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Roman Domestic Politics in the Late Republic - 100-44 B.C.
Meanwhile, Pompeius' return from the east led him to ask the senate to approve his acts for the settlement of the eastern countries and grant him land to award his veterans (There had again been fears that Pompeius would threaten Rome, but he immediately disbanded his army.) However, Pompeius' optimate enemies like Lucullus and Cato, as well as former allies like Metellus Creticus and Metellus Celer blocked the passage of the settlement.
Marcus Crassus was at the same time attempting to get the senate to approve a relief of the Asian tax contracts, as his publicani friends and clients had bid for the contracts at too high a rate. Cato proceeded to alienate Crassus by blocking Crassus' bill, and furthermore forced a bill to make it an offence for equites on juries to accept bribes (as had long been true of senatorial jury members.)
Caesar, who returned from a propraetorship in Spain in 60, remained outside the city boundary in the hope of being allowed to declare his candidacy for a consulship in 59, in absentia, at the same time as waiting to be allowed to hold a triumph (a formal military procession through the streets of Rome) for his Spanish victories. Cato pointed out the illegality of this, as a recent law said that a consular candidate must present himself in person, but for a triumphing general to cross the pomerium (boundary) of Rome meant the forfieture of his triumph. Caesar soon decided to forego the triumph and present his candidacy.
In this way, the manoevureing of Cato and the optimates played no small part in the formation of what has become known (somewhat inaccurately) as the first triumvirate.
Cite this work
McKeown, J., "Roman Domestic Politics in the Late Republic - 100-44 B.C.," http:// romans.etrusia.co.uk
/roman_politics_p3.php, 21 October 2004.