2. The First Triumvirate

Sertorius Vercingetorix Young-Pompey

As a young man, Gnaeus Pompeius (Magnus) was Sulla’s most devoted officer. His provincial background prevented his holding any significant political office in his early career, but his military reputation and his supreme skill as a self-publicist made him a power in later life. Plutarch wrote of him: “Pompeius had a very engaging countenance, which spoke for him before he opened his lips.”


Quintus Sertorius: governing Spain, as a supporter of marius, he rebelled against Sulla and held out for years against the legions sent against him. Pompey finally brought his revolt to book, but it was an assassin's knife that did for Sertorius. In quelling the rebellion, Pompey became Rome's most powerful general.

Vercingetorix, a prince of the Celtic Averni tribe of Gallia Comata (Gaul of the Longhairs), roused the Celts with his eloquence and soon won the support of the tribes of central and western Gaul. His rebellion was the most serious threat Caesar faced in his subjugation of the new province. The Roman general finally cornered the Avernian leader in the hill fort of Alesia. In one of the most astonishing sieges of history, Caesar encircled the fortress and then defeated a Gallic relief army from behind an outer circumvallation. With the capture of Vercingetorix, all further Gallic resistance crumbled. Vercingetorix was the highlight of Caesar’s triumph in Rome before being ritually strangled.

Where present, maps are downloadable.

GO TO:  PAGE 1  /  PAGE 3

Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England

JuliusCaesar CrassusCoin

The three triumvirs: Julius Caesar  brought bitter enemies Publius Licinius Crassus (coin—no known bust of him exists) and the older Pompey the Great together in an uneasy coalition. Impoverished Caesar benefited from the wealth of Crassus and Pompey married Caesar's daughter Julia.