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Classical Studies
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CLST 201

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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.
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