The Second Triumvirate
Triumviri respublicae Constitendua
The Period from 44BC- 28bc
Formation and breakdown of the Second Triumvirate; power vacuum left
by Caesar’s death, candidates for power, Senate response, fate of the assassins
Cleopatra, Fulvia and Octavia Civil War; Battle of Mutina, Philippi, Perusine, Naulochas and Actium
Role of Significant individuals; Octavian , Antony, Cicero,
Sources for the period
Plutarch’s Lives of Antony and Brutus Appian’s Civil Wars Cicero’s “ Philippics” Suetonius’ Life of Augustus Cary, A History of Rome Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero
Landless Roman Peasants
- Served in the armies that had won an empire - Wanted farmland and a minimum standard of living
- Served in the armies that had won an empire - Wanted citizenship and equal Treatment
- Intense rivalries -Jealously protected privileges and power -Did not address needs for reform
- Laborers and poor of the capital - Access to grain and bread at affordable prices
- Wealthy and distinguished non-senators - Wanted honors and recognition and did not want senators to look down on them
The Power Vacuum
The legacy of Julius Caesar’s death was the political vacuum that was left after the Ides of March. Caesar’s series of dictatorships and the many titles and honors granted by the Senate had effectively dismantled the mechanism of government. Free elections had not been held since 49BC Whoever was to fill the vacuum would need wealth and a loyal army.
Augustus David Shotter
“Caesar's assassination on the Ides (15th) of March, 44 BC threw into turmoil the plans and feelings of his adoptive son. No less was the turmoil that descended upon the Republic, for Caesar's murderers, led by Marcus Brutus and Cassius, apparently had no plans for the future other than believing that the death of the tyrant would automatically lead to the restoration of the Republic. In practice, this meant little more than that the nobility would be free to resume their selfindulgent pursuit of wealth, honour and glory. Such freedom had little to offer those left on the margins-the equestrians, the people, the legions and the provincials.”
Octavian and Antony
Heirs apparent? As individuals what do they have and what do they lack to take up the mantle of Caesar?
OCTAVIAN Sources of power NAME OF CAESAR: Patrician birth Clientale Loyal army Wealth?
MARK ANTONY SOURCES OF POWER •In possession of CaesarS will •Consul for 44BC •Loyalty of veterans •From the Civil War
“Antony grew up a very beautiful youth, but, by the worst of misfortunes, he fell into the acquaintance and friendship of Curio, a man abandoned to his pleasures; who, to make Antony’s dependence upon him a matter of greater necessity, plunged him into a life of drinking and dissipation, and led him through a course of such extravagance, that he ran, at that early age, into debt to the amount of two hundred and fifty talents. …. After this, for some short time, he took part with Clodius, the most insolent and outrageous demagogue of the time, in his course of violence and disorder;”
“He had also a very good and noble appearance; his beard was well grown, his forehead large, and his nose aquiline, giving him altogether a bold, masculine look, that reminded people of the faces of Hercules in paintings and sculptures. It was, moreover, an ancient tradition, that the Antonys were descended from Hercules .. For, whenever he had to appear before large numbers, he wore his tunic girt low about the hips, a broadsword on his side, and over all a large, coarse mantle. What might seem to some very insupportable, his vaunting, his raillery, his drinking in public, sitting down by the men as they were taking their food, and eating, as he stood, off the common soldiers’ tables, made him the delight and pleasure of the army. In love affairs, also, he was very agreeable; he gained many friends by the assistance he gave them in theirs, and took other people’s raillery upon his own with good-humor. And his generous ways, his open and lavish hand in gifts and favors to his friends and fellowsoldiers, did a great deal for him in his first advance to power,”
Octavian Nicholas of Damascus
“First I shall speak of his birth and breeding, his parents his nurture and education from infancy, by means of which he came to such an estate. His father was Gaius Octavius, a man of senatorial rank. His forbears, renowned for both wealth and justice, left their estates to him, an orphan, at their death. His guardians spent his money, but he remitting his just claims was satisfied with the remainder. : Octavius, at the age of about nine [twelve?] years, was an object of no little admiration to the Romans, exhibiting as he did great excellence of nature, young though he was; for he gave an oration before a large crowd and received much applause from grown men. After his grandmother's death he was brought up by his mother Atia and her husband Lucius Philippus, who was a descendant of the conquerors Philip of Macedonia Octavius lived soberly and in moderation; his friends know of something else about him that was remarkable. For an entire year at the very age at which youths, particularly those with wealth, are most wanton, he abstained from sexual gratification out of regard for both his voice and his strength.”
