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Was Crassus Jealous of Pompey?
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November 22nd, 2011, 12:11 PM
Joined: May 2011
Sorry for the long answear, but i thought a consistent explanation of why Pompey and Crassus allied with one another was needed.
November 22nd, 2011, 02:10 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Originally Posted by Doru
I do feel a bit of hostility in your post, so let me make it obvious - i have most respect for your knowledge in this domain. By my challenge to present Pompey's reasons for abandoning the Senate, i was only considering the fact that you evidently got your facts better than me. But the point that you are making is incomplete.
First of all, "this is just another alternative version of the utterly apologetic millennia-long pro-Caesarian revisionist propaganda, so common all along Historum" - i'm ratter new on this forum, but "pro Caesarian revisionist propaganda"? My god man, you're talking like the poor lad is going for election tommorow. I didn't knew there is such a thing like a pro-Caesarian propaganda, or that people have such strong feelings on this matter. I do know however that history is wrighten by the victorious, so we should clearely pay atention not to atribute the man more credit than he deserve.
First of all, let's cleare up the view of the Senate, as a " balanced democracy". This is fare from it. These are people that slaughtered large number of roman citizens, patricians, that were put in power by the first roman general that attacked Rome. The fact that they expect anyone (Pompey, Caesar, even poor old Catilina) to proceed like a tyrant, and to limit the Senate's rights is because they have done it with great succes some years ago.
The fact that Sylla's "most trusted generals" cancel some of his laws, doesn't meen that they are not the same blood thirsty killers (Marius also had his own; he just came second) from the time of the last civil war.
Secondly, they stend for anything but democracy. They stend for limitation of the rights to citizenship only for the city of Rome, while Caesar, the tyrant, pushes for equal rights for all inhabitants of Italia. The Senate is dominated by a very dynamical conservatory radical faction ( how many senators stabed Caesar? was it more then 8 or 10 % of the senators? ) with great influence and great experience in political strifle.
"The Senate and the People of Rome" - unfortunately these two forces were separate, and in oposite sides. The Senate was in power in Rome for most of Cicero's consulate. It is so from feare of treason. Cicero conviced them they are all in danger of loosing their life (not without reason). But the unity is broken once the danger is eliminated. Mettelus Nepos refuses the right of Cicero to do his final speach at the end of the consulate, and that shows how weak his position has become.
The people, on the other hand, are not with the Senate at this time. After Catilina's deth, Crassus is retired, but Caesar - now praetor - threatens to prosecute Cattulus (not the poet, a senior senator, friend of Catto and oponent of Caesar; i hope i got his name right). He galvanises around him the populare party. When Cato tryes to veto Caesar's and Nepos' land apropriations reforms (that would reward Pompey's troops), the people go bananas, and beat the c___p out of old Cato (they actually do; he is saved by Murena - the consoul). Another law that didn't pass because of Cato's veto is a law for softening the debt situation of poor, broke land owners ( in order to gather the people's support of course ). So we can honestly say that the Senate and the People of Rome are not in the same boat right now (in fact this is the object of the crissis).
When Pompey sends his represantative - Mettelus Nepos - to Rome, the later finds that the Senate is not willing to push through Pompey's reforms. So he is compelled to work with Caesar, who convince him he is the only one who can help aproove the necessairy reforms. As it ends, he is unable to do that, and retires for a brief periode at his residence. More, the Senate declares Caesar and Nepos' activitys illegal, and prevents them to carry on their work. At this point a huge demonstration of simpaty (some say staged) for Caesar forced the Senate, fierfull of a mass riot, to reinstate Caesar in his functions.
At this point, Caesar's adversarys bring faulse witneses that involve Caesar in Catilina's conspiracy. But by now Caesar's support is so grate, that he enprison both accusars (one of them a Curius - a senator) and the questor Niger for exceeding his atributions. He also is able to humiliate King Juba in the Senate at this time. So great was his power at this moment, and so much support he has amongst the roman people.
So do not make the confusion that the Senate represents a "balanced democracy" at this time in Rome.
Also, Pompey does mistake after mistake in Rome. He is not suted for politics, so he backfires several times. He divorces Mucia, the sister of Mettelus Celer and Nepos and looses the support of this influential familly. They will of course join the oposite side (at this point - the Senate). Mettelus Celer will be the next Consule, so bad news for Pompey.
But then it gets worse. He wants to make an alliance with Cato, so he aproaches him in order to wed one of his relatives. But, quite a huge blunder, Cato refuses him. Not only that he refuses him, but he parades it, confident that Pompey is a wonna be tyrant and will crown himself king (sounding familliare?). In fact, after the triumph, Pompey is unable even to press through his appropriation reforms, and he is unable to fullfill his promisses to his soldier, very bad and humiliating position for the conqueror of Asia.
Crassus, at first oposed to Pompey, soon finds motives of complaint against the Senate. His financial initiatives (i don't quite remember what it was - something about grains and taxes; maybe sylla can help me) is rejected by the Senate (don't remember the reason why; jealousy, fear of Crassus, etc), so now he is being pretty froustrated.
It is at this point that Caesar comes back from Spain, breaking several laws and renouncing a triumph wich the Senate denied him (the trick was he was not permited to enter the city, and he wanted to run for consulate; no one could delegate someone to subscribe him for elections, so he had to renounce the triumph for consulship - as sylla said, the triumph was the dream of every roman citizen, so you can imagine what sacrifice Caesar made in order to establis this alliance) only to be in a position to put up togheter the alliance that seem so logical to some. He treated Pompey very carefull, flatering him (always a good choice with Pompey), not mentioning his exploits in Spain and convincing him he was the only one whou could help him in his planns. If Pompey would only support his election as consul. Pompey initialy distrusted Caesar, but after meeting him he agreed on the alliance. Caesar also had some small military succeses in Spain, enough to atract a few praises from Pompey, but not enough to make him jealous. Pompey even gaved Caesar a few military advices. The alliance was tightened by the bethroadal of Iulia, Caesar's daughter, to Pompey (that is - Cato's blunder).
