Describe Julius Caesar’s role in the First Triumvirate
Julius Caesar early political career followed the typical career of a Roman politician in the first century BC. He initially became a lawyer and then held positions needed to climb the political ladder to the consulship: quaestor, aedile and then praetor. He became consul in 59 BC and in order to make sure he obtained the consulship he formed a secret agreement between himself and the other two most important men at that time, Pompey and Crassus. Pompey was a leading military figure and Crassus was the richest man in Rome as well as a leading patrician senator. This alliance became known as the First Triumvirate which was formed in 60BC and it secured the alliance with Pompey with the marriage of Pompeia (Caesar’s sister). According to Pamela Bradley, ‘Caesar’s role in the First Triumvirate played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic’ and hence he effectively represented himself as a mediator, instigator and manipulator.
Julius Cesar entered into politics as a popularis. As aedile, he won popular support, staging festivals and public entertainments. Crassus, a rich and successful general, wanted a counter-weight to Pompey in Rome. He chose Julius Caesar to be his support at the political counter-weight to Pompey. In 62 BC, Pompey eased the situation by demobilising his army and went to Spain as governor, returning in 60BC with a fortune for Rome and his own great personal wealth. The Senate continued to be hostile towards Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar and it disallowed land for Pompey’s veterans and the equites, whom Crassus represented, were not permitted a reduction of their taxation contract prices for Asia, despite a poor harvest. Julius Caesar was denied a triumph and a consulship at the same time. And thus Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus joined to satisfy their mutual needs and thus forming the First Triumvirate. Julius Caesar had much to gain from the ‘First...
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