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4. The First Triumvirate
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the importance of the First Triumvirate in understanding the politics of the Late Republic, focusing in particular on: (i) the difference between the formal three-man commissions that existed within the Roman Republic (e.g. the tresviri monetales, triumviri capitales, etc.) and the (so-called) First Triumvirate; (ii) the positions of the three ‘triumvirs’ – Caesar, Pompey and Crassus – when the First Triumvirate was formed; (iii) the aims of the three ‘triumvirs’; (iv) the events of 59 BC and the position of each of the ‘triumvirs’ at the end of that year; (v) the renewal of the ‘triumvirs’ commitment to each other at the Lucca Conference in 56 BC; and (vi) the unravelling of the First Triumvirate in the second half of the 50s BC, which leads directly to the Civil War and (ultimately) the collapse of the Republic itself.
In this course, Dr Ed Bispham (University of Oxford) explores several aspects of the politics of the Late Republic. In the first module, we think about the extent to which structural deficits within the Republican constitution were responsible for its collapse. In the second module, we think about the tension between the optimates and populares – who they were and what they stood for – before turning in the third module to the influence of Sulla on the political culture of the Late Republic. In the fourth module, we consider the role of the (so-called) First Triumvirate in dominating and deforming Republican politics before turning in the fifth module to consider why agrarian reform is such a controversial and emotive topic in this period. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the importance of Cicero as a historical source and the ways we can look beyond his evidence to gain a wider, more nuanced picture of what’s going on in the Late Republic.
Ed is interested in all areas of antiquity, the classical world and its interlocutors. At Oxford, he teaches most ancient history papers. For the past decade and a bit more he has been thinking about how historians should and can use archaeological data, and vice versa. He has been very lucky to be able to go to the mountains in central Italy and think about this while other people shovel large amounts of soil around. Currently he is chairman of the Sub-Faculty of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology: his present project involves trying to find out what this means in practice.
His research interests fall broadly into three categories at the moment: the history, archaeology and epigraphy of Italy, especially the impact of the Roman conquest; the political and cultural history of the Roman Republic; early Roman historiography. He is Co-Director of the Sangro Valley Project (Phase II), with Prof. Susan Kane, of Oberlin College, Ohio.
Cite this Lecture
Bispham, E. (2020, March 11). Politics of the Late Republic - The First Triumvirate [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-of-the-late-republic/the-first-triumvirate
Bispham, Ed. "Politics of the Late Republic – The First Triumvirate." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Mar 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-of-the-late-republic/the-first-triumvirate