Who Were the Members of the Second Triumvirate?


Quick Answer

The Second Triumvirate consisted of Marcus Antonius, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Gaius Octavius. The Senate granted the triumvirs — members of the Triumvirate — complete control of all Roman affairs for five years.

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Full Answer

The death of the dictator Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BC, left Rome in a state of near anarchy. Caesar was greatly loved by the Roman people, who were infuriated by the murderous actions of the conspirators and assassins, particularly Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus. Both Brutus and Antony spoke to the Roman people at Caesars funeral. Brutus proclaimed that Rome would return to its golden age in the form of a Republic once more. Antony followed Brutus and read from Caesar's will, which bequeathed 300 sesterces to every living citizen in Rome and his garden for use as a park for the public. Brutus, Cassius and the other conspirators fled to the East.

Octavian returned from abroad shortly after the assassins left Rome. In his will, Caesar adopted Octavian as a son and named him his heir, which turned Octavian into a major public figure. Octavian, Antony and the wealthy Lepidus joined forces to create a massive military and political force, pressuring the Senate to sanction the formation of a triumvirate in November of 43 BC, giving them power unchecked by anyone but each other. The triumvirs divided the lands under Roman control amongst themselves and, within a year, defeated the forces of Cassius and Brutus.

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