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The Conference in Lucca


Bust of Caesar. Antikensammlung, Berlin (Germany). Photo Jona Lendering. In April 56, Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey discussed the future of their political collaboration in Lucca. The Greek author Plutarch of Chaeronea describes what happened in chapter 21 of his Life of Julius Caesar.

The translation below was made by Robin Seager.

Caesar himself, once he had settled matters in Gaul, again spent the winter by the Po and occupied himself with looking after his interests in Rome. Candidates for office came to get his backing and after bribing the people with the money which he gave them, won their elections and went on to do everything likely to increase his power. Not only this, but there came to meet him at Lucca most of the men of highest rank and greatest influence in Rome, including Pompey, Crassus, Appius the governor of Sardinia, and Nepos the proconsul of Hispania. There were actually 120 lictors in the place and more than 200 members of the Senate.

The conversations which they held here resulted in the following arrangements: Pompey and Crassus were to be made consuls for the next year; Caesar was to have money voted to him and to have his command renewed for another period of five years.

To all right-thinking people it seemed a fantastic thing that those who were getting so much from Caesar should be urging the senate to give him money, as though he had none. Though 'urge' is not the right word. It was rather a question of compulsion, and the senate groaned at the decrees for which it voted.

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