1. First Triumvirate – The First Triumvirate is a term historians use for an informal political alliance between three prominent men of the late Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great, and Marcus Licinius Crassus. Julius Caesar was a prominent popularis politician, Pompey was considered the greatest military commander of his time. This gave him great prestige and popularity, Crassus was a property speculator, the largest landlord and the richest man in Rome. Pompey and Crassus had extensive patronage networks, the three men formed an alliance with which they could gather sufficient popular support to counter the stranglehold the Roman Senate had over Roman politics. The senate had thwarted some bills these men had sponsored, with this alliance they aimed to overcome the senates resistance to these bills and to have them passed. The alliance had kept secret until Pompey and Crassus publicly supported a land law proposed by Caesar in 58 BC. According to Goldsworthy, the alliance was, not at heart a union of those with the political ideals and ambitions. In the background of the formation of alliance were the frictions between two political factions of the Late Republic, the populares and optimates. The former drew support from the plebeians and it also challenged the power the nobiles exerted over Roman politics through the senate, which was the body that represented its interests. The Optimes were a faction that favoured the nobiles. This faction also wanted to limit the power of the plebeian tribunes, Julius Caesar was a leading figure of the populares. In 66 BC Catiline, the leader of the plot, presented his candidacy for the consulship and he received the support of many prominent men and he was acquitted through bribery. In 63 BC Catiline was a candidate for the consulship again and he presented himself as the champion of debtors. Catiline was defeated again and Marcus Tullius Cicero and Gaius Antonius Hybrida were elected and he plotted a coup détat together with a group of fellow aristocrats and disaffected veterans as a means of preserving his dignitas. One the conspirators, Gaius Marius, assembled an army in Etruria, Catiline was to lead the conspiracy in Rome, which would have involved arson and the murder of senators. He was then to join Manlius in a march on Rome, the plot was to start with the murder of Cicero. Cicero discovered this, exposed the conspiracy, and produced evidence for the arrest of five conspirators and he had them executed without trial with the backing of a final decree of the Senate – a decree the senate issued at times of emergency. This was done because it was feared that the men might be freed by other plottersFirst Triumvirate – From left to right: Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey the Great
2. Curia of Pompey – The Curia of Pompey, sometimes referred to as the Curia Pompeia, was one of several named meeting halls from Republican Rome of historic significance. A curia was a structure for meetings of the senate as well as a tribal assembly. The Curia of Pompey was located at the entrance to the Theater of Pompey, while the main senate house was being moved from the Curia Cornelia to a new Curia Julia, the senate would meet in this smaller building. It is best known as where the Roman Senate murdered Gaius Julius Caesar and it was attached to the porticus directly behind the theatre section and was a Roman exedra, with a curved back wall and several levels of seating. In A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome by L. Richardson, Jr. Richardson states that after Caesars murder, Richardson cited Suetonius that it was later made into a latrine, as stated by Cassius Dio. In 55 BC, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus dedicated the opening of the largest theatre in the ancient world before its full completion and that would be copied later by the Roman emperors when they created their own imperial forums. While the theatre complex stood for centuries, the curia lasted for only about a decade, in 44 BC, Caesar was murdered by a conspiracy of senators. Afterward, the structure was closed and walled up and was said to have set on fire. The structure is located in an area now called Largo di Torre Argentina, the site was excavated by order of the dictator Benito Mussolini in the 1930s. For the most part, only the foundations of the structure have been excavated. In 2012, it was announced that further excavations had uncovered the precise spot of Caesars murder and it was also later announced that the underground excavations of the curia would be opened to the public in 2013Curia of Pompey – Curia of Pompey
3. Julius Caesar – Gaius Julius Caesar, known as Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, general, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic. In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed an alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to power as Populares were opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate. Caesars victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC, extended Romes territory to the English Channel, Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the Channel and the Rhine, when he built a bridge across the Rhine and crossed the Channel to invade Britain. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, with the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Caesar refused the order, and instead marked his defiance in 49 BC by crossing the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, leaving his province, Civil war resulted, and Caesars victory in the war put him in an unrivalled position of power and influence. After assuming control of government, Caesar began a programme of social and governmental reforms and he centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed dictator in perpetuity, giving him additional authority. But the underlying political conflicts had not been resolved, and on the Ides of March 44 BC, a new series of civil wars broke out, and the constitutional government of the Republic was never fully restored. Caesars adopted heir Octavian, later known as Augustus, rose to power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power, and the era of the Roman Empire began, much of Caesars life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns, and from other contemporary sources, mainly the letters and speeches of Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust. The later biographies of Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch are also major sources, Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history. Caesar was born into a family, the gens Julia. The cognomen Caesar originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor who was born by Caesarean section. The Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations, that the first Caesar had a head of hair, that he had bright grey eyes. Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored this interpretation of his name, despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not especially politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of their political fortunes in the early 1st century BC. Caesars father, also called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of Asia and his mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of Caesars childhood, in 85 BC, Caesars father died suddenly, so Caesar was the head of the family at 16Julius Caesar – The Tusculum portrait, perhaps the only surviving statue created during Caesar's lifetime.
