Conference at Luca 56-53BC

Notes on the Luca conference


Why did Luca happen?

-57/56BC= Caesar undertook a tour of his province which included a private meeting with Crassus at Ravenna and renewed alliance- met Crassus first because he needs it more argubly than Pompey and doesn't have senatorial support.

-April- moved to Luca and met with Pompey.

-The agreement was ratified and expanded and triumvirate reformed.

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Terms of the Luca conference

1. Pompey and Crassus to assume consulship of 55BC and remove the danger of Domitius Ahenobarbus.

2. Needed to postpone elections until Caesar's men were on leave in winter.

3. Pompey was to reciece two Spains as his provinces.

4. Crassus was to receive Syria.

5. Clodius was to be restrained.

6. Cicero was to be checked/restrained as he tried to break up the triumvirate.

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Cicero's Palinode

Cicero's previous actions concerning triumvirate

- Rejction of Caesar's offers to join.

-Quintus promises to Caesar that Cicero wouldn't oppose the triumvirate on his return.

-Backing of Pompey following his recall from exile, particularly in reference to the corn commision.

-Vague support of Pompey with proposal to suspend enquiry into campanian land.

-Plans to speak against Caesar's land law.

-Back Rublicus Lentulus, Spinther and Pompey over Ptolemy Auletes restoration.

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Cicero's Palinode

-Cicero had made grave errors of judgement:

  • Believing triumvirate to be falling apart.
  • Failed to make a reasonable assessment of the Roman political situation.
  • Blinded by his own achievement and brilliance.
  • Believed that concordia ordinum was almost a reality.

-He failed to ally with the triumvirate.

-Cicero could no longer maintain his independence and the conference at Luca had reinforced this.

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Post Luca

-Pompey advised Quintus with explicit instructions not to take action on the agrarian law- Cicero didn't appear in the Senate for the debate- may 15th.

-Cicero was forced to make peace with Caesar= his palinode.

-Cicero outwardly claimed support for Caesar's rule in Gaul and in opposition to suggestions that control of Gallic provinces should be transferred to consuls of 55BC.

-Cicero also had to defend Balbus in 56BC, who was a protege of Pompey and political secretary to Caesar and also defend Vatinius in 54BC.

-Cicero's position was under serious pressure from the triumvirate and Vatinius' defence Cicero was forced to undertake because of Caesar.

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Cicero's position

- Optimates regarded Cicero with enormous scorn- they were prosecuting Vatinius on charge of electoral malpractice.

-Cicero could be seen as a pawn for the triumvirate.


  • Prosecuted for treason following restoration of Ptolemy Auletes.
  • 54BC- Optimates urged Cicero to take the prosecution which was a tough position for Cicero.
  • Prosecution of Gabinius meant alienation from Pompey.
  • Pompey pressured Cicero to defend him and Cicero instead gave evidence for the prosecution.
  • Gabinius was narrowly aquitted but narrowness of case meant further prosecution for extortion.
  • More intense pressue on Cicero and he defended Gabinius yet he was condemed.
  • Laer Cicero claimed to have defended him for friendship= denial.
  • Cicero now politically impotent.
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