in Egypt assigned to him by the plebeian council when Ptolemy XIIa Roman ally, was deposed by a rebellion in Alexandriabut the optimates blocked the assignment.Pompey players get suited up at Dartagnan in Chichester
He was opposed by his colleague and both voluntarily laid down their offices. Plutarch wrote that when Caesar was allocated the governorship of the Roman province of Hispania Ulterior for 60 BC he was in debt and his creditors prevented him from going to his province. Crassus paid off the most intransigent creditors and gave a surety of talents, thereby permitting Caesar to leave. Suetonius noted this episode as well, but did not mention who made the payments and gave the surety.
In a speech Cicero made against an agrarian bill proposed by the plebeian tribune Publius Servilius Rullus in 63 BC, he claimed that Rullus was an insignificant figure and a front for unsavoury 'machinators' whom he described as the real architects of the bill and as the men who had the real power and who were to be feared.
He did not name these men, but he dropped hints that made them identifiable by saying, "Some of them to whom nothing appears sufficient to possess, some to whom nothing seems sufficient to squander.
Moreover, Caesar had supported the Manilian law of 66 BC, which gave Pompey the command of the final phase of the Third Mithridatic War and, in 63 BC, as noted above, he proposed a motion to recall Pompey to Rome to restore order in the wake of the Catalinarian Conspiracy. Therefore, Caesar was willing to support Pompey because, although the latter was not a popularis, he was not an optimate either, making him a potential ally.
Moreover, at the time of the creation of the first triumvirate, Pompey was at odds with the optimates. The suspension of his praetorship in 62 BC by the senate when he advocated the recall of Pompey had probably shown Caesar that his enemies had the means to marginalise him politically. To attain the consulship Caesar needed the support of Pompey and Crassus who, besides being the two most influential men in Rome, did not belong to the optimates and were thus likely to be politically marginalised as well.
Plutarch maintained that Caesar sought an alliance with both men because allying with only one of them could have turned the other against him and he thought that he could play them off against each other. Crassus may also have had another reason—having to do with the equites —for joining an alliance against the optimates. Cicero noted that in 60 BC Crassus advocated for the equites and induced them to demand that the senate annul some contracts they had taken up in the Roman province of Asia in today's western Turkey at an excessive price.
The equites equestrians were a wealthy class of entrepreneurs who constituted the second social order in Rome, just below the patricians. Many equites were publicanicontractors who acted as suppliers for the army and construction projects which they also oversaw and as tax collectors.
The state auctioned off the contracts for both suppliers and tax collectors to private firms, which had to pay for them in advance. The publicani had overextended themselves and fell into debt. Cicero thought that these contracts had been taken up in the rush for competition and that the demand was disgraceful and a confession of rash speculation.
Nevertheless, he supported the annulment to avoid the equites becoming alienated with the senate and to maintain harmony between patricians and equites. However, his goals were frustrated when the proposal was opposed by the consul Quintus Caecilius Celer and Cato the Younger and subsequently rejected, leading Cicero to conclude that the equites were now at loggerheads with the senate.
The most controversial measure Caesar introduced was an agrarian bill to allot plots of land to the landless poor for farming, which encountered the traditional conservative opposition. In Cassius Dio's opinion, Caesar tried to appear to promote the interests of the optimates as well as those of the people, and said that he would not introduce his land reform if they did not agree with it. He read the draft of the bill to the senate, asked for the opinion of each senator and promised to amend or scrap any clause that had raised objections.
The optimates were annoyed because the bill, to their embarrassment, could not be criticised. Moreover, it would give Caesar popularity and power. Even though no optimate spoke against it, no one expressed approval. The law would distribute public and private land to all citizens instead of just Pompey's veterans and would do so without any expense for the city or any loss for the optimates.
It would be financed with the proceeds from Pompey's war booty and the new tributes and taxes in the east Pompey established with his victories in the Third Mithridatic War. Private land was to be bought at the price assessed in the tax-lists to ensure fairness. The land commission in charge of the allocations would have twenty members so that it would not be dominated by a clique and so that many men could share the honour.
Caesar added that it would be run by the most suitable men, an invitation to the optimates to apply for these posts. He ruled himself out of the commission to avoid suggestions that he proposed the measure out of self-interest and said that he was happy with being just the proposer of the law. The senators kept delaying the vote. Cato advocated the status quo.
Caesar came to the point of having him dragged out of the senate house and arrested. Cato said that he was up for this and many senators followed suit and left. Caesar adjourned the session and decided that since the senate was not willing to pass a preliminary decree he would get the plebeian council to vote. He did not convene the senate for the rest of his consulship and proposed motions directly to the plebeian council. Cassius Dio thought Caesar proposed the bill as a favour to Pompey and Crassus.
