Rome in the final years of the Republic was dominated by the Trimumverate (Ceasar, Crasus, and Pompey). Crassus' death at Carrhae (53 BC) led to a showdown between Ceasar and Pompey as to who would control Rome. Ceasar who for years had fought the Gauls moved south into Italy by crossding the River Rubicon. This violated Roman law prohibiting generals from bringing their armies into Itay. It was in effect the end of the Roman Republic. Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
(Pompey) was at the time Rome's most lauded military hero. As Ceasar approached Rome, Pompey fled and in southern Italy embarked for Macedonia where he was popular. Pompey ammassed a large army. Ceasar without a navy could not follow. It took a year to move his smaller, but battke hardened army north into Macedonia to confront Pompey. The two armies met at Pharsala in Thessaly. The battle of Pharsala ocuured during the Summer (August 9, 48 BC). Ceasar was outnumbered by more than two to one. Pompey's army represented the forces loyal to the Republic. Caesar defeated Pompey's republican forces in a stunning
victory. Caesar later claimed to have suffered only 200 men killed while killing 15,000 of Pompey's me. This seems an exageration, but even other sources report 6,000 killed. After his left flank in routed, Pompey flees the battlefield. He sails to Alexandria where one of his own men kill him. Pompey's flight to egypt brought
Ceasar there as well at the fatefull encounter with Cleopatra.
The impact of Rome on western civilization is incaluable. The Roman legacy in art and sculpture, architecture, literature, philosophy, politi which many aspects of Greek culture were passed on to our modern age. Today the power of media has obscured the great legacy of Rome to that of gladitorial spectacle. Many scholars are convinced that perhaps with the exception of Jesus, the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero is the most important single voice in Western civiliztion. It was Cicero that was a key influence in British political thought and the American and French Revolutions and thus all modern democracies. It was an idealized Roman Republic that inspired the founding fathers. Roman legends like Cicinatus who volutarikly gave up power inspired thge founding fathers. Many of the key Revolutionary leaders had read Cicero's works like De Officius. Even Washington, who unlike many of the other founding fathers had not studied classuical history, acted out a scene in a play about Cato that he had seen to defuse a mutiny of the Continental Army. The American Republic is in large measure a Ciceronian Republic.
The legacy of Rome can be found throughout the American Republic. A Senate was created to limit the passions of the majority. Executive authority is limited by checks and ballances. It was Cicero's heroic, but ultimately failed effort to save the Roman Republic that enspired political thinkers of the 18th century to device a system that could prevent despotism. This effort motivated many of the debates over the American Constitution. Rome today is largely thought of an a Mediterrean empire. The reason for this was two massive defeats of the Roman legions. The first was the battle of Carrhae (53 BC) which stoped Crassus' expansion into Asia. The second was the battle of the Teutoberg Forrest which stopped Varus' expansion into Germany (9 AD). These two battles essetially set the eastern boundaries of Rome.
The Republic which goverened Rome for five centuries had declined in the 1st century BC to a struggle among military strongmen for control. The 1st century BC finds the two major parties in Rome ready for drastic action. Assasination is no longer sufficent to quell the popular party. The two major military commanders each champion one of the factions. Marius is the champion of the popular party. Sulla is favored the aristocracy. Marius dominates Rome in the final decade of the 2nd century. He rules Rome through command of the army. Marius reorganizes the Army (104 BC). Marius and
Sulla argue as to who shall command the Roman forces in a campaign against King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Sulla marches in Rome for the first time with the legions he commanded in the Social War. Violating Roman law, he enters Rome with his legions (88 BC). An aging Marius flees to Africa. Sulla executes Tribune Publius Sulpicius Rufus, the remaining spokesman of the popular party. With the opposition silenced, Sulla imposes arbitrary measures. He is also able to confirm his command of the expedition against King King Mithridates in the East. He leaves Rome in command of the expedition (87 BC). Cornelius Cinna a popular leader and enemy of Sulla tries to implement Sulpicius' reforms. He us drven from the city, but rallies legions in Campanis and is joined by Marius who returns from Africa.
