Ancient History

How did the murder of Caesar initiate the Second Triumvirate?
Answered by Science Channel
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    Science Channel

  1. Famed Roman statesman and general Julius Caesar was basically the master of the entire Roman world. He created the First Triumvirate when he formed a political alliance with Marcus Licinius Crassus and Roman army commander Pompey in 60 B.C. The three had an understanding that together they would be able to control Rome. However, after Crassus was killed in 53 B.C., and Pompey conspired with others to lessen Caesar's influence shortly thereafter, the Triumvirate fell apart. Over time, Caesar defeated Pompey and his followers, gaining total control of Rome, which he ruled until his assassination. Before long, the Second Triumvirate came to power.

    Following Caesar's murder by his friend Brutus and his fellow conspirators in 44 B.C., the leadership of Rome was suddenly up for grabs. The main candidates were Octavius, who was Caesar's son, and Mark Antony, an experienced politician and military leader. Though Antony considered himself to be the better candidate, he agreed to form the Second Triumvirate in 43 B.C. This new Triumvirate, like the first, was a powerful governing coalition, this time consisting of Antony, Octavius and Marcus Lepidus. One of the original goals of the Second Triumvirate was to get rid of Caesar's assassins, as this would help strengthen their power [source: UNRV].

    However, just as the First Triumvirate disintegrated years before, this new balance of power did not last, either. Antony married Octavius' sister, Octavia, and after Antony began his affair with Cleopatra several years later, the tenuous alliance between himself and Octavius crumbled. This ultimately led to the disastrous Battle of Actium, in which Octavius defeated Antony and Cleopatra's forces.

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