When many senators opposed the bill, Caesar pretended to be indignant and rushed out of the senate. Appian noted that Caesar did not convene it again for the rest of the year. Instead, he harangued the people and proposed his bills to the plebeian council. He also wrote that the allocations concerned land in the plain of Stella a relatively remote area on the eastern Campanian border that had been made public in by-gone days, and other public lands in Campania that had not been allotted but were under lease.
Land distribution, which was anathema to conservative aristocrats, was usually proposed by the plebeian tribunes who were often described by Roman writers who were usually aristocrats as base and vile. It was only the most arrogant plebeian tribunes who courted the favour of the multitude and now Caesar did this to support his consular power 'in a disgraceful and humiliating manner'.
Calpurnius Bibulus just said that he would not tolerate any innovations during his year of office. Caesar did not ask any questions to other officials. Instead he brought forward the two most influential men in Rome, Pompey and Crassus, now private citizens, who both declared their support for the law.
Caesar asked Pompey if he would help him against the opponents of the law. Pompey said that he would and Crassus seconded him. Bibulus, supported by three plebeian tribunes, obstructed the vote. When he ran out of excuses for delaying he declared a sacred period for all the remaining days of the year. This meant that the people could not legally even meet in their assembly.
Caesar ignored him and set a date for the vote. The senate met at the house of Calpurnius Bibulus because it had not been convened, and decided that Bibulus was to oppose the law so that it would look that the senate was overcome by force, rather than its own inaction. On the day of the vote Bibulus forced his way through the crowd with his followers to the temple of Castor where Caesar was making his speech.
When he tried to make a speech he and his followers were pushed down the steps. During the ensuing scuffle, some of the tribunes were wounded. Bibulus defied some men who had daggers, but he was dragged away by his friends. Cato pushed through the crowd and tried to make a speech, but was lifted up and carried away by Caesar's supporters. He made a second attempt, but nobody listened to him. The next day Calpurnius Bibulus tried unsuccessfully to get the senate, now afraid of the strong popular support for the law, to annul it.
Bibulus retired to his home and did not appear in public for the rest of his consulship, instead sending notices declaring that it was a sacred period and that this made votes invalid each time Caesar passed a law. The plebeian tribunes who sided with the optimates also stopped performing any public duty.
The people took the customary oath of obedience to the law. However, on the day when they were to incur the established penalties they took the oath. In Appian's account it is at this point that the Vettius affair occurred. He was arrested and questioned at the senate house.
How were the goals of Julius Caesar Pompey and Crassus different from Cicero
He said that he had been sent by Calpurnius Bibulus, Cicero, and Cato, and that the dagger was given to him by one of the bodyguards of Calpurnius Bibulus. Caesar took advantage of this to arouse the crowd and postponed further interrogation to the next day.
However, Vettius was killed in prison during the night. Caesar claimed that he was killed by the optimates who did not want to be exposed. The crowd gave Caesar a bodyguard.
According to Appian, it is at this point that Bibulus withdrew from public business and did not go out of his house for the rest of his term of office.
Caesar, who ran public affairs on his own, did not make any further investigations into this affair. He did not say when this happened and did not give any details about the actual event. He wrote that Vettius accused these two men and Calpurnius Bibulus. However, Bibulus had revealed the plan to Pompey, which undermined Vettius' credibility. There were suspicions that he was lying about Cicero and Lucullus as well and that this was a ploy by Caesar and Pompey to discredit the optimates.
There were various theories, but nothing was proven. After naming the mentioned men in public, Vettius was sent to prison and was murdered a little later. Caesar and Pompey suspected Cicero and their suspicions were confirmed by his defence of Gaius Antonius Hybrida in a trial. Plutarch did not indicate when the incident happened either. In his version it was a ploy by the supporters of Pompey, who claimed that Vettius was plotting to kill Pompey. When questioned in the senate he accused several people, but when he spoke in front of the people, he said that Licinius Lucullus was the one who arranged the plot.
No one believed him and it was clear that the supporters of Pompey got him to make false accusations.
The deceit became even more obvious when he was battered to death a few days later. The opinion was that he was killed by those who had hired him.
Vettius, an informer, claimed that he had told Curio Junior that he had decided to use his slaves to assassinate Pompey.
Curio told his father Gaius Scribonius Curiowho in turn told Pompey. When questioned in the senate he said that there was a group of conspiratorial young men led by Curio. The secretary of Calpurnius Bibulus gave him a dagger from Bibulus. He was to attack Pompey at the forum at some gladiatorial games and the ringleader for this was Aemilius Paullus. However, Aemilius Paullus was in Greece at the time.
