Wednesday, December 19, 2012


An altogether different take on triumvirate, courtesy of
Budding Latin students learn their language through poetry.  The first is the Aeneid, arguably one of the greatest written works of the Western cannon.  The second is Ovid's Metamorphoses, a colorful poetry collection.  But what follows is a rich collection of historical accounts from a variety of writers that tell the story of Roman greats, the intrigues and foibles, grand plots, and stunning turns of fate.  As I shared before, watching the HBO series Rome refreshed my memory on this fascinating subject.  It also reminded me of the great triumvirates I read about in my studies of the historical accounts from the likes of Suetonius and Pliny the Younger.  

Of course, triumvirates don't often work out, and it was the same in Rome.  The first was a shared power structure amongst Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus, which resulted in Caesar as the first emperor of Rome.  This led, interestingly, to a second triumvirate after the turmoil resulting from Caesar's power play.  Octavian, Marc Antony, and Lepidus tried the same power-sharing structure to the same result but the second failed attempt cemented the imperial structure provoked by Caesar, now with Augustus (formerly Octavian) as the grand ruler for decades to follow.

If all these power plays and historical characters trip you up, check out the HBO series.  Or dig in to the Roman history well-told in the history books - it makes for fascinating reading.
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