Saturday, May 30, 2009

Roman General: Gaius Marius

Gaius Marius (157-86 BC), Roman general and statesman, born at Arpinum. He served under Scipio Africanus at Numantia (134), was tribune of the plebs in 119 and later married Julia, aunt of Julius Caesar. By this time he had established himself as a leading popularis at Rome.

As a distinguished Roman general he was seven times elected consul. He was elected consul for the first time in 107 and received command of the war against Jugurtha.

The brilliance of his quaestor Sulla, to whom Jugurtha surrendered in 106, marked the beginning of that rivalry between the two men which led to civil war.

Marius's next task was military reform. Meanwhile Italy was threatened by the Cimbri and Teutones, and Marius was elected consul a second time for 104. The menace was postponed, but he was consul a third and fourth time in 103 and 102. In the latter year he defeated the Teutones and their allies at Aquae Sextiae, and in 101, with his colleague, A. Lutatius Catulus, the Cimbri at Campi Raudii near Vercellae.

He was elected consul for the fifth time in 101. In order to secure the consulship a sixth time, he associated himself with two demagogues, Saturninus and Glaucia.

In his sixth consulship (100), he put down the insurrection of Saturninus, and by a popular vote was chosen to displace Sulla in command against Mithridates. Sulla marched upon Rome and took Marius prisoner, but he escaped to Africa, returned to Italy and joined Cinna in his revolt against Sulla. The two entered Rome, and Marius was elected consul for the seventh time in 86; but he died shortly afterwards.

In 88, anxious for command in the Mithridatic war, Marius obtained a vote of the people conferring on him the command already bestowed on Sulla by the Senate. Sulla joined his legions in Campania and marched on Rome; Marius fled and eventually reached Africa. In 87, however, he returned to Italy, and with the consul L. Cornelius Cinna made a new bid for power. Without an election Marius and Cinna nominated themselves consuls for the next year; but on the 18th day of his seventh consulship Marius died of pleurisy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Roman General: Marcus Antonius

Mark Antony, or Marcus Antonius, to give him his proper name, was most famous for two reasons: One is his friendship with Julius Caesar and his revenge on the men who murdered Caesar; the other is his love affair with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.

Mark Antony was born in about 83 B.C. and brought up by his stepfather Lentulus. When he was about 30 Antony joined Julius Caesar's army in Gaul. He became very fond of Caesar and supported him in everything, being forced on one occasion to flee from Rome because people disapproved of the way he used his power to help Caesar. In the year 44 B.C. Antony and Caesar were elected as consuls. At a festival before great crowds of the Roman people, Antony tried to make Caesar King of Rome, and offered him a crown. This made many Romans angry, they didn't want to return to the pre-Republic days of being ruled by king. Because of this Caesar was murdered.

Antony then tried to win for himself the power Caesar had had. He made a speech at the funeral and read Caesar's will to the people. However, Caesar had an heir — his great-nephew Octavian, who later became the Emperor Augustus. Antony and Octavian quarreled, but later joined together to fight an army commanded by Brutus and Cassius, who had led the plot to murder Caesar. Antony and Octavian defeated them at Philippi, in Greece, in 42 B.C.

After this, Antony went to the East, where he fell in love with Cleopatra and followed her to Egypt. In an attempt to forge a binding truce Octavian had Brutus marry Octavia, Octavian's sister.

However, the marriage was not a success, for Antony soon went back to Cleopatra. He lived with her in great luxury and splendor, not at all like a Roman. Octavian then sent an army against Antony. At the naval Battle of Actium, fought in 31 B.C., Antony's fleet was defeated. Antony escaped to Egypt with Cleopatra, where they later both committed suicide than hand themselves over to Octavian.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Roman General: Lucius Caecilius Metellus Denter

Lucius Caecilius Metellus Denter (born circa 320 BC) was a Roman Republican Consul in the year 284 BC.

He was either the son or the nephew of Quintus Caecilius, and the first in which the cognomen Metellus appears linked to the gentilic nomen Caecilius. He was the father of Lucius Caecilius Metellus.

He led an army against the Senones led by Britomaris in the Battle of Arretium.

There is some conflict as to the date of Metellus Denter's death, with some sources claiming he died as Consul in 284 BC in the Battle of Arretium, whereas others have him dying the year after, as Praetor, in the next battle against the Senones.