After Caesar’s death
“This was the beginning of good both for himself and all mankind, but
especially for the state and the entire Roman people. He sent immediately to Asia for the money and means that Caesar had previously dispatched for the Parthian War, and when he received it along with a year's tribute from the people of Asia, contenting himself with the portion that had belonged to Caesar he turned the public property over to the state treasury. At that time, too, some of his friends urged him as they had at Apollonia to go to Caesar's colonies and to levy an army, inducing the men to join an expedition on his behalf by employing the prestige of the great name of Caesar. They declared that the soldiers would gladly follow the leadership of Caesar's son and would do everything for him; for there persisted among them a wonderful loyalty and good will toward Caesar and a memory of what they had accomplished with him in his lifetime, and they desired under the auspices of Caesar's name to win the power which they had formerly bestowed upon Caesar. However, the opportunity for this did not seem to be at hand. He therefore turned his attention toward seeking legally, through a senatorial decree, the dignity his father had held; and he was careful not to acquire the reputation of being one who was ambitious and not a law abiding man.”
Coins of the First Century BC Numismatics and self representation
The number and variety of coins minted during the period testifies to the intense political competition
Stage 1: Maneuvering (44-43 BCE)
Sympathetic to both sides Competition of Octavian and Lepidus Hostile Senate
Magistracy Money? Revenge. Alliances; Optimate or Populare?
Cicero, the power broker, positions himself
“ Atticus I fear the Ides of March have brought us nothing except joy and a satisfaction for our hatred and grief…..Twas a fine deed, but half done….Well here is Antony posting up( in return for a massive bribe) a law allegedly carried by the Dictator in the Assembly under which the Sicilians become Roman citizens, a thing never mentioned in his lifetime!...Octavius is here with me-most respectful and friendly. His followers call him Caesar, but Plilippus does not, so neither do I. My judgement is that he cannot be a good citizen. There are too many around him. They threaten death to our friends( the assassins) and call the present state of things intolerable.” April 44BC
Cicero to the Senate
“ Look at young Gaius Caesar-he’s scarcely more than a lad but he has raised a devoted army of those veterans of Caesar’s who have never known defeat…His is an astonishing, I might say superhuman ,quality of mind and spirit…we must give him our formal support, so that his defence of the res publica may be not just his own private enterprise but a commision from us.” January 43BC
Octavians immediate goals
“ If he were to ignore the inheritance and the adoption, he would be betraying Caesar and doing a wrong to the people over the distribution of money to them. As he finished speaking, he burst out with the assertion that it was right for him, not simply to put himself in danger, but actually to die, if when Caesar had chosen him above everyone else for such a great role, he was to show himself worthy..” Appian
The Deeds of the Divine Augustus
What were Octavian’s goals? How does hindsight affect reliability? Compare the styles of writing between Caesar and “1. In my nineteenth year,Augustus? initiative and at my own on my own expense, I raised an army with which I set free the state, which was oppressed by the domination of a faction. For that reason, the senate enrolled me in its order by laudatory resolutions, when Gaius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius were consuls (43 B.C.E.), assigning me the place of a consul in the giving of opinions, and gave me the imperium. With me as propraetor, it ordered me, together with the consuls, to take care lest any detriment befall the state. But the people made me consul in the same year, when the consuls each perished in battle, and they made me a triumvir for the settling of the state.
2. I drove the men who slaughtered my father into exile with a legal order, punishing their crime, and afterwards, when they waged war on the state, I conquered them in two battles.”
