chapter  5
15 Pages

THE ‘THREE-HEADED MONSTER’ AND THE SLIDE TO CIVIL WAR

As we have seen, the compact known to history as ‘the first triumvirate’ should not, in any sense, be likened to that formed later between Antonius, Octavian and Lepidus: that was an officially sanctioned instrument for government and oppression. The compact formed between Pompey, Crassus and Caesar was informal, personal and temporary, an amicitia similar to that which had been agreed in the late 70s between Pompey and Crassus. Nonetheless, the date of its establishment (60/59) was seen by contemporaries as of significance: it precipitated the slide to civil war and the end of the old republic. It was the point with which the Augustan (but very independently minded) historian, Gaius Asinius Pollio, chose to commence his history.