The controversy lay in that it was not customary for a Proconsul to be elected Praetor in the year after his Consulship, especially if he had been defeated in battle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roman General: Marcus Lollius Paulinus

Marcus Lollius Paulinus, was a Roman general, the first governor of Galatia (25 BC) and served as consul in 21 BC.

In 16 BC as governor of Gaul he was defeated by German tribes who had crossed the Rhine (the Sicambri and Tencteri and Usipetes). This defeat is compared by Tacitus to the disaster of Publius Quinctilius Varus, but it was disgraceful rather than dangerous.

Lollius was subsequently attached in the capacity of tutor and adviser to Gaius Caesar on his mission to the East (2 BC). Gaius was a son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder. His maternal grandparents were Augustus and his second wife Scribonia.

According to Marcus Velleius Paterculus and Pliny, he was a hypocrite and cared for nothing but amassing wealth. Lollius was accused of extortion and treachery to the state, and denounced by Gaius to the Roman Emperor. To avoid punishment he is said to have taken poison.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Roman General: Titus Didius

Titus Didius was a Roman general and politician.

He first held office in 103 BC as a Tribune of the Plebs.

Two years later he was elected a Praetor. During this time he fought in Macedon, defeating the Scordisci and earning his first triumph upon his return in 100 BC. In 98 BC Didius was elected Consul alongside Q. Caecilius Metellus Nepos. Along with restoring the Villa Publica, he enacted a law which disallowed combining two unrelated proposals in one bill.

After his term as consul, he was rewarded with the governorship of the province of Hispania Citerior, where he served from 97 BC to 93 BC.

Nearly his entire proconsul term over Spain was spent at war with the Celtiberi. In the four years Didius governed Spain he achieved multiple victories and is said to have slain 20,000 Arevaci, quelled the rebellious city of Termes and successfully executed a nine month siege of Colenda, ending in the selling the city’s women and children as slaves.

After concluding his service in Spain, Didius served as a legate in the Social War, under Lucius Julius Caesar in 90 BC, then Lucius Porcius Cato and Sulla in 89 BC.

Shortly following a successful capture of Herculaneum, he died in battle June 11, 89 BC.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Roman General: Gaius Antonius

Gaius Antonius, younger son of Marcus Antonius the orator, and uncle of Mark Antony. He was a colleague of Cicero during the latter's praetorship (66 BC) and consulship (65). Appointed governor of Macedonia in 62, he returned to Rome in 59, when he was charged with implication in the Catiline conspiracy and extortion in his province. Defended by Cicero, he was condemned and went into exile. Recalled probably by Caesar, he was censor in 42 BC.

Side note: Mark Antony also had a brother named Gaius, Antonius who was the governor of Macedonia in 44 BC. In 43 he was taken prisoner by Marcus Junius Brutus, who put him to death in the following year.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Roman General: Quintus Lutatius Catulus

Quintus Lutatius Catulus (c. 152-87 BC), Roman general, and consul with Marius, 102 BC.

The following year the united armies of Catulus and Marius defeated the Cimbri, but Catulus's part in the victory was ignored.

This led to resentment, and Catulus joined Sullar in the civil war. He was among those proscribed by Marius in 87 BC, and committed suicide.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Roman General: Drusus Caesar

Drusus Caesar (15 BC - AD 23), son of the Emperor Tiberius and Vipsania Agrippina. In AD 14 he quelled a mutiny of troops in Pannonia: was governor of Illyricum in 17; and in 21 received tribunicia potestas, which marked him out as heir to the throne.

Sejanus seduced his wife Livia (daughter of Nero Claudius Drusus) and secured her co-operation in poisoning Drusus.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Roman General: Gaius Lutatius Catulus

Gaius Lutatius Catulus (3rd century BC), Roman general in the first Punic War; consul, 242 BC.

In 241 he commanded a fleet of 200 ships which defeated the Carthaginians off the Aegates Islands.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Roman General: Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus

Decimus Junius Brutus (84-43 BC), Roman general, served first in Gaul under Caesar, who afterwards made him commander of his fleet. Not to be confused with Marcus Brutus.

Later he was made master of the horse and governor of Gaul, and Caesar, who held him in much esteem, made him his heir in the event of Octavian's death. But in spite of this, he was one of the conspirators in the plot against his benefactor.

