Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus joined forces to form a triple leadership called the First Triumvirate. The rulers of Rome’s states and colonies suspected that one man would soon emerge as the complete ruler. Antipater, ruler of Idumea, played one ruler against the other to seek favor. Crassus invaded Jerusalem and stole the temple treasure while war broke out between Pompey and Caesar. Antipater sided with Pompey until Pompey was defeated, and then switched his loyalty to Caesar. Caesar abolished the five districts and named Antipater procurator of all.
Caesar became governor of the southern strip of Gaul, which Rome had annexed some sixty years earlier. He defeated the Celtic Gauls, ...view middle of the document...
After new victories over former troops of Pompey in Asia Minor, North Africa, and Spain, he returned to Rome in triumph. Less than a year later, on the Ides of March, he lay stabbed to death on the floor of the Senate at the foot of Pompey’s statue, the victim of sixty senators who thought of themselves as heroic tyrannicides.
Caesar’s friend, Anthony, defeated Caesar’s enemies in northern Greece. He then named Antipater’s sons, Herod and Phasael, as tetrarchs (rulers of fourths) of Galilee. (Packer) When the Parthians invaded Syria and Palestine to aid a Hasmonean attempt to regain power, Herod fled to his fortress at Masada on the western shore of the Dead Sea. His older brother, Phasael, was captured and committed suicide.
Herod traveled to Rome, where the Roman Senate named him king of Judea. Anthony and his troops finally overpowered the Parthians and their Seleucid allies, and Anthony settled in Jerusalem. The strain of imperial expansion was so great that Rome took in no new territories for least fifty years after Caesar’s birth. Rome ruled most of Greece, Syria, Judea, and North Africa. Only one Greek-influenced nation remained intact. This was Egypt, ruled by Queen Cleopatra.
Cleopatra became Julius Caesar’s friend after he defeated Pompey. When Caesar was murdered, Cleopatra tried to pick the winner in the struggle for power that followed. The major contenders were antony, Lepidus, and Caesar’s nephew and adopted son, Octavin (became Augustus Caesar). These three kept a temporary peace by forming another triple dictatorship, the Second Triumvirate. Anthony met Cleopatra in Cilicia, a region in southern Asia Minor. Cleopatra was neither a ravishing beauty nor an Egyptian. She was Macedonian, and a crafty politician who sought to preserve her kingdom at all costs. Cleopatra married Anthony and plotted with him to rule the Roman Empire.
When civil war broke out between Anthony and Octavin, Cleopatra convinced Anthony to send Herod to fight the Arabians (Nabateans), instead of supporting Anthony. She hoped that each nation would weaken the other; Egypt could then absorb both. This move saved Herod’s kingdom, for Octavin crushed the forces of Anthony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium and ordered their deaths.
Herod met with Octavin and bargained to keep his life and throne. Through the years, Herod had rid himself of any possible claimants to the throne. He had playfully drowned his young brother-in-law Aristobulus, executed his uncle Joseph as an adulterer, and...