They enter Rome with their legions and Cinna and Marius is recognized as Counuls. They outlaw Sulla and conduct a vindictive massacre of senators and other patricans. Marius dies (86 BC), but Cinna continues to rule. A civil war occurs between the supporters of Marius and Sulla. Sulla returns from Asia with a huge army of 40,000 men and marches in Rome for a second time.
(83 BC). Sulla emerges victorious and is appointed Dictator. He conducts a blood bath of anyone he preceives as an ememy (82-79 BC). He supresses his enemies by proscriotion, a list posted in the Forum identifying them as enemies of the state and outlaws. A young Julius Ceasar is related to Marius, but is not on the list. He
wisely leaves Rome. A large number of Roman aristocrats associated with the populares were proscribed and their property confiscated. One source notes 520 men. Sulla strengthened the power of the Senate, weakened the power of the tribunes, and stopped the grain dole. Sulla often confiscates the land of his enremies
and gives it to his veterans. Having no knowledge of agriculture, much of the and is mismanged or abandoned. This affects agriculural production, making Rome increasingly deoendant on imported grain. North Africa becomes the principal source of grain. Sulla dies (78 BC). After Sula three dominant men emerge in Rome. They form the Trimiuverate which for a time postpones civil war.
The Trimuverae was the alliance of the three most powerful men of Ancient Rome: Gaius Iulius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ("Pompey the Great"). It was not an official body, but rather an unofficial alliance between the three men in the final years of the Roman Republic so as to avoid civil war. Crassus was the man primarily responsible for defeating Dapartacus. Crassus and Pompey had been colleagues in the consulate (70 BC). At that time they restored the tribunate of the people. The office had been reduced to impotence by dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. After this, however, the two men had moved apart. Caesar mediated between the two older men. Together they helped secure Ceasar's election as consul (59 BC). Ceasar and Crassus were already close and to cement his alliance with Pompey, Caesar arranged for the marriage of his daughter Julia (59 BC), but she dies in child birth (54 BC). The alliance rested on Caesar's great popularity among the Roman masses, Crassus's great wealth and influence with the Roman aristocracy, and Pompey's wealth and military influence. The three men secretly agreed to cooperate. Rome first became aware of the Triumviri with the fight in the Senate over a new agrarian law. Subsequently they supported the election of Publius Clodius Pulcher's election as tribune of the people which effectively removed both of Marcus Tullius Cicero and Marcus Porcius Cato from public office. The Triumviri
essentially dvided Roman territory. Caesar was awarded the government as proconsul of both Gauls (Gallia Cisalpina and Gallia Transalpina) and of Illyricum, and given charge of four legions for five years. With these legions he would conquer Gaul north of the Alps. Caesar's new father-in-law, Lucius Calpurnius Piso, became consul (58 BC). Pompey and Crassus shared a second consulate (55 BC). Pompey and Crassus extended Caesar's proconsular government in the Gauls for an additional 5 years, allowing him to complete the conquest of Gaul. Pompey secured the proconsul Spains (Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior) for 5 years. Spain was Rome's most valuable colony at the time. Crassus became proconsul of Syria, also for 5 years. and of Syria, respectively, for five-year terms. The Triumverate was an alliance that could not lost. Ceasar with his popularity now combined with spectacular success in Gaul and moved from a junior partner to an increasingly powerful force.
Crassus was the richest man in Rome, but despite his success against Spartacus did not have the military reputation he craved. He decided to use his position as proconsul to launch an invasion of Parthia with which Rome had a treaty of peace. Victory here would extend the boundaries of Rome away frm the Mediterrean accross western Asia to the border of India. It would in effect recreated Alexander's empire and brought great wealth and the military laurels so important for political power to Crassus. Victory against Parthia in the east would have outshown even Ceasar's spectacular victories in Gaul.