Afterwards he fought with brief success against Antony, but was betrayed and put to death by the latter soon after the siege of Mutina in 43 BC.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Roman General: Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus

Born Publius Cornelius Scipio, about 234 B.C., better known as Scipio Africanus the Elder

After being present at the Roman defeats of the Ticinus (218), the Trebia (218), and Cannae (216), Scipio was given the proconsular command in Spain in 210 B.C.

He captured New Carthage (now Cartagena) the next year and completed his conquest of Spain by 206 B.C. His success countered Carthaginian victories in Italy under Hannibal and won Scipio a consulship in 205 B.C. He then attacked Carthage itself and forced Hannibal's recall from Italy.

In 207 he continued the war in Africa, and, for his defeat of the Carthaginian and Numidian armies in 203 and for his victory over Hannibal at Zama (202), he received the title Africanus.

At the Battle of Zama in 202 B.C. he routed Hannibal's army, ending the war and securing Roman supremacy in the western Mediterranean. For this victory he was honored with the new name "Africanus."

In 190 he defeated Antiochus III of Syria at Magnesia, but he became the object of an attack in the Senate, which his popularity with the people helped him to defeat. His daughter, Cornelia, became the mother of the Gracchi. Scipio was the greatest general of his time, a brilliant orator, and a noted Greek scholar.

He died in about 183 B.C.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Roman General: Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo

Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, born in 130 BC, he was contemporary of Sulla and father of Pompey the Great.

In the Social War he was a successful commander against the allies in the north, and was elected consul for 89 BC. He was relieved of his command in 88, but his troops murdered his successor (with his connivance) and remained under his command.

As consul he had given Latin rights to the allies beyond the River Po; he had also given Roman citizenship to Spaniards serving under him. In this way he built up a powerful clientela for himself, and in the civil war between Marius and Sulla he was able to remain independent until he died (probably in 87 BC). He is an important figure in Roman history, since he established the power base which enabled his son to enter public life at the top, by-passing the normal step by step career.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Roman General: Lucius Licinius Lucullus

Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Roman general. Born in Rome in about 118 B.C.

Lucullus served with Sulla in the Social War. From 88 B.C. to 84 B.C. he was quaestor and proquaestor under Sulla in the eastern provinces.

He held the consulship in 74 B.C. and received command of the Roman armies in the third war against Mithridates VI.

During the campaigns of 74-72 he relieved Cotta, who had been besieged in Chalcedon, destroyed the enemy's fleet off Lemnos, entered Bithynia, and forced Mithridates to take refuge at the court of his son-in-law, Tigranes, King of Armenia.

His financial reforms in the province of Asia, although popular with the provincials, brought him into conflict with the Roman financiers, who supervised tax collection there. Lucullus won brilliant victories in Asia Minor, but he was unable to bring the war to an end because of mutiny among his troops.

In 66 B.C., Lucullus was replaced in Asia by Pompey. On his return to Rome Lucullus retired from public life and became notorious as a bon viveur. He had a famous villa on the promontory of Misenum, which afterwards became the property of Tiberius. He wrote a history of the Marsian War in Greek, and is said to have been the first to introduce cherries, from Cerasus in Pontus, to Italy. In his later years he was known for his luxurious dinners and his patronage of philosophy and literature. He died in about 57 B.C.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Roman General: Avidius Cassius

Avidius Cassius, (d. AD 175), Roman general under Marcus Aurelius. He distinguished himself in the Parthian War (162-65), and was made governor of the eastern provinces.

In 175 Aurelius was ill, and Cassius proclaimed himself emperor on the strength of a rumour of his death. He was murdered by his own officers before steps could be taken against him.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Roman General: Scipio Aemilianus Africanus

Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus AKA Scipio Africanus the Younger, Roman general and statesman. Born about 185 B.C. Died Rome, Italy, 129 B.C.

Scipio was adopted by Publius Cornelius Scipio, the eldest son of Scipio Africanus the Elder.

As a youth was present at the decisive battle of Pydna (168).

He served in Spain in 151, and, after Rome had declared war on Carthage in 149, he commanded the Roman army at the Siege of Carthage.

At the start of the Third Punic War he was appointed military tribune to Africa. Elected consul for 147 B.C., he led the army that destroyed Carthage the next year.

After the fall of the city in 146 Scipio returned to Rome, and received a great triumph and the title Africanus.

Scipio served conscientiously as censor in 142 B.C.

He was reelected consul for 134 B.C. and defeated the Numantines in Spain.

