|Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BC)|
In 61 BC Pompey was finally permitted to return to Rome. To the surprise of most people, he showed no desire to make himself a dictator. He disbanded his troops and made two reasonable demands: that his veterans be granted land, and that the Senate should ratify his eastern settlements. But the Senate refused these demands. He was ‘never a revolutionary’ but his success aroused great fears among the traditional elites. The opposition was led by the die-hard republican, M. Porcius Cato, the great grandson of Cato the Censor, who became tribune in 62.
In his absence from Rome Caesar built up a military career in campaigns in the east and he may have become the lover of the king of Bithynia. It was only in 78 BC, after Sulla was dead, that he returned to Rome, by now a war hero. He was made aedile in 65 and in this capacity he restored to public view the trophies that Marius had brought back from his victories and staged games in which 320 pairs of gladiators competed. In the same year he countenanced the proscription of Sulla’s agents, thus making free use of the device first introduced by Sulla himself. However, he was highly ambitious. In 63, with a view to gaining popularity he supported the bills granting Pompey his great commands and argued in the Senate against the execution of the Catilinarian conspirators without trial. In the same year he was elected pontifex maximus, the head of the state religion.
|Caesar, Crassus and Pompey: triumvirs|
The year 59 is one of the most important in Roman history. Caesar was elected consul in spite of continuing opposition from Cato. Artfully, he began to encourage open government by causing the business of the Senate to be published and made accessible for the first time. Following the terms of his agreement with Pompey, he bullied the Senate into providing land settlements for Pompey's veterans. In the spring the alliance was cemented when Pompey married Caesar’s daughter, Julia (after which Cato, perhaps predictably, denounced Caesar as a pimp).
Could Pompey and Caesar trust each other?