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jamonwindeyer

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HSC Ancient History Question Thread
« on: March 16, 2017, 01:48:16 pm »
+3


To go straight to posts from the new syllabus (2019+), click here.

What is this thread for?
If you have general questions about the HSC Ancient History course or how to improve in certain areas, this is the place to ask! 👌


Who can/will answer questions?
Everyone is welcome to contribute; even if you're unsure of yourself, providing different perspectives is incredibly valuable.

Please don't be dissuaded by the fact that you haven't finished Year 12, or didn't score as highly as others, or your advice contradicts something else you've seen on this thread, or whatever; none of this disqualifies you from helping others. And if you're worried you do have some sort of misconception, put it out there and someone else can clarify and modify your understanding! 

There'll be a whole bunch of other high-scoring students with their own wealths of wisdom to share with you. So you may even get multiple answers from different people offering their insights - very cool.


To ask a question or make a post, you will first need an ATAR Notes account. You probably already have one, but if you don't, it takes about four seconds to sign up - and completely free!

OTHER ANCIENT HISTORY RESOURCES

Original post.
Hey all! Just doing the rounds and I've realised there is no Question thread for Ancient History!

Let's make this the one stop shop for all your Ancient History queries. We've got a bunch of history experts around the forums, including several of our NSW lecturers who smashed the subject. So, pop your questions here and get some detailed answers!! ;D

If you want to ask a question, you'll have to register for a FREE account here!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 04:56:04 pm by jamonwindeyer »

shamus.clarke

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2017, 04:15:20 pm »
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Hi ATAR Notes,

I have an ancient history assessment next week focusing on Augustus. I've looked around for resources on this topic, but mostly, Pompeii and Sparta are the subjects with the most focus. The question for the essay is "Evaluate the success of Augustus' reform program." I have two body paragraphs so far on social and political but I am worried if I should try to include religious and military as well. I can show you what I have so far if it's easier. Any advice would be so helpful!

sudodds

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 10:52:35 pm »
+1
Hi ATAR Notes,

I have an ancient history assessment next week focusing on Augustus. I've looked around for resources on this topic, but mostly, Pompeii and Sparta are the subjects with the most focus. The question for the essay is "Evaluate the success of Augustus' reform program." I have two body paragraphs so far on social and political but I am worried if I should try to include religious and military as well. I can show you what I have so far if it's easier. Any advice would be so helpful!

Hey shamus :)

I unfortunately studied the topic that falls right after the Augustan Period (the Julio-Claudian dynasty) so in terms of content I'm not much help beyond a basic outline of Augustus' life and significance (part of the non-examinable content of our section). However, looking at the way that the question is structured (am I right in assuming it is quite general?) I'd say that the structure that you are using is perfect! I know that when i answered similar questions on the Julio-Claudian Princeps Claudius and Tiberius I wrote thematic essays, and yes I included paragraphs on the religious, militaristic/geopolitical (I merged these together as when it came to the Julio-Claudian Princeps a lot of the military stuff was directly linked to expansion and consolidation of the Empire - from what I can remember of Augustus, I'd say that'd be pretty relevant to him too!) and economic factors also :)

Hope this helps!

(P.S. more than happy to set up an essay thread for Ancient if that is a thing people think they would find useful!)
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jenna.ridgway

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 11:22:32 pm »
0
Hi there,
I am currently studying The Fall of the Roman Republic. For my assessment this term, I have an essay asking me to "Explain the rise and the fall of the First Triumvirate"
I handed my teacher a practise paragraph, but he said it read to much like a description. I'll insert an excerpt what said I my paragraph:

According to historian Donald L. Wasson, Rome was in “dire straits” preceding the rise of the First Triumvirate. It is suggested that Roman political order was in chaos, resulting in street violence and rioting. A conspiracy to overthrow the Roman leadership, led by Lucius Sergius Catiline had recently been exposed, leading many to believe it was only a matter of time before the Republic would fall. This unstable pollical climate allowed the men the opportunity to seize control and eventually transform the government. According to Wasson, Marcus Licinius Crassus (115BCE – 53 BCE) was one of the “richest men in Rome.” In 71 BCE, Crassus led a victorious campaign against Spartacus, who had been rampaging his way across Italy for the past two years. Although the military praise should have gone to Crassus for his achievements, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (106BCE – 48BCE) stole most of the credit, despite only being involved in rounding up of the stragglers. Since Crassus “never forgot Pompey’s arrogance,” (Wilson) a rift between the two men was established from the very beginning, foreshadowing the eventual collapse of their liaison. Pompey himself was regarded as a great military leader, “He was awarded a triumph exceeding in brilliance” (Appian), having successfully defeated Sertorius, the Marian leader in 71 BCE. Although named pro-consul alongside Crassus, Pompey desired land for his veterans, however, standing in his way were the more conservative members of the Senate, who denied his request. At the same time, another general, Gaius Julius Caesar (100BCE – 44BCE) was “making a name for himself… as a popular figure with the common people of Rome” (David White)...

