3Why was the Second Triumvirate formed? Marc Antony was Caesar’s right-hand man and top general. He was very powerful on Caesar's death and took control of Rome, reading out Caesar’s will, etcOctavian, Caesar’s 19 year old great-nephew, was named as Caesar’s adopted son in his will and given the majority of his estateOctavian quickly headed for Rome, acquiring an army of Caesar’s supporters on the way
4Both men had seen how Caesar was able to take sole power and had similar ambitions for themselves However, they were not yet in a position to attack each other – Antony could not trust that his men would fight against Octavian, who could now call himself “Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus”, and Octavian lacked the men, experience and resources to take on such a powerful generalAbove: Bust of Marc Antony in Vatican museumLeft: Bust of Octavian, approx 30BC
5Octavian v AnthonyAt first it seemed there would be no alliance, because of senatorial interferenceRepublican Senators such as Cicero courted Octavian, inviting him to be the champion of the Republic against Marc Antony. They saw Antony as a much greater threatAntony angered Octavian by refusing to pay out Octavian’s full share of the willCicero made a series of great speeches attacking Antony, called the “Phillipics”.Cicero had Octavian made a senator and given the right to command troopsOctavian sided with the Senate and Antony was driven from Rome and defeated in battle by 2 Republican generals, accompanied by Octavian and his troops – both generals died and were thus unable to follow up their victory and Antony escaped.
6They also refused Octavian’s request for the consulship The deaths of the Republican generals, Pansa and Hirtius, left Octavian in sole command of the republican forces but the Senate refused to give him authority to defend Rome against AntonyThey also refused Octavian’s request for the consulshipFrustrated at the Senate’s lack of respect for him, Octavian marched into Rome and made himself consul by force, then made overtures towards AntonyAntony, Octavian and Lepidus (another of Caesar’s generals) met in 43BC and formally agreed to share the empire’s government between them – the Second Triumvirate was formedBust of Cicero, whose plan to use Octavian to save the Republic failed so badly
7How did the Second Triumvirate govern Rome? This was a formal agreement lasting from 43-33BCIt was sealed by a marriage pact – Antony married Octavian’s sister, OctaviaThe triumvirs were given legal powers higher than any other offices in RomeThey had the same powers as a dictator and their decrees had the weight of lawOriginally they were only given these powers for 5 years but this was renewed for another 5 yearsEach triumvir was given control of an area – Antony was given the East (including Asia and Egypt), Octavian the West (including Rome) and Lepidus a smaller share – Hispania and AfricaThe details were finalised in the Treaty of Brundisium 40BCCoin from 40BC celebrating the marriage of Antony (top) and Octavia (below)
8The triumvirs used their powers to carry out proscriptions of their opponents in Rome Proscriptions were death lists. There were great rewards for anyone who killed a proscribed man and heavy punishments for those who sheltered such a manThe 2000 plus victims of the proscriptions included CiceroAfter they had been killed their property was confiscated to fill the Senate’s treasuryThe triumvirs used this money to fund a war against Caesar’s assassins – this way Antony and Octavian could claim to be acting out of pietas (duty) towards their father/ patronAntony and Octavian defeated Caesar’s murderers, Cassius and Brutus, in 2 battles at Philippi in 42BC, due mainly to Antony’s skilled generalship. Both Cassius and Brutus committed suicide.
9Why did the Second Triumvirate collapse? It was never likely to lastBoth Antony and Octavian had the aim of becoming most powerful man/sole ruler in RomeAntony was jealous that Octavian had been named Caesar’s heirOctavian resented Antony’s control of the wealth of the eastLepidus was never strong enough to stand between themBust of Lepidus, the weakest triumvir
10How did the Second Triumvirate collapse? Octavian began by undermining the weakest triumvir, LepidusLepidus made the mistake of trying to accept the surrender of Sicily, which Octavian said was an attempt to take his territoriesOctavian’s agents had been bribing and recruiting Lepidus’ men and his forces quickly melted awayHe was forced to surrender to OctavianOctavian removed his triumvir powers and placed him under house arrest but did not execute him out of respect for the fact he was Rome’s Pontifex Maximus (highest priest)This left Octavian and Antony as the two most powerful men in the empire
11Octavian and Antony began moves to try to undermine each other Antony had given Octavian 120 ships to help defeat a naval uprising by Sextus Pompeius (son of Pompey the Great), in exchange for 20,00 troops to use in ParthiaOctavian refused to provide the men he promised, in the end only sending 2000A propaganda war between them beganAntony had his agents in Rome circulate rumours that Octavian was sleeping with lots of powerful men’s wives (this may have been true!) and that he slept with his own great uncle, Caesar, to get favourOctavian portrayed himself as a true Roman, upholding traditional Roman values, while characterising Antony as a weak fool corrupted by Eastern decadence and a love-slave to the Egyptian queen CleopatraCleopatra, Queen of Egypt
12Antony tried to improve his standing in the east by celebrating a triumph in Egypt and making proclamations called the Donations of Alexandria, where he named his children by Cleopatra as rulers of three sections of the eastern Roman empireThis was acceptable in the east, where people were used to monarchies, but Octavian could use it in Rome as evidence Antony was plotting to make Cleopatra Queen of Rome and shift the empire’s capital to AlexandriaOctavian undermined Antony even more by reading aloud Antony’s (possibly forged) will saying that he wanted to be buried with Cleopatra in EgyptOctavian set himself up as the epitome of traditional Roman values. He built a huge mausoleum for his family in Rome in the style of old Roman tombs, emphasised the virtues of his own Roman wife, Livia, lived a life of relative modesty (with a small house and eating peasant style food) and restored temples and Roman religious festivalsThis made a huge contrast with Antony, who sent home and then divorced his virtuous and faithful Roman wife, Octavia, to marry Cleopatra instead , and who lived in the luxury of Cleopatra’s palace
13By 32BC Octavian had built up enough support to have the Senate declare war on Egypt, which was in effect an attack on Antony, ending the triumvirateOctavian and his close friend and best general, Agrippa, landed forces in Egypt which were able to harass Antony and Cleopatra’s armyOctavian’s navy, under Agrippa’s command, defeated the navy of Cleopatra and Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31BCCleopatra and Antony’s ships broke though and escaped and they attempted to muster forces on land to defend EgyptHowever, they could not muster enough support and Antony committed suicide in 30BCCleopatra surrendered to Octavian , perhaps in the hope of gaining mercy, but when she saw this would not happen she also committed suicideOctavian killed Antony’s eldest son by Cleopatra and also Caesar’s son by Cleopatra as they were potential rivalsHe was now sole ruler of the Roman empire…