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What are the key strengths and weaknesses in both the First and Second Triumvirate?

The First Triumvirate was a well-balanced partnership bonded through marriages. However, it never had full support of the Senate, and Caesar exploited Crassus and Pompey. The Second Triumvirate had the military support and power to circumvent the Senate. The Senate never trusted Antony or Lepidus, and Octavian and Antony never liked each other.

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First Triumvirate


  • The three rulers each had skills and attributes that presented a well-rounded front. Crassus had extreme wealth and the influence it could buy. Pompey had fame and the loyalty of the military. Caesar had the savvy to navigate the treacherous politics of the day.
  • The marriages that united the men of the triumvirate were strong. Pompey was very pleased with his marriage to Caesar's daughter Julia. Caesar formed a powerful bond with Calpurnia, a member of a family with close ties to Crassus.


  • Caesar was more concerned with using his partnership with Pompey and Crassus for personal gain. This eventually led to distrust and disfunction within the triumvirate.
  • The triumvirate never had the full trust of the Senate. When the triumvirate introduced land reforms that gave more land to veterans and the poor, wealthy senators felt threatened and pulled support from the triumvirate.

Second Triumvirate


  • It had the loyalty of most of Rome's military. This allowed the Triumvirate to wage a successful war against their enemies, particularly against the conspirators involved in Caesar's assassination.
  • Beginning in 43 BCE, the triumvirate was granted Lex Titia. This state of emergency measure allowed it to issue decrees, create laws, and issue proscriptions without the Senate's prior approval.


  • Octavian and Antony never truly trusted each other. They each believed that they were entitled to Caesar's inheritance. This eventually led to a civil war between them.
  • The Triumvirate never found widespread support in the Senate. Most senators hated Antony for his tyrannical nature. They eventually declared him an enemy of the state along with Lepidus who remained loyal to Antony.
  • Lepidus proved to be an ineffective military leader. This eventually caused him to be forced out of the triumvirate.
  • After Antony began his relationship with Cleopatra, spurning his wife who was Octavian's sister, what remained of their alliance fell apart and yet another civil war was waged.
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