I dub this invective my Anti-Antony and not my Phillipics for the following reasons:

  1. Not everyone would get the reference
  2. It’s a little presumptous
  3. I Actually think Phillip II of Macedon was pretty awesome
  4. It’s more in keeping with my pro-Lepidus
  5. its alliterative!

Friends, Romans, spambots I come to burn Antony not to praise him for the good an overhypped, self-promoting arse did or even didn’t do lives after him, the bad is often interred with his bones………………..

…….So let’s exhume the bastard!

The First part of my deconstruction of this overblown man is basically my answer to a Quora question on the nature of Caesar and Antony’s relationship.

Part one: Caesar and Antony- Not BFFS, not his right hand, not very loyal.

The exact relationship between Antony and Caesar is in part lost to propaganda, hindsight and myth making and at any rate likely changed as all relationships do over time. For instance there was a time after Caesar’s return to Italy from the East where Antony’s mismanagement in his abscence put him in active disfavour, though clearly he is to an extent at least back in the good books by Caesar’s death, what with him being his co-consul. The best way to describe the relationship would be to say that Antony was Caesar’s junior political ally/subordinate and by the time of Caesar’s death ONE of his top lieutenants. The emphasis is key as the relationship between the two men is usually overstated and the case (often taken for granted) for Antony being Caesar’s right hand man rests on precious little, much less the notion that he was Caesar’s top general. Caesar’s top general during the Gallic wars was one Titus Labienus (who fought against Caesar during the coming civil wars) who is one of a number of legates whose independent exploits during the war are recorded, Antony is not one of them. He is never so much as mentioned in the Gallic war commentaries by name and is only present for some of the last few years.
After this he served as one of Caesar’s tribune’s of the plebs, responsible for defending his interests in Rome during the year that civil war broke out (indeed his forced expulsion from Rome was a trigger for said conflict). His prominence in the civil wars is much greater but again not quite what you might expect as while he served as a key subordinate at the important battle of Pharsalus he did not participate in most of Caesar’s campaigns during this period. Instead he was usually either playing a key political/administrative role in Rome as Caesar’s master of the horse (a Dictator’s official second in command) or as previusly mentioned in disfavour. In the year of Caesar’s asasination as previusly mentioned he was Caesar’s co-consul. In short Antony’s role where Caesar is concerned is at least as much political as military and he shows no particular distinction in his military career not matched and frankly often surpassed by other legate’s of Caesar such as Decimus Brutus (not the more famous Marcus Brutus), Trebonius or Vatinius, he was at no point Caesar’s best or top general.

What he was was an ambitous and well connected young man who could speak well and perhaps most importantly came from a highly important family, more so than most of Caesar’s other lieutenants. Regardless even Antony’s political offices, honours and responsibilities were not clearly above those of all his peers. Caesar had rewarded a number of other supporters with the consulship as well and at the time of his death Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (who had also been granted a consulship by Caesar previusly as well as the position of city prefect for a time) was his master of horse, while a number of others had been granted or were about to be granted important governorships. Indeed when Caesar left for war in the east he intended that Dolabella should replace him as Antony’s co-consul someone whose political advancement Antony openly opposed.
The final major problem in popular understanding of the Caesar-Antony relationship is the assumption that Antony was especially loyal to Caesar and set on avenging him. In reality Antony quickly made a peace deal with the conspirators and he and Lepidus dined with leaders of the assasins as a sign of peace and thier actions were quickly pardoned. People frequently make note of the riot during/after Caeasr’s funeral and connect it with Antony whipping the crowd up into a vengeful fury but this seems mainly due to the influence of Shakespearre, particularly considering that Antony cracked down violently on Caesar cult and popular demands for justice/vengeance while taking advantage of his possession of Caesar’s papers to enrich and empower himself. His treatment of Caesar’s heir Octavian after his arrival in Rome, that being refusing to recognise him as Caesar’s heir, show him much respect or release Caesar’s inheritance to him.

Which he instead started spending himself while resisting said Octavius’s campaign against Caesar’s assasins shows very little regard for either the memory or wishes of his old boss. When Antony finally did turn on the assasins it seems to have been primarily or even solely due to political pressure exerted by more loyal or at least more consistent supporters of Caesar whom Antony with a rival for their adherance in Octavian around could no longer afford to furthere alienate, still he wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit like he is in Shakespearre to “cry Havoc and release the dogs of war”.

Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of opportunistic collaboration and revisionisim!

Even so Antony sheltered some of Caesar’s assasins from Octavian till the very end of his political career and accepted thier supporters such as Ahenobarbus into his inner circle and Plutarch even records that Trebonius approached him to see if he would be interested in joining the conspiracy against Caesar, again according to Plutarch (who it must be stressed was not yet born) he did not join but also did not inform Caesar, this same Trebonius would be the one who spoke to Antony outside the senate so he wasn’t present while Caesar was being murdered. Antony’s actions post Caesar reek of political oppurtunisim not loyalty.
As for Caesar’s opinions of Antony it is a little harder to say as regards his peers in the Roman senate Caesar comes across as cynical and aloof and its easy to come to the conclusion that he was playing Lepidus, Dolabella and Antony off each other to keep each in check and on their toes and there’s the fact that Antony is not mentioned in Caesar’s will unlike a number of other distant relatives and Caesar’s longterm lieutenant (and assasin) Decimus Brutus. While there’s certainly not enough to conclude with any certainty that Caesar did not like Antony there’s not much reason to assume he felt him to be a very close freind.
In summary I suppose I have primarily concerned myeself with what was not the relationship between Antony and Caesar. Antony was not Caesar’s top or best general, he was not his right hand man or best bud or loyalest adherant he was just ONE of his more important lieutenants.

Part the second: Antonius Mediocrator- Antony as general

As previusly mentioned Antony’s military record and accomplishments under Caesar aren’t exactly extensive, prior to this our only record of Antony as an officer is Plutarch’s breif mention of his work as Aulus Gabinius’s cavalry commander during his Egyptian expedition and in this role Plutarch claims Antony distinguished himself though no details are given and it is worth noting that the Egyptian state was in disorder, Antony’s command was not independant and last but not least that Plutarch was writing centuries later about a famous man whose biography he seeked to use to tell a cautionary tale about the moral decline of a great man. Hindsight and the necesary focus early in the life on Antony’s distinctions and admirable qualities would both be served by exaggeration here and elsewhere, simply put if Antony was never a particularly capable soldier the story of his fall lacks weight.

Antony himself would have been keen to reinforce this perception and as one of the most powerful men in the Roman world for many years he had ample motive and opportunity to do so. As for those who think “ah but what about Augustan counter propaganda? wouldn’t his narrative have prevailed?” Well no, probably not. While Augustus doubtless took snipes at Antony’s war record during periods of animosity (obviusly he trashed his conduct at Actium), they were allies for longer than they were enemies and put simply even when they were at loggerheads their were usually more obvious and effective lines of attack than criticising your rivals tactical ability. Especially when in Augustus’s case as has frequently been pointed out your war record isn’t exactly stellar either.

Besides which with the exceptions of his Parthian campaign and Actium criticisim would be largely technical and countering boasting an activity that would likely fail to connect emotionally with the Roman populace and make one come across as petty, spiteful and insecure regardless of its accuracy. Regardless Antony’s record as a general post Caesar isn’t what one would expect of someone frequently thought of as one of Rome’s best generals.

