The Problems and Reconciliations of the First Triumvirate.

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Roman Senate

The First Triumvirate had its fair share of problems throughout its life. An inevitable issue that the Triumvirate would have to come to terms with is the Senate by in large finding it very suspicious that the three most powerful men in Rome seem to be collaborating. Pompey was affected by this suspicion greatly because he greatly adored having the peoples love on his side (Zoch 184). Pompey also found much ridicule from the people because of his new bride Julia, the daughter of Julius Caesar. He fell madly in love with her and the people used this as ammunition to ridicule him whenever possible (Marin 116). Caesar also felt the effects of unpopularity. His is due in part to his alliance with the other two as well as his harsh use of the consul position. Caesar himself unused to unpopularity is stuck in a pickle because if he retreats it is a sign of weakness and to try and advance himself can have serious repercussions (Marin 118). Caesar was fortunate to escape his unpopularity with his campaign in Gaul in the year 59 BCE (Zoch 180). His swift leaving of his consul position for his proconsul position in Gaul sparked much concern that Caesar was afraid of retribution for his complete disregard for tradition (Marin 119).

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Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Publius Clodius Pulcher

Meanwhile Publius Clodius Pulcher, a shrewd tribune was elected in the 58 BCE. and passed numerous laws that increased his power and popularity with the plebs in Rome (Zoch 181). One of these laws had Cicero, a popular figure in Rome at the time exiled, because Clodius had a personal vendetta against Cicero for speaking out against Clodius at his trial of the Bona Dea scandal. Clodius did not stop his attacks with Cicero though. He went on to attack Pompey multiple times. On one occasion Clodius had his goons openly insult Pompey at the forum and one of Clodius’ slaves attempted to assassinate Pompey (Zoch 182). Because of this Pompey quit public life and went into retirement in which he spent much of his time with his wife Julia. Eventually Pompey needed Cicero back and knew he could win his gratitude by securing his return from exile. Pompey managed to secure Cicero’s return by creating his own group of goons under Titus Annius Milo. The year 57 BCE seen the return of Cicero to the public eye in Rome and repaid Pompey kindly by giving him the position of dictator of the grain supply (Zoch 184). This action would return Pompey as a reputable man and caused tension within the Triumvirate.

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Town of Luca

In the year 55 BCE Crassus and Pompey were to stand for re-election for the consul position. They succeeded in attaining this position and used it to grant themselves, and Caesar, five year proconsular commands in Spain for Pompey, Gaul for Caesar, and Syria for Crassus (Zoch 184). This deal to grant themselves each five year consulships was known as the Conference at Luca, which took place in the year 56 BCE in the town of Luca (Zoch 184). Caesar comes under serious fire by Cato and Favonius for asking for an extension of his proconsulship in Gaul because he is seen as the radical among the three. The two men, Cato and Favonius, attack the Triumvirate, especially Caesar, because of these five year extensions (Marin 133). A poet, Catullus, even writes a poem about Caesar and openly shows how much he despises Caesar (Marin 133). What this shows is that Caesar is still very unpopular with the Roman people and the senate, and different types of hate are used against Caesar, not limited to, but including “adultery, homosexuality, greed and stupidity” (Marin 134). Pompey again is still riding a wave of popularity from his position as grain dictator and is seen among the Senate, especially Cato, that Pompey is the weak link in the Triumvirate (Marin 143). Pompey will eventually become a pawn of the Senate in the year 49 BCE when the Roman world enters civil war.

 

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