My teacher said it read like a description, or a timeline of the events, and I needed to make it more analytical.
So I was wondering, how do i go about an "explain" question without using too much description !?
Thanks heaps,
Jenna.

sudodds

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 12:24:03 am »
+1
Hi there,
I am currently studying The Fall of the Roman Republic. For my assessment this term, I have an essay asking me to "Explain the rise and the fall of the First Triumvirate"
I handed my teacher a practise paragraph, but he said it read to much like a description. I'll insert an excerpt what said I my paragraph:

My teacher said it read like a description, or a timeline of the events, and I needed to make it more analytical.
So I was wondering, how do i go about an "explain" question without using too much description !?
Thanks heaps,
Jenna.

Hi Jenna!

I didn't study that topic, but like the question below I can defs still help with structure!
My comments are in bold :)

Spoiler
According to historian Donald L. Wasson, Rome was in “dire straits” preceding the rise of the First Triumvirate. Don't start a paragraph with a quote from a historian, but instead YOUR OWN judgement. The judgement can remain - "Rome was in a significantly negative political situation preceding the rise of the First Triumvirate" - but it has to be your own, then use the historian later when you want to back up why YOU have come to that conclusion. It is suggested that Roman political order was in chaos, resulting in street violence and rioting. Maybe you could bring your historian's quote here to establish this? A conspiracy to overthrow the Roman leadership, led by Lucius Sergius Catiline had recently been exposed, leading many to believe it was only a matter of time before the Republic would fall. This unstable pollical climate allowed the men the opportunity to seize control and eventually transform the government. Okay so it is at this point that you stop answering the question and slip into re-tell According to Wasson, Marcus Licinius Crassus (115BCE – 53 BCE) I mean like, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, like you probably won't lose marks, but you don't need to provide the DOB/DOD for every personality you mention, unless that date is specifically important. was one of the “richest men in Rome.” Nice integration of a quote In 71 BCE, Crassus led a victorious campaign against Spartacus, who had been rampaging his way across Italy for the past two years. Although the military praise should have gone to Crassus for his achievements, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (106BCE – 48BCE) stole most of the credit, despite only being involved in rounding up of the stragglers. Since Crassus “never forgot Pompey’s arrogance,” (Wilson) a rift between the two men was established from the very beginning, foreshadowing the eventual collapse of their liaison. You kind of briefly come back to your judgement here, but I can defs see what your teacher is saying - shall elaborate outside of the spoiler Pompey himself was regarded as a great military leader, “He was awarded a triumph exceeding in brilliance” (Appian), having successfully defeated Sertorius, the Marian leader in 71 BCE. What does this have to do with your judgement? Although named pro-consul alongside Crassus, Pompey desired land for his veterans, however, standing in his way were the more conservative members of the Senate, who denied his request. At the same time, another general, Gaius Julius Caesar (100BCE – 44BCE) was “making a name for himself… as a popular figure with the common people of Rome” (David White)...

Okay! So. As I said within the paragraph, I agree with your teachers assessment. Reading your paragraph, I felt like I was reading an outline of the event, and a description of the key players... because well... I was. But that's okay! It's early on in the year, and you have more than enough time to adjust your essay writing (you are by no means the only one with this problem - probably the most consistent issue that arises every year with HSC history, whether it be in Modern, Ancient or even Extension) :)

The reason it came across that way is you (sort of - see my comments) made a judgement at the beginning that stated that Rome was in a "dire" situation, and that the Roman political order was in chaos, and never really explained it. I can see where there can be a confusion in the wording of the question, but I don't think (in my limited knowledge of this period) that the question would be asking you to explain the chronological occurrences of the rise and fall of the first triumvirate, but moreso the themes that led to the rise and fall of the first triumvirate.