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey tghe Great) was at the time Rome's most lauded military hero and elder staesman of the Republic. Pompey had served under Sulla. He engaged thec remnants of Marius' dsupporters in Africa, Sicly, and Spain. He and Crassus were elected consuls. They repealed some of the most unpopular laws of Sulla and restored the power of the tribunes. Julius Caesar and Pompey who are more concerned with the common Romans unite to seize control of the government, but in the process become rivals. Pompey and Crassus rule as consuls (70 BC). Pompey gains great satus by clearing the Mediterranean of pirates and engaging Mithridates in the Eastern Mediterrean (67-62 BC). He added substantial territories in the East to the Empire.
The Gallic Wars were the campaigns waged by Ceasar in Gaul (modern France and the Low Countries). The Gauls were Celts divided into tribes. This lack of unity enabled Ceasar with a realtively small Roman force to defeat the numerically superior, but less well organized Gauls. There was no consensus in Rome as to the need to conquer Gaul. It was Ceasar who persued this perhaps the most important of all Roman conquests. Ceasar's first campaign was to prevent the Helvetii from entering southwest Gaul. Then the Aedui asked for his support in fending off the Germanic Ariovistus. Ceasar then pacified the Belgica (57 BC). Then he attacked the Veneti (56 BC). Next Ceasar moved into the Low Countries and crossed the Rhine beginning Roman efforts to pacify the Germaniv Tribes (55 BC). Then he invaded Britain in an unsuccsessful campaign (54 BC). Then Ceasar faced a Gallic revolt. Ambiorix raised some Belgian tribes which Ceasar dispersed. A more serious adversary was Vercingetorix who succeeded in uniting the tribes of central, eastern and northern Gaul in a general revolt. Ceasar campaign to defeat the revolt is one of the classic military campaigns in history. It is often said that that the victors right history. This is certain true with the Gallic Wars, both because Cesar conquered, but also he wrote a litteraey masterpiece to describe his conquests.
Pompey had negotiated a treaty with the Parthinians about 73 BC. The treaty set the boundary of Parthia at the Wadi Balik. Crassus was the richest man in Rome, but despite his success against Spartacus did not have the military reputation he craved. He decided to use his position as proconsul to launch an invasion of Parthia
with which Rome had a treaty of peace. Victory here would extend the boundaries of Rome away frm the Mediterrean accross western Asia to the border of India. It would in effect recreated Alexander's empire and brought great wealth and the military laurels so important for political power to Crassus. Victory against Parthia in the east would have outshown even Ceasar's spectacular victories in Gaul. Crassus marched directly through Mesopotamia hoping to seize Seleucia and Parthian capital of Ctesiphon (54 BC). Crassus followed the Euphrates River. He crossed into Parthian territory at Zeugma. Crassus' son Publius who had been with Ceasar in Gaul joined his father. Crassus' leiutenant Cassius advised him to rest the army and to continue the attack along the Euphrates where food and water was plentiful. Crassus was fooled into lauching an attack across the desert in the hope of closing with the Parthians. Crassus' exhausted army ecountered the Parthians about 20 miles south of Carrhae (June 53 BC). Crassus was surprised. He encountered the Parthians much sooner than he anticipated and they were not retreating. What followed was one of the greatest disasters in Roman military history.
Ceasar was a first a junior partner in the Triumverate. His victories in Gaul, however, changed the poltical situation. His popularity increased in Rimne, and he now commanded powerful legions that were loyal to him personally. Crassus' death at Carrhae (53 BC) led to a showdown between Ceasar and Pompey as to who would control Rome. After Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians (53 BC), the Triumverate is ended. Governance by three men helped to difuse political rivalries. Now it was a clear contest between Ceasar and Pompey. After Crassus' death Pompey is elected as sole consul by the Senate (52 BC). Ceasar at the time is tied down in Gaul with the Faulic tribes in revolt. Ciscero believes that Ceasar threatens the Republic and is intrumental in having Ceasar declared an enemy of the Roman Republic. The conservative Senate convinces Pompey to return to Rome and sees in him
its defender against Ceasar and the popular party. The Senate desires to end Ceasar's military command and prevent him from becoming consul. The Ceasar believes that to disband his army is to end his politcal career. The Senate demands that Ceasar disband his legions if he desires to be consul.