Cicero finds a vitriolic voice
“In that man were combined genius, method, memory, literature, prudence, deliberation, and industry. He had performed exploits in war which, though calamitous for the republic, were nevertheless mighty deeds. Having for many years aimed at being a king, he had with great labor, and much personal danger, accomplished what he intended. He had conciliated the ignorant multitude by presents, by monuments, by largesses of food, and by banquets; he had bound his own party to him by rewards, his adversaries by the appearances of clemency. Why need I say much on such a subject? He had already brought a free city, partly by fear, partly by patience, into a habit of slavery. With him I can, indeed, compare you as to your desire to reign; but in all other respects you are in no degree to be compared to him. But from the many evils which by him have been burned into the republic, there is still this good, that the Roman people has now learned how much to believe every one, to whom to trust itself, and against whom to guard. Do you never think on these things? And do you not understand that it is enough for brave men to have learned how noble a thing it is as to the act, how grateful it is as to the benefit done, how glorious as to the fame acquired, to slay a tyrant?  When men could not bear him, do you think they will bear you? Believe me, the time will come when men will race with one another to do this deed, and when no one will wait for the tardy arrival of an opportunity.”
“To other men the republic now seemed established, but it did not appear so at all to me, as I was afraid of every sort of shipwreck, as long as you were at the helm. Have I been deceived? or, was it possible for that man long to continue unlike himself? While you were all looking on, documents were fixed up over the whole Capitol, and exemptions were being sold, not merely to individuals, but to entire states. The freedom of the city was also being given now not to single persons only, but to whole provinces. Therefore, if these acts are to stand,--and stand they can not if the republic stands too,--then, O conscript fathers, you have lost whole provinces; and not the revenues only, but the actual empire of the Roman people has been diminished by a market this man held in his own house.”
“ Some 20th century historians have detected fanaticism and obsession in Cicero at this time, especially so far as his loathing of Antony is concerned. . One certainly senses a coarsening of his personality….This was the price Cicero was to pay for his return to power. Although he held no public office, the next 6 months saw him become the first man in Rome, with as a great a domination over the political scene as during his first Consulship.” Everitt Cicero
The situation in 43BC “ unstable equilibrium of conflicting elements’
Brutus and Cassius are In Syria and Macedonia (provinces granted by Senate) Using them to gather troops
Cicero leads the Senate against Antony
Octavian rebuffed by Antony Appeals to Caesar’s veterans in Campania and raises two legions
Antony declared an outlaw, deprives Decimus Brutus of Gallic province. Brutus refuses and Antony lays seige at Mutina
Octavian defeats Antony’s legions and two consuls Are killed Antony escapes
Senate Miscalculation DEJA VU
Assuming that they were now free of the risk of Antony the Senate attempted to discard Octavian. Decimus Brutus was awarded a triumph and major command and supreme command of the Eastern provinces was given to Brutus and Cassius Octavian realized that if Antony was defeated his fathers assassins would rule Rome Octavian refuses to aid Decimus Brutus against Antony and he is killed. Octavian sends troops to Rome demanding a Consulship
When this was resisted Octavian marched on Rome with his legions, seized the treasury in order to pay his troops and made arrangements for Consular elections Octavian and his cousin Quintus Pedius were elected. They revoked the decree outlawing Antony and set up a court to try the assassins. They were found guilty in their absence Octavian was only 19 years old
“Octavian and Antony composed their differences on a small islet in the river Lavinius, near the city of Mutina. Each had five legions of soldiers whom they stationed opposite each other… Lepidus by himself went before them, searching the island, and waved his military cloak as a signal to them to come.” Appian What does this passage reveal about the relative roles of the three men?