The first major military action undertaken by Antony post Caesar was his beseiging of Decimus brutus at Mutina and fighting two battles with the combined forces of the consuls Pansa, Hirtius and Octavian (with pro-praetorian authority confirmed upon him by a Cicero dominated Senate) who were attempting to relieve Decimus (and succeeded, for all the good it did him…..). The first of these battles was basically a draw, the second a sharp defeat for Antony where he lost much of his army and was forced to retreat from Mutina before he took it. from what we know of them neither engagement showed much in the way of tactical finesse or cunning on the part of either side. The picture of this earliest campaign for Antony is still bleaker however for before He even got to Mutina multiple of his legions had defected to his rival Octavian- the teenage, sickly privatus.

Contrary to popular perceptions of Antony the charismatic but down to earth soldiers general (he was actually Caesar’s adoption aside of a far more aristocratic background than Octavian the son of a new man) always seems to have had more problems with insubordination or downright desertion and defection than the future Augustus. Indeed during the two periods where the two men actively fought each other (Mutina and the final war in which the battle of Actium and invasian of Egypt took place) Antony’s men switched sides by the thousands and on other occaisions where Antony wished to initiate hostilities with Octavian both in Rome shortly after Octavian’s arrival and later following the Perusine war in the Triumviral period his soldiers refused to fight against him. On both occaisions Antony notionally had far more soldiers under his command and thus on paper a very distinct advantage, making these soldiers strike’s strategic victories for his rival.

In short the so-called charismatic soldiers soldier Antony frequently couldn’t control his own men and his knack with soldiers was demonstrably and embarrassingly inferior to the sickly, militarily inexperienced and undistinguished pretty boy Octavian. That would most certainly have ate at him. The next time the forces of Antony and Octavian met in battle was Actium, a famous and crushing defeat for Antony who was comprehensively outmaneauvered in every way experiencing widespread defection and betrayel of both men and officers, having his plans leaked and repeatedly outmanuvered in the field all of which resulted in a defeat that was infamously, even embarrasingly  anticlimactic (for both sides, Antony going out like a b*tch isn’t exactly glorious for the future Augustus as he well knew hence his own attempts to  somewhat rewrite the encounter ). Antony’s forces simply began to distintegrate. If Antony’s conduct seems mediocre at Mutina at Actium it at least verges on truly inept.

Indeed much of Antony’s reputation as a skilled general can seemingly be traced to the battle/battles (there were two engagements one shortly following the other) of Phillipi alone. A joint victory of the forces of Octavian and Antony over Marcus Brutus and Cassius in which Antony’s forces seemed to have performed the more decisive role. But Phillipi is mostly a slogging match between mainly undistinguished commanders Octavian as previusly mentioned was certainly not a good field commander. Brutus had no impressive victories to his name, Cassius was the only one (other than Antony some might say) with a good military record but he was hardy a genius.

Phillipi seems mainly to have been decided by who had the slightly bigger, more experienced army and some luck as I don’t think any of its commanders had experience commanding so many soldiers. Nevertheless Phillipi is at least comparatively to Antony’s credit but between Phillipi and the Actium campaign all we have from Antony is a few minor kingdoms suppressed through the overwhelming force available to the ruler of half or so of the Roman world for which we have few details and his disastrous Parthian campaign.

In other words a few very easy victories and in the only campaign during this period where defeat was a distinct possibility a costly defeat. Indeed after the death of Caesar and Antony’s emergence as a truly independent general he faced 4 campaigns (Mutina, Phillipi, Parthia, Actium) where military defeat was a serious possibility (5 if you count Octavian’s invasian of Egypt but I’m only counting campaigns where victory was also a distinct possibility, simply put by that point he was just screwed so I’m not going to rake him over the coals over it) which is actually not that many for a late Roman Republican general of Antony’s fame and reputation and the duration of his imperium. Of these he was militarily defeated in all but Phillipi. 2/3 may not be bad as meatloaf doth proclaim but 1/4………well…………

“But Sir what about all your other defeats?”



Antonius overhypedicus part the third: He was also a shitty self destructive politician, corrupt, a priviliged little rich boy, oligarchic stooge, tacky and basically a pompous dick……….hopefully coming eventually……….


Cato the elder Younger

Why is Cato the younger always portrayed in popular culture as a really old man he was younger than Caesar and much younger than Cicero and Pompey yet is frequently portrayed as older than all the above yet he may not have reached 50. In the HBO series Rome the actor playing him is clearly much older than either Pompey, Caesar or Cicero or indeed any other important Roman political figure shown. In the Conn Igguldon young adult novels following Caesar and Brutus he’s one of Sulla’s senior supporters and again older than Pompey much less Caesar (mind as previusly mentioned in these books that play particularly…..loose…with the facts he is also a machiavellian hedonist killed by Pompey in revenge for the murder of his daughter before Caesar’s praetorship……I still don’t know where to start with all that) and in a tv miniseries about Caesar that came out in the very early 2000’s he is a senatorial leader played by Christopher Walken at the time of Sulla’s march on Rome. In reality at this time Cato was STILL A CHILD not a man in his 40’s/50’s! Cato the younger indeed……

Cato the Younger elder

I think in part it’s because we associate Cato with oligarchy, austerity, stubborness and conservatisim, he is the cantakerous stubborn old man bordering on senility who just can’t stomach no more change god’s dang it! These young fashionable playboys like Catilina and Caesar (both of whom were older than Cato, especially Catilina) are scandalous, well in my day etc. And of course when we think of arch conservative’s especially oligarchs we think of old established politicians. But Cato wasn’t an old rich Republican senior statesman, no Romney or Bush but a tea-party demagogue his stubboreness and uncompromising conservativisim driven by youthful fanaticisim rather than senility or simply the hardening that often comes with age. Of course this is reading into things but considering how destructive an influence Cato turned out to be perhaps a reminder of the dangers of youthful fanaticisim wouldn’t be out of place here. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to write letters to the editor about the moral decline of our time. Now in my day!……….

Cato the Younger Younger

That other Tribunician assasination:The death of Livius Drusus and the fall of the Republic.

The blogging at long last tentatively resumes………..long thought Livius Drusus (ancestor of THAT Livia) got unfairly overshadowed by the perhaps overhyped Grachii in the assasinated tribune sweepstakes and it’s not like the masters of Rome series could bias me here, that’d be ridiculous……….

I would hereby like to float the idea that the most important assasination for the downfall of the Roman Republic and just in general the one that caused the most insanity, chaos and devastation was perhaps not that of Caesar (though he certainly comes close on the insanity, chaos and devastation bit)nor not the Grachii. But a lesser known tribune by the name of Livius Drusus who is best known for attempting to extend citizenship to the Soccii: Rome’s Italian allies (minus those with the latin status) and was mysteriusly knifed for his efforts. an assasination that (to draw terrible modern comparisons) is one part Martin Luther king Jr, one part JFK conspracy stuff (in that unlike Caesar and the Grachii we don’t actually know who killed him) and one part Franz Ferdinand in that it sent the world straight to hell.

Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus were killed with hundreds (in Gaius case more than a thousand I think) of their supporters with something of a purge following afterwards but no war. Drusus died the lone victim to an unknown assailent/s in a matter far more clandestine but less dramatic. His death however triggered the social war: that being the revolt of the Socii, Rome’s aforementioned Italian allies en masse. The social war led pretty directly to Sulla and Marius’s civil wars and itself only truly came to an end with the battle of the Colline gate near the end of the civil wars in Italy.