In 133 he added to this the name Numantinus, which he received for his conquest of Mumantia in Spain.

After the death of Tiberius Gracchus in 133 B.C., Scipic returned to Rome to lead the conservatives in opposition to the Gracchan reforms.

His sudden death may have been at the hands of his political enemies. Scipio was a patron of Greek culture and of contemporary Roman writers. Cicero idealized him as the epitome of Roman aristocracy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Roman General: Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, legendary or semi-legendary hero of the early Roman republic. Born Rome, about 519 B.C. Died Rome, about 439 B.C.

Cincinnatus was a Roman consul in 460 B.C. Summoned from his small farm in 458, in order to deliver the consul Minucius from imminent disaster, he served as dictator of Rome during an attack on the city by the Aequi and Volsci tribes.

After about 16 days, Cincinnatus defeated the besiegers, resigned his office, and retired to manual labour on his farm.

An opponent of the plebeians, he was again summoned as dictator of Rome in 439 to defend the privileges of the patricians during a plebeian revolt. Legend has so colored the virtues and achievements of Cincinnatus that it is impossible to distinguish fact from fiction.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Roman General: Aulus Gabinius

Aulus Gabinius, Roman general and provincial governor. As tribune in 67 BC he proposed the Lex Gabinia, which conferred on Pompey his extraordinary command against the Mediterranean pirates. As consul in 58 Gabinius supported Clodius in banishing Cicero. From 57 to 54 he was governor of Syria, and in 55 restored Ptolemy Auletes to the Egyptian throne. Impeached for misgovernment on retiring from office, Gabinius went into exile; but he returned to support Caesar in the civil war, and died on active service in Dalmatia (48 or 47 BC).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roman General: Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo

Roman general of the 1st century AD. In 47, while governor of Lower Germany and after a successful expedition against the Frisii, he was ordered by Claudius to withdraw behind the Rhine.

Between 58 and 63 Corbulo conducted a series of brilliant campaigns against the Parthians, but four years later he was summoned to Greece by Nero and ordered to commit suicide on the grounds that he was guilty of conspiracy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roman General: Lucius Cornelius Balbus

Lucius Cornelius Balbus, (1st century AD), Roman soldier, native of Gades (Cadiz), in Spain. He served under Pompey in the war against Sertorius, for which he received Roman citizenship.

Prosecuted on a charge of illegal assumption of the citizenship, he was defended by Cicero and acquitted. He was chief engineer to Caesar in Gaul, looked after his affairs in Rome during the civil war, and was the first foreigner to become consul (40 BC).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Roman General: Publius Cornelius Dolabella

Publius Cornelius Dolabella (b. c. 80 BC), Roman general and husband of Cicero's, Tullia.

Soon after the outbreak of civil war he transferred his allegiance from Pompey to Caesar, with whom he fought at Pharsalus (48), and later in Africa and Spain. On Caesar's death Dolabella seized the consulship and sided with Brutus and his fellow conspirators.

However, he once again changed sides and accepted the province of Syria. Having plundered the cities of Greece and Asia on his way there, he murdered Trebonius, proconsul of Asia, who had denied him admission to Smyrna. Cassius was sent to take his place, and besieged him in Laodicea. To avoid capture Dolabella ordered one of his soldiers to kill him (43 BC).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Roman General: Lucius Cornelius Cinna

Lucius Cornelius Cinna, Roman magistrate and politician, leader of the Marian faction during Sulla's absence in the east, 87-84 BC.

Before leaving Rome, Sulla had allowed his election to the consulship on condition of his taking an oath not to alter the existing constitution. Soon afterwards Cinna violated his oath; riots ensued, and he was expelled from the city. Together with Marius he returned at the head of an army, captured Rome, and was consul for three successive years (86-84 BC).

Proscriptions followed, and the death of Marius in January 86 left Cinna leader of the popular party. Receiving news of Sulla's imminent return in 84, Cinna prepared to resist him, but was murdered by his own troops. His son, of the same name, was privy to Caesar's murder in 44 BC.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Roman General: Publius Ventidius

When young he was captured in his native town of Asculum (which had joined the Social War, the revolt of the Italian socii, or allies, from Rome) by Pompeius Strabo, in whose triumphal procession he was led in 89 B.C. Though derided by ancient writers as a "muleteer," he was probably an army contractor.