“ This triumvirate was very hateful to the Romans and Antony most of all bore the blame, because he was older than Caesar and had greater authority than Lepidus, and withal he was no sooner settled in his affairs but he turned to his luxurious and dissolute ways “ Plutarch
“ But upon intelligence that Antony , after his defeat, had been received by Marcus Lepidus, and that the rest of the generals and armies had all declared for the Senate, he , without any hesitation, deserted from the part of nobles; alleging as an excuse for his conduct the actions and sayings of several amongst them.” Suetonius
“ The Triumvirate of Antony , Lepidus and Octavian was to an even greater extent than the partnership of Pompey Caesar and Crassus, an unstable equilibrium of conflicting elements.” “ The best that can be said of the Second Triumvirate is that it was too bad to last. It was ruinously wasteful in men and wealth and it rested on nothing firmer than a precarious balance of essentially antagonistic ambitions .” Cary- A History of
“Unlike the first Triumvirate, which was merely a private agreement between Pompey ,Caesar and Crassus…the Second Triumvirate was a formal magistracy legally appointed which could dominate the Senate and the State.” Scullard
“Unlike the essentially private triumvirate of Pompey, Caesar and Crassus in 60 BC, this Second Triumvirate was formally agreed upon and given the legal status to act as the government of Rome and the Empire. But despite its high-sounding purpose-to heal the Republic's afflictions-its real aim was the service of personal and factional ambition”
Reasons for its Formation
The Second Triumvirate came into existence in 43BC by means of a tribunes law proposed by P Titius. The purpose of the alliance was officially to set the state in order and to defeat the Republican armies of Brutus and Cassius. Unofficially the Triumvirate was a means by which three men in command of large armies could pursue their individual aims in defiance of the Senate. The actions of the Triumvirate reflect the reasons for its formation.
Actions of the Triumvirate
Octavian to resign his consulship and Ventidius should take it for the rest of the year A new magistracy of Antony ,Octavian and Lepidus should hold for five years with consular power That these three should designate the yearly magistrates That a distribution of the provinces should be made, giving Antony the whole of Gaul, Spain was given to Lepidus while Octavian was to have Africa, Sardinia, and Sicily Only the assignments beyond the Adriatic were postponed as these were controlled by Brutus and Cassius Lepidus was to be consul the following year and retain 3 legions….and the other legions divided between Octavian and Antony so that each would have twenty legions to lead to war. To encourage the army with expectation of booty, they promised them eighteen cities of Italy…as though they had been captured from an enemy in war.
The final carve of the Empire Treaty of Brundisium
The purpose of the proscriptions was to confiscate estates in order to have money and land for their troops, and to destroy their enemies. Caesar had shown that clemency did not pay. They resulted in the death of 300 Senators and 2000 equites , including Cicero. See Appian Those Republicans that managed to escape joined Sextus Pompey Read Appian for the ill omens seen in Rome 130+ senators (Livy) 200 senators + 2000 equites (Appian) 300 senators + 3000 equites (Plutarch) Only one ex-consul known (Cicero), out of nearly 100 known names
Death of a “learned man and a lover of his country”
"Cicero heard [his pursuers] coming and ordered his servants to set the
litter [in which he was being carried] down where they were. He…looked steadfastly at his murderers. He was all covered in dust; his hair was long and disordered, and his face was pinched and wasted with his anxieties so that most of those who stood by covered their faces while Herennius was killing him. His throat was cut as he stretched his neck out from the litter….By Antony's orders Herennius cut off his head and his hands.”
Antony then had Cicero's head and hands nailed to the speaker's podium in the Senate as a warning to others. Cicero's son, also named Marcus, who was in Greece at this time, was not executed. He became consul in 30 BC under Octavian, who had defeated Antony after the Second Triumvirate collapsed. As consul, the younger Marcus got to announce Antony's suicide to the Senate. It is unfortunate that we have no record of this speech.
Elimination of Rivals
AN UNSTABLE EQUILIBRIUM OF CONFLICTING ELEMENTS
Antony & Octavian
Battle of Philippi 42BC
Brutus & Cassius
The Perusine War41BC
Lucius Antonius & Fulvia
Battle of Naulochus36BC
Battle of Actium 31BC
Antony & Cleopatra
“Such being his temper, the last and crowning mischief that could befall him came in the love of Cleopatra, to awaken and kindle to fury passions that as yet lay still and dormant in his nature, and to stifle and finally corrupt any elements that yet made resistance in him of goodness and a sound judgment. He fell into the snare thus.