The Sertorian war in Spain was itself merely a last front in these first civil wars that itself helped to encourage Mithridates to start the third Mithridatic war, just as the social and civil wars had perhaps prevented total victory in the first one. Simultaneously the Spartacus rebbellion broke out and if you don’t believe the near constant war and/or political strife in Italy since the assasination of Drusus had a major hand to play in its outbreak and success then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Fun fact: in 72BC (or so wiki assures me) the Roman Republic was at war with pirates and cretans on Crete (and obviusly elsewhere) in the Balkans against the Bessi, in Turkey against Mithridates of Pontus, in Spain against Sertorius and his supporters and in Italy against Spartacus. That, particularly considering it hadn’t been long since Sulla’s invasian of Italy is freaking nuts. That the government in Rome won all these wars and returned however breifly to relative stability is perhaps more nuts.

Yet they would never recover from the damage to their political equilibrium. Cicero, Caesar, Pompey and the other members of the “last generation of the Roman Republic” (copyright Erich Gruen) came to maturity and/or entered public life in this period must have affected them profoundly. A full appreciation of how screwed things had been for so long helps explain the senate’s willingness to give extroardinary commands to Gnaeus “the teenage butcher” Pompeius because he could provide his own private army much better than looking at the Sertorian war in a bubble. A private army he and his father were able to build and maintain due to the chaos of the social and civil wars in Italy.

The extra constitutional political domination of this baby faced warlord, the precedents of Sulla & Marius and the scars and demographic upheavel caused or exacerbated by this extended and eventually mediterranean wide political crisis would all of course factor into the following and final rounds of civil war and political upheavel that would give birth to the Roman principate (empire). The role the social war played is all the more damning because begining in earnest in the midst of that very conflict the Romans rapidly granted the citizenship to all freeborn men in the penninsula (excluding what was then Cisalpine Gaul) making the conflict from a Roman perspective largely pointless: All triggered by the murder of one tribune. Gracchi eat your heart out.

Note: Of course the Social war may very well have broken out anyway especially as it seemed that Drusus had thus far failed to secure their enfranchisement and resistance which was always significant was strengthening. The importance of Drusus assasination may very well be principally in determining when it broke out but even if so when most definitly matters.

Wake up Sheeple!

So there was a bit of a running joke (if I remember correctly)among some of my fellow ancient history undergraduates about the Roman general/dictator and all round stand up guy Lucius Cornelius Sulla being lord Voldemort…..





Honestly I just can’t see it, sure they were both violent psychos born to aristocracy but who grew up poor to eventually rise up in soceity by dint of extraordinary natural ability and drive who then resorted to violence and death squads while seizing absolute power and ruling through fear with the aid of a significant segment of thier society’s traditional elite but……..Sulla clearly has eyebrows! I just don’t see it…..

I’ll tell you what I do see though people: The hidden truth! What THEY don’t want you to know! This so-called great man:

Proffesor “Dumbledore”

Is really:

Sulla. Notice the telltale eyebrows.

Don’t let the fake ass santa clause beard fool you, their one and the same! Wake up Sheeple! The true dark lord has been among us, ruling over us this whole time! He’s even got himself a new private army! Quiver in fear! because compared to Lucius Cornelius Sulla Voldedorks a pussy!


or…..maybe their all the same person………..*gasp*

Welcome back for another year students, In order to provide a little extra excitement to this years house competition, the house with the least points will be proscribed. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to see me for you will find no better freind in me…….nor worse enemy…..

Triumvirate versus dictatorship: Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, Assasination and the outlet factor

Sup peeps, How’s it hanging? Today I’m here to talk to you about why Julius Caesar was assasinated and Augustus Caesar was not, well we all know that the straw men audience in my head scoff in their hypothetical hubris: it’s because Augustus Caesar cloaked his power like a sneaky fox but Julius paraded it like a pompous fool, no wonder they knifed him!

Well while I have no doubts whatsoever that Augustan massaging of political realities for the benefit of the senatorial class helped his regime to endure what I wish to discuss is an aspect of the often overlooked factor of their particular circumstances. Simply put Julius is often criticised for not being his nephew with scant thought given to what at least should be a blindingly obvious fact: He couldn’t be, among other things he likely didn’t have the time. Nor was Augustus always the respectful soft touch from the shadows sought of guy: Before Princeps Augustus there was Triumvir Octavianus a man who ruled through naked imperium and military might only limited by his absentee colleagues. This Octavian dealt with opposition summarily and brutally and did not cloak his power. If Caesar doing the same inevitably lead to his violent death, why not the future Augustus? Especially when the triumviral part of his career lasted for about a decade?

Before the Rubicon Caesar was essentially just another late Roman Republican strongman, albeit one of the most powerful their had been. He ruled over multiple provinces with a formiddable army but had not been in Rome for more than a decade and held no authority there or in most of Italy. It is only after the onset of civil war, by which time Julius Caesar was middle aged that that changed and Caesar’s tenure as a Roman ruler with the powers of Dictator was not long, but it was by the time of his death near absolute. To put it plainly Caesar’s office held no time limit nor did he have any colleagues either de jure or de facto and protracted military opposition to him had repeatedly failed. His Imperium was absolute, he had no rivals nor did significant alterior powerbases remain within the Roman world. Simply put if by 44BC you as a Roman senator found being under the rule of Caesar intolerable (even more so if you weren’t SUPER keen on Pompey’s sons, eh Cassius?) it would seem that only two options presented themselves to you: suicide or assasination. Cato had already chosen the former and we know that Brutus and Cassius et al would choose the latter despite the extreme risk and drastic nature of such an action.

But what if Sextus Pompey were much more powerful, or Caesar had a colleague more to your liking with whom his relationship was one of mutual rivalry and mistrust who ruled the East independently of Caesar and was keen to host like minded members of Rome’s elite. Perhaps joining either man would be preferable to the risk of an assasination plot? perhaps your preffered candidate if you were but patient would ultimately triumph and Caesar would topple from power, afterall this uneasy peace cannot last forever.

Or perhaps you realise with despair that thier all insufferable tyrants and killing Caesar would just mean exchanging one for another and you further realise Caesar’s colleague to the East may not care for the man personally but they are officially at least allies and at times useful to each other, whatever his actual feelings he’s unlikely to reward his assasin, indeed you may end up like the Egyptian’s who presented Caesar with Pompey’s head: sacrificed for the reputation of the victor…..

No assasination does not seem like such a smart move anymore, not unless we can get all of them, and their almost never in the same place. best (and safer) to back the lesser of the evils available to us or wait it out, aftertall even should this despicable tyrant somehow prevail over better men, even should we have to wait for more than 10 years for the right time Rome will never get used to Autocracy, never forget the crimes of earlier years, the origins of this so-called Caesar. Welcome to Triumviral period Rome.

Cinderella, The secret History of the Mongols and other Ancient texts I have perused, True story;)

Juius Caesar, The Civil War:

“Two triremes had sighted the ship of Decimus Brutus, which could easily be recognized from its ensign, and bore down on it from different directions. Brutus, however had just enough forewarning to make an effort and propel his ship a little way ahead of them. The two triremes collided at speed so hard that both were severely damaged by the impact, and in fact one had its beak broken off”- Julius Caesar, Civil war, part 2, 6. Reminds me of cartoon slapstick comedy…..

“a good commander should be able to gain as much by policy as by the sword”- Julius Caesar, The Civil War.

