Crassus – governor of Spain, waged war against Parthia
Persia – monarchy, ruled by kings. Entrusted remote regions of their realm to vassal princes.
Very strong cavalry. Mail clad riders (cataphracts) and swift mounted archers
52 – crassus crosses the Euphrates, did recon in syria
53 – Roman army suffered disasterous defeat at Carrhae – underestimated strength of Partheans
and fighting in the desert.
Parthian commander Svrenas. He had 10,000 archers and 10,000 cataphracts.
7 Roman legions were slaughtered by the archers. Crassus was lured to a conference (?) and slain
by a Parthian officer. Only a small remnant of Romans escaped.
This was kind of a devastating blow to the Roman morale regarding the east.
Crassus’ death upset the balance of the Triumvere. Caesar’s power had grown super quickly;
Pompey and the Optimates desired his downfall. Pompey’s dignitas (prestige) felt threatened.
Caesar, backed by his loyal army, had the resources to fight back to avoid being eliminated from
the political power struggle.
Remember – Caesar’s daughter Julia was married to Pompey in 59. In 54 BC, Julia died. Caesar
requested the right to marry Pompey’s daughter. Pompey says no Pompey then married
Cornelia, Crassus’ widow. [This is where the series Rome starts. Best study tool]
Civil war was inevitable... Rome was too small for the both of them.
Rome was basically in anarchy. No consuls were elected in 54. Both 53 and 52 started without
consuls. Tribunes misused their power of veto, all over the place. Rival gangs of Clodius and
Milo kept the city in confusion and turmoil.
Pompey might have restored order, but he let everything happen, so the senate would be obliged
to eventually grant him additional powers to deal with it.
52 – Clodius slain by Milo’s gang. Clodius’ gang pissed, burn down senate building. Senate gave
Pompey made powers:
52 – Pompey sole consul. Became “Princeps” = first citizen. Pompey focused on stopping
bribery, violence (Milo), a previous ally. Milo brought up on trial. Cicero’s speech, pro milone,
never got used, he was declared guilty and banished.
This was kind of the height of Pompey’s career. Sole consul, governed Spains through his
legates, plus still grain curator. Pompey didn’t want to overthrow the government – he was super big on Rome. He just wanted
to be the most powerful person. He certainly wouldn’t help Caesar, scared that he would lose
some of his power.
Optimates were alarmed at Caesar’s military success and growing reputation/wealth/influence
were won over to prolong their alliance with Pompey until Caesar could be eliminated.
Pompey still sole consul – super powerful. Passed two laws to curb electoral abuse:
- forbade candidates to seek magistracies while in absentia from Rome.
-future consuls should not be outgoing praetors and consuls; should be chosen from ex-
magistrates with 5 year interval between proconsulship and consulship.
Caesar’s command in Gaul was set to expire in March 1, 50. He wanted to stand for consulship
in absentia. To go for consulship, would have to give up the Imperium of proconsulship as he
passed the Pomarium. His enemies (lot of people pissed about his success) would be waiting to
charge him on something. Caesar wanted to maintain control of his Gaullic regions and devoted
army, hold his imperium, AT THE SAME TIME as running for consulship IN ABSENTIA.
Couldnt hold a consulship legally till 48 according to Lex Villialis (required 10 year interval
between consulship). But Pompey was already breaking that law (consul in 55 and 52).
According to agreement of Triumverates at meeting, no replacement for Caesar could even be
discussed until March 50.
Caesar convinced tribunes of 52 to carry legislation to allow him to run for consul in absentia.
Meanwhile, Pompey extended his command of the Spains for another 5 years (quinqennium
Everyone was wondering what would happen – couldn’t please both Pompey and Caesar. There
was bound to be civil war.
In early 50 – Caesar petitions the senate for an extension of his rule in Gaul till 49. (This affords
him immunity from prosecution for another year). Ceasar’s request was rejected by the new
consul, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a staunch foe.
Marcellus said no, hold till March 1, 50, as originally decided at Luca.