Marcus Licinius Crassus

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Crassus, Marcus Licinius


Born circa 115 B.C. in Rome (?); died in 53 B.C. in Carrhae. Roman politician and military leader.

In the civil war between Sulla and the “Marian” party in 83 and 82, Crassus was on the side of Sulla. During the proscriptions of Sulla, Crassus grew rich on the executions and confiscations. Wealth, greed, and unscrupulousness gave him a bad name. In 72 the Senate gave Crassus extraordinary powers to suppress the Spartacus rebellion. He crushed the rebels' main forces in Apulia in 71 and completed the campaign together with Pompey, who arrived from Spain. The consulship of Crassus and Pompey (his rival from the times of Sulla) was marked by the abolition of a number of changes introduced by Sulla; for example, the power of the tribunes and the office of censor were restored. In 65, Crassus was made a censor. Apparently, he had links with Catiline. In 60, after reconciling Crassus and Pompey, Caesar entered into a secret agreement with them. This first triumvirate virtually ruled the state. In 55, Crassus was made consul (again jointly with Pompey). At the same time he was given command over the province of Syria and went there in the hope of defeating the Parthians. However, the Roman Army was crushed by the Parthians, and Crassus himself died along with a large number of his troops.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.