Plutarch • Life of Crassus
In 59, Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey concluded the First Triumvirate. The deal was confirmed by marriage; Pompey married to Caesar's. Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who played a key role in the While Caesar and Crassus were lifelong allies, Crassus and Pompey disliked each other and . Some time later, when the Roman armies led by Pompey and Varro Lucullus were recalled to Italy in support of Crassus, Spartacus. B.C. - Caesar, Crassus and Pompey and The First Triumvirate another pair allied themselves only tenuously through marriage. but it was to help all three that the triumvirate was formed right around the year 60 B.C.
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. 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.
Marcus Licinius Crassus - Wikipedia
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. Pompey and Caesar presented opposite views on purpose to deceive Cicero and allay any suspicions. Cicero attached himself to Pompey, and also thought that he could count on the consuls. They assembled on the Capitol and sent envoys to the consuls and the senate on his behalf. Lucius Ninnius tried to rally popular support, but Clodius prevented him from taking any action.
Aulus Gabinius barred the equites from accessing the senate, drove one of the more persistent out of the city, and rebuked Quintus Hortensius and Gaius Curio. Calpurnius Piso advised Cicero that leaving Rome was the only way for him to be safe, at which Cicero took offence. Caesar condemned the illegality of the action taken in 63 BC, but did not approve the punishment proposed by the law because it was not fitting for any law to deal with past events.
Crassus had shown some support through his son, but he sided with the people. Pompey promised help, but he kept making excuses and taking trips out of Rome.
Cicero, unnerved by the situation, considered resorting to arms and slighted Pompey openly. However, he was stopped by Cato and Hortensius, who feared a civil war. Cicero then left for Sicilywhere he had been a governor, hoping to find sympathy there. On that day the law was passed without opposition, being supported even by people who had actively helped Cicero. His property was confiscated and his house was demolished. Then Clodius carried a law that banned Cicero from a radius of miles from Rome and provided that both he and those who harboured him could be killed with impunity.
As a result of this, he went to Greece. When Pompey and Aulus Gabinius remonstrated, he insulted them and came into conflict with their followers. Pompey was annoyed because the authority of the plebeian tribunes, which he had restored in 70 BC see above was now being used against him by Clodius. Pompey left and did not return to the forum while Clodius was a tribune Plutarch must have meant except for public business as Pompey did attend sessions of the senate and the plebeian council, which were held in the northern area of the forum.
He stayed at home and conferred about how to appease the senate and the nobility. He was urged to divorce Julia and switch allegiance from Caesar to the senate. He rejected this proposal, but agreed with ending Cicero's exile. So, he escorted Cicero's brother to the forum with a large escort to lodge the recall petition. There was another violent clash with casualties, but Pompey got the better of it. Titus Annius Miloanother plebeian tribune, presented the measure to the plebeian council and Publius Cornelius Lentulus Spintherone of the consuls for 57 BC, provided support in the senate partly as a favour to Pompey and partly because of his enmity towards Clodius.
Clodius was supported by his brother Appius Claudius, who was a praetor, and the other consul, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos who had opposed Cicero six years earlier see above. Pro-Cicero and pro-Clodius factions developed, leading to violence between the two. On the day of the vote, Clodius attacked the assembled people with gladiators, resulting in casualties, and the bill was not passed.
Milo indicted the fearsome Clodius for the violence, but Metellus Nepos prevented this. Milo started using gladiators, too, and there was bloodshed around the city. Metellus Nepos, under pressure from Pompey and Lentulus Spinther, changed his mind.
The senate decreed Spinther's motion for the recall of Cicero and both consuls proposed it to the plebeian council, which passed it. He hoped that Cicero would then no longer speak against the triumvirate. When the people began to make death threats, Cicero persuaded them pass a law to elect Pompey as praefectus annonae prefect of the provisions in Italy and beyond for five years.
This post was instituted at times of severe grain shortage to supervise the grain supply. Clodius alleged that the scarcity of rain had been engineered to propose a law that boosted Pompey's power, which had been decreasing.
Plutarch noted that others said that it was a device by Lentulus Spinther to confine Pompey to an office so that Spinther would be sent instead to Egypt to help Ptolemy XII of Egypt put down a rebellion.
