Marcus Licinius Crassus

Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus Louvre.jpg
Bust of Crassus
in the Louvre Museum
Governor of Roman Syria
In office
54 BC – 53 BC
Preceded byAulus Gabinius
Succeeded byGaius Cassius Longinus
Consul of the Roman Republic
In office
55 BC – 54 BC
Serving with Pompey the Great
Preceded byGnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and Lucius Marcius Philippus
Succeeded byAppius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
Consul of the Roman Republic
In office
70 BC – 69 BC
Serving with Pompey
Preceded byPublius Cornelius Lentulus Sura and Gnaeus Aufidius Orestes
Succeeded byQuintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus and Quintus Hortensius
Personal details
Bornc. 115 BC[1] or 112 BC [2][3]
Roman Republic
Died53 BC
Carrhae, Parthian Empire
Political partyOptimates
ChildrenMarcus Licinius Crassus, Publius Licinius Crassus

Marcus Licinius Crassus (s/;[5] c. 115 BC or 112 BC – 6 May 53 BC) was a Roman general and politician who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

Crassus began his public career as a military commander under Lucius Cornelius Sulla during his civil war. Following Sulla's assumption of the dictatorship, Crassus amassed an enormous fortune through real estate speculation. Crassus rose to political prominence following his victory over the slave revolt led by Spartacus, sharing the consulship with his rival Pompey the Great.

A political and financial patron of Julius Caesar, Crassus joined Caesar and Pompey in the unofficial political alliance known as the First Triumvirate. Together the three men dominated the Roman political system. The alliance did not last long, due to the ambitions, egos, and jealousies of the three men. While Caesar and Crassus were lifelong allies, Crassus and Pompey disliked each other and Pompey grew increasingly envious of Caesar's spectacular successes in the Gallic Wars. The alliance was re-stabilized at the Lucca Conference in 56 BC, after which Crassus and Pompey again served jointly as consuls. Following his second consulship, Crassus was appointed as the Governor of Roman Syria. Crassus used Syria as the launchpad for a military campaign against the Parthian Empire, Rome's long-time Eastern enemy. Crassus' campaign was a disastrous failure, ending in his defeat and death at the Battle of Carrhae.

Crassus' death permanently unraveled the alliance between Caesar and Pompey. Within four years of Crassus' death, Caesar would cross the Rubicon and begin a civil war against Pompey and the optimates.

Family and background

Marcus Licinius Crassus was the second of three sons born to the eminent senator and vir triumphalis Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (consul 97, censor 89 BC). This line was not descended from the Crassi Divites, although often assumed to be. The eldest brother Publius (born c. 116 BC) died shortly before the Italic War and Marcus took his brother's wife as his own. His father and the youngest brother Gaius took their own lives in Rome in winter 87–86 BC to avoid capture when he was being hunted down by the Marians following their victory in the bellum Octavianum.[6]

There were three main branches of the house of the Licinii Crassi in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC,[7] and many mistakes in identifications and lines have arisen owing to the uniformity of Roman nomenclature, erroneous modern suppositions, and the unevenness of information across the generations. In addition the Dives cognomen of the Crassi Divites means rich or wealthy, and since Marcus Crassus, the subject here, was renowned for his enormous wealth, this has contributed to hasty assumptions that his family belonged to the Divites. But no ancient source accords him or his father the Dives cognomen; in fact, we are explicitly informed that his great wealth was acquired rather than inherited, and that he was raised in modest circumstances.[8]

Crassus' grandfather of the same name, Marcus Licinius Crassus[citation needed] (praetor c.126 BC), was facetiously given the Greek nickname Agelastus (the unlaughing or grim) by his contemporary Gaius Lucilius, the famous inventor of Roman satire, who asserted that he smiled once in his whole life. This grandfather was son of Publius Licinius Crassus (consul 171 BC). The latter's brother Gaius Licinius Crassus (consul 168 BC) produced the third line of Licinii Crassi of the period, the most famous of whom was Lucius Licinius Crassus, the greatest Roman orator before Cicero and the latter's childhood hero and model. Marcus Crassus was also a talented orator and one of the most energetic and active advocates of his time.

Other Languages
asturianu: Gruesu
azərbaycanca: Mark Krass
беларуская: Марк Ліцыній Крас
español: Craso
Esperanto: Kraso
فارسی: کراسوس
français: Crassus
Bahasa Indonesia: Marcus Licinius Crassus
ქართული: კრასუსი
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Krass Mark Litsiniy
Plattdüütsch: Marcus Licinius Crassus
português: Crasso
Simple English: Crassus
slovenščina: Mark Licinij Kras
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Marko Licinije Kras
svenska: Crassus
Tiếng Việt: Marcus Licinius Crassus
粵語: 克拉蘇