Pompey, Crassus and the Catilinarian Conspiracy

n 77 BC, the senate sent one of Sulla's former lieutenants, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ("Pompey the Great"), to put down an uprising in Spain. By 71 BC, Pompey returned to Rome after having completed his mission. Around the same time, another of Sulla's former lieutenants, Marcus Licinius Crassus, had just put down the Spartacus led gladiator/slave revolt in Italy. Upon their return, Pompey and Crassus found the populares party fiercely attacking Sulla's constitution.[59] They attempted to forge an agreement with the populares party. If both Pompey and Crassus were elected consul in 70 BC, they would dismantle the more obnoxious components of Sulla's constitution. The two were soon elected, and quickly dismantled most of Sulla's constitution.[60] Around 66 BC, a movement to use constitutional, or at least peaceful, means to address the plight of various classes began.[61] After several failures, the movement's leaders decided to use any means that were necessary to accomplish their goals. The movement coalesced under an aristocrat named Lucius Sergius Catilina. The movement was based in the town of Faesulae, which was a natural hotbed of agrarian agitation.[62] The rural malcontents were to advance on Rome,[63] and be aided by an uprising within the city. After assassinating the consuls and most of the senators, Catiline would be free to enact his reforms. The conspiracy was set in motion in 63 BC. The consul for the year, Marcus Tullius Cicero, intercepted messages that Catiline had sent in an attempt to recruit more members. As a result, the top conspirators in Rome (including at least one former consul) were executed by authorisation (of dubious constitutionality) of the senate, and the planned uprising was di

rupted. Cicero then sent an army, which cut Catiline's forces to pieces. The most important result of the Catilinarian conspiracy was that the populares party became discredited. The prior 70 years had witnessed a gradual erosion in senatorial powers. The violent nature of the conspiracy, in conjunction with the senate's skill in disrupting it, did a great deal to repair the senate's image.[63] Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, usually known in English as Pompey (pron.: /?p?mpi?/) or Pompey the Great (official nomenclature CNPOMPEIVSCNFSEXNMAGNVS; 29 September 106 BC 28 September 48 BC), 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. Pompey's 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. Sulla gave him the nickname Magnus, "the Great". He was consul three times, and celebrated three triumphs. In the mid-50s BC, Pompey joined Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gaius Julius Caesar in the unofficial military-political alliance known as the First Triumvirate, which Pompey's marriage to Caesar's daughter Julia helped secure. 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, leading to a civil war. When Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated. His career and defeat are significant in Rome's subsequent transformation from Republic to Principate and Empire.