Civil War on Pompey Essay

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Civil War on Pompey

In 49 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army, declaring civil war on Pompey and his supporters in the Senate. In this paper, I will explore the political and legal issues that pushed Caesar to the brink.

Looking at Rome’s political struggles at the dawn of the first century B.C., it becomes apparent that the groundwork for Caesar’s Republic shattering revolt was lain down by Marius and Sulla. To be more specific, the stage was set by the class struggles between the Aristocracy, who demanded control of the Republic by virtue of tradition, and the masses, which demanded a voice.

Marius made a major step in pushing the Republic towards constitutional upheaval when, in 107 B.C., he abolished
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No method was too shameful for Sulpicius. He armed and maintained a private army of around 3,000 men for intimidation; he openly paid bribes in the forum. Ultimately, he bypassed the Senate, and placed before the plebeian assembly a law that would transfer the command against Mithridates to Marius. The Consuls responded with a suspension of public business to prevent the bill from being voted on. Sulpicius then led his private army of enforcers against the consuls at the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Under duress, Sulla cancelled the suspension of public business and fled to his legions (Plutarch 76).

Once Sulla reached the legions, he informed his men of the great injustice that Sulpicius, their tribune, had done them. As far as they were concerned, they had been robbed of easy booty. These legionaries were more than willing to follow Sulla to Rome because, as I mentioned above, they were totally dependant on their commander for income, and pillaging the riches of Greece was definitely in their best interest (Plutarch, 75-77). Sulla’s motives were slightly more respectable, for he was interested in restoring the Senate’s ancestral power (Meier, 77).

Sulla and his legions swiftly restored order to Rome, and power to the Senate. Prices were put on the heads of popular leaders, like Marius, and Sulpicius was actually tossed off

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