Explain the formation and the break down of the First Triumvirate

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Explain the formation and the break down of the First Triumvirate

The formation of the First Triumvirate took place because of the political motives and the personal motives of the three ruthlessly ambitious power brokers in Rome. These men required the co-operation of the other two in order to further their political careers. During the time of the First Triumvirate many extraordinary powers where obtained and in some cases these where unprecedented. There are some key factors that have to be considered towards the break down of the Triumvirate. The most powerful and influential people, the Optimates became increasingly dis empowered, and a sense of desperation to regain power is felt with the use of Pompey in an a final attempt to restore power to the Senate.

"By uncompromising refusal to meet the demands of Pompey, Caesar and Crassus the senate naturally drove them into each others arms. The three men agreed to form a political amicitia ....."

Pompey upon return from his successful campaign in the East, disbanded his army probably to diffuse tension in Rome and prove to the Optimates in Rome he had no intention of over throwing the Government. This suggests Pompey's political naivety and the fact that Pompey thought he had done enough in order to get recognition and acceptance from the Optimates to gain land for his veterans and to have his innumerable arrangements in the East ratified. Cato also refused Pompey's offer of marriage to one of his nieces.

According to Bradley

"Cato was a staunch conservative, and distrusted Pompey's motives"

Crassus had a problem with his supporters. He supported a request from a company of tax gatherers (Equites), that after realizing Asia had been economically raped, and virtually un-taxable due to the Mithradatic campaign, could not possibly make money from taxes, so the request he supported is that the Senate should adjust the bad bargain to on a third rebate which they had made in contracting for the taxes of Asia. This request according to Scullard was rejected under Cato's leadership which had led to the stagnation of Crassus' political career. Thus Crassus needed some support of Pompey and Caesar to kick start his career and eventually lead to the formation of the First Triumvirate.

Caesar, who had been Propraetor in Spain during, 61BC, hoped to return to Rome in 60BC and stand for the consulship for the following year.

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