Second Triumvirate

Last updated

Antony with Octavian aureus.jpg
Lepidus.jpg
From left to right, Mark Antony, Octavian and Lepidus portrayed in Roman coins. All coins are inscribed "III VIR R P C", abbreviating tresviri rei publicae constituendae ("One of Three Men for the Regulation of the Republic"). [1]

The Second Triumvirate was the political alliance between three of the Roman Republic's most powerful figures: Octavian (the future emperor Augustus), Mark Antony, and Lepidus. Formally called the Triumvirate for Organizing the Republic (Latin : tresviri rei publicae constituendae), [2] it was formed on 27 November 43 BC with the enactment of the Lex Titia , and existed for two five-year terms, covering the period until 33 BC. Unlike the earlier First Triumvirate (between Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus), [3] [4] the Second Triumvirate was an official, legally established institution, whose overwhelming power in the Roman state was given full legal sanction and whose imperium maius outranked that of all other magistrates, including the consuls.

Contents

Origin and nature

Octavian, despite his youth (20 years old), extorted from the Senate the post of suffect consul (consul suffectus) for 43 BC. [5] He had been warring with Antony and Lepidus in upper Italia, but in October 43 BC the three agreed to unite and seize power and so met near Bononia (now Bologna). [6] [7]

This triumvirate of new leaders was established in 43 BC as the Triumviri Rei Publicae Constituendae Consulari Potestate (Triumvirs for Confirming the Republic with Consular Power, abbreviated as III VIR RPC). Where the first triumvirate was essentially a private agreement, the second was embedded in the constitution formally joining Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus in shared rule over Rome. [8] The only other office which had ever been qualified "for confirming the Republic" was the dictatorship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla; the only limit on the powers of the Triumvirate was the five-year term set by law.

A historical oddity of the Triumvirate is that it was, in effect, a three-man directorate with dictatorial powers; it included Antony, who as consul in 44 BC had obtained a lex Antonia that abolished the dictatorship and expunged it from the Republic's constitutions. As had been the case with both Sulla and Julius Caesar during their dictatorships, the members of the Triumvirate saw no contradiction between holding a supraconsular office and the consulate itself simultaneously. [9]

Division of Roman Territories at Different Timepoints.
Roman-Empire-43BC.png
At the foundation of the Triumvirate (43 BC).
Roman-Empire-39BC-sm.png
After the Treaty of Brundisium (40 BC).

In 44 BC, Lepidus' possession of the provinces of Hispania and Narbonese Gaul was confirmed, and he agreed to hand over 7 legions to Octavian and Antony to continue the struggle against Brutus and Cassius for eastern Roman territory; in the event of defeat, Lepidus' territories would provide a fall-back position. Antony retained Cisalpine Gaul and hegemony over Gaul itself, and Octavian held Africa and was given nominal authority over Sicily and Sardinia. [10] According to historian Richard Weigel, Octavian's share at this stage was "practically humiliating"; all the most important provinces went to Antony and Lepidus, though transfer of Lepidus' legions to Octavian meant that Lepidus was "effectively eliminating himself as an equal partner" in future. [11] )

Proscriptions

In order to refill the treasury, the Triumvirs decided to resort to proscription. [6] As all three had been partisans of Caesar, their main targets were opponents of the Caesarian faction. The most notable victims were Marcus Tullius Cicero, who had opposed Caesar and excoriated Antony in his Philippicae, and Marcus Favonius, a follower of Cato and an opponent of both triumvirates. [12] The proscription of Caesar's legate Quintus Tullius Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero's younger brother) seems to have been motivated by the perceived need to destroy Cicero's family. For ancient writers, the most shocking proscriptions were those of Caesar's legate Lucius Julius Caesar, and Lepidus' brother Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus. They were added to the list because they had been the first to condemn Antony and Lepidus after the two allied. In fact they both survived. [13]

Octavian's colleague in the consulate that year, his cousin (and nephew of Caesar), Quintus Pedius, died before the proscriptions got underway. Octavian himself resigned shortly after, allowing the appointment of a second pair of suffect consuls; the original consuls for the year, Caesar's legate Aulus Hirtius and Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus, had died fighting on the Senate's side of the first civil war to follow Caesar's death, that between the Senate and Mark Antony himself. This became a broad pattern of the Triumvirate's two terms; during the ten years of the Triumvirate (43 BC to 33 BC), there were 42 consuls in office, rather than the expected 20.

Philippi

The Caesarian background of the Triumvirs made it no surprise that immediately after the conclusion of the first civil war of the post-Caesar period, they immediately set about prosecuting a second: Caesar's murderers Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus had usurped control of most of the Eastern provinces, including Macedonia, Asia Minor, and Syria. In 42 BC, Octavian and Antony set out to war, defeating Brutus and Cassius in two battles fought at Philippi.

After the victory, Antony and Octavian agreed to divide the provinces of the Republic into spheres of influence. Octavian—who had begun calling himself "Divi filius" ("son of the divinity") after Caesar's deification as Divus Julius ("the Divine Julius") and now styled himself simply "Imperator Caesar"—took control of the West, Antony of the East. As a result, the province of Cisalpine Gaul was absorbed into Italy. Narbonese Gaul was absorbed into Gallia Comata, creating a unified Gaul, and was thus taken over by Antony. Octavian took over Spain from Lepidus. Lepidus himself was left with nothing, but was offered the prospect of control over Africa. The excuse given for this was a report that Lepidus had been traitorously negotiating with Sextus Pompey. If he were proved innocent he would have Africa. [14] Octavian returned to Rome to administer the distribution of land to his veterans. Antony remained in the east to bring Brutus and Cassius' former territories under triumvirate control.

The reduced role of Lepidus is evident in the fact that far fewer coins depict him from this point on, and a number of triumviral edicts are issued in the names of Antony and Octavian only. [15]

Perusine war and Sextus Pompey

Lucius Antonius Lucius Antonius.jpg
Lucius Antonius

Octavian's land redistribution caused widespread tensions, as farmers were dispossessed in favor of soldiers. Antony's brother Lucius Antonius, who was serving as Consul, stood up for the dispossessed farmers. The conflict led to the Perusine War, in which Lucius gathered an army of supporters to challenge Octavian. He was encouraged by Mark Antony's wife Fulvia. [16] Lepidus held Rome with two legions while Octavian left to gather his army, but Lucius defeated Lepidus, who was forced to flee to Octavian. As Octavian advanced on Rome, Lucius withdrew to Perusia (Perugia), where he was besieged by Octavian in the winter of 41–40 BC. He finally surrendered in exchange for clemency. The outcome was that Lepidus was confirmed as governor of Africa, acquiring six of Antony's legions, leaving Octavian as the sole power in Italy, with his own loyal legions in control. When Antony's supporter Calenus, governor of Gaul, died, Octavian took over his legions, further strengthening his control over the west. [17] This new distribution of power among the triumvirs was confirmed by the Treaty of Brundisium in September 40 BC. At around the same time, Antony's wife Fulvia died. Octavian arranged for Antony to marry his sister, Octavia, as a symbol of the renewed alliance.

A Sextus Pompey denarius, minted for his victory over Octavian's fleet. On the obverse is the Pharus of Messina, on the reverse the monster Scylla. Denarius Sextus Pompeius-Scilla.jpg
A Sextus Pompey denarius, minted for his victory over Octavian's fleet. On the obverse is the Pharus of Messina, on the reverse the monster Scylla.

The economic problems caused by the eviction of established farmers were exacerbated by the control of Sextus Pompey over Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia. Pompey's navy regularly intercepted Roman shipping, leading to problems with the grain supply. In 39 BC Antony and Octavian decided to negotiate an agreement to stop the piracy. According to Appian, Sextus hoped to replace Lepidus as the third triumvir, but instead he was confirmed in possession of the islands by the Pact of Misenum, in return agreeing to stop his piracy. According to one source Sextus' second-in-command Menas advised him to kidnap and kill Antony and Octavian while they were celebrating the deal at a dinner on Sextus's flagship, but Sextus refused. [18]

Despite the agreement, conflicts continued. Octavian accused Sextus of continuing to raid Italian towns. In the following year Octavian attempted to take Sicily by force. He was defeated twice in naval battles off Messina. He then arranged a meeting with Antony, who was planning to attack Parthia and needed troops. Antony agreed to deliver ships for the attack on Sextus in exchange for troops to fight the Parthians. [19] Octavian also secured the support of Lepidus, planning a simultaneous joint attack on Sicily.

Fall of Lepidus

Though Octavian nominally oversaw the campaign against Sextus, the campaign was actually commanded by Octavian's lieutenant, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, which culminated in victory in 36 BC. Agrippa had been consul in 37 BC and had secured the Triumvirate's renewal for a second five-year term.

Like the First Triumvirate, the Second Triumvirate was ultimately unstable and could not withstand internal jealousies and ambitions. Antony detested Octavian and spent most of his time in the East, while Lepidus favoured Antony but felt himself obscured by both his colleagues, despite having succeeded Caesar as Pontifex Maximus in 43 BC. During the campaign against Sextus Pompey, Lepidus had raised a large army of 14 legions and a considerable navy. Lepidus had been the first to land troops in Sicily and had captured several of the main towns. However, he felt that Octavian was treating him as a subordinate rather than an equal. [20] This led to an ill-judged political move that gave Octavian the excuse he needed to remove Lepidus from power. After the defeat of Sextus Pompey, Lepidus stationed his legions in Sicily and argued that it should be absorbed into his territories. Alternatively, he should be restored to his former provinces, which had been legally guaranteed by the Lex Titia. Octavian accused Lepidus of attempting to usurp power and fomenting rebellion. Humiliatingly, Lepidus' legions in Sicily defected to Octavian and Lepidus himself was forced to submit to him. Lepidus was stripped of all his offices except that of Pontifex Maximus. Octavian sent him into exile in Circeii. [20]

War between Octavian and Antony

Anthony and Cleopatra, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Lawrence Alma-Tadema- Anthony and Cleopatra.JPG
Anthony and Cleopatra, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

In order to provide treasures and rewards for his troops and cement his reputation as a military commander, Octavian pursued a war in Illyricum to bring it under Roman control. Meanwhile, Antony was preparing his war against Parthia, taking advantage of divisions caused by the new Parthian king Phraates IV. However Antony over-extended himself and was forced to retreat with considerable loss of troops. [21]

Despite having married Octavia, Octavian's sister, in 40 BC (Octavian had married Antony's stepdaughter Claudia three years earlier), Antony openly lived in Alexandria with Cleopatra VII of Egypt, even siring children with her. When the Triumvirate's second term expired in 33 BC, Antony continued to use the title Triumvir; Octavian, opting to distance himself from Antony, refrained from using it.

After Antony's defeat in Parthia, Cleopatra had come to his aid with supplies; Antony then turned his attention to Armenia, seizing its king Artavasdes and occupying the country. He minted coins to commemorate the victory, created a mimic of a Roman triumph, and read out a declaration, known as the Donations of Alexandria in which he granted territories to Cleopatra's children. [22]

Octavian illegally obtained Antony's will in July 32 BC and exposed it to the Roman public: it promised substantial legacies to Antony's children by Cleopatra, and left instructions for shipping his body to Alexandria for burial. Octavian's forces decisively defeated those of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in Greece in September 31 BC, chasing them to Egypt in 30 BC; both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in Alexandria, and Octavian personally took control of Egypt and Alexandria (Egyptian chronologies treat Octavian as Cleopatra's successor as Pharaoh).

Octavian's ally Gaius Maecenas forestalled a conspiracy allegedly organised by Lepidus's son (31 BC). With the complete defeat of Antony and the marginalisation of Lepidus, Octavian, having been restyled "Augustus" in 27 BC, remained as the sole master of the Roman world, and proceeded to establish the Principate as the first Roman "emperor".