The information that you provide in regards to the various leaders is relevant in establishing political turmoil, but you need to draw it all back into one, driving concept or theme in order to analyse. From reading this I'd say that a big reason that such turmoil was caused was the different motives and aims of the various leaders, and their own power-hungry desires. So within your explanation, you could say "a significant contributing factor for this political turmoil were the conflicting aims and purposes of the various leaders, and their desire for individual power" Then, instead of just mentioning each as if you were writing a brief biography, use them instead as examples to back up this statement. For example:

"...this is evident through the conflict between Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, whereby the latter took credit for Crassus' military achievements in order to further advance his own political aims and influence... this is further established through Pompey's personal desire for land for his veterans, which resulted in a conflict between himself and the Senate, further contributing to overall political turmoil that defined the period, and led to the rise of the First Triumvirate"

Does this make sense (please let me know if it doesn't and I'll try and explain further  :))?

Also just another point, but your paragraph came across a little bit like a shopping list of historians. Historians are great! And the way you introduced a lot of them was smooth, but that is the thing... you mention A LOT of them. I think sometimes it would be better to maybe forget to use a quote here or there and instead explain why YOU feel a certain way, rather than just parroting a historians opinion.

I hope this helps/makes sense! A bit tricky when I haven't studied the topic. There were defs some instances where I was not sure if they were relevant to your argument when they absolutely might have been! In the end it is up to you to make the call :) but hopefully this gives you a bit of a leg up!

Susie
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 12:25:51 am by sudodds »
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jenna.ridgway

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 11:37:01 am »
+2
Thanks so much Susie, you comments really helped a lot! I'm going to try link back to the overarching question more and make all my info relevant so it doesn't read like a timeline. ... Also cut down on historians !  :P
Thanks again !!

grace.estelle

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 04:43:45 pm »
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Hi Susie, can you check my intro/paragraph structure and whether I am using my quotes effectively etc.
Thanks!

Question: Explain the formation, role and breakdown of the First Triumvirate

At a time when Rome was in political upheaval, three most ambitious men joined together in a political alliance with aims to overthrow the Senate. In 60BC, Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus were fuelled by the desire to further their own personal successes that had become stagnant due to the Senate’s rejection of their requests. While their initial successes came from collective support and trust in one another, later tensions and jealousy between the men brought the First Triumvirate to an inevitable end.

The First Triumvirate was formed under the Senate’s disagreement with Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. Roman historian Titus Livy described the coalition as “conspiracy against the state,” where the three men were united by their common hatred towards the Senate for preventing them from further political success. According to Scullard, Pompey wanted the senate to approve his “double request that his eastern settlement should be ratified...land provided for his veterans.”While this request was highly common among successful military leaders, Appian notes, “A number of senators were jealous” and rejected his demands, perhaps due to Pompey’s  unconventional escalation to power despite his young age. As Pompey was a highly ambitious man who constantly desired more power, he was compelled to join the Triumvirate in order to overturn the Senate’s decision. The Senate had been wary of not only Caesar’s popularity with the people, but also as Suetonius suggests, “he was suspected of having made a conspiracy with Crassus,” hence making it increasingly difficult to be elected as consul of 59BC. Similarly, Scullard argued that Crassus’ supporters had been ‘economically raped’ during the Mithridatic Wars and in order for him to regain their respect, the Senate needed to grant compensation for the tax collectors. However Crassus’ request was also denied, causing him to turn to Caesar for help in fulfilling his promises to the people. Thus, the formation of the First Triumvirate was the three men’s reaction to the Senate’s rejection of their various commands.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 04:45:33 pm by grace.estelle »
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sudodds

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 05:24:27 pm »
+1
Hi Susie, can you check my paragraph structure and whether I am using my quotes effectively etc.
Thanks!

Sure thing Grace!

