The First Triumvirate

The First
60-53 BCE
Prelude to the First Triumvirate
Pompey opposed by Optimates
Crassus 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.
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
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 Triumvirate’
triumvirate was a legally established body –
however, the alliance between Pompey, Crassus
and Caesar was not official.
 There were two important aspects of the
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
Overview of the Triumvirate
 Pompey’s
Land for veterans
 Eastern settlement ratified ‘en bloc’
 Crassus’
A rebate for the equestrian tax-farmers
 Caesar’s
The consulship of 59BC
 A province for 58 to give scope for his military
Caesar as Consul – 59BC
 Gains
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 Pompey
for Caesar
The province of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyricum and
Transalpine Gaul for five years
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
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
Growing anarchy in Rome – 54 BC.
53 BC – Crassus dies at battle of Carrhae against
Plutarch states there was ‘a collapse of good
government in Rome’.
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.

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