Ceasar after his victories in Gaul was determined to be consul. Ceasar moved his army south into Italy by crossing the River Rubicon. This violated Roman law prohibiting generals from bringing their armies into Itay. It was in effect the end of the Roman Republic. Crossing the Rubicon was in fact and of treason against the Republic. Caesar enters Rome in triumph (49 BC). He is popular with the people, both because of his policies and the money he has spent to sponsor feasts and festivals. His victories in Gaul and added emensely to his popularity.
Caesar and Pompey wage civil. Pompey and important aristocrats flee Rome. Ceasar pursues Pompey south. Pompey gathers his forces and in southern Italy embarks his army from Brindisi for Greece where he was popular. There Pompey has time to amass a large army.
Ceasar without a navy could not immediately follow Pompey. It took a year to move his smaller, but battke hardened army north into Macedonia to confront Pompey.
The two armies met at Pharsala in Thessaly. The battle of Pharsala ocuured during the Summer (August 9, 48 BC).
Ceasar was outnumbered by more than two to one. Pompey's army represented the forces loyal to the Republic. Ceasar has only about 22,000 legionaires to Pompey's 45,000 full-strength and rested legions. Pompey has a much larger calvalry force of about 7,000 men to the only 1,000 men in Ceasar's calvalry. While outnumbered, Ceasar's under-strength legions are battle-hardened and intensely loyal to him.
One year after crossing the Rubicon and ebtering Rome, Ceasar's army confront's Pompey's army. Pompey's army occupies the high ground with their backs to the sea where they can be resupplied. Ceasar after the long march from Italy has supply problens in unfriendly territory. Pompey hoped that he could win without a pitched battle because Ceasar would have trouble feeding his army. Pompey's advisers encourage him to attack with his numerically superior forces. He decides to confron Ceasar and marshalls his forces on the Plain of Pharsala. Ceasar commands the right wing of his forces and puts Mark Anthony in charge on the right, Mark Anthony on the left flank.
Pompey decides to have his legions stand fast, requiring Ceasar's legions to charge and thus tire them. Pompey does order his calvalry forward. Pompey's calvalry is commanded by Labenanous who had fought loyally with Ceasar in Gaul. Pompey's calvary quicklyoverwealms Ceasar's small calvalry force. Pompey's calvalry break through, threatening Ceasar's flank. Ceasar has anticipated this and backed his calvalry with hravy infantry. Pompey's calvalry having broken through is disorganized and unable to regroup. They are unable to break through the spears of the infantry. They withdraw disorganized and are no longer a factor in the battle. Ceasar's legions pause in front of Pompey's legion to rest and reform their lines. Then they attack Pompey's lines. There is a pitched battle of Roman against Roman. Pompey's left flank breaks. Pompey in panic flees the battle field.
Caesar defeated Pompey's republican forces in a stunning
victory. Caesar later claimed to have suffered only 200 men killed while killing 15,000 of Pompey's me. This seems an exageration, but even other sources report 6,000 killed. Ceasar is magnamamous in victory. He pardons many in Pompey's army. One of these is Brutus whose mother was one od Ceasar's lovers.
After his left flank in routed, Pompey flees the battlefield.
Pompey sails to Alexandria where one of his own centurians kill him. Pompey's flight to Egypt brought Ceasar there. He is agast at the trechery whivh killed Pompy and orders a funeral with full honors. It isd of ciurse in Alexandria that Ceasar has the fatefull encounter with the young Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
Ceasar takes effective control of the state from the Senate, but unlike previous military commanders Marius and Sulla, Ceasar does not conduct a reign of terror agaonst his enemies, There are neither proscriptions or confiscations. Ciscero is not arrested. Ceasar proceeds with economic and administrative reforms to end corruption and promote prosperity. Ceasar conducts a successful campaign in Spain against forces still loyal to Pompey. While in Spain, Ceasar is appointed Dictator and (46 BC). He renounces the post and is elected consul again. The remaining forces still loyal to Pompey are crushed at Munda in Spain. Ceasar is proclaimed dictator for life (45 BC). Republican nobels in the Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus are convinced that Ceasar pland to end the Republic and declare himself king. To preven this they assasinate Caesar in the Senate (44 BC).
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