4. Marcus Licinius Crassus – Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Amassing an enormous fortune during his life, Crassus is, exempting Augustus Caesar, Crassus began his public career as a military commander under Lucius Cornelius Sulla during his civil war. Following Sullas assumption of the dictatorship, Crassus amassed a fortune through real estate speculation. Crassus rose to prominence following his victory over the slave revolt led by Spartacus. A political and financial patron of Julius Caesar, Crassus joined Caesar, together the three men dominated the Roman political system. The alliance would not last indefinitely due to the ambitions, egos, while Caesar and Crassus were lifelong allies, Crassus and Pompey disliked each other and Pompey grew increasingly envious of Caesars spectacular successes in the Gallic Wars. The alliance was re-stabilized at the Lucca Conference in 56 BC, after which Crassus, following his second Consulship, Crassus was appointed as the Governor of Roman Syria. Crassus used Syria as the launchpad for a campaign against the Parthian Empire. Crassus campaign was a failure, resulting in his defeat. Crassus death permanently unraveled the alliance between Caesar and Pompey, within four years of Crassus death, Caesar would cross the Rubicon and begin a civil war against Pompey and the optimates. Marcus Licinius Crassus was the second of three born to the eminent senator and vir triumphalis P. Licinius Crassus. This line was not descended from the Crassi Divites, although often assumed to be, the eldest brother Publius died shortly before the Italic War and Marcus took the brothers wife as his own. This grandfather was son of P. Licinius Crassus, the latters brother C. Marcus Crassus was also a talented orator and one of the most energetic and active advocates of his time. Cinnas proscription forced Crassus to flee to Hispania, after Cinnas death in 84 BC, Crassus went to the Roman province of Africa and joined Metellus Pius, one of Sullas closest allies. Marcus Licinius Crassus next concern was to rebuild the fortunes of his family, according to Plutarchs Life of Crassus, Crassus made most of his fortune through rapine and fire. Sullas proscriptions ensured that his survivors would recoup their lost fortunes from the fortunes of wealthy adherents to Gaius Marius or Lucius Cornelius Cinna, Crassuss wealth is estimated by Pliny at approximately 200 million sestertii. Some of Crassus wealth was acquired conventionally, through traffic in slaves, production from silver mines, Crassus bought property which was confiscated in proscriptions. He notoriously purchased burnt and collapsed buildings, Plutarch wrote that observing how frequent such occurrences were, he bought slaves who were architects and buildersMarcus Licinius Crassus – Bust of Marcus Licinius Crassus from the Louvre, Paris.
5. Pompey – Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, usually known in English as Pompey /ˈpɒmpiː/ or Pompey the Great, was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. He came from a wealthy Italian provincial background, and his father had been the first to establish the family among the Roman nobility, Pompeys immense success as a general while still very young enabled him to advance directly to his first consulship without meeting the normal requirements for office. His success as a commander in Sullas Second Civil War resulted in Sulla bestowing the nickname Magnus. He was consul three times and celebrated three triumphs, after the deaths of Julia and Crassus, Pompey sided with the optimates, the conservative faction of the Roman Senate. Pompey and Caesar then contended for the leadership of the Roman state, when Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated. His career and defeat are significant in Romes subsequent transformation from Republic to Empire, Pompeys family first gained the position of Consul in 141 BC. Pompeys father, Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, was an equestrian from Picenum. He fought the Social War against Romes Italian allies and he supported Sulla, who belonged to the optimates, the pro-aristocracy faction, against Marius, who belonged to the populares, in Sullas first civil war. He died during the siege of Rome by the Marians in 87 BC, either as a casualty of an epidemic and his twenty-year-old son Pompey inherited his estates, and the loyalty of his legions. Pompey had served two years under his fathers command, and had participated in the part of the Social War. When his father died, Pompey was put on due to accusations that his father stole public property. As his father’s heir Pompey could be held to account and he discovered that this was committed by one of his fathers freedmen. Following his preliminary bouts with his accuser, the took a liking to Pompey and offered his daughter. Another civil war broke out between the Marians and Sulla, Cassius Dio added that Pompey had sent a detachment to pursue him, but he outstripped them by crossing the River Phasis. He reached the Maeotis and stayed in the Cimmerian Bosporus and he had his son Machares, who ruled it and gone over to the Romans, killed and recovered that country. Meanwhile, Pompey set up a colony for his soldiers at Nicopolitans in Cappadocia, in Plutarchs account Pompey was invited to invade Armenia by Tigranes’ son, who rebelled against his father. The two men received the submission of several towns, when they got close Artaxata Tigranes, knowing Pompey’s leniency, surrendered and allowed a Roman garrison in his palace. Pompey offered the restitution of the Armenian territories in Syria, Phoenicia, Cilicia, Galatia and he demanded an indemnity and ruled that the son should be king of SophenePompey – Pompey the Great in middle age, marble bust in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark.
6. Portico of Pompey – The Porticus of Pompey was a large quadriporticus located directly behind the scaenae frons of the Theatre of Pompey. It enclosed a large and popular public garden in the ancient city of Rome, the porticus was finished in 62 BC. and has a history spanning hundreds of years. The colonnades contained arcades and gallaries that displayed sculptures and paintings collected from years of war campaigns of its patron and builder, over time the site became rows of shops that occupied what were the galleries and arcades. As the ground rose from constant flooding from the Tiber River. Today, many of these still exist and fragments of the old theatre. The ancient city of Rome was designed with covered walkways, public gardens as well as large pools, citizens would stroll throughout the city under these colonnades, shaded from the sun and rain. The first and most popular of these gardens was located in the quadriporticus that Pompey built to adjoin the theatre that bore his name. Pompey, impressed or inspired by what he saw during his years of travel and campaigning for Rome, a theatre, porticus and curia were built in a huge complex that became a symbol of Roman culture for centuries and was imulated across the Republic and empire. The entrance to the complex was tightly controlled at either side of the Curia of Pompey. This was to guide the visitors sight directly along the garden area to the main doorway to the stage of the theatre. This sightline was permanently disprupted in 32 BC when Augustus had a stone scaena builtPortico of Pompey