The first Triumvirate

With Pompey about to return to Rome, no one knew what the conqueror of the east intended to do. Both Cicero and Caesar wanted his alliance. But Caesar knew how to wait and turn events in his favour. At present Crassus with his gold was more important then Pompey with his men. The money of Crassus enabled Caesar to take up the praetorship in Spain, soon after Pompey's landing at Brundisium (Brindisi).

However, many people took comfort when Pompey instead of remaining at the head of his army dismissed his troops. He was not minded to play the part of dictator.

Then in 60 BC Caesar returned from Spain, enriched by the spoils of successful military campaigns against rebellious tribes. He found Pompey showing little interest in any alliance with Cicero and the senatorial party. Instead an alliance was forged between the popular politician, the victorious general and the richest man in Rome - the so-called first triumvirate - between Caesar, Pompey and Crassus.

The reason for the 'first triumvirate is to be found in the hostility the populists Crassus Pompey and Caesar faced in the senate, in particularly by the likes of Cato the Younger, Cato the Elder's great-grandson. Perhaps his famous namesake before him Cato the Younger was a (self-)righteous, but talented politician. A fatal mix, if surrounded by wolves of the caliber of Crassus, Pompey and Caesar. He became one of the leaders in the senate, where he particularly rounded on Crassus, Pompey and Caesar. Alas, he even fell out with Cicero, the greatest speaker of the house by far.

The 'first triumvirate was, rather than a constitutional office or a dictatorship imposed by force, an alliance of the three main popular politicians; Crassus, Pompey and Caesar.

They helped each other along, guarding each other's backs from Cato the Younger and his attacks in the senate.

With Pompey and Crassus supporting him Caesar was triumphantly elected consul.

The partnership with Pompey was to be sealed in the following year by the marriage between Pompey and Caesar's daughter Julia.


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