Edits on your paragraph can be found in the spoiler :)

Spoiler
The First Triumvirate was formed under the Senate’s disagreement with Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. Judgement? Your first sentence MUST always be a judgement, not just an explanation or description. Remember that this is an essay and not a narrative or outline, therefore you must construct an arguement. For example, (as someone who hasn't studied the unit and is basing this entirely around this statement), an effective judgement could look like - 'The formation of the first Triumvirate was primarily due to the Senates conflict with the three leaders, Ceasar, Pompey and Crassus. - This may look like I just said the same thing, but wording is important here, particularly the use of "primarily due to" - that is where the judgement is. Roman historian Titus Livy described the coalition as “conspiracy against the state,” where the three men were united by their common hatred towards the Senate for preventing them from further political success. Nice explanation and integration of quoteAccording to Scullard, Pompey wanted the senate to approve his “double request that his eastern settlement should be ratified...land provided for his veterans.” Was it really necessary that Scullard says this? Couldn't you just say it yourself in your own words? I always try and keep my use of historians to providing and justifying judgements, not for an outline or description of an event or factor. It just doesn't really add anything to your argumentWhile this request was highly common among successful military leaders, Appian A lot of historians in a very short amount of time notes, “A number of senators were jealous” and rejected his demands, perhaps due to Pompey’s  unconventional escalation to power despite his young age. As Pompey was a highly ambitious man who constantly desired more power, he was compelled to join the Triumvirate in order to overturn the Senate’s decision. The Senate had been wary of not only Caesar’s popularity with the people, but also as Suetonius suggests, “he was suspected of having made a conspiracy with Crassus,” hence making it increasingly difficult to be elected as consul of 59BC. Similarly, Scullard argued that Crassus’ supporters had been ‘economically raped’ a much more effective use of a quote during the Mithridatic Wars and in order for him to regain their respect, the Senate needed to grant compensation for the tax collectors. However Crassus’ request was also denied, causing him to turn to Caesar for help in fulfilling his promises to the people. Thus, the formation of the First Triumvirate was the three men’s reaction to the Senate’s rejection of their various commands.

First of all, I highly doubt you'd get an "Explain..." essay question in the HSC, as that is a lower order question in comparison to "Assess", "Evaluate", "Justify" or "To what extent." You can get this type of question as a short answer in Section I and II, or for part A of Section III, but never for a Section IV essay. Given how unlikely this is, I have been a bit tougher, and marked according to a structure that I believe will maximise your marks in the HSC.

As an explain question, your response is pretty good :) There is an overload of historians, but overall you have explained the event well and in detail :) Just make sure that your response is centered around your own understanding and judgement, rather than that of a historian. They shouldn't be the driving force behind your essay, but just as supplementory detail and justification for your own points.

Also be careful not to slip into narrative and re-tell. As an explain question this isn't too bad, but you'd be venturing into the danger zone for a higher order question. However this is easily fixed :) Just make sure that you are consistently referencing the question, and brining your points back to this. For example instead of this:

As Pompey was a highly ambitious man who constantly desired more power, he was compelled to join the Triumvirate in order to overturn the Senate’s decision.

You could try re-phrasing it like this:

The role of this senetorial conflict in the formation of the First Triumvirate is further evident through Pompey's attitudes towards power, whereby he was compelled to join the Triumvirate in order to overturn the Senate's decision.

In the second sentence, I am drawing upon and linking back to the question much more explictly, which will stop from slipping into retell :)

Hope this helps! Overall this was a good attempt, you clearly have a keen understanding of your topic in regards to detail which will definitely help a lot during your exams, just a few structural issues to iron out (the easy stuff  ;)). Good luck! If you need any more help please pop back here at any time and let me know :)

Susie


« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 05:31:37 pm by sudodds »
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grace.estelle

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 05:34:39 pm »
+1

Hope this helps! Overall this was a good attempt, you clearly have a keen understanding of your topic in regards to detail which will definitely help a lot during your exams, just a few structural issues to iron out (the easy stuff  ;)). Good luck! If you need any more help please pop back here at any time and let me know :)

Susie

If I could "like" this 10 times I would, your feedback is so good I want to cry!!! THANK YOU!

how many historians would you suggest putting in a paragraph? I sometimes feel like I'm writing an english essay and have to put in around 4...
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sudodds

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2017, 05:45:30 pm »
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If I could "like" this 10 times I would, your feedback is so good I want to cry!!! THANK YOU!

how many historians would you suggest putting in a paragraph? I sometimes feel like I'm writing an english essay and have to put in around 4...
Aw thank you! This makes me really happy, so glad that you found it helpful!  ;D

In terms of the amount of historians, I don't really think that there is a definitive answer here.

