Uploaded by Ilinca Hartman

The First Triumvirate

Ilinca Hartman
Humanities 1101
CRN: 14004
Monday, Wednesday
The First Triumvirate
Combining two words has never produced a notion as powerful and meaningful as the
word “Triumvirate”. Extracted from the prefix “-tri”, this word is always referring to a group of
three people that work together for mutual benefits. The “First Triumvirate” is the most famous
of unions, and, while lasting a whole seven years, according to Henry Freeman’s “Julius
Caesar: A Life From Beginning to End,” by 58 BCE, Caesar’s triumvirate began showing
cracks. This triumvirate consisted of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, and
Julius Caesar. Proclaimed Pontifex Maximus, Julius Caesar was not the wealthiest of the
threesome, but he made up for it with charisma and persuasion. His education and culture
combined, made him a very skilled politician. He came to power by uniting Crassus and
Pompei in a mutual beneficial deal. Having his soldiers’ undying loyalties, Julius only lacked
the political position that Crassus had to offer, in addition to the alliance with Pompei. The
soldiers offered him the muscle that he needed to seize power, and once the triumvirate was
made, he was selected as a member of the consul. Pompey the Great, was also a military
commander and once Caesar decided upon the alliance with him, married his daughter, to
Pompey. His relationship with his father in law took a turn for the worse after Julia’s death,
when Pompey fell into the orbit of the Roman Optimates, these ultimately using Pompey to
start a civil war. The battle was lost by Pompey after he retreated to Egypt, but unfortunately
was executed by the Pharaoh. Crassus, being one of the richest men in Rome during the time
Caesar was climbing the cursus honorum, decided to invest in the latter. This resulting in
Caesar rising in power and winning a seat in the consul. Both Crassus and Pompey being
wealthy, their relationship was very strained, but maintained integrity, as long as all three
benefited from it. After his young protégé gained more power and wealth, Caesar started
posing a threat to his investor. This made it possible for Caesar to not follow the consul’s
orders, and pressure it to make him a forever ruler, which started the plotting to assassinate
him. The assassination took place with all the senators stabbing Caesar, including Crassus,
Caesar’s last words being "Kai su, teknon?”, bringing the triumvirate to a bitter and ironic end.
This started with these three men working together, and ended the same – with Crassus
murdering Caesar, at the base of the Curia in the Theatre of Pompey.