Women and Power: the making and breaking of Amicitae
“Antony was so captivated by her that, while Fulvia his wife maintained his quarrels in Rome against Caesar by actual force of arms, Caesar had an elder sister, not of the whole blood, for Attia was his mother's name, hers Ancharia. This sister, Octavia, he was extremely attached to, as indeed she was, it is said, quite a wonder of a woman. "I shall be miserable," said she, "without redress; for on what side soever victory falls, I shall be sure to be a loser." Caesar was overcome by these entreaties, and advanced in a peaceable temper to Tarentum, where those that were present beheld a most stately spectacle; a vast army the up by the shore, and as great a fleet in the harbour, all without the occurrence of friends, and other expressions of joy and kindness, passing from one armament to the other. Antony first entertained Caesar, this also being a concession on Caesar's part to his sister; and when at length an agreement was made between them, that Caesar should give Antony two of his legions to serve him in the Parthian war, and that Antony should in return leave with him a hundred armed galleys, Octavia further obtained of her husband, besides this, twenty light ships for her brother, and of her brother, a thousand foot for her husband. So, having parted good friends, Caesar went immediately to make war with Pompey to conquer Sicily. And Antony, leaving in Caesar's charge his wife and children, and his children by his former wife Fulvia, set sail for Asia.
But the mischief that thus long had lain still, the passion for Cleopatra, which better thoughts had seemed to have lulled and charmed into oblivion, upon his approach to Syria gathered strength again, and broke out into a flame. Without meaning it, however, she was damaging Antony by this conduct of hers; for he was hated for wronging such a woman. 3 He was hated, too, for the distribution which he made to his children in Alexandria; it was seen to be theatrical and arrogant, and to evince hatred of Rome.”
“To the Romans with their parochial intolerance of alien lands, religions, and absolute kings, Antony had severed his Roman connections.”
“Success for Octavian and Agrippa against Sextus Pompeius led in 39 BC to an agreement whereby those Republicans who had taken refuge with Sextus were allowed to return to Italy. The return of members of some extremely prestigious families allowed Octavian to claim credit for their rehabilitation: importantly they could be used to add distinction to Octavian's Caesarian faction and thus save him from the appearance of regality from which Julius Caesar had suffered because of the absence of such luminaries.”
“Octavian, the leader of the Caesarian faction, was now the champion of Republicans and the defender of patriotism, nationalism and traditional respectability; the contrast with the faction of Julius Caesar could not have been greater.”
Antony loses in the war of propaganda
STAGE 3 Final Confrontation
“The west was being prepared for a war that was portrayed not for what it really was-a civil war fought between two rivals for political supremacy-but as a great national crusade to defend Rome's integrity against Oriental barbarism and corruption. Italy swore to defend its champion in the forthcoming crusade; 'Italy United' was the battle-cry for the campaign against Antony and Cleopatra.”
Changing Power Ratios
70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Qtr Qtr Qtr Qtr Octavian Antony Lepidus
Octavian’s attack upon Sextus was the turning point in his career. With 500-600 ships and 45 legions at his disposal he had so far outstripped Antony that his partner could no longer catch
Battle of Actium
The fleets which met at Actium consisted of large polyremes from fours up to tens in the joint Greek and Roman fleet of Mark Anthony against Octavian's fleet in which none of the galleys were larger than sixes, and most were smaller. The pendulum in shipbuilding now swung the other way so that the large polyremes were outclassed and outmanoeuvred by Octavian's lighter, faster fleet. The battle of Actium was the last major sea battle for three hundred years. The Roman Republic had already eliminated most of its potential naval rivals and the defeat of the Greek/Egyptian navy at Actium destroyed the one remaining sea power which might have constituted a threat to Roman control of the Mediterranean sea lanes. Rome emerged as the undisputed master of the Mediterranean.
