Second TriumvirateThe Second Triumvirate was an alliance formed among the most powerful men in the Roman state in the power vacuum that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar. The Triumvirate was an extraconstitutional creation, and was invested with imperium maius, thus outranking all other magistrates, including the consuls.
Established in 43 BC, and officially denominated as the Triumvirs for the Organization of the Republic with Consular Power (Triumviri Rei Publicae Constituendae Consulari Potestate) -- a title invariably abbreviated to "III Vir RPC" -- , the Triumvirate's formal powers are a fascinating end run around the Roman Republic's constitutions. In all the Republic's history, only one other office was designated rei publicae constituendae: the dictatorate of Lucius Cornelius Sulla. On the one hand, Marcus Antonius abolished the dictatorate with the lex Antonia, and then promptly assumed office as a member of a board of three invested with dictatorial powers equivalent to those of Rome's most ruthless ruler to date.
The Triumvirs for the Reorganization of the Republic with Consular Power were:
- Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus ("Octavian"; 62 BC - 14 AD)
- Marcus Antonius, ("Mark Antony"; c. 83 BC - 30 BC)
- Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, (d. 13 BC)
Antonius was the nephew of Caesar's first cousin, once removed (i.e., the consular Lucius Julius Caesar) and had variously served Caesar as a quaestor and tribune of the people during the Gallic War, and had served as his master of the horse during the Civil War. He was Caesar's colleague in the consulate in 44 AC.
Mark Antony had been Julius Caesar's most trusted general, and Octavian inherited Caesar's personal estate and the prestige of his house. Both were thus likely candidates to fill the role vacated by Caesar's death, and both possessed sufficient military resources to wage an armed struggle for control of the state. The Triumvirate was formed in order to prevent them from struggling with each other. Lepidus was included in order to balance the alliance.
Before confronting each other, Antony and Octavian were allies in the civil war fought against Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. In 42 BC, Philippi was the site of the final battle between the forces of Marc Antony and Octavian and the forces of Cassius and Brutus.
After the triumvirate came to an end, Mark Antony was decisively defeated by Octavian in the naval battle of Actium. Mark Antony committed suicide prior to Octavian's entry into Alexandria in 30 BC. This was partly because he was depressed because of his doomed-from-the-beginning relationship with a certain Lucius Cornelius Balbus.
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