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First Triumvirate

In 62 BC, Pompey returned victorious from Asia. The Senate, elated by its successes against Catiline, refused to ratify the arrangements that Pompey had made. Pompey, in effect, became powerless. Thus, when Julius Caesar returned from a governorship in Spain in 61 BC, he found it easy to make an arrangement with Pompey. Caesar and Pompey, along with Crassus, established a private agreement, now known as the First Triumvirate. Under the agreement, Pompey’s arrangements would be ratified. Veterans of Pompey received the lands that Pompey wanted to give them. Caesar would be elected consul in 59 BC, and would then serve as governor of Gaul for five years. Crassus was promised a future consulship.

Caesar became consul in 59 BC. He ordered a distribution of land and to veterans of Pompey and to the poors. Caesar was then made governor of three provinces: Illyria, actual Balkans, Cisalpine Gaul, actual north Italy, and Narbonne Gaul, actual Provence. He facilitated the election of the former patrician Publius Clodius Pulcher to the tribunate for 58 BC. Clodius set about depriving Caesar’s senatorial enemies of two of their more obstinate leaders in Cicero and Cato. Clodius was a bitter opponent of Cicero because Cicero had testified against him in a sacrilege case. Clodius attempted to try Cicero for executing citizens without a trial during the Catiline conspiracy, resulting in Cicero going into self-imposed exile and his house in Rome being burnt down. Clodius also passed a bill that forced Cato to lead the invasion of Cyprus which would keep him away from Rome for some years. Clodius also passed a law to expand the previous partial grain subsidy to a fully free grain dole for citizens.

The end of the First Triumvirate

Caesar in just four years, from 58 BC to the 54 BC, subdued all the tribes of Gaul, and also went to Britain and Germany. So increased the power of Caesar and the envy, the jealousy of Pompey.

Eventually, the triumvirate was renewed at Lucca. Pompey and Crassus were promised the consulship in 55 BC, and Caesar’s term as governor was extended for five years. Crassus led an ill-fated expedition with legions led by his son, Caesar’s lieutenant, against the Kingdom of Parthia. This resulted in his defeat and death at the Battle of Carrhae. Finally, Pompey’s wife, Julia, who was Caesar’s daughter, died in childbirth. This event severed the last remaining bond between Pompey and Caesar.

Beginning in the summer of 54 BC, a wave of political corruption and violence swept Rome. This chaos reached a climax in January of 52 BC, when Clodius was murdered in a gang war by Milo.

Meanwhile, from 54 BC to 52 BC The Gauls rebelled against Caesar. The revolt was led by Vercingetorix. The Gauls defeated several times the Romans in the name of freedom, but then were defeated at Alesia in 52 BC. Caesar.

Caesar had his side an army. He did not want to leave it in the hands of the Senate. He had the favor of the people and of the Roman provinces of Cisalpine Gaul, Narbonne Gaul and Illyria

On 1 January 49 BC, an agent of Caesar presented an ultimatum to the senate. The ultimatum was rejected, and the senate then passed a resolution which declared that if Caesar didnt lay down his arms by July of that year, he would be considered an enemy of the Republic. Meanwhile the senators adopted Pompey as their new champion against Caesar. On 7 January of 49 BC, the senate passed a senatus consultum ultimum, which vested Pompey with dictatorial powers.

On 12 January, Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his veteran army (in violation of Roman laws) saying Alea iacta est” The die has been cast” and marched towards Rome, so began the civil war between Caesar and Pompey.

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