Any understanding of Actium must consider the later influence of Augustan propaganda. Early historians saw the victory belonging to Octavian. Egyptian sources suggest that it was meant as cover for the escape of Antony and Cleopatra. Yet others suggest that Antony feared the disloyalty of his soldiers fighting against the son of Caesar
THE ACTIUM PROJECT A Research Project of The University of South Florida and The Greek Ministry of Culture
Just before the battle began, the fleets faced one another in long parallel lines and launched thousands of stone balls at one another.
Strategy at Actium
The forces of Antony and Cleopatra, camped near the swampy lowlands of Cape Actium, had been depleted by malaria before the battle even began-severely reducing the contingent of oarsmen. Supply lines had been cut, further weakening morale and support. Faced with a bleak situation that worsened every day, Antony burned those ships he could no longer man and prepared with Cleopatra to withdraw southward from the gulf with as much of his force as possible.
Octavian rejects the advances of Cleopatra
Why did Octavian succeed ?
Octavian’s rise to power highlights the importance of the army in this period. Although he inherited Caesar’s power, his name, his clientale and his troops, more importantly, he was able to learn from Caesar’s mistakes. Through the amassing of troops, ably led by Agrippa, the elimination of his enemies, Brutus, Cassius, Sextus Pompey and finally Marc Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian was able to acquire and maintain power. His program of restoration rested on the tactful allusion of republican government and the tight control of military forces.
What strategies did Octavian Octavian combined to succeed use a number of political ,
diplomatic and military methods in his takeover of the Roman Empire; Octavian took note of the lessons of previous civil wars. He used his father’s name to raise troops and gave himself military backing for his political ambitions. Octavian knew the benefits of amicitae. He allied himself first with Cicero and then with Antony against the Senate. The Lex Titia, which gave legal credance to the Triumvirate showed that Octavian utilized the power of the tribunes as a weapon against the Senate.
The most effective weapon he used against Antony was propaganda. He played on Rome’s fear that Antony planned to establish an Egyptian dynasty to control the Roman Empire His understanding of the importance of approval by the masses led him to distribute land and free food and erect new buildings in Rome. The need to defeat Sextus Pompey was driven not only by the need to eliminate his fathers enemies but also to rid the seas of pirates to ensure the corn trade. He promised peace and restoration of the Republic. In this sense he showed greater patience and diplomacy towards the Senate than his predecessors. Octavian realized his own shortcomings as a military general and compensated accordingly.. He was fortunate enough to have Agrippa leading the forces to victory at
“ Octavian..had the initial advantage of prestige which the name Caesar gave him among the soldiery; Agrippa organised victory for him, and Antony played into his hands. But if his success over Antony was largely a gift of fortune, his personel qualities of patience and pernacity enabled him to take his chances at the right moment; and in the second act of his life they enabled him to consolidate his victory as neither Sulla nor Caesar had succeeded in doing.” Cary
Why did Antony Fail?
He constantly underestimated Octavian His Parthian invasion was costly in funds, men and prestige His association with Cleopatra, divorce from Octavia and Donations of Alexandria, cost him his dignitas in the eyes of Romans. In the war of propaganda Antony suffered dearly Finally without leadership Antony’s soldiers lost faith in him
Yet again Octavian had learned by Caesar’s mistakes.
The triumph that he celebrated after Actium was a triumph over Egypt not Antony
“ The ultimate basis of the Principate, as established by Augustus, was the imperium, unrestricted in scope, which gave its holder the supreme command over the whole army of the Empire, so that all troops took the military oath of allegiance to him and obeyed his orders. The maius imperium which the Princeps held was essentially an extraordinary imperium, because it conferred the sole independent command over all the Roman troops, was not limited to any definite area and after a short time, was freed likewise from any temporal restriction. Mommsen long ago pointed out that this was the culmination of a series of extraordinary imperia of a military nature which had been created from time to time during the last century of the Republic and which must be regarded as preparatory steps in the establishment of the Principate. In this respect the career of Pompey the Great especially foreshadowed that of Augustus.”
A E R Boak