A plebeian tribune had proposed a law to send Pompey to Egypt as a mediator without an army, but the senate rejected it, citing safety concerns. As praefectus annonae Pompey sent agents and friends to various places and sailed to SardiniaSicily and the Roman province of Africa the breadbaskets of the Roman empire to collect grain. So successful was this venture that the markets were filled and there was also enough to supply foreign peoples.
Appian wrote that this success gave Pompey great reputation and power. Cassius Dio also wrote that Pompey faced some delays in the distribution of grain because many slaves had been freed prior to the distribution and Pompey wanted to take a census to ensure they received it in an orderly way.
He then started proceedings against Milo for inciting violence, the same charge Milo had brought against him. He did not expect a conviction, as Milo had many powerful allies, including Cicero and Pompey.
Marcus Licinius Crassus
He used this to attack both his followers and Pompey, inciting his supporters to taunt Pompey in the assemblies, which the latter was powerless to stop. He also continued his attacks on Cicero. The latter claimed that his transitio ad plebem was illegal and so were the laws he had passed, including the one that sanctioned his exile.
And so clashes between the two factions continued. In the Life of Crassus, Plutarch wrote that a big crowd wanted to see him and men of senatorial rank and various high officials turned up.
He met Pompey and Crassus and agreed that the two of them would stand for the consulship and that he would support them by sending soldiers to Rome to vote for them.
They were then to secure the command of provinces and armies for themselves and confirm his provinces for a further five years. Therefore, he worked on putting the officials of the year under his obligation. In the Life of Pompey, Plutarch added that Caesar also wrote letters to his friends and that the three men were aiming at making themselves the masters of the state.
This was because Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, one of the praetors, called for an inquiry into his conduct in the previous year. Caesar went to Rome and put the matter before the senate, but this was not taken up and he returned to Gaul. He was also a target for prosecution by a plebeian tribune, but he was not brought to trial because he pleaded with the other tribunes not to prosecute him on the grounds of his absence from Rome. Lucius Domitius was now a candidate for the consulship and openly threatened to take up arms against him.
Caesar prevailed on Pompey and Crassus to stand for the consulship against Lucius Domitius. He succeeded through their influence to have his term as governor of Gaul extended for five years. They thanked him for gifts they received or asked for money or favours. Caesar, Pompey and Crassus agreed on the consulship of the latter two and the extension of Caesar's governorship.
In this version Lucius Domitius presented his candidacy for the consulship after Luca and did so against Pompey. In his version, instead, Pompey and Crassus agreed to stand for the consulship between themselves as a counterpoise to Caesar.
Pompey was annoyed about the increasing admiration of Caesar due to his success in the Gallic Wars, feeling that this was overshadowing his own exploits. He tried to persuade the consuls not to read Caesar's reports from Gaul and to send someone to relieve his command.
He was unable to achieve anything through the consuls and felt that Caesar no longer needed him. Believing himself to be in a precarious situation and thus unable to challenge Caesar on his own, Pompey began to arm himself and got closer to Crassus.
The two men decided to stand for the consulship to tip the balance of power in their favor. So, they gave up their pretence that they did not want to take the office and begun canvassing, although outside the legally specified period. The consuls said that there would not be any elections that year and that they would appoint an interrex to preside over the elections in the next year so that they would have to seek election in accordance with the law.
There was a lot of wrangling in the senate and the senators left the session. Cato, who in that year was a plebeian tribune, called people from the forum into the senate house because voting was not allowed in the presence of non-senators.
However, other plebeian tribunes prevented the outsiders from getting in. The decree was passed. Another decree was opposed by Cato. The senators left and went to the forum and one of them, Marcellinus, presented their complaints to the people. Clodius took Pompey's side again to get his support for his aims, addressed the people, inveighing against Marcellinus, and then went to the senate house. The senators prevented him from entering and he was nearly lynched.
He called out for the people to help him and some people threatened to torch the senate house. Later Pompey and Crassus were elected consuls without any opposing candidates apart from Lucius Domitius. One of the slaves who was accompanying him in the forum was killed. Fearing for his own safety, Clodius withdrew his candidacy.
Publius Crassus, a son of Crassus who was one of Caesar's lieutenants, brought soldiers to Rome for intimidation.
Pompey and Crassus were asked if they were going to be candidates for the consulship. Pompey replied that perhaps he was, and perhaps he was not. Crassus replied that he would if it was in the interest of the city, but otherwise he would desist. When they announced their candidacies everyone withdrew theirs, but Cato encouraged Lucius Domitius to proceed with his. He withdrew it when his slave was killed. Plutarch mentioned Cato's encouragement and the murder of the slave in The Life of Pompey as well.