He also said that he had warned Pompey about the danger of plots. Vettius was arrested for confessing to possession of a dagger. The next day Caesar brought him to the rosta a platform for public speecheswhere Vettius did not mention Curio, implicating other men instead.
Cicero thought that Vettius had been briefed on what to say during the night, given that the men he mentioned had not previously been under suspicion. Cicero noted that it was thought that this was a setup and that the plan had been to catch Vettius in the forum with a dagger and his slaves with weapons, and that he was then to give information. He also thought that this had been masterminded by Caesar, who got Vettius to get close to Curio.
Fearing that Pompey might take charge in Rome while Caesar was away for his governorships see belowCaesar tied Pompey to himself by marrying him to his daughter Julia even though she was betrothed to another man.
He also married the daughter of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninusone for the consuls elected for the next year 58 BC. Appian wrote that Cato said that Rome had become a mere matrimonial agency. These marriages were also mentioned by Plutarch and Suetonius.
The first was designed to relieve the publicani from a third of their debt to the treasury see previous section for details about the publicani. Cassius Dio noted that the equites often had asked for a relief measure to no avail because of opposition by the senate and, in particular, by Cato. Caesar's influence eclipsed that of Calpurnius Bibulus, with some people suppressing the latter's name in speaking or writing and stating that the consuls were Gaius Caesar and Julius Caesar.
The plebeian council granted him the governorship of Illyricum and Cisalpine Gaul with three legions for five years. The senate granted him the governorship of Transalpine Gaul and another legion when the governor of that province died because it feared that if it refused this the people would also grant this to Caesar. Caesar believed that Clodius owed him a favour in return for not testifying against him when he was tried for sacrilege three years earlier see above.
In another passage Cassius Dio wrote that after the trial Clodius hated the optimates. As mentioned in the previous section, Plutarch wrote that Pompey had already allied with Clodius when his attempt to have the acts for his settlements in the east failed before the creation of the triumvirate.
However, Clodius was a patrician and the plebeian tribunate was exclusively for plebeians. Therefore, he needed to be transferred to the plebeian order transitio ad plebem by being adopted into a plebeian family. In some letters written in 62 BC, the year after Clodius's trial, Cicero wrote that Herrenius, a plebeian tribune, made frequent proposals to the plebeian council to transfer Clodius to the plebs, but he was vetoed by many of his colleagues. He also proposed a law to the plebeian council to authorise the comitia centuriata the assembly of the soldiers to vote on the matter.
The consul Quintus Metellus Celer proposed an identical bill to the comitia centuriata. The whole senate rejected it. However, he was not elected due to the opposition of Metellus Celer, who argued that his transitio ad plebem was not done according to the lex curiata, which provided that adrogatio should be performed in the comitia curiata. Cassius Dio wrote that this ended the episode. During his consulship Caesar effected this transitio ad plebem and had him elected as plebeian tribune with the cooperation of Pompey.
Clodius silenced Calpurnius Bibulus when he wanted to make a speech on the last day of his consulship in 59 BC and also attacked Cicero. One re-established the legitimacy of the collegia ; one made the state-funded grain dole for the poor completely free for the first time previously it was at subsidised prices ; one limited the remit of bans on the gatherings of the popular assemblies; and one limited the power of the censors to censor citizens who had not been previously tried and convicted.
Cassius Dio thought that the aim of these laws was to gain the favour of the people, the equites and the senate before moving to crush the influential Cicero. Then he proposed a law that banned officials from performing augury the divination of the omens of the gods on the day of the vote by the popular assemblies, with the aim of preventing votes from being delayed. Officials often announced that they would perform augury on the day of the vote because during this voting was not allowed and this forced its postponement.
In Cassius Dio's opinion, Clodius wanted to bring Cicero to trial and did not want the voting for the verdict delayed. The latter, fearing that this could result in disturbances and delays, outwitted them by deceit, agreeing with Cicero not to bring an indictment against him. However, when these two men lowered their guard, Clodius proposed a bill to outlaw those who would or had executed any citizen without trial.
This brought within its scope the whole of the senate, which had decreed the executions during the Catilinarian conspiracy of 63 BC see above. Of course, the actual target was Cicero, who had received most of the blame because he had proposed the motion and had ordered the executions. Cicero strenuously opposed the bill. He also sought the support of Pompey and Caesar, who were secretly supporting Clodius, a fact they went to some pains to conceal from Cicero.
Caesar advised Cicero to leave Rome because his life was in danger and offered him a post as one of his lieutenants in Gaul so that his departure would not be dishonourable. Pompey advised him that to leave would be an act of desertion and that he should remain in Rome, defend himself and challenge Clodius, who would be rendered ineffective in the face of Pompey and Cicero's combined opposition.
He also said that Caesar was giving him bad advice out of enmity.