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The First Triumvirate of ancient Rome was an alliance between the three titans – Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus which, from 60 BCE until 53 BCE, dominated the politics of the Roman Republic.
See the fact file below for more information on the First Triumvirate or alternatively, you can download our 23-page First Triumvirate worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
GROUP OF THREE
- Triumvir or tresvir is a Roman word meaning – member of a college of three members.
- The group of three has seen historical significance throughout the years, especially in ancient Rome.
- In the ancient Roman republic, there were several boards of tresviri:
- Tresviri epulones took care of the dinners that were sometimes served to the gods
- Tresviri agro dando divided newly conquered land among farmers
- Tresviri capitales were responsible for the jail and prisoners.
POPULARES AND OPTIMATES
- Prior to the triumvirate, Roman political order was in chaos. There was street violence and rioting.
- The friction between two political factions of the Republic, the populares and optimates stirred unrest among the populace.
- The populares drew support from the plebeians; the commoners, the majority of the population.
- The optimates were the dominant group in the Senate. They were an anti-reform conservative faction that favored the nobles.
- The Optimates tried to uphold the oligarchy; the Populares sought popular support against the dominant oligarchy.
- Roman senator and optimate Lucius Sergius Catilina, with the help of a group of fellow aristocrats, plotted to overthrow Roman leadership. This led to his death.
- In order to refrain that from happening, three men converged to retain power. They were Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey), Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gaius Julius Caesar.
- In 60 BCE, the three men combined their resources, set aside their personal differences and seized control of the state.
- The same year, the First Triumvirate was formed, Caesar was elected as a consul of Rome.
- This was a huge deal because the triumvirate had taken a seat away from the aristocratic Optimate party and the three men were now in a position to take what they wanted.
- With Crassus and Pompey in the Senate, Caesar was able to pass Pompey’s land requests (which were earlier rejected by the Optimates).
- The law then extended the distribution of public and private land to all citizens instead of just Pompey’s veterans and would do so without any expense for the city or any loss for the optimates.
- Caesar himself managed to secure control of two major provinces in Rome, Cisalpine Gaul (present-day France) and Illyricum, for five years after he left office.
- This did not sit well with other members of the Senate and Romans began to question the motives of the First Triumvirate.
- Pompey was very popular with the Roman people because of his military service. He was a victor in the Mithridatic Wars and was given credit for his role in the Spartacus revolt. He wanted to give land to his veterans to settle on and he wanted the Roman Senate to approve the settlement of one of Rome’s eastern territories.
- Crassus was already super rich and had a lot of influence in Rome, but working with Pompey and Caesar would make sure that he got everything he wanted when he wanted. He joined the triumvirate despite his obvious dislike for Pompey.
- All Julius Caesar had was his name and his reputation. But he was the one who kept the group together. Caesar needed Crassus and Pompey to support him politically to consolidate his power and accomplish what he wanted in Rome.
END OF THE TRIUMVIRATE
- In 54 BC, as Caesar continued his campaigns in Gaul and Crassus undertook his campaign against the Parthians, Pompey was the only member of the triumvirate left in Rome Julia, the daughter of Caesar and wife of Pompey, died while giving birth to a girl, who also died a few days later.
- Caesar felt that this was the end of his good relationship with Pompey. The prospect of a breach between Caesar and Pompey created unrest in Rome.
- The campaign of Crassus against Parthia was disastrous.
- Shortly after the death of Julia, Crassus died at the Battle of Carrhae (May 53 BC), bringing the first triumvirate to an end.
- His death paved the way for the subsequent friction between Julius Caesar and Pompey and the events that eventually led to civil war.
- With Julius Caesar wealthier and more powerful, he desired to return to politics and the consulship, which was opposed by Pompey and the conservatives.
- Pompey was subsequently named consul in 52 BCE and was awarded with the command of the Roman forces in Italy. This lead to a civil war.
- In 48 BCE, they met in the Battle of Pharsalus. Caesar was victorious. Pompey fled to Egypt where he was murdered on the beach on the orders of Ptolemy XIII to behead him.
- His head was then presented to Caesar. He then extended his power in both Asia Minor and northern Africa.
- Caesar returned to Rome where he served in his new role as dictator only to die by assassination on the Ides of March in 44 BCE.
First Triumvirate Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about First Triumvirate across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use First Triumvirate worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the First Triumvirate of ancient Rome which was an alliance between the three titans – Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus which, from 60 BCE until 53 BCE, dominated the politics of the Roman Republic.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Julius Caesar
- Speaking Latin
- Ancient Rome
- Roman People
- Roman Hierarchy
- Result of the Alliance
- A Reflection
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Link will appear as First Triumvirate Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 24, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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