First Triumvirate

In 62 BC, Pompey returned victorious from Asia. The Senate, elated by its successes against Catiline, refused to ratify the arrangements that Pompey had made. Pompey, in effect, became powerless. Thus, when Julius Caesar returned from a governorship in Spain in 61 BC, he found it easy to make an arrangement with Pompey. Caesar and Pompey, along with Crassus, established a private agreement, now known as the First Triumvirate. Under the agreement, Pompey's arrangements would be ratified. Caesar would be elected consul in 59 BC, and would then serve as governor of Gaul for five years. Crassus was promised a future consulship.[64] Caesar became consul in 59 BC. His colleague, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, was an extreme aristocrat. Caesar submitted the laws that he had promised Pompey to the assemblies. Bibulus attempted to obstruct the enactment of these laws, and so Caesar used violent means to ensure their passage.[64] Caesar was then made governor of three provinces. He facilitated the election of the former patrician Publius Clodius Pulcher to the tribunate for 58 BC. Clodius set about depriving Caesar's senatorial enemies of two of their more obstinate leaders in Cato and Cicero. Clodius was a bitter opponent of Cicero because Cicero had testified against him in a sacrilege case. Clodius attempted to try Cicero for executing citizens without a trial during the Catiline conspiracy, resulting in Cicero going into self-imposed exile and his house in Rome being burnt down. Clodius also passed a bill that forced Cato to lead the invasion of Cyprus which would keep him away from Rome for some years. Clodius also passed a bill that gave the populace a free grain dole, which had reviously just been subsidised.[65] The First Triumvirate was the political alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Unlike the Second Triumvirate, the First Triumvirate had no official status whatsoever; its overwhelming power in the Roman Republic was strictly unofficial influence, and was in fact kept secret for some time as part of the political machinations of the Triumvirs themselves. It was formed in 60 BC and lasted until Crassus' death in 53 BC. Crassus and Pompey had been colleagues in the consulship in 70 BC, when they had legislated the full restoration of the tribunate of the people (the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla had stripped the office of all its rights except the ius auxiliandi, the right to rescue a plebeian from the clutches of a patrician magistrate). However, since that time, the two men had entertained considerable antipathy for one another, each believing the other to have gone out of his way to increase his own reputation at his colleague's expense. Caesar contrived to reconcile the two men, and then combined their clout with his own to have himself elected consul in 59 BC; he and Crassus were already friends (modern consensus as to the beginning of the friendship to be as early as 65 where a young Caesar supported Crassus's proposal to make Egypt tributary to Rome), and he solidified his alliance with Pompey by giving him his own daughter, Julia, in marriage. The alliance combined Caesar's enormous popularity and legal reputation with Crassus's fantastic wealth and influence within the plutocratic Equestrian order (ordo equester) and Pompey's equally spectacular wealth and military reputation.