Gaius Trebonius, a plebeian tribune, proposed a measure that gave the province of Syria and the nearby lands to one of the consuls and the provinces of Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior to the other. They would hold the command there for five years. According to Cassius Dio, who held that Crassus and Pompey wanted to counter Caesar's power, many people were angry about this, especially Caesar's supporters, who felt that Pompey and Crassus wanted to restrict Caesar's power and remove him from his governorship.
Therefore, Crassus and Pompey extended Caesar's command in Gaul for three years. Cassius Dio stated that this was the actual fact, which implies that he disagreed with the notion that his command was extended for five years.
With Caesar's supporters appeased, Pompey and Crassus made this public only when their own arrangements were confirmed. They gave Caesar's command a second five-year term, assigned the province of Syria and an expedition against Parthia to Crassus and gave Pompey the two provinces in Hispania where there had recently been disturbances the whole of Africa presumably Plutarch meant Cyrenaica as well as the province of Africa and four legions.
Pompey lent two of these legions to Caesar for his wars in Gaul at his request. However, they did not get far, due to popular support for the measures. Favonius was given little time to speak before the plebeian council, and Cato applied obstructionist tactics that did not work.
He was led away from the assembly, but he kept returning and he was eventually arrested. Gallus, a senator, slept in the senate house intending to join the proceedings in the morning.
Trebonius locked the doors and kept him there for most of the day.
Pompey and Julia - Livius
The comitia the meeting place of the assembly was blocked by a cordon of men. An attempt to pass through was repulsed violently and there were casualties. When people were leaving after the vote, Gallus, who had been let out of the senate house, was hit when he tried to pass through the cordon.
He was presented covered with blood to the crowd, which caused general upset. The consuls stepped in with a large and intimidating bodyguard, called a meeting and passed the measure in favour of Caesar. Some of the plebeian tribunes instituted a suit nominally against Pompey's and Crassus' lieutenants that was actually aimed at them personally.
The tribunes then tried to annul levies and rescind the vote for the proposed campaigns. Pompey was not perturbed because had already sent his lieutenants to Hispania. He had intended to let them deal with Hispania while he would gladly stay in Rome with the pretext that he had to stay there because he was the praefectus annonae.
Crassus, on the other hand, needed his levy for his campaign against Parthiaand so he considered using force against the tribunes. The unarmed plebeian tribunes avoided a violent confrontation, but they did criticise him. While Crassus was offering the prayers, which were customary before war, they claimed bad omens. One of the tribunes tried to have Crassus arrested.
However, the others objected and while they were arguing, Crassus left the city. He then headed for Syria and invaded Parthia. Plutarch also wrote that Caesar wrote to Crassus from Gaul, approving of his intentions and spurring him to war.
Because Cicero, grateful for his recall, no longer opposed Pompey, Cato became the triumvirate's main opponent. With bribery and corruption rampant throughout the Republic, Cato, who was elected praetor for 54 BC, got the senate to decree that elected officials submit their accounts to a court for scrutiny of their expenditures for electoral canvassing.
The latter's brother Gaius Licinius Crassus consul BC produced the third line of Licinii Crassi of the period, the most famous of whom was Lucius Licinius Crassusthe greatest Roman orator before Cicero and the latter's childhood hero and model. Marcus Crassus was also a talented orator and one of the most energetic and active advocates of his time. History[ edit ] Youth and the First Civil War[ edit ] After the Marian purges and the subsequent sudden death of Gaius Mariusthe surviving consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna father-in-law of Julius Caesar imposed proscriptions on those surviving Roman senators and equestrians who had supported Lucius Cornelius Sulla in his 88 BC march on Rome and overthrow of the traditional Roman political arrangements.
Cinna's proscription forced Crassus to flee to Hispania . He stayed in Spain from BC. Here he recruited 2, men an understrength legion from his father's clients settled in the area.
Crassus used his army to extort money from the local cities to pay for his campaigns. He is even accused of sacking Malaca. He did not stay there long because of disagreements with Metellus. He sailed his army to Greece and joined Sulla "with whom he stood in a position of special honour". After almost a day of fighting the battle was not going very well for Sulla, his own centre was being pushed back and was on the verge of collapse when he got word from Crassus that he had comprehensively crushed the enemy before him.
