Caesar and the “Egyptian Question” in 65 BCE

Tariverdieva Sabina E.

Plutarch, Cicero and the Bobbio scholiast tell us that the censor of 65 BCE, Marcus Crassus, tried to pass a law about the annexation of Egypt, but he failed because of the opposition of the optimates. Suetonius, however, tells us that it was Caesar who tried to get the Egyptian command that year. According to the dominant view, Crassus wanted to get the Egyptian command for himself and Caesar acted only as his junior ally, but could in no way hope to receive the command for himself. In this article the evidence is re-examined and the conclusion is drawn that it was Caesar who should have got the Egyptian command, rather than Crassus. Also more precise dating of the whole episode at the end of 65 or the beginning of the 64 BCE is suggested.

Keywords: Caesar, Egypt, Caesars’ aedileship, Late Roman Republic, Crassus, chronology of 65 BCE, censorship of Crassus, Catulus, Cato the Younger, Cicero

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