Towards the Crisis

Edited by Luciano Canfora and Julian Stringer

in Julius Caesar

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780748619368
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670734 | DOI:
Towards the Crisis

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The most dangerous moment for Caesar in the political crisis that erupted in Rome, while he was occupied with the revolt of Vercingetorix, was the designation of Pompey as ‘consul without colleague’ (consul sine college) at the end of February 52 bc. The destructive and uncontrollable street fighting that led to the assassination of Clodius at Bovillae (18 January 52) was diametrically opposed to Caesar's interests. It was not in his interest to appear as the instigator of a subversive faction such as Clodius', nor was it in his interest that the deleterious activities of that faction should push Pompey to seek the backing of the factio (and vice versa). What most conflicted with his intention never to break with Pompey was the street fighting: it could have lead to a state of emergency (senatus consultum ultimum), with effective power in the hands of the proconsul stationed at the gates of Rome — Pompey. And this is precisely what happened, precipitated by the murder of Clodius.

Keywords: Julius Caesar; Rome; political crisis; Pompey; consul without colleague; Clodius; street fighting; state of emergency

Chapter.  4492 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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