The Triumvirate - Caesar's Gallic Wars - War between Caesar and Pompey

When Pompey returned to Rome (B.C. 61), he found the senatorial party predominant, and Cicero incessantly talking about the Catilinarian conspiracy, and how he had crushed it. Pompey enjoyed a triumph more splendid than any conquering general had received before him; and the sums which he added to the public treasury were enormous; yet he could not procure from the senate that general ratification of his measures in Asia to which he thought himself entitled. Cato and other senators insisted on a full investigation of his measures one by one, ere the sanction which he required should be granted. This conduct on the part of the senators brought Pompey into closer connection with Csar; and these two eminent men, finding that they agreed in many of their views, and that at least they were one in their opposition to the senate, resolved to unite their forces so as to work for their common ends with double strength. For various reasons, it was found desirable to admit Crassus to this political partnership; and accordingly, in the year B.C. 60, was formed that famous coalition for mutual support between Pompey, Crassus, and Cesar, which is known in Roman history by the name of the First Triumvirate.' Elected to the consulship of the year B.C. 59, Caesar infused new life into Rd man politics, proposing measures of so liberal a nature, and persevering in them with such obstinacy, that the senate became almost frantic, and his colleague Bibulus shut himself up in his house for eight months in disgust. Among these measures was a ratification of Pompey's proceedings in Asia, and an agrarian law for providing lands for Pompey's disbanded soldiers and a number of destitute citizens. In the same year Caesar gave his daughter Julia in marriage to Pompey, who had already been married twice. On retiring from the consulship, he obtained, by an unusual stretch of generosity on the part of the grateful people and the intimidated senate, the supreme command for five years over the two Gauls (Cisalpine and Transalpine) and Illyricum. This was probably the great object of Caesar's desires; at all events, it was the best possible thing which could have happened for him and the republic. Master of Gaul, and with an army devoted to his will, he could there mature his power silently and undisturbed, and qualify himself for entering, at the proper period, upon the career for which he was destined, and rescuing, by military force, the ill-governed Empire out of the hands of contending factions.

The condition of affairs in Rome during Caesar's absence in Gaul was indeed such as to prove the necessity of some radical change in the system of the Commonwealth. All was confusion and violence. Clodius, a profligate relic of the Catilinarian party, having been elected to the tribuneship B.C. 58, procured the banishment of Cicero for his conduct in the affair of the conspiracy. In the following year, however, Clodius having in the meantime made himself generally odious, Cicero was recalled. Pompey and Crassus were elected consuls for the year B.C. 55. Mindful of their connection with Caesar, who was of course in constant correspondence with them, they procured a prolongation of his command over the Gauls for a second period of five years; at the same time obtaining for themselves - Pompey, the government of Spain for five years; and. Crassus that of Syria and adjacent countries for a similar period. In B.C. 55, Crassus set out for the scene of his command, where, soon afterwards, he perished in a fruitless expedition against the Parthians; Pompey remained at home, governing Spain by deputies. During several subsequent years, Rome was in a state of anarchy and misrule the streets perambulated by armed mobs, partisans on the one -hand of Clodius, and on the other of a powerful citizen called Milo, between whom a feud was carried on, as desperate and bloody as any that ever distracted a European town in the middle ages. In one of the numerous scuffles which took place between the contending parties, Clodius was killed; and taking advantage of the opportunity, the tottering government asserted its rights by bringing Milo to trial, and procuring his banishment.