Later he won the support of Julius Caesar, with whose help he entered the Senate. After Caesar's death, as praetor in 43, he raised three legions in Picenum and went to help Mark Antony after his defeat at Mutina. He was rewarded by being made consul suffectus (43).

Sent later by Antony to expel the invading Parthians from Asia Minor and Syria, he defeated them near the Taurus Mountains and at Mt. Amanus in 39, and at Mt. Gindarus in 38. He died soon after celebrating his Parthian triumph in 38 and received a public funeral.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Roman General: Marcus Atilius Regulus

Regulus was consul in 267 B.C. and completed the Roman conquest of southern Italy with the capture of Brundisium (now Brindisi). In 256 B.C. he was again elected consul. He led an expedition against Carthage and reached the city walls. The Carthaginians sued for peace but rejected Regulus' harsh terms. The Romans besieged the city until the next year.

In 255 B.C. the Carthaginians raised a new army that decisively defeated the Romans and took Regulus prisoner. Regulus was sent to Rome in 250 B.C. to urge acceptance of Carthage's terms for ending the First Punic War. Instead, he urged the Romans to continue the war.

Having given his word to his captors, he returned to Carthage, where he was put to death.

Died about 250 B.C.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Roman General: Flavius Aetius

Flavius Aetius, (d. AD 454), Roman general, born in Moesia; son of Gaudentius, count of Africa. He spent some years of his early life as a hostage among the Goths and Huns, obtaining a knowledge of their ways which enabled him afterwards to accomplish their defeat.

In 424 Aetius successfully invaded Italy at the head of 60,000 barbarians, and was given supreme command in Gaul. In 432 he killed Count Boniface in single combat, and became thereafter the most conspicuous figure in the moribund Roman Empire.

In 451 he led the imperial forces to victory against the Huns at Chalons-sur-Marne; but was assassinated three years later by Valentinian III, who suspected him of designs upon the crown.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Roman General: Gaius Cassius Longinus

Cassius distinguished himself in the Parthian War (53—51 B.C.). He joined Pompey the Great against Julius Caesar and in 48 B.C. fought at the Battle of Pharsala.

Although Caesar was victorious, he made Cassius praetor in Rome and promised to make him governor of Syria the following year. However, Cassius continued to conspire against Caesar and took part in his assassination in 44 B.C. Shortly afterward, Cassius fled to Syria, raised an army, and joined with Brutus to resist the armies of Octavian and Mark Antony.

The armies met at Philippi in Macedonia. There Cassius, thinking the battle was lost, killed himself.

Died near Philippi, Macedonia, 42 B.C.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Roman General: Nero Claudius Drusus

Nero Claudius Drusus (38-09 BC) younger brother of the future Emperor Tiberius. Having helped the latter to subdue the Rhaeti and Vindelici (13 BC), he turned to deal with the Germans beyond the Rhine.

In the course of three campaigns (12-09 BC) he advanced as far as the Elbe. On the return journey he was thrown from his horse, and died 30 days later.

Drusus was among the most distinguished men of his age; his military genius, combined with great physical beauty and grace of manner, made him popular alike with the army and the people. Drusus married Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony, who bore him three children of whom Claudius was later Emperor.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Roman General: Germanicus Caesar

Germanicus Caesar (15 BC-AD 19), Roman general, son of Nero Claudius Drusus by Antonia (Mark Antony's daughter). He was adopted by Tiberius in the lifetime of Augustus, and fought against the Pannonians, Dalmatians, and Germans (AD 7 - 12). On the death of Augustus (14) Germanicus had command of the legions in Germany when a serious mutiny broke out.

After restoring order he campaigned ineffectively in Germany for a couple of years. Tiberius recalled him in AD 17, and gave him a general command throughout the eastern provinces. At the same time, however, he appointed Piso governor of Syria. There was a clash of personalities between these two, and when Germanicus died at Antioch he believed himself to have been poisoned by Piso, whom Tiberius was obliged to sacrifice to the indignation of his subjects.

Germanicus was one of the most popular figures of his age. By his wife Agrippina he had nine children, including the Emperor Gaius (Caligula) and Agrippina, the mother of Nero.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Roman General: Gnaeus Julius Agricola

Roman soldier, politician, statesman and general. Born in Forum Julii (Frejus) in 37 AD, he became consul in AD 77, and then governor of Britain AD 78 - 87. Agricola was the first Roman to verify the fact that Britain was an island.

