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.

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