Now, Crassus wanted to know if Sulla needed a hand, or could his men retire. Sulla told him to advance on the enemy's centre.
Sulla also used the news to stiffen the resolve of his own troops. The battle still lasted till the next morning, but in the end the Sullan army emerged victorious. And so Sulla became master of Rome. Sulla's victory and Crassus contribution in achieving it put Crassus in a key position. Sulla was as loyal to his allies as he was cruel towards his enemies and Crassus had been a very loyal ally. Rise to power and wealth[ edit ] Roman bust of Crassus in the Ny Carlsberg GlyptotekCopenhagen Marcus Licinius Crassus' next concern was to rebuild the fortunes of his family, which had been confiscated during the Marian-Cinnan proscriptions.
Sulla's proscriptionsin which the property of his victims was cheaply auctioned off, found one of the greatest acquirers of this type of property in Crassus: Sulla's proscriptions ensured that his survivors would recoup their lost fortunes from the fortunes of wealthy adherents to Gaius Marius or Lucius Cornelius Cinna.
Proscriptions meant that their political enemies lost their fortunes and their lives; that their female relatives notably, widows and widowed daughters were forbidden to remarry; and that in some cases, their families' hopes of rebuilding their fortunes and political significance were destroyed.
Crassus is said to have made part of his money from proscriptions, notably the proscription of one man whose name was not initially on the list of those proscribed but was added by Crassus who coveted the man's fortune.
Plutarch, in his "Life of Crassus," says the wealth of Crassus increased from less than talents at first to 7, talents.
Pompey and Julia
Some of Crassus' wealth was acquired conventionally, through traffic in slaves, production from silver mines, and speculative real estate purchases. Crassus bought property which was confiscated in proscriptions. He notoriously purchased burnt and collapsed buildings. Plutarch wrote that observing how frequent such occurrences were, he bought slaves 'who were architects and builders. Crassus assiduously befriended Licinia, a Vestal Virginwhose valuable property he coveted.
Now Licinia was the owner of a pleasant villa in the suburbs which Crassus wished to get at a low price, and it was for this reason that he was forever hovering about the woman and paying his court to her, until he fell under the abominable suspicion. And in a way it was his avarice that absolved him from the charge of corrupting the vestal, and he was acquitted by the judges.
But he did not let Licinia go until he had acquired her property. As a wealthy man in Rome, an adherent of Sulla, and a man who hailed from a line of consuls and praetors, Crassus' political future was apparently assured. His problem was that despite his military successes, he was eclipsed by his contemporary Pompey the Great who blackmailed the dictator Sulla into granting him a triumph for victory in Africa over a rag-tag group of dissident Romans; a first in Roman history on a couple of counts.
First, Pompey was not even a praetor, on which grounds a triumph had been denied in BC to the great Scipio Africanuswho had just defeated Hannibal 's brother Hasdrubal in Spain and brought Rome the entire province of Hispania. Second, Pompey had defeated fellow Romans, rather than a foreign enemy; however, a quasi-precedent had been set when the consul Lucius Julius Caesar a relative of Gaius Julius Caesar had been granted a triumph for a small victory over Italian non-Roman peoples in the Social War.
Pompey's triumph was the first granted to any Roman for defeating another Roman army. Crassus' rivalry with Pompey and his envy of Pompey's triumph would influence his subsequent career. Crassus and Spartacus[ edit ] Crassus was rising steadily up the cursus honorumthe sequence of offices held by Roman citizens seeking political power, when ordinary Roman politics were interrupted by two events, the Third Mithridatic Warand later, the Third Servile Warwhich was the two-year rebellion of slaves under the leadership of Spartacus from the summer of 73 BC to the spring of 71 BC.
Meanwhile, Pompey was fighting in Hispania against Quintus Sertoriusthe last effective Marian general, without notable advantage. Pompey succeeded only when Sertorius was assassinated by one of his own commanders. The only source to mention Crassus holding the office of praetor is Appian, and the date appears to be in 73 or possibly 72 BC.
Crassus offered to equip, train, and lead new troops, at his own expense, after several legions had been defeated and their commanders killed in battle or taken prisoner. Eventually, Crassus was sent into battle against Spartacus by the Senate.
At first he had trouble both in anticipating Spartacus' moves and in inspiring his army and strengthening their morale.