The tricky part was atracting Crassus. He was brought to the alliance by the promiss of the aprooval of his financial initiatives in Asia (still, can't remember what those were).
The alliance between Caesar, Crassus and Pompey was of such a power that it totaly anihilated any oposition. Caesar's first consulship is a long list of laws aprooved in the absence of the second consul (Ahenobarbus if i remember corectly) who was bullyed in to staying home (not a very democratical procedure, but again, democracy had a whole nother meening back then). In my believe, rarely forces so great come togheter in an alliance, without having a commune ennemy. The outmanouverd Senate and its flawed politic provided that ennemy, without wich the Triumvirate couldn't exist.
In sted of balancing the forces allying themself with one or another force, the Senate alienated all of the 3 forces existent in Rome. That is why i believe the Triumvirate was not a logical outcome of the politic sceene in Rome, but an anomaly doomed to have a very short life (Crassus still was suspicious of Pompey and leave for Syria to counter the later's military fame; Pompey felt always better when suported by what the conservators - what he, a pleb noble, saw as the legitimity; and Caesar....well, Caesar had his own planns).
Nope, there's no hostility at all; my apologies if anything from my contributions here may have made you think so.
First of all, any time anyone may like to "clear up" any view, some hard evidence (entirely lacking from your looong post) is absolutely required.
Then, please read some Polybios (particularly book VI) and some hard facts on the Roman constitution (Dr Fergus Millar has some excellent reviews); the Roman republic, even at its late period, was a balanced democracy, in fact a historical model for the US constitution and the balance of power in general, including but hardly limited to the Roman Senate.
And of course, your simplistic rosy Manichean view of the good CJ Caesar (and his friends Cn Pompeius & ML Crasus, don't forget) protecting the poor Roman people from the unashamed exploitation of the perverse Senate is exactly the kind of absurdly naive pro-Caesarian propaganda I was talking about.
Let just say that the Caesar's laws mentioned by you were exactly what Pompeius required from this triple pact; a populist compensation for his "poor
" veterans, achieved by unashamedly stealing from the Roman state property.
In any case, the so-called "First Triumvirate" was a strictly private political conspiration (even its very existence has been the object of dispute) and as such the strict personal motivations of its members are largely the matter of speculation (educated or not); yours is equally valid and as good as any other, as there is no hard evidence available to falsify such speculation.
What the three members ostensibly wanted was unlimited political power for each one of them and their partisans by illegal methods, ultimately by the direct manipulation of the Senate (amazing as it may sound, the three conspirators were senators themselves) and the democratic Republican system as a whole.
BTW; the partner consul of CJ Caesar was M Bibulus.
Last but not least, please be aware that the topics that you pretended to cover with your previous answer are simply too extensive; some of them may be good material for some new threads and even social groups.
Restricting ourselves to the OP here (Was Crassus Jealous of Pompey?
) he presumably was.
IMHO any issue unrelated with the OP here would require its own ad hoc thread.
Last edited by sylla1; November 22nd, 2011 at 02:22 PM.
November 22nd, 2011, 10:24 PM
Joined: May 2011
First i want to say that in my oppinions i have brought evidence to support my assumptions. Mettelus Nepos did exist, Murena was a consul, Mucia was in fact Pompey's wife. If there are untrue facts in my previous post, please clarify it for me.
I did read Polybius, but he has nothing to do with the period we are talking about. In fact, when i studyed him, i was cautioned about the lessons i get from him, for he is a historian of the existent regeem. He is a greek in a conquered province, and - similare to Procopius if you like - tends to glorify the might of the winners.
Also, about the great Constitution of Rome, the inspiration of not only the US, but of many Constitutions today, please do not make the error in assuming it's the same system as in 50 BC. We are to fare away from that period and we understand differently what it stands for.
First of all, Rome was a slave based state. It was a tyrany of the few over the many. Rights of citizenship had about 500000 people out of a population of around 40-50000000. That is 1% of the population, and less than the procent of nobles in France before the revolution. These are the ones that benefit of the Great Constitution of Rome.
And the Senate didn't actually preserved the law, but their individual interess of great land owners. Cicero, as consul, passes a law against bribe in the elections. This very usefull law, wich was very necessary, is first broken by Murena, Cicero's favorite for the consulship.
The problem with Rome's Constitution is that is only modern to our interpretation of todays times, and that by the end of the republic it is such an anachronism that nobody respects it (the anachronism part is my interpretation).
I never ment that Caesar was thinking of the people all the time (or at all for that matter), and i don't care what are the motives for wich he push forward his populiste laws. The actual true is that (no matter the reasons - and historians should stay away of interpreting what people suposably thought, but what they did) he is stending for something necessairy, and he is striving to widen the area of citizens from 500000 to 4000000, as oposed to the Senate who is a force of inertia.
I am aware that by this post i am off topic, but my previous post was an explanation in wich conditions Crassus, although jealous and affraid of Pompey, ended up working with him. If there is more to say on the matter of democracy in the very late republic, please message me the topic where it should be posted, and answear me there.
Again sorry for the off topic and the great lengt of the post.
Last edited by Doru; November 22nd, 2011 at 10:48 PM.
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