In 59 he served under Suetonius Paulinus in Britain; was quaestor in Asia 63, tribune in 65, praetor in 68.

Two years later he was placed in command of the XXth legion in Britain. Returning to Rome in 73, Agricola was raised to patrician rank (his family had hitherto belonged to the equestrian order), and served as governor of Aquitania from 74 to 78. In 79 he was consul suffectus, and was appointed governor of Britain. He extended Roman rule to the Firth of Forth in Scotland and won the battle of Mon Graupius. His fleet sailed round the north of Scotland and proved Britain an island.

Here he spent at least seven years, consolidating Roman power, and, in the intervals of campaigning and exploring, contributed much to the romanisation of the province. His success aroused the jealousy of Domitian, who recalled him to Rome, where he spent the remainder of his life in retirement.

Shortly before his appointment to the government of Britain Agricola gave his daughter in marriage to the historian Tacitus. Tacitus wrote about his life. Agricola died in 93 AD.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Roman General: Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa

Roman General: Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa

Agrippa, Marcus Vipsanius (63-12 BC), Roman statesman, supporter, friend, and most able general of Augustus. He came from a well-to-do but not a noble family, and was a fellow-student of Octavian at Apollonia when Julius Caesar was murdered.

He went to Rome with Octavian, and helped him to raise an army from Caesar's veterans and supporters. He did not play a prominent part in the campaign against Brutus and Cassius, but was thereafter the architect of Octavian's decisive victories at sea, first over Sextus Pompeius (36), then over Mark Antony (31).

His political advancement was irregular but rapid. He was praetor in 40, consul in 37, aedile for 33, then consul again in 28 and again in 27—violating the rule which specified ten years between consulships. In 29 he also helped Augustus to carry out a reform of the Senate, expelling some members and co-opting new ones.

Agrippa remained loyal to Augustus throughout his life; however he was an ambitious man, and his aims are uncertain. When Augustus thought he was dying in 23, it was to Agrippa that he gave his signet-ring, presumably intending thereby to make him his successor. On his recovery, however, Augustus began to groom Marcellus for the succession. This seems to have offended Agrippa, for in the same year, as compensation, Augustus sent him to govern the eastern half of the Empire.

The possibility of a rift between them, however, was averted by the death of Marcellus at the end of 23. Augustus finally solved the problem by marrying his daughter Julia to Agrippa, and making it clear that Agrippa's sons, Caius and Lucius Caesar, would be his heirs. Meanwhile, Agrippa became virtually joint-ruler with Augustus in 18, when he was given the power of a tribune in addition to his proconsular command. He died in 12 BC and was buried in the Mausoleum of Augustus.

By his first marriage, to Attica (daughter of Atticus), Agrippa became a very rich man, using his wealth to the advantage of the Roman people and Augustus' regime. He built the Pantheon, a new bridge over the Tiber, and the first public baths, rebuilt the sewers, and greatly improved the water supply of Rome with aqueducts and a new distribution network. He left the remainder of his fortune, which included the entire Gallipoli peninsula, to Augustus.

Agrippa also wrote an autobiography, and assembled the materials (later used by Strabo) from which the first map of the Empire was drawn. His great ability seems to have descended through the female, rather than the male, line, to his daughter, and grand-daughter, Agrippina, rather than to his grandson Caius and great-grandson Nero.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Roman General: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Marcus Licinius Crassus (c. 115-53 BC) was a Roman financier, soldier, and statesman.

Obliged to take refuge from the Marian party in Spain (87 BC), he returned with Sulla, in whose army he held a command (83-82).

The Sullan proscriptions opened for Crassus the door to enormous wealth: he bought up confiscated estates, trafficked largely in high-quality slaves, and further enriched himself by usury. His financial power lent weight to his political and military ambitions. In 71, as praetor, he crushed the rebellion of Spartacus; in 70 he was consul with Pompey; and in 60 became a member of the triumvirate with Caesar and Pompey.

In 55 he was again consul with his former colleague, and received the province of Syria for a period of five years. Later in the same year he set out for the East, hoping to increase his fortune by plundering those wealthy regions by making war against the Parthians, Mesopotamia, and even the temple at Jerusalem, had already suffered from his insatiable greed when, in 53, his army was annihilated by the Parthians under Surenas near Carrhae.

Crassus was taken prisoner and put to death.