Julius Caesar, The Spanish War:

To think, if not for the failure of Gnaeus Pompeuius’s (Pompey’s elder son) invasian of the kingdom of Bogus, king Bogus may not have been able to help Caesar defeat the Boni/Pompeian’s in Africa, which would be totally bogus.

“one man, Antistius Turpio; confidant in his strength, he began boasting that there was not his match among his opponents. Then, like the legendary encounter between Achilles and Memnon, Quintus Pompeius Niger, a Roman knight from Italica, came forward from our ranks to engage with him. Antistius’s ferocity had drawn everyone’s attention away from the construction work; both battle lines were arrayed; for in this contest between two outstanding warriors, the outcome was uncertain, and it almost appeared that the fight between these two would bring the wart to a conclusion. Everyone was alert and eager, gripped by the enthusiasm of the partisans and supporters on his own side. The champions, with ready courage, came on to the plain to fight, their shields with engraved work, emblems of their renown, flashing*…..” {Text defective}- Spanish war, 25. Dammit Spanish war! That was probably going to be the coolest fight ever too…….stupid buildiup…………

Just finished reading the Spanish war after reading the African war, Alexandrine war and civil war. Aside from being easily the most poorly written (The Spanish, Alexandrine and African wars were not written by Caesar, who was a fantastic writer) about the only thing it illustrates well (there are many lacunae making much of the conflict incomprehensible) is the savagery of this last desperate phase of “Caesar’s” civil war, many have noted that the early part of the war (up to and to an extent including Pharsalus) was notably unbloody considering the scale of the conflict, in part due to Caesar’s famed clementia, the disclipine of his troops and his capacity to convince enemies to surrender or desert, after Pharsalus however increasingly only the real hardliners are left many of whom had already abused Caesar’s initial “mercy” and Caesar’s own troops and himself become tireder and less forgiving. It is perhaps no wonder that Caesar’s account of the civil war stops shortly after Pharsalus, recollections of the African war, and especially the Spanish war could hardly do his reputation for clemency credit nor Roman attempts to heal, the Spanish war was a particularly ugly conflict.
I mean after the battle of Munda, the Caesareans constructed a rampart out of the bodies of the pompeins they killed, while sticking thier heads on thier discareded pikes while beseiging the remnants of the Pompeian army………..Sh*t got dark!


The secret history of the Mongols:

Piece of advice if ever you offend one of Genghis Khans kin and he suggests the two of you sort it out with a freindly wrestling match, run. Letting the other guy win will not save you (seriusly this seems to be murder code for him).

Another thing to note about the secret history of the mongols is the propensity of Genghis and his brothers in it after slaughtering an entire tribe to abduct a small child from it to give to thier mother to raise as a gift, it’s like she’s collecting them. “Hi mum were back and look what we brought you, a one of a kind Tartar kid!” “oh isn’t he just adorable, but one of a kind really?” “well……as of yesterday……….”

Finished reading a partial translation of the secret history of the Mongols, Mongolia before and during the childhood and early life of Genghis Khan comes across as highly reminiscent of Hobbes state of nature. “Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall………and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”



So just read the earliest datable version of the Cinderella (only she isn’t called cinderella) story (at least at the time the article was written which I think was in the fifties). This story purportedly has originates from the natives (non-Han Chinese) of Sichuan and was recorded by a Tang dynasty official and scholar in the 800’s. Instead of a ball we have a ‘cave-festival'(reading into it further it’s possible no caves were involved, tricks of etymology and so forth.), instead of a fairy godmother (and I suppose the industrious clothes mice) we have the bones of our heroine’s over 10 foot long fish friend, treacherously killed by her stepmother and the king (not prince) arrests and tortures people to get info on the golden (not glass) shoe! Also the stepmother and stepsister get killed by flying rocks for some reason and thier resting place becomes a place for cavemen to make offerings and pray to acquire women. But she of the gold shoe and her fish bones got to go live with the king and his other wives.


True Histories/True lies:

Finally reading True Histories by Lucian of Samosata, I can definitly see why this satire written in the 2nd century AD is sometimes dubbed the first work of Science fiction- even if I the “scifi” element seems to compose less than half the text, it’s got airships (technically), alien abduction, interstellar colonisation, multiple sentient and non sentient alien species, first contact (well depends whether you count mr. abducted but I suppose if you counted backstory…), organ doning or lending, paths through the sky, inter celestial body war and politics, “people” grown rather than born, pregnant men and (sort of) sentient appliances. Also lots of themes and allusians to events from the classical era, particularly in regards to celestial war and politics by way of satire- transposing them to a ridicoulous and overblown context, again Sci Fi has imitated him here, only more often then not we are now expected to take them seriusly;).

Lucian moon

Undergraduate Capstone Thesis: Roman politics, literary archetypes and perceptions of Publius Licinius Crassus son of Marcus Crassus the triumvir

Capstone thesis (very slightly revised….I added some full stops, I’m sure any of you who’ve read much of this blog will appreciate the importance of that….): Roman politics, literary archetypes and perceptions of Publius Licinius Crassus son of Marcus Crassus the triumvir

So Yeah, this was an essay I submitted for a compulsary unit of my major for my Bachelors degree where we had to pick a research topic and write a roughly 5,000 word essay on it. While the subject I picked was of interest to me (it having to do with late Republican politics of course) I admittedly largely picked it over a few other ideas that intrigued me more because it was safer and less ambitious and I was by that time kinda lazy and very much anxious and lacking in confidance. Still I think it turned out pretty well. Behold my academic writing! Quake in fear before it’s majesty!…….and footnotes…..MOSTLY THE FOOTNOTES!!!! *spooky ghost sounds*

Publius Licinius Crassus was the son of Marcus Licinius Crassus famous for his membership in the so-called First Triumvirate, there is some debate as to whether he was Crassus’s first or second son, his brother also being called Marcus Licinius Crassus[1], while most scholars consider him the younger pointing out Marcus’s significantly earlier marriage[2] and the fact that as was traditional for the eldest son he was named after his father[3] others consider him the elder arguing that due to the childless and premature death of Marcus  Crassus ‘the Triumvir’s older brother Publius Crassus, Crassus the Triumvir named his eldest son Publius as the eldest male Crassus of any generation was traditionally so named (this fits with our picture  of Crassus attempts to take over the family responsibilities of his older brother by his marriage to his widow[4]) and so both sides use naming conventions to make their case. The waters are further murkied on this issue by Publius serving as one of Caesar’s lieutenants 4 years before his brother[5]. In any event either through birth, charm or ability Publius was clearly the favoured son.

By the time Publius joined his father for his ill-fated invasion of Parthia perhaps no aristocrat of his generation in Rome looked likely to have a more promising political future, the favoured son of Marcus Crassus one of Rome’s richest and most powerful men (and from an aristocratic family of long standing). Whose position within the so-called first triumvirate (I use the term to refer to the informal, though still quite real alliance between Pompey, Crassus and Caesar, though certainly, especially in Crassus’s case such an alliance did not preclude other valuable political connections) had perhaps never been stronger[6]. He (Publius) had recently married Cornelia Metella[7], connecting him directly to the extremely important Metelli clan and in particular to Metellus Scipio her father, who was at the time the family’s senior member. Despite the deep seated personal dislike and frequent political antagonism between his father and Cicero Publius Crassus had succeeded in obtaining Cicero’s good feeling and friendship[8] and due to his service under him in Gaul he also quite clearly attained the favours of Caesar. Few could boast such a breadth of positive connections, perhaps none so young. However The almost uniformly positive portrayal of this promising young man is briefly broken during the Carrhae campaign before the veil of impetuous hubris is itself replaced at death by the veil of the Tragic hero. How the biases of our sources as well as literary archetype’s and conventions affect the portrayal of Publius Crassus constitutes the core theme of this paper which in doing so also seeks to (some extent to) explore Publius’s role in his father’s political career and his own capabilities. We begin our exploration into Publius’s life and its sources with Caesar’s commentaries on the Gallic War.


Caesar’s Gallic war is composed of seven books, the final conflicts of Caesar against Gallic tribe’s being recorded by Aulus Hirtius in a final book[9], there is some dispute over whether these books were published all at once as used to be the popular opinion or individually or at least In batches in between campaigning seasons[10]. For a variety of reasons this paper holds to the latter view for instance it seems unlikely that the legate Sabinus so defamed in book 5 would be portrayed relatively favourably in prior books if they were written after the events of book 5[11] nor is Caesar likely to have boasted of the virtual annihilation of the adult male Nervii population only for a supposed army of tens of thousands of them to appear a few years later[12] nor claim that all Gaul was pacified with such regularity were he aware of at the time of writing of all or most subsequent  conflict.

Publius Crassus served with Caesar during his first three years in Gaul and accordingly makes his appearances in the first three books, Caesar while seldom negative in his portrayal of his lieutenants (indeed portrayals were usually at least implicitly positive[13]) was clearly writing to enhance his own prestige and as such keeps the focus primarily on himself[14]. While keeping the interest of his audience by significant coverage of the nature of his adversary’s (both as individuals such as Vercingetorix and as tribe’s such as the Aedui[15]) and on the quality and accomplishments of his army, the legate’s take a distinct backseat[16]. Despite their largely positive portrayal it is unlikely that Caesar’s legates were all men of exceptional military ability- choosing one’s legate’s was at the time as much motivated by political networking and patronage as military-administrative competence. It would seldom have been in Caesar’s interest barring a true disaster to offend a political contact, and the one time that happened a scapegoat (Sabinus, previously portrayed competently) was found[17]. Besides as members of Rome’s upper class many senior officers serving with Caesar are likely to have recorded their own version of events (Cicero certainly kept in contact with his brother Quintus[18]) and particularly if said officer had important Roman contacts political pragmatism cautioned against contradicting them or reporting something which they felt compelled to contradict without strong motive[19]. However usually this favourable treatment was implicit through a description of the actions of said lieutenants not explicit by attaching positive appellations directly to them as was often done with the army as a whole, legions, lower ranking officers and valiant foes[20] there are however a number of at least partial exceptions to this low key  positive portrayal.

Of all Caesar’s legate’s (and officers of equivalent rank, Decimus Brutus and Publius Crassus due to their youth were not technically legates but were functionally so[21], in this paper for convenience unless otherwise specified all military officers given command of a force larger than a cohort will be referred to as such) the aforementioned Quintus Titurius Sabinus was the only one to receive truly extensive negative treatment in the commentaries in which he is blamed for the annihilation in ambush of the legion over which he held joint command[22]. Other exceptions to the rule are due more too unusually positive rather than negative portrayals. Titus Labienus for instance who served with Caesar for the entirety of the Gallic wars is mentioned more times than any Roman in the commentaries other than Caesar himself and holds that distinction by a wide margin, and was both formally and by dint of the responsibility entrusted to him the senior legate[23] and is given credit in part for Caesar’s first victory over the Nervii[24] and for multiple independent victories in the field[25]. However in two of Labienus said victories Caesar records him giving a speech before the battle encouraging the soldiers to fight as if Caesar himself were with them and to do him proud as it were. By this device Caesar draws some of the reader’s attention back to himself and makes his legend part of the reason for victory even in his absence[26], though without directly detracting from Labienus’s contribution.

Labienus is not however the only Caesarean legate who merits an unusual degree of attention, Publius Crassus receives fairly extensive coverage in the Gallic wars for a legate, especially in book 3[27]. As Labienus is given much tactical credit for the defeat of the Nervii, Publius initiative in the decisive battle against the Germanic king Ariovistus is deemed pivotal[28]. However in his independent victories commanding a force for Caesar in Aquitaine, in which he won a battle, successfully besieged a well-defended town, stormed a well-fortified and defended camp and pacified the region[29] , the psychological role of the absent Caesar is reversed. The high moral of Crassus men in the face of the enemy is attributed in a positive light to their eagerness to prove what they could accomplish in the absence of their general and under such a young commander[30]. In essence Caesar deliberately divorced himself in particular from these victories and (as was admittedly his wont) emphasized the difficulty of the opposition Crassus faced, aside from the usual high estimates of enemy numbers Caesar records that the Gallic tribe’s recruited significant numbers of veterans of the Sertorian war who had expertise at constructing fortified camps and were otherwise formidable[31] and perhaps most ominously lists two Roman commanders that met defeat and death in the region in question[32]. Crassus first victory over the Aquitanians according to the Gallic war consisted of repulsing an attack on the march by the Sotiates tribe’s cavalry and pursuing them into an ambush by their infantry. Despite the ambush Crassus’s forces prevailed and Caesar does not indicate that the retreat of the enemy cavalry was feigned, nor censure Crassus for falling into an ambush[33] even though the following ambush by the infantry would strongly imply that it was (why else would you place your infantry in ambush and attack separately with your cavalry if not to lure the enemy to that location unprepared). Nevertheless it was the army more than its commander that distinguished itself here. Crassus army’s subsequent siege of the Sotiate capital was also successful, despite several sally’s including one rather hard-fought one that took place during a parley which may be what Dio is referring too when he says “He lost a few men, to be sure, by treachery in the course of a parley, but punished the enemy severely for this”[34]. His most notable accomplishment during this campaign however was perhaps his storming of an enemy camp highly fortified in a Roman manner: in the engagement that followed Crassus’s cavalry noticed that part of the enemy camp was not as well defended as the rest and Crassus promptly and boldly ordered the cavalry and the cohorts tasked with guarding the camp to take a circuitous route to the position so as not to be seen and attack the enemy at this vulnerable location while the mainstay of his forces continued their frontal assault, outflanked the enemy was comprehensively defeated[35]. The plan was excellent and as it involved removing the very camps defenders very bold. In future this young officer’s boldness would be seen in quite a different light.

Crassus’s achievements during his Aquitanian campaign were impressive but it’s clear Caesar was giving him favourable press, Decimus Brutus, the only other legate of Caesars referred to as young, during the same year defeated the Veneti but as with Labienus’s independent victories he shared the credit with Caesar and his failures (like Crassus getting caught in an ambush) do not appear to have been brushed over. Caesar claims that Decimus and his tribune’s did not know how to defeat the larger Veneti vessels, the crucial innovation it is implied was generated by men further down the hierarchy, while this is probably all true and Decimus is by no means portrayed as inept or as a failure there is a key difference in portrayal here[36]. Publius’s uniquely favourable treatment is unlikely to come down purely to ability, Labienus if not quite yet would in time prove himself by far the most distinguished of Caesar’s Gallic legate’s nor were others such as Decimus and Gaius Trebonius clearly without martial ability. Personal affection is likely to have played a role in a letter to Caesar Cicero bemoans the fate of young Publius who he describes as a man dear to them both. however Decimus Brutus was also in all probability close to Caesar, he was approached by Caesar’s assassins specifically because Caesar was known to trust him and was supposedly the man who convinced him to attend the senate on the Ides of March despite his wife’s misgivings (Though such stories involving ill-omens are highly suspect the story is still illuminating for what it tells us of Roman perceptions of the relationship between Caesar and Decimus Brutus)  and unlike many of Caesar’s other lieutenants and partisans, including Marcus Antonius he was named in Caesar’s will[37]. Though these events took place many years later and due to his earlier death we cannot know whether Caesar would have named Publius in his will) it is likely considering Decimus’s youth at the time of this command and Caesar’s possible relationship with his mother Sempronia[38] that he already favoured this young man as well.

During his later career Caesar showed a marked penchant for patronising talented, ambitious and perhaps impetuous young aristocrats, such as Publius Crassus, Decimus Brutus, Marcus Antonius, Caelius Rufus, Curio and Dolabella[39] aside from other motivations Caesar had no son and thus no known heir and a hunt for a suitable candidate was quite possibly a motivating factor behind this penchant or a successor to lead his faction (contrary to Augustan propaganda these need not have been the same thing). However if either of these were the case (a big If among many if’s so far explored)  it is particularly unlikely to have been Publius. The favoured son of Crassus is unlikely to have required such patronage and Caesar’s legacy would be suitably diluted in this regard by being shared with Marcus Crassus a man of comparable standing.

Which brings us to one final consideration, the importance of the father to the portrayal of the son; Marcus Crassus and Caesar at the time of the opening of the Gallic wars had a long history of close political collaboration[40]. While it is true that Crassus the triumvir’s other son, Marcus Crassus would serve with Caesar as Quaestor in Caesar’s fifth year in Gaul and likely from then onwards to the end of the Gallic wars and is barely mentioned and certainly not singled out for praise, though Marcus Crassus seems to have been an innocuous figure who barely appears in the sources dealing with his time despite his august parentage[41] this is more evidence of the importance of the father than it is the opposite. When Publius was serving with Caesar Crassus was a living and powerful ally who became particularly important towards the end of Publius’s time with Caesar when the alliance between Pompey, Crassus and Caesar threatened to break down. Crassus clearly benefited the least from the initial alliance with Caesar and Pompey around the time of Caesar’s first consulship. Caesar got an agrarian bill (which would have granted him much patronage) and a five year command over three provinces, Pompey got his Eastern settlement ratified and land for his soldiers, Crassus merely managed to get a difficult contract for Publicani clients rescinded (and a place on Caesar’s land commission)[42]. Furthermore the two consuls chosen for the next year had closer ties with Caesar (his new father-in-law) and Pompeius respectively and the two strengthened their alliance by marriage, with Pompey marrying Caesar’s daughter[43].

Crassus responded to his marginalization by allying himself with the Claudii in particular the radical tribune Clodius and other elements of Rome’s aristocracy and used them to politically weaken Pompey[44]. Under pressure Pompey drew closer to more conservative, anti-Crassan and anti-Caesarean politicians, eventually using his influence to recall Cicero whom had a history of hostility towards Clodius, Crassus and to a lesser extent Caesar[45]. As the political competition between Crassus’s and Pompey intensified, Pompey came more and more to rely on politicians opposed to Caesar to support himself against Crassus’s own emerging faction and the triumvirate itself came under threat[46].  At the time Caesar would have wrote the third book of the Gallic war (going with the above assumption that they were generally published at the end of the campaigning season under discussion) This conflict was coming to a head and it was likely becoming increasingly clear that the five year command previously granted Caesar (already over half over) would prove insufficient for the pacification of Gaul and the senator Domitius Ahenobarbus (who had strong associations with Caesar’s enemies) was energetically campaigning to replace Caesar in his command[47].Soon afterwards Crassus and Caesar would meet in Ravenna before going on to meet with Pompey as well at Luca[48], though we don’t know the details of the negotiations the results are clear: Cicero was pressured by Caesar and Pompey to reconcile with and support Crassus and Clodius likewise reconciled with Pompey, Pompey and Crassus ran together for the consulship with the support of Caesar and benefitted from the intimidation of Caesar’s veterans (led by Publius Crassus himself) at the election[49]. Both men were granted provincial commands with large armies and Caesar’s command in Gaul was extended by five years[50].

Simply put at the time Caesar wrote the third Gallic war he needed Crassus support a great deal as Crassus enhanced standing in the coalition after Luca indicates and so it is not surprising that his son is portrayed so favourably in that book in particular, by contrast Marcus Crassus came to Gaul as Caesar’s quaestor two years later, the year after Crassus consulship. Due to the five year extension Caesar’s position was now more secure and soon afterwards, well before Caesar’s political position once again became perilous Crassus had died at Carrhae with Marcus’s promising brother removing the key political impetus to praise his son. This makes all the more sense considering Quintus Cicero, the famous Marcus Cicero’s brother also receives perhaps unduly good treatment in the sources[51]

Our sources of Publius Crassus’s life outside of the role of military officer are scanty we know that he was a monetalis and became an augur when a position in that religious college opened up upon the death of Lucius Licinius Luccullus[52]. Publius also cultivated Cicero who deemed him a promising young orator, helped him develop said ability and prevailed upon him to pursue a conventional political career and focus on his civic talents. However as the source of this information is a work on oratory called the Brutus written by Cicero after Publius death in which Cicero uses the example of Publius to make a point about the sageness of such advice by bemoaning how Publius’s youthful ambition and military glory seeking lead to his death[53] he may have chosen to exaggerate the degree to which he advocated said course to Publius at the time. As mentioned above Dio records Publius being sent to Rome by Caesar with many of his veterans to lead them in violent and successful intimidations of rival electoral candidates and Cicero further mentions his attachment to the young man in letters both to Caesar and to Crassus, in the latter the connection is highlighted clearly in part to aggrandize himself with the newly re-empowered Crassus with whom Caesar and Pompey had forced him to reconcile[54] but it is noteworthy that he claims to be like a second father to the young man[55]. The former written after Publius’s death bemoans the loss of a well-liked mutual protégé but perhaps contains some of Cicero the new man’s resentment of consul’s in their cradles[56]. What may have proved decisive for Publius’s future had he lived longer was his marriage to Cornelia Metella which occurred shortly before the Parthian expedition[57]. Many years previously Publius’s brother had himself married into another branch of the powerful Metelli family, a branch seemingly hostile to Pompey who at the time still had good relations with other members of the family[58], in both marriages the hand of Crassus the triumvir can be felt and represent a key tactic utilized in Pompey and Crassus’s rival attempts to ally the Metelli with themselves. The marriage of Publius to Cornelia Metella shows that following the reestablishment of his alliance with Pompey and Caesar Crassus successfully reached out to the Metelli and perhaps even the Boni in general, this may have resulted from his having to abandon his anti-Pompeian alliance with the Claudii and Pompey his increasing Boni ties[59].



Finally we come to the Carrhae campaign, though many other sources refer if briefly to Rome’s defeat at Carrhae and In particular the death of both Marcus and Publius Crassus[60] only two descriptions of the battle and prior campaign survive from antiquity: Cassius Dio’s Roman history and Plutarch’s life of Crassus[61]. Of these Plutarch’s account is far more detailed and on the whole likely to be more accurate[62] however it is important to note that unlike Caesar or Cicero neither of these are primary sources, being born much later neither man was there during the campaign or spoke to anyone that was. Both men wrote well over a century later and so represent interestingly the only sources on the life of Publius Crassus who would not have been influenced by their relationship either with him or perhaps more crucially his father. Clearly however they must have got there information somewhere. The most important Roman involved to survive the Carrhae campaign was Lucius Cassius Longinus the future assassin of Julius Caesar, he served as Marcus Crassus’s quaestor during the ill-fated campaign (well from the Roman perspective…..) and commanded one of the army’s wings during the battle[63]. After the battle he succeeded in escaping back to Syria with the men then under his command, with no more senior Roman present at this tumultuous time Cassius took command of the approximately 10,000 legionaries who made it back from the Parthian campaign and defended the province successfully against first Parthian raids and a Jewish revolt then a larger Parthian force[64] earning acclaim at Rome. In the sources for the Carrhae campaign Cassius plays the role of a Roman military Cassandra, always giving the right advice, always being ignored, in favour frequently of the advice of treacherous foreign allies (such as the chieftain and guide Ariammes)[65], what’s more he is frequently portrayed as obviously right, however both Marcus and Publius Crassus had distinguished military careers, Marcus having played a pivotal role in the battle of the Colline gate and suppressed the Spartacus revolt mistakes were clearly made but they are unlikely to have been as obvious at the time as the sources suggest.

As the leading Roman survivor of Carrhae who however his service in the East started ended it (before the coming civil wars at least) with glory Cassius was in an excellent position to spread his version of events. We do not know the details of how though we do know that Quintus Dellius who served under Cassius in the civil war of Phillipi wrote a history of Parthia that Plutarch made use of in his life of Antony, it is likely all things considered that it served as a source for Crassus’s Parthian campaign as well[66]. Even so Cassius self-interest is unlikely to serve as a complete explanation for his portrayal and that of Publius Crassus and others during this campaign. If Cassius was a martial Roman Cassandra he did not lack for company, the prudent (or in some cases like Cassius downright prescient) but ignored Roman officer or ally at some point seems to have become a literary staple in accounts of Roman defeats. At Cannae the consul Aemilius Paulus reputedly cautioned against engaging Hannibal, was overruled by his co-consul Varro and died heroically in the battle[67], the allied Germanic chieftain (again reputedly) Segestes futily warned Varus of Arminius’s treacherous intentions[68]. Finally in the aforementioned ambush and alliance of Titurius Sabinus’s legion in the Gallic wars by Ambiorix’s forces Sabinus’s co-commander Marcus Cotta see’s Ambiorix’s protestations of friendship and warnings for what they are. His failure to convince Sabinus leads to their deaths, unlike Sabinus however who through his desperation to live falls for treachery a second time by agreeing to Parley with his attackers Cotta dies heroically leading his men in a last stand[69]. Due to his positive press Cassius is assigned the nobler literary trope and Marcus Crassus that of the man who consistently listens to bad council, indeed in Dio’s more hostile account Crassus’s portrayal is extremely similar to that of Sabinus, first being misled by supposed foreign allies and then at his most desperate moment having his judgement impaired by his desperation to live to fall for the enemy’s offer to negotiate where he died in a fight that broke out, probably due to treachery[70].

There is however one key difference between Carrhae and the ambush of Sabinus and indeed between Carrhae and Cannae, our Cassandra is not also our tragic hero. As he lived Cassius would have to wait many years to play second fiddle to Brutus in this role at Phillipi. In Dio clearly the more pro-Cassian and anti-Crassan of our sources no-one fills this role satisfactorily, despite Dio’s claim that Crassus acquiesced to the desire of the army following Carrhae for Cassius to take command (a claim not repeated in the more detailed Plutarch). In Plutarch’s account the death of the elder Crassus is nobler and the role of Publius in the battle and the nature of his death emphasized and romanticized, Plutarch’s Carrhae has its tragic heroes, oddly the same commanders he blames for the defeat, the Crassi.

When the Roman scouts first came into contact with the Surena’s Parthian army Publius reputedly reinforced his father’s inclination to seek battle that same day in opposition to Cassius (implied) and most of the officers who suggested making camp reconnoitring the enemy’s position and seeking battle in the morning[71]. The decision to seek battle immediately is naturally regarded as a mistake by our sources and Publius next action in our sources relating to the battle did not end well either, in command of one of the flanks and a portion of the cavalry Publius is ordered by his father to lead a combined force of cavalry, archers and legionaries to chase off the Parthian horse archers on one of the army’s flanks, ending the encirclement, relieving pressure and allowing his father’s army to reform. Publius’s counterattack is initially successful, chasing off the horse archers and allowing such a reform, however supposedly sensing victory Publius pursued the fleeing horse archers further away from the army and was then attacked by a division of cataphracts (a form of heavy cavalry) at the same time the fleeing horse archers counterattacked, using the cataphracts as protection while they continued to harass Publius’s forces. Furthermore it seems in the pursuit that Publius infantry fell behind his cavalry. It seems that like in his first battle in Aquitaine Publius had once again fallen for a feigned retreat[72], despite this paper’s attempt to expose stereotype’s that of the gifted but hot-headed aristocratic young cavalry officer does look like it might fit. Forced to engage the Cataphracts unsupported with his lighter cavalry Publius lead the Romans in probably the fiercest fighting of the battle, defeated and wounded he and his remaining men retreated to the shelter of their infantry. The situation being untenable Publius and some of his officers and friends reputedly killed themselves rather than flee before their force was overwhelmed and annihilated[73]. The death of Publius and his men was probably the decisive moment of the battle, his defeat demoralized Crassus’s remaining forces and the loss of most of the army’s cavalry prevented the romans from striking back against Surena’s horse archers nevertheless Plutarch does not drag Publius over the coals and he is given the most heroic (to the Romans) death of the campaign. In his combat with the Cataphracts and subsequent death Plutarch emphasis his courage in the fight and in his refusal to abandon his men taking his own life (with assistance)[74].

Considering the virtual annihilation of Publius’s detachment and the Roman penchant for heroic dramatization of their dead the details here are highly suspect and there may have been no witnesses of the final moments. This account may also be influenced by Publius’s freedman Appollonius who may have written an account of Publius’s life and was later praised by Cicero for his loyalty to the memory of the Crassi[75], regardless clearly Cassius did not represent (either directly or through his partisans) the only sources available to our own sources on the campaign.

So ends our recount of the life and sources of Publius Licinius Crassus: Military prodigy, glory hound and hot-head, ambitious, modest, eloquent, charming and well-liked high aristocrat, networker, marriage pawn, thuggish election fixer and tragic hero.



The Sons of Crassus

Ronald Syme

Latomus , T. 39, Fasc. 2 (AVRIL-JUIN 1980), pp. 403-408

Published by: Societe d’Etudes Latines de Bruxelles

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Crassorum Funera

Elizabeth Rawson

Latomus , T. 41, Fasc. 3 (JUILLET-SEPTEMBRE 1982), pp. 540-549

Published by: Societe d’Etudes Latines de Bruxelles

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The Departure of Crassus for Parthia

Adelaide D. Simpson

Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association , Vol. 69, (1938), pp. 532-541

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Crassus’ New Friends and Pompey’s Return

Eve J. Parrish

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No Son for Caesar?

Ronald Syme

Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte , Bd. 29, H. 4 (4th Qtr., 1980), pp. 422-437

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[1] Syme, R. The Sons of Crassus, Latomus , T. 39, Fasc. 2 (AVRIL-JUIN 1980), pp. 403.

[2] Syme, R. The Sons of Crassus, Latomus , T. 39, Fasc. 2 (AVRIL-JUIN 1980), pp. 403-408.

[3] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg. 55.

[4] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri., pg 48.

[5] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg. 55-56.

[6] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 78-80.

[7] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 284-285.

[8] Cic. Fam. VIII.

[9] Julius Caesar, The Gallic War, trans. Edwards H. J (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1917.

[10] Goldsworthy, A. “CAESAR”, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, pg. 187-188.

[11] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg. 93-94.

[12] Caes. Gal. 2, 28, Caes. Gal.5, 49.

[13] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg. 89.

[14] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg. 86-87.

[15] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg. 89-90.

[16] Goldsworthy, A. “CAESAR”, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, pg.188.

[17] Caes. Gal. 5, 26-37.

[18] Goldsworthy, A. “CAESAR”, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, pg. 190.

[19]Goldsworthy, A. “CAESAR”, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, pg. 189-190.

[20] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg 89-90.

[21] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg 92.

[22] Caes. Gal. 5, 26-37.

[23] Goldsworthy, A. “CAESAR”, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, pg. 191.

[24] Caes. Gal. 2, 26-28.

[25] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg 98-100.

[26] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg 99.

[27] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg 91-92.

[28] Caes. Gal. 1, 52-53.

[29] Caes. Gal. 3, 20-27.

[30] Caes. Gal. 3, 21.

[31] . Caes. Gal. 3, 23.

[32] Caes. Gal. 3, 20.

[33] Caes. Gal. 3, 20-21.

[34] Dio Cassius, Roman history, 39, 46.

[35] Caes. Gal. 3, 24-26.

[36] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg. 92.

[37] Suetonius, the deified Julius Caesar, 81-83, Plutarch, Caesar, 63-64, Plutarch, Brutus, 12.

[38] Syme R, No Son for Caesar? Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte , Bd. 29, H. 4 (4th Qtr., 1980), pg. 429.

[39] Goldsworthy, A. “CAESAR”, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, pg. 365-366.

[40] Goldsworthy, A. “CAESAR”, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, pg. 165.

[41] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg 93.

[42] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 218-219.

[43] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 222.

[44] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 231-233.

[45]Marshall B. A. (1976). Crassus A Political Biography. Adolf M. Hakkert, Amsterdam, pg. 118-121.

[46] Marshall B. A. (1976). Crassus A Political Biography. Adolf M. Hakkert, Amsterdam, pg. 124-127.

[47] Marshall B. A. (1976). Crassus A Political Biography. Adolf M. Hakkert, Amsterdam, pg. 124.

[48] Marshall B. A. (1976). Crassus A Political Biography. Adolf M. Hakkert, Amsterdam, pg. 127-128.

[49] Dio Cassius, Roman history, 39, 31.

[50] Marshall B. A. (1976). Crassus A Political Biography. Adolf M. Hakkert, Amsterdam, pg. 128-129.

[51] Welck K, Caesar And his Officers In The Gallic War Commentaries, Julius Caesar As Artful Reporter: The War Commentaries as Political Instruments (1998) pg 97-98.

[52] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 284-285.

[53] Cicero, Brutus, 281-282.

[54] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 279, Cic. Fam. VIII.

[55] Cic. Fam. VIII.

[57] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 284-285.

[58] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 203-204.

[59] Ward A. (1977). MARCUS CRASSUS AND THE LATE ROMAN REPUBLIC. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, pg 280.

[60] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 186-193.

[61] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 186-187.

[62] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 186-187.

[63] Plutarch, Crassus, 23.

[64] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 152-160.

[65] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 109.

[66] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 188-189.

[67] Goldsworthy A. (2000). The Fall Of Carthage The Punic Wars 265-146BC. Orion books, Orion house Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, pg. 199-213.

[68] Tacitus, Annals, 1, 55.

[69] Caes. Gal. 5, 26-37.

[70] Caes. Gal. 5, 26-37, Dio Cassius, 40, 20-27.

[71] Plutrach, Crassus, 23.

[72] Dio Cassius, Roman history,40, 21-22.

[73] Plutarch, Crassus, 25.

[74] Plutarch, Crassus, 25.

[75] Sampson G. C. (2008). The Defeat of Rome Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East. Pen & Sword Books,47 Church Street Barnsley South Yorkshire, pg. 189.

If Ancient Romans had social media: Cicero, Caesar, Cato & Sulla


CiceroSubstance, integrity, honesty, consistency, bravery, their just words really, and I’m REALLY good with words so why don’t people think I have them!#AlsoIstoppedCatiline

All this concern about survelliance, popular unrest, terrorisim and election stealing just pass a Sensatus Consultum Ultimum take it #fromtheguywhostoppedCatiline

@Atticus Plautus and chill? #Amicitiagoals#CatilineIstoppedhim#Idontmeantobrag


JuliusCaesar bust red background

Crossing Rubicon#YOLO!

Caesar is tweeting #thirdpersonbetheshit

All of Gaul is divided into three parts #Futurelatinlessons

You know if we had had Twitter during the Gallic Wars it would have saved me so much time, wouldn’t have had to bother with this commentary cr*p!#literatureishard

Mind those unicorns in the forest #trippingballs

So many naked Gauls, should have called it the phallic wars lol #frenchfashion #winteriscoming

part of fleet got lost, rest having difficulty forcing a landing in Britain #Stillbetterthanthetube

And all of Gaul was pacified #Missionaccomplished

Oh Sh*t where did all these hairy Gauls come from #Thatswhatshesaid #Meandmybigstylus

ladies and gentlemen we got him #Vercingetorix#Reallyreallypacifiedthistime

Crossing Rubicon#YOLO!

dining @Pharoahspalace Holy sh*t thats Pompey’s head! #orderingthesalad

I came, I saw, I instagrammed #picsoritdidnthappen

Ides of March more like Ides have passed amirite#temptingfate

Cato (the elder):

Cato the elderGoing out for some groceries, I think I’ll get figs, fresh ones! #Carthagemustbedestroyed

Gah! everythings closed! so annoying where’s this city’s enterpreneurial spirit gone! I blame immigrants! #Carthagemustbedestroyed

Oh well guess I’m ordering pizza, I’m so bad. I think I’ll get anchovies, I like salty things #Carthagemustbedestroyed

Nothing on tv only foppish lefty nonesense and some Greek drama, I suppose it’s the news for me again#Carthagemustbedestroyed

You know say what you will about Trump but he’s really got this ruthless capitalist and socially conservative political outsider demagogue thing down pat and I should know #MakeCarthagesaltagain


sulla_normalahhh….I love the smell of roasted Pleb in the morning……..#lifternotleaner #deplorables=delectables

Watching Death Note. Premise seems familiar, can’t think why#itsonthetipofmystylus

Just writing my memoirs, History will be kind to me for I intend to write it…………. and silence all Hostile witnesses.#suckitChurchill

The Athenians used to (before I sacked their conceited arses) mock my blotchy skin by claiming that “Sulla is a mulberry sprinkled over with meal”, I suppose that would make me (after I slaughtered them) a cereal killer!#itsfunnycauseitstrue

………Well, I don’t here laughter, I made a joke, laugh! Now!!!#IKnowwhereyoulive

My apologies for that outburst, sometimes I can be a little…..fruity, ahaha! ahaha! ahaha! ahaha!#lookbehindyou