See also

Notes and citations

  1. Sear, David R. "Common Legend Abbreviations on Roman Coins". Porter Ranch, CA: David R. Sear. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. "Triumvirate – Ancient Roman Office". Encyclopædia Britannica .
  3. See Adrian Goldsworthy (2008). Caesar: Life of a Colossus, New Haven, CT:Yale University Press ( ISBN   9780300126891, p. 164, and Suetonius [Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus]| (2003). The Twelve Caesars, with an introduction by Michael Grant [Robert Graves, Transl.], Rev. Ed. London, UK:Penguin Books, p. 21 ( ISBN   0140449213), , accessed 18 April 2015.
  4. The First lasted from approximately 59 BC to Crassus' defeat by the Parthians in 53 BC. See Arnold Joseph Toynbee (2014). "Julius Caesar (Roman ruler): The first triumvirate and the conquest of Gaul," and "Julius Caesar (Roman ruler): Antecedents and outcome of the civil war of 49–45 BC," at Encyclopædia Britannica (online), and , accessed 18 April 2015.
  5. "American Journal of Numismatics (Second Series)..." 1990. After his defeat at Forum Gallorum in 43, Antony fled to join Lepidus at Lugdunum. In the meantime, the Senate refused Octavian his rightful recognition for the victory and commanded him to turn over the troops of the consuls to Brutus. Instead Octavian marched on Rome and forced the Senate to name him consul suffectus.33 Afterwards, he returned to Gaul to complete the campaign against Antony.
  6. 1 2 Eck, p. 15f.
  7. The site of meeting was in what is now the frazione Sacerno of the comune of Calderara di Reno.
  8. "Second Triumvirate". UNRV Roman History. UNRV.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  9. Lepidus was consul in 42 BC, Antony in 34 BC, and Octavian in 33 BC.
  10. This was purely theoretical, as they were controlled by Sextus Pompey, leader of the surviving Pompeian faction.
  11. Weigel, p. 69.
  12. Cassius Dio, Roman HIstory, XLVII
  13. Weigel, p. 72.
  14. Weigel, p. 79.
  15. Weigel, p. 144
  16. Allison J. Weir, 2007, A Study of Fulvia, Masters Thesis, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, see , accessed 18 April 2015.[ page needed ]; Appian, The Civil Wars 5.14; Adrian Goldsworthy, Augustus: First Emperor of Rome (New Haven, CT: Yale, 2014), 145.
  17. Southern, p. 78
  18. Wright, p. 49.
  19. Southern, p. 82
  20. 1 2 Weigel, pp. 88f.
  21. Southern, p. 88.
  22. Southern, p. 91.

Literature cited

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Augustus First Roman emperor, from 27 BC to AD 14

Caesar Augustus was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history. The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was largely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession.

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Roman general, statesman and architect

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was a Roman general, statesman and architect. He was a close friend, son-in-law, and lieutenant to Augustus and was responsible for the construction of some of the most notable buildings in the history of Rome and for important military victories, most notably at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC against the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. As a result of these victories, Octavian became the first Roman Emperor, adopting the name of Augustus Caesar. Agrippa assisted Augustus in making Rome "a city of marble" and renovating aqueducts to give all Romans, from every social class, access to the highest quality public services. He was responsible for the creation of many baths, porticoes and gardens, as well as the original Pantheon. Agrippa was also husband to Julia the Elder, maternal grandfather to Caligula, and maternal great-grandfather to the Emperor Nero.

Mark Antony Roman politician and general

Marcus Antonius, commonly known in English as Mark Antony or Anthony, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from a constitutional republic into the autocratic Roman Empire.

1st century BC Century

The 1st century BC, also known as the last century BC, started on the first day of 100 BC and ended on the last day of 1 BC. The AD/BC notation does not use a year zero; however, astronomical year numbering does use a zero, as well as a minus sign, so "2 BC" is equal to "year –1". 1st century AD follows.

This article concerns the period 39 BC – 30 BC.

Year 43 BC was either a common year starting on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday or a leap year starting on Sunday or Monday of the Julian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Proleptic Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Pansa and Hirtius. The denomination 43 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

40s BC

This article concerns the period 49 BC – 40 BC.

Year 40 BC was either a common year starting on Thursday, Friday or Saturday or a leap year starting on Thursday or Friday of the Julian calendar and a common year starting on Friday of the Proleptic Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Calvinus and Pollio. The denomination 40 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

42 BC Calendar year

Year 42 BC was either a common year starting on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Proleptic Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lepidus and Plancus. The denomination 42 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir) Roman politician and general

Marcus Aemilius Lepidus was a Roman general and statesman who formed the Second Triumvirate alongside Octavian and Mark Antony during the final years of the Roman Republic. Lepidus had previously been a close ally of Julius Caesar. He was also the last Pontifex Maximus before the Roman Empire.

Battle of Philippi Battle of the Roman civil war

The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the leaders of Julius Caesar's assassination, Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia. The Second Triumvirate declared the civil war ostensibly to avenge Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, but the underlying cause was a long-brewing conflict between the so-called Optimates and the so-called Populares.

Sextus Pompey Roman politician and general

Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius, also known in English as Sextus Pompey, was a Roman military leader and politician who throughout his life upheld the cause of his father, Pompey the Great, against the dictator Julius Caesar and his supporters, during the last civil wars of the Roman Republic. He formed the last organized opposition to the Second Triumvirate, in defiance of which he succeeded in establishing an independent state in Sicily for several years.

Lucius Aemilius Paullus (consul 50 BC) Roman politician

Lucius Aemilius Paullus was a Roman politician. He was the brother of triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and son to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus the consul of 78 BC. His mother may have been a daughter of Lucius Appuleius Saturninus.

Quintus Pedius was a Roman who lived during the late Republic, and, early Empire. He was the son of a Marcus or Quintus Pedius, and a nephew or grandnephew of the dictator Julius Caesar, by one of his sisters.

Lucius Pinarius Scarpus was a Roman who lived during the late Republic and the early Empire. He served as the Roman governor of Cyrene, Libya during the Final War of the Roman Republic. He was originally loyal to Mark Antony, but eventually switched sides and joined Octavian following the latter's victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

Battle of Mutina Battle in 43 BC between Senatorial and Triumvir forces

The Battle of Mutina took place on 21 April 43 BC between the forces loyal to the Senate under Consuls Gaius Vibius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, supported by the legions of Caesar Octavian, and the Caesarian legions of Mark Antony which were besieging the troops of Decimus Brutus. The latter, one of Caesar's assassins, held the city of Mutina in Cisalpine Gaul.

Liberators civil war

The Liberators' civil war was started by the Second Triumvirate to avenge Julius Caesar's assassination. The war was fought by the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian against the forces of Caesar's assassins, led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, also called the Liberatores. The latter were defeated by the Triumvirs at the Battle of Philippi in October 42 BC, and committed suicide. Brutus would also commit suicide after the second part of the battle.

The Sicilian revolt was a revolt against the Second Triumvirate of the Roman Republic. Occurring between 44 BC and 36 BC, the revolt was led by Sextus Pompey and ended in a Triumvirate victory.

The military campaigns of Julius Caesar constituted both the Gallic War and Caesar's civil war. The Gallic War mainly took place in what is now France. In 55 and 54 BC, he invaded Britain, although he made little headway. The Gallic War ended with complete Roman victory at the Battle of Alesia. This was followed by the civil war, during which time Caesar chased his rivals to Greece, decisively defeating them there. He then went to Egypt, where he defeated the Egyptian pharaoh and put Cleopatra on the throne. He then finished off his Roman opponents in Africa and Hispania. Once his campaigns were over, he served as Roman dictator until his assassination on March 15, 44 BC. These wars were critically important in the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.