Though historians are comparatively more important in Ancient than in Modern History, its not really the fact that they are historians that is important, more that they are evidence. You DO want to be consistently using evidence to back up your points, and should really be used to back up almost any point you make. However evidence doesn't just encompass historians, but also archeological sources, statistics, etc. etc, and IMO archeological sources in particular are even better to use than historians! For example when I studied the Julio-Claudians, instead of using a quote from Scullard or Tacitus to suggest that Claudius' reign was dominated by the influence of Agrippina the Younger, I would specifically reference archeological evidence such as numismatic and statue depictions, that place her on an equal level to the Princeps (which was pretty crazy!).

You want to be using evidence to back up any point that you make, whether that is 2 key points per paragraph or 100 (though that'd be a pretty long paragraph)! And evidence most definitely can include historians! But if you feel like you're going a bit overboard, try and break up their use with other types of sources as well :)
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grace.estelle

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2017, 06:05:16 pm »
+1
Aw thank you! This makes me really happy, so glad that you found it helpful!  ;D

In terms of the amount of historians, I don't really think that there is a definitive answer here.

Though historians are comparatively more important in Ancient than in Modern History, its not really the fact that they are historians that is important, more that they are evidence. You DO want to be consistently using evidence to back up your points, and should really be used to back up almost any point you make. However evidence doesn't just encompass historians, but also archeological sources, statistics, etc. etc, and IMO archeological sources in particular are even better to use than historians! For example when I studied the Julio-Claudians, instead of using a quote from Scullard or Tacitus to suggest that Claudius' reign was dominated by the influence of Agrippina the Younger, I would specifically reference archeological evidence such as numismatic and statue depictions, that place her on an equal level to the Princeps (which was pretty crazy!).

You want to be using evidence to back up any point that you make, whether that is 2 key points per paragraph or 100 (though that'd be a pretty long paragraph)! And evidence most definitely can include historians! But if you feel like you're going a bit overboard, try and break up their use with other types of sources as well :)

Thanks! I'll try find some archaeological evidence then ;D
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grace.estelle

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 04:02:46 pm »
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Hi Susie, I have another question regarding the 'explain' question I had. Is there another way to include a judgement in the topic sentence without always saying it was "due to"?
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sudodds

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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 08:00:20 pm »
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Hi Susie, I have another question regarding the 'explain' question I had. Is there another way to include a judgement in the topic sentence without always saying it was "due to"?

Do you mean another way to phrase the statement "The formation of the first Triumvirate was primarily due to the Senates conflict with the three leaders, Ceasar, Pompey and Crassus"?

"due to" --> "a result of", "contributed by", etc. etc.

If you're asking this question though in regards to varying your sentence formation throughout your response, you don't need to worry :) I know in English they can get really pissy over language choices, but when it comes to HSC history they really don't mind, and in my opinion its actually better to use consistent wording throughout, as it gives the marker less opportunity to see a split judgement (which you want to avoid at all costs!).
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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 09:32:22 pm »
+1
Do you mean another way to phrase the statement "The formation of the first Triumvirate was primarily due to the Senates conflict with the three leaders, Ceasar, Pompey and Crassus"?

"due to" --> "a result of", "contributed by", etc. etc.

If you're asking this question though in regards to varying your sentence formation throughout your response, you don't need to worry :) I know in English they can get really pissy over language choices, but when it comes to HSC history they really don't mind, and in my opinion its actually better to use consistent wording throughout, as it gives the marker less opportunity to see a split judgement (which you want to avoid at all costs!).


Yes! I was asking so that I could vary my judgement but if the markers don't mind than YAY!! Thank you  ;D
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Re: Ancient History Question Thread
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 10:22:51 pm »
+1
Hi Susie, could you mark my essay please?  :-* Also, I know you didn't study my topic, but for the 'roles' part in para 3, would I have to go into specific details or is what I'm doing still ok?

Explain the formation, role and breakdown of the First Triumvirate.

At a time when Rome was in political upheaval, three most ambitious men joined together in a political alliance with aims to overthrow the Senate. In 60BC, Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus were fuelled by the desire to further their own personal successes that had become stagnant due to the Senate’s rejection of their requests. While their initial successes came from collective support and trust in one another, later tensions and jealousy between the men brought the First Triumvirate to an inevitable end.

The formation of The First Triumvirate was primarily due to the Senate’s disagreement with Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. Roman historian Titus Livy described the coalition as “conspiracy against the state,” where the three men were united by their common hatred towards the Senate for preventing them from further political success. Pompey’s rejected requests were according to Appian, due to the senators’ jealousy which was perhaps brought about by Pompey’s unconventional escalation to power, in particular his position as consul of 70BC despite his young age. As Pompey was a highly ambitious man who constantly desired more power, the senatorial conflict compelled him to join the triumvirate in order to overturn their decision. Similarly, Crassus’ supporters had been impacted by the Mithridatic Wars and in order for him to regain their respect, the Senate needed to grant compensation to these tax collectors. However Crassus’ request was also denied, causing him to turn to Caesar for help in fulfilling his promises to the people. The Senate, however had not only become extremely wary of Caesar’s popularity with the people, but also as Suetonius suggests, “he was suspected of having made a conspiracy with Crassus,” hence making it increasingly difficult for him to be elected consul of 59BC. Thus, the formation of the First Triumvirate was the three men’s collective reaction to the Senate’s rejection of their various commands.

The three men’s inclusion in the First Triumvirate was largely due to Caesar’s strategically built alliance whereby he combined Pompey and Crassus’s wealth and prestige to further his career and subsequently, theirs. Crassus was not only a friend of Caesar’s who had financially supported him in his previous position as Pontifex Maximus, but according to Sallust, “Tarquinius named Crassus, a noble of great wealth and of the highest rank.” Caesar clearly saw the benefit of inviting such a man into the alliance as he himself, had no wealth to gain him the power to the extent that he desired. Pompey on the other hand, was the most successful military general as verified by Appian in “gave him command of all forces...never been given to any one general before.” It is likely that Caesar saw that Pompey’s loyal veterans could ignite fear in the Senate – forcing them to abide by the three men’s wishes – hence he was also invited into the liaison. Hence it is evident that Caesar knew “without the aid of both...he could never come to any great power” (Cassius Duo). As such, Caesar extended the invitation to Pompey and Crassus to support him in his consulship in return for passing their rejected requests, and granting them commands over promising provinces.

It was largely due to Caesar’s later role as sole consul of Rome which aimed to surpass the power of the Senate to maximise the political careers of each man. Caesar’s strategic and power-hungry nature enabled him to push for illegal reforms that benefitted the members of the triumvirate. Yet the people’s approval of his bills was a result of his threatening actions as noted by Plutarch in “[Pompey] filled the city with his soldiers,” hence suggesting that the men used unconstitutional force to ensure that their laws were passed. This further confirmed the powerful role individuals played when they were backed by military strength, allowing them to force the Senate into inactivity. While this abuse of power contributed towards the men’s attainment of increasing military commands, it also interfered with Rome’s political climate. This is supported by modern historian Matthias Gelzer who argues that the men only considered “personal interests without regard for the organs provided by the constitution.” As a result, it is evident that the combined strengths of the men and their dynamic personalities enabled the First Triumvirate to become significant for its role to challenge and overturn the Roman constitution.

Although Crassus’ and Caesar’s daughter’s deaths were two reasons for the breakdown of the first triumvirate, ultimately it was due to the uneven strength of the three men which caused irrevocable political tensions. Caesar’s victories in Gaul created jealousy among the two other powerful men, hence threatening the unity of the coalition. It is also highly likely that Caesar’s method of passing Pompey’s previous agrarian law which according to Plutarch, “brought Pompey out openly in front of the people,” led the tribunes to believe that Pompey was hostile. This in turn, provoked Pompey’s resentment towards Caesar as he began to lose the people’s respect. Modern historian Christina Boggs similarly argues that the “insatiable thirst for power” suggests that while the political alliance was a mutual agreement, each man sought to achieve more popularity and power than the other without regard for their initial political agreement. This is reiterated by Suetonius who commented “he [Caesar] did very much as he pleased,” hence contributing to the rivalry between himself and Pompey. As a result of the arising jealousy, the later events of Julia’s and Crassus’ death cemented the end of the alliance. Plutarch confirms this in “could not satisfy the ambition of two men...they who were only two.” Since Julia served as the glue that forced Pompey and Caesar into a civil relationship, her death served as a catalyst for the inevitable collapse of the First Triumvirate.

Ultimately, the formation of the First Triumvirate was due to the Senate’s disagreement with Caesar, Pompey and Crassus which fuelled their desire to surpass their laws, and the Roman constitution itself. However, what once was a collective desire for success and power, was outweighed by each member’s personal interests to further their own reputation in the political arena. As such, jealousy towards another man’s popularity sought to break up the ‘triumvirates’.
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