Make Roma Great Again
ru | en

The Second Triumvirate

Багерман А.Я.

Attention! The text below was auto-translated from Russian. You can switch the site language to Russian to see the text in its original language or wait until it is fully translated.

The triumvirate (Latin: triumviratus — "union of three men") is a political agreement, an alliance of influential political figures and generals in Rome during the civil wars of the first century BC, aimed at seizing power in the state.

In ancient Rome, this was the name given to a college of three magistrates who were authorized by the Senate. During the heyday of the Early Republic, triumvirs were appointed from among the senators to travel to newly conquered territories and establish Roman colonies there. During the crisis of the Roman Republic, the triumvirs were no longer senators and magistrates, but three strong politicians of Rome, and it often happened that one of them eventually became weaker than the other two.

Participants in the triumvirate were called triumvirs. In the second triumvirate, they called themselves so, and in the first they were called so after the appearance of the second triumvirate.

Composition of the second Triumvirate:

Gold coins with profiles of participants of the 2nd Triumvirate

Creating the Second Triumvirate

Unlike the first triumvirate, whose exact date of creation is unknown, much more information has been preserved about the second. The creation of the second triumvirate took place in October 43 BC, when Mark Antony (Caesar's companion and general ), Octavian Augustus (Caesar's adopted son and heir), and Marcus Lepidus (Caesar's aristocrat and general) met near Bononia (now the city of Bologna, Italy) and agreed to create a second triumvirate.

The main goals of the second triumvirate were to seize power in Rome and take revenge on Caesar's murderers.

In addition, the triumvirs for the coming years distributed the main magistracies among their supporters. They also divided the western provinces, while the eastern provinces were still in the hands of Caesar's assassins:

Activities of the Second Triumvirate

The second triumvirate was legitimized by the law of Titus of November 27, 43 BC, 3 days after the triumvirs entered Rome. According to this law, the triumvirs received exclusive powers for 5 years, including the right to appoint higher magistrates. To replenish their coffers and pay the salaries of the assembled troops, which numbered up to 19 legions, the triumvirs compiled proscription lists and launched a terror against the aristocrats in Rome. Because of this, many of the senators and horsemen included in the lists fled Rome to Brutus and Cassius in the east and to Sextus Pompey in Sicily. After replenishing the triumvirate's treasury, leaving Lepidus in Italy, Antony and Octavian went to Greece to fight the Republican assassins of Caesar. At the same time, Lepidus placed almost all of his legions under the rule of Octavian, ceasing to claim further equal partnership.

By this time Brutus had subdued all the Roman possessions in the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor, and Cassius occupied Syria. They were able to raise a lot of money and recruit a large army of 19 legions (about 100 thousand soldiers) and a strong fleet.

Two decisive battles between the Caesarians and Republicans took place in October and November 42 BC at Philippi (North Macedonia, Greece). About two hundred thousand people fought – 19 legions on each side. The result of the first battle was a draw: Antony won on the left flank against Cassius and he was killed, and Brutus won on the right flank against Octavian. In the second battle, due to Octavian's illness, Antony led the troops, he was able to defeat Brutus, who soon died. The surviving Republican soldiers were captured or surrendered and went into the service of Antony, some of them were able to escape to Sicily to join Sextus Pompey.

After the defeat of Caesar's assassins, when the main goal of the triumvirate was achieved and it was subject to dissolution, the triumvirs – only Octavian and Mark Antony, they did not take Lepidus into account – again divided the provinces and divided the spheres of influence, retaining emergency powers.

Octavian received the western provinces and Rome, and Mark Antony the eastern provinces. While Octavian and his troops sailed to Rome, Mark Antony remained in the east with 6 legions and a large detachment of cavalry and began to prepare for a military campaign in Parthia. In addition, after a new division of land between the triumvirs, Lepidus lost Spain, which went to Octavian, and Narbonne Gaul, which passed into the possession of Mark Antony. In Rome, Lepidus was deprived of the last 3 legions under his command due to rumors about his connection with Sextus Pompey, who settled in Sicily, but he was promised to give Africa to the administration if the rumors about his connections with Sextus were not confirmed.

Later, despite the unsuccessful performance of Lepidus on the side of Octavian in the Perusian War (the revolt of Mark Antony's brother, Lucius Antony, against Octavian's arbitrariness in Italy in the autumn of 41 - spring of 40 BC, suppressed by Octavian), he still received control of Africa, and with six legions went there. For four years (40-36 years). while the triumvirs Mark Antony and Octavian were at war (Octavian was at war with Sextus Pompey over Sicily, and Mark Antony was at war with Parthia, then with Armenia), they did not forget about Lepidus, each wanted to win him over to their side in the imminent inevitable conflict between them.

Shortly before the end of the war with Sextus Pompeius, Octavian and Mark Antony wanted to hold another meeting to extend the triumvirate's term of office, as their powers expired in December 38 BC. The meeting could only take place in the spring of 37 BC in the city of Tarentum (now the city of Taranto, Italy). Antony and Octavian agreed to extend the term of the triumvirate for another 5 years. They also promised each other military assistance: Octavian offered Mark Antony 4 legions for the war with Parthia, and Antony intended to give Octavian 120 warships for the war with Sextus Pompey. In addition, the lists of consuls were approved up to 31 BC. e. The interests of Lepidus were not taken into account at this meeting.

Lepidus was finally expelled from the triumvirate in 36 BC after fighting on the side of Octavian in the war against Sextus Pompey, which Octavian won.

Antony handed over to Octavian the ships promised at the Tarentum meeting, and Octavian, under the pretext of war in Illyria (a Roman province along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea), did not send legions to help Antony in his war against Parthia. In 36 BC, Lepidus, having enough forces, tried to force Octavian to reckon with him and restore him to his rights as a triumvir, but lost, as his troops were razagitirovannyh and outbid by Octavian. Lepidus himself was sent to Rome under arrest. Thus the triumvirate was finally reduced to a duumvirate, and gradual preparations began for a war between Mark Antony and Octavian for sole control of Rome.

Antony and Octavian began to openly discredit each other in 33 BC, when Octavian became consul in Rome and started spreading rumors about Antony and Cleopatra. Antony responded in kind, accusing him of deceit, and in particular claiming that Octavian was not Caesar's own son. In December 33 BC, the next term of office of the triumvirs expired and Octavian gave up the power of the triumvir, and Antony promised to do so if the constitutional order that existed in Rome before the civil wars was restored. In fact, Antony did not resign his triumvirate.

In 32 BC, Mark Antony's supporters Gnaeus Ahenobarbus and Gaius Sosius became consuls, and they demanded that the Senate approve all of Mark Antony's orders during this time. Sosius openly opposed Octavian, but the skirmish ended with the flight of both consuls and three hundred senators to Alexandria to join Mark Antony after Octavian used military force. Octavian replaced the escaped consuls with his friends, making them suffect consuls.

A suffect consul is a temporary consul who was elected to replace the officially elected consul who died in office, or in the event of the latter's removal from office. A suffect consul had the same rights as an officially elected consul as long as his term of office lasted. Sometimes there could be two suffect consuls at once, since during the civil wars in Rome, officially elected consuls often died or fled Rome. Opponents sought to get rid of the power of the departed consuls and elected suffect consuls from their supporters.

The event that destroyed the fragile peace and led to a struggle between Octavian and Mark Antony was the divorce of Antony from Octavia, Octavian's sister, which occurred in the summer of 32 BC.e. Antony legally formalized the fact that Octavia had already lived in Rome for a long time, and he himself lived with Cleopatra, whom he officially married, which alienated some of the supporters who defected to Octavian. Two of the defected supporters told Octavian about the existence of Antony's very controversial will.

Octavian immediately took Antony's will from the Vestal virgins and made it public, violating legal and religious prohibitions. According to Antony's will, his body was to be buried in Alexandria, Caesarion was to be recognized as Caesar's rightful heir instead of Octavian, and most of Antony's property, contrary to the law, went to Cleopatra and their common children. There is a version that such an outrageous will was a fake, which was made by Octavian's supporters. Be that as it may, his publication was enough to get the Romans to support Octavian.

Map of the territorial divisions of the territories of the Roman Republic between the participants of the 2nd triumvirate, the provinces inherited by Octavian are marked in red; the provinces inherited by Mark Antony are marked in yellow; the province inherited by Lepidus is marked in gray. Other colors indicate rulers who are allies and opponents of the triumvirs.

Collapse of the 2nd Triumvirate

The triumvirate formally collapsed with the expulsion of Lepidus in 36 BC, but was effectively abolished after the civil war between Mark Antony and Octavian in 32-30 BC, in which Octavian won, and Mark Antony and his ally Queen Cleopatra of Egypt died.

Octavian openly declared war on Egypt at the end of 32 BC, Antony's powers and his position as consul in 31 BC were revoked. In 31 BC, the last civil war in the history of the Roman Republic occurred, which led to the transformation of the republic into an empire. It was held between Octavian on the one hand and Mark Antony and Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, on the other in 32-30 BC.

The decisive battle of the Civil War took place on September 2, 31 BC-the naval battle of Cape Aktion. Antony and Cleopatra lost and fled to Egypt, where in 30 BC they both died, and Egypt itself was conquered and became a Roman province. Octavian remained sole ruler The Roman Republic, which in 30 BC.e. turned into the Roman Empire, becoming its first emperor. The regime of sole rule of Octavian Augustus is called the principate.

Related topics

Roman Republic, The first Triumvirate, Mark Antony, Octavian Augustus, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Principate, Cicero


Ancient authors:

1. Plutarch. Comparative biographies. Mark Antony;

2. Appian. Civil wars;

3. Dion Cassius. Roman History; books 46-50.

4. Cicero. Philippics vs. Mark Antony.

Contemporary authors:

1. Eder, Walter. Augustus and the Power of Tradition (неопр.). — Cambridge, MA; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

2. Green, Peter. Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age (англ.). — Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press (англ.)русск., 1990. — (Hellenistic Culture and Society).

3. Rowell, Henry Thompson. (1962). The Centers of Civilization Series: Volume 5; Rome in the Augustan Age. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press

4. Scullard, H. H. From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 B.C. to A.D. 68 (англ.). — 5th edition. - London; New York: Routledge, 1982 5. Syme, Ronald (engl.)Russian.. The Roman Revolution, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1939. The classic revisionist study of Augustus

6. Weigel, Richard D. (1992). Lepidus: the triumvir has been tainted . London, United Kingdom: Routledg