Marcus Licinius Crassus

Bust of Crassus, in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
A Roman marble head of the triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus, mid-1st century BC, Grand Palais, Paris
A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70 to 60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy
From left to right: Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Pompey the Great
Denarius minted by Publius Licinius Crassus, son of the triumvir Marcus, as monetalis in 55 BC; on the obverse is a laureate bust of Venus, perhaps in honor of his commanding officer Julius Caesar; on the reverse is an unidentified female figure, perhaps representing Gaul
"The torture of Crassus," 1530s, Louvre

Roman general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

- Marcus Licinius Crassus
Bust of Crassus, in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

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The Tusculum portrait, possibly the only surviving sculpture of Caesar made during his lifetime. Archaeological Museum, Turin, Italy.

Julius Caesar

Roman general and statesman.

Roman general and statesman.

The Tusculum portrait, possibly the only surviving sculpture of Caesar made during his lifetime. Archaeological Museum, Turin, Italy.
Gaius Marius, Caesar's uncle
Dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla stripped Caesar of the priesthood.
A denarius depicting Julius Caesar, dated to February–March 44 BC—the goddess Venus is shown on the reverse, holding Victoria and a scepter. Caption: CAESAR IMP. M. / L. AEMILIVS BVCA
The extent of the Roman Republic in 40 BC after Caesar's conquests
Vercingetorix throws down his arms at the feet of Julius Caesar, painting by Lionel Royer. Musée Crozatier, Le Puy-en-Velay, France.
A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70 to 60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy.
Cleopatra and Caesar, 1866 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme
This mid-1st-century-BC Roman wall painting in Pompeii is probably a depiction of Cleopatra VII as Venus Genetrix, with her son Caesarion as Cupid. Its owner Marcus Fabius Rufus most likely ordered its concealment behind a wall in reaction to the execution of Caesarion on orders of Octavian in 30 BC.
Green Caesar, posthumous portrait of the 1st century AD, Altes Museum, Berlin
Statue of Julius Caesar, Via dei Fori Imperiali, Rome
La clémence de César, Abel de Pujol, 1808
Denarius (42 BC) issued by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Lentulus Spinther, depicting the crowned head of Liberty and on the reverse a sacrificial jug and lituus, from the military mint in Smyrna. Caption: C. CASSI. IMP. LEIBERTAS / LENTVLVS SPINT.
The senators encircle Caesar, a 19th-century interpretation of the event by Carl Theodor von Piloty
The Death of Caesar, Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1867
Bust of Mark Antony made during the Flavian dynasty (69–96 AD)
Marc Antony's Oration at Caesar's Funeral by George Edward Robertson
Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Caesar's adopted heir
The Chiaramonti Caesar bust, a posthumous portrait in marble, 44–30 BC, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican Museums
Reliefs of Cleopatra and her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion, at the Temple of Dendera
Roman painting from the House of Giuseppe II, Pompeii, early 1st century AD, most likely depicting Cleopatra VII, wearing her royal diadem, consuming poison in an act of suicide, while her son Caesarion, also wearing a royal diadem, stands behind her
Julii Caesaris quae exstant (1678)
A 1783 edition of The Gallic Wars
Bust in Naples National Archaeological Museum, photograph published in 1902
Bust in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples
Bust of Julius Caesar from the British Museum
Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar, Rimini, Italy

In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus and Pompey formed the First Triumvirate, a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years.

From left to right: Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey

First Triumvirate

From left to right: Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey
A Roman bust of Marcus Tullius Cicero, depicted here at about age sixty, in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain
A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70 to 60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy
A Roman bust of Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
The Tusculum portrait, a bust of Julius Caesar in the Archaeological Museum of Turin, Italy
A Roman bust of Crassus in the Louvre, Paris, France
Family tree showing the relationship between the three members of the First Triumvirate, as well as their relationships with other prominent members of the Republic.

The First Triumvirate (60–53 BC) was an informal alliance among three prominent politicians in the late Roman Republic: Gaius Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Marcus Licinius Crassus.

1st century AD bust of Pompey, after an original from 55–50 BC

Pompey

Leading Roman general and statesman.

Leading Roman general and statesman.

1st century AD bust of Pompey, after an original from 55–50 BC
A view of Monte Conero in Marche, Italy (formerly Picenum), birthplace of Pompey
Roman statue putatively depicting Pompey, at the Villa Arconati a Castellazzo di Bollate (Milan, Italy), brought from Rome in 1627 by Galeazzo Arconati
Marble bust of Pompey at the Louvre, Paris
Modern bust of Pompey in the Residenz, Munich
A Roman portrait of Crassus, Pompey's political rival turned begrudging ally, in the Musée du Louvre, Paris
A denarius of Pompey minted in 49–48 BC
A tetradrachm of Tigranes II the Great of Armenia, minted at Antioch, 83–69 BC
Pompey in the Temple of Jerusalem, a miniature by Jean Fouquet, 15th century
The bust of Mithridates of Pontus in the Louvre, Paris
Judea (shown in blue) under Hyrcanus II in 63 BC, having been reduced to a small vassal as Pompey annexed the north for Rome (shown in red)
A modern bust of Pompey, restored in the 17th century with a black marble base, Vaux-le-Vicomte, France
18th-century depiction of the third triumph
From left to right: Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Pompey the Great
The Tusculum portrait, a bust of Julius Caesar in the Archaeological Museum of Turin, Italy
A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70 to 60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy
The Flight of Pompey after Pharsalus, by Jean Fouquet
Roman bust of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt, mid-1st century BC, Altes Museum, Antikensammlung Berlin, showing Cleopatra with a "melon" hairstyle and Hellenistic royal diadem worn over the head
Theodotus shows Caesar the head of Pompey; etching, 1820
The head of Pompey on a denarius minted in 40 BC by his son Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius

In 60 BC, Pompey joined Crassus and Caesar in the military-political alliance known as the First Triumvirate.

Marcus Licinius Crassus

Battle of Carrhae

Fought in 53 BC between the Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire near the ancient town of Carrhae .

Fought in 53 BC between the Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire near the ancient town of Carrhae .

Marcus Licinius Crassus
Extent of the Parthian Empire
Formations at the start of the battle
Relief of a Parthian cataphract attacking a lion using kontos
Roman coin of Augustus (19 BC) showing a Parthian soldier returning the standards captured at Carrhae. Augustus hailed the return of the standards as a political victory over Parthia.
Parthian horseman
Detail from the breastplate of Augustus Prima Porta, showing a Parthian man returning the aquila lost by Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae

An invading force of seven legions of Roman heavy infantry under Marcus Licinius Crassus was lured into the desert and decisively defeated by a mixed cavalry army of heavy cataphracts and light horse archers led by the Parthian general Surena.

Italy and surrounding territory, 218 BC

Third Servile War

The last in a series of slave rebellions against the Roman Republic known as the Servile Wars.

The last in a series of slave rebellions against the Roman Republic known as the Servile Wars.

Italy and surrounding territory, 218 BC
The Gladiator Mosaic at the Galleria Borghese
Initial movements of Roman (red) and Slave (blue) forces from the Capuan revolt to the end of winter 73–72 BC. Insert: Vesuvius area.
Spartacus, by Denis Foyatier, c. 1830, displayed at the Louvre. An example of a modern heroic depiction of Spartacus.
The events of 72 BC, according to Appian's version of events
The events of 72 BC, according to Plutarch's version of events
The events of early 71 BC. Marcus Licinius Crassus takes command of the Roman legions, confronts Spartacus, and forces the rebel slaves to retreat through Lucania to the straits near Messina. Plutarch says this occurred in the Picenum region, while Appian places the initial battles between Crassus and Spartacus in the Samnium region.
The last events of the war in 71 BC, where the army of Spartacus broke the siege by Crassus' legions and retreated toward the mountains near Petelia. Shows the initial skirmishes between elements of the two sides, the turn-about of the Spartacan forces for the final confrontation. Note the legions of Pompey moving in from the north to capture survivors.
The Fall of Spartacus

Eventually Rome fielded an army of eight legions under the harsh but effective leadership of Marcus Licinius Crassus that destroyed the army of slaves in 71 BC. This happened after a long and bitter fighting retreat before the legions of Crassus and after the rebels realized that the legions of Pompey and Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus were moving in to entrap them.

Map of the Roman Republic in the mid-1st century BC

Caesar's civil war

One of the last politico-military conflicts of the Roman Republic before its reorganization into the Roman Empire.

One of the last politico-military conflicts of the Roman Republic before its reorganization into the Roman Empire.

Map of the Roman Republic in the mid-1st century BC
Roman world in 56 BC, when Caesar, Crassus and Pompey met at Luca for a conference in which they decided to add another five years to the proconsulship of Caesar in Gaul and to give the province of Syria to Crassus and both Spanish provinces and Africa to Pompey.
Julius Caesar pausing on the banks of the Rubicon
Column of Julius Caesar, where he addressed his army to march on Rome and start the Civil War, Rimini, Italy
Caesar's campaign to Munda

Caesar had allied himself with Crassus and Pompey in the so-called First Triumvirate during his consulship.

Depiction of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus. Fabius was dictator in 217 BC.

Roman dictator

Extraordinary magistrate in the Roman Republic endowed with full authority to resolve some specific problem to which he had been assigned.

Extraordinary magistrate in the Roman Republic endowed with full authority to resolve some specific problem to which he had been assigned.

Depiction of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus. Fabius was dictator in 217 BC.
Head presumed to be that of Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Sulla was dictator from 82–79 BC.
Depiction of the Assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (mid 19th century).

One version of the supposed First Catilinarian conspiracy c. 65 BC (which itself is now held in modern scholarship to be fictitious) related by Suetonius would have had the creation of a dictatorship led by Marcus Licinius Crassus with Julius Caesar as magister equitum.

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Sulla's civil war

Fought between the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his opponents, the Cinna-Marius faction , in the years 83–81 BC. The war ended with a decisive battle just outside Rome itself.

Fought between the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his opponents, the Cinna-Marius faction , in the years 83–81 BC. The war ended with a decisive battle just outside Rome itself.

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As soon as he had set foot in Italy, the outlawed nobles and old Sullan supporters who had survived the Marian-Cinna regime flocked to his banner. The most prominent among them were Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Lucius Marcius Philippus. Metellus and Crassus did so at the head of their own independently-raised armies.

Ruins of insulae

Plebeians

In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census, or in other words "commoners".

In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census, or in other words "commoners".

Ruins of insulae
Plebes (first-year students) marching in front of Bancroft Hall, United States Naval Academy

Marius and Cicero are notable examples of novi homines (new men) in the late Republic, when many of Rome's richest and most powerful men – such as Lucullus, Marcus Crassus, and Pompey – were plebeian nobles.

The Parthian Empire in 94 BC at its greatest extent, during the reign of Mithridates II ((r. 124 – 91))

Parthian Empire

Major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces I, who led the Parni tribe in conquering the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire.

Major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces I, who led the Parni tribe in conquering the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire.

The Parthian Empire in 94 BC at its greatest extent, during the reign of Mithridates II ((r. 124 – 91))
The silver drachma of Arsaces I (r. c. 247–211 BC) with the Greek language inscription ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ "of Arsaces"
Parthia, shaded yellow, alongside the Seleucid Empire (blue) and the Roman Republic (purple) around 200 BC
Drachma of Mithridates I, showing him wearing a beard and a royal diadem on his head. Reverse side: Heracles/Verethragna, holding a club in his left hand and a cup in his right hand; Greek inscription reading ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ "of the Great King Arsaces the Philhellene"
Drachma of Mithridates II (r. c. 124–91 BC). Reverse side: seated archer carrying a bow; inscription reading "of the King of Kings Arsaces the Renowned/Manifest Philhellene."
Han dynasty Chinese silk from Mawangdui, 2nd century BC, silk from China was perhaps the most lucrative luxury item the Parthians traded at the western end of the Silk Road.
Bronze statue of a Parthian nobleman from the sanctuary at Shami in Elymais (modern-day Khūzestān Province, Iran, along the Persian Gulf), now located at the National Museum of Iran. Dated 50 BC-150 AD, Parthian School.
A Roman marble head of the triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus, who was defeated at Carrhae by Surena
Roman aurei bearing the portraits of Mark Antony (left) and Octavian (right), issued in 41 BC to celebrate the establishment of the Second Triumvirate by Octavian, Antony and Marcus Lepidus in 43 BC
Drachma of Phraates IV (r. c. 38–2 BC). Inscription reading ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ "of the King of Kings Arsaces the Renowned/Manifest Benefactor Philhellene"
A close-up view of the breastplate on the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta, showing a Parthian man returning to Augustus the legionary standards lost by Marcus Licinius Crassus at Carrhae
A denarius struck in 19 BC during the reign of Augustus, with the goddess Feronia depicted on the obverse, and on the reverse a Parthian man kneeling in submission while offering the Roman military standards taken at the Battle of Carrhae
Map of the troop movements during the first two years of the Roman–Parthian War of 58–63 AD over the Kingdom of Armenia, detailing the Roman offensive into Armenia and capture of the country by Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Parthian king making an offering to god Herakles-Verethragna. Masdjid-e Suleiman, Iran. 2nd–3rd century AD. Louvre Museum Sb 7302.
Rock relief of Parthian king at Behistun, most likely Vologases III (r. c. 110–147 AD)
A Parthian (right) wearing a Phrygian cap, depicted as a prisoner of war in chains held by a Roman (left); Arch of Septimius Severus, Rome, 203 AD
A Sarmatian-Parthian gold necklace and amulet, 2nd century AD. Located in Tamoikin Art Fund
Parthian golden necklace, 2nd century AD, Iran, Reza Abbasi Museum
A Parthian ceramic oil lamp, Khūzestān Province, Iran, National Museum of Iran
Coin of Kamnaskires III, king of Elymais (modern Khūzestān Province), and his wife Queen Anzaze, 1st century BC
A statue of a young Palmyran in fine Parthian trousers, from a funerary stele at Palmyra, early 3rd century AD
Coin of Mithridates II of Parthia. The clothing is Parthian, while the style is Hellenistic (sitting on an omphalos). The Greek inscription reads "King Arsaces, the philhellene"
A ceramic Parthian water spout in the shape of a man's head, dated 1st or 2nd century AD
Parthian votive relief from Khūzestān Province, Iran, 2nd century AD
A barrel vaulted iwan at the entrance at the ancient site of Hatra, modern-day Iraq, built c. 50 AD
The Parthian Temple of Charyios in Uruk.
A wall mural depicting a scene from the Book of Esther at the Dura-Europos synagogue, dated 245 AD, which Curtis and Schlumberger describe as a fine example of 'Parthian frontality'
A sculpted head (broken off from a larger statue) of a Parthian soldier wearing a Hellenistic-style helmet, from the Parthian royal residence and necropolis of Nisa, Turkmenistan, 2nd century BC
Parthian long-necked lute, c. 3 BC – 3 AD

The Parthians destroyed the army of Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, and in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans.