Division of the Second Triumvirate

Division of the Second Triumvirate

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Second Triumvirate

Triumvir or tresvir: member of a college of three members. The expression is mostly used to describe the First Triumvirate (60 BCE Pompey the Great, Crassus, and Julius Caesar) and Second Triumvirate (43 BCE Mark Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian).

After Caesar had been killed, Mark Antony controlled the republic, but he had to do business with with the assassins, Brutus and Cassius. He made them governors of provinces in the east. However, Caesar's adopted son Octavian thought this was too kind, and exploiting the anger of Caesar's veterans, he launched a war against Antony, who was defeated at Modena in northern Italy. After his victory, Octavian returned to Rome, demanded the consulship, and surprised the world with the creation of an alliance with. Mark Antony. This remarkable volte-face had been designed by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, like Antony a former general in Caesar's army. He became the third member of the Second Triumvirate, which was recognized in November 43 by the People's Assembly (Lex Titia).

The triumviri rei publicae constituendae ("board of three to reconstitute the state") accepted the powers of a dictator and took several measures

  • the execution of 4,700 opponents (e.g. Cicero)
  • land bills to give farms to Caesar's veterans (the inhabitants of eighteen cities were sent away from their homes without any compensation)
  • war against Caesar's murderers, who were defeated at Philippi
  • measures against the Senate, including the appointment of all magistrates.

Those opposed to the regime found refuge at Sicily, where a son of Pompey the Great, Sextus, organized resistance. In 36, he was defeated in a naval battle by Lepidus and Octavian (and Octavian's admiral Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa), and Octavian proceeded to strip Lepidus of his powers.

Mark Antony, who was in charge of the east and had fallen in love with Cleopatra, was defeated in 31 in the naval battle of Actium. From now on, Octavian was sole ruler from 27 on, he called himself Augustus ("the exalted one") .

The most impressive account of these years is the History of the Civil Wars by Appian of Alexandria, arguably the most underestimated historian from Antiquity.


The first time the existence of such a Commission filtered out to the rest of the world was in 1965 during the inquiry into the First Mafia War by judge Cesare Terranova. Terranova based himself on a confidential report of the Carabinieri of May 28, 1963, where a confidential informant revealed the existence of a commission composed of fifteen persons – six from Palermo city and the rest from towns in the province – "each with the rank of boss of either a group or a Mafia family." Judge Terranova did not believe that the existence of a commission meant that the Mafia was a tightly unified structure. [3] In 1973, Leonardo Vitale – a lower-level Mafioso – revealed the existence of the Commission, but his revelations were discarded at the time and Vitale judged insane. [4]

The existence of the Commission was first established by a court of law during the Maxi Trial in 1986-87. The groundwork for the Maxi Trial was done at the preliminary investigative phase by Palermo's Antimafia Pool, created by judge Rocco Chinnici in which the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino worked as well. [5] It was Tommaso Buscetta who definitively revealed the existence and workings of the Commission, when he became a state witness and started to give evidence to judge Giovanni Falcone in 1984. It enabled Falcone to argue that Cosa Nostra was a unified hierarchical structure ruled by a Commission and that its leaders – who normally would not dirty their hands with criminal acts – could be held responsible for criminal activities that were committed to benefit the organisation.

The existence and functioning of the Commission was confirmed by the first degree conviction. The Mafia was identified with the Cosa Nostra organization, and defined a unique, pyramidal and apex type organization, provincially directed by a Commission or Cupola and regionally by an interprovincial organism, in which the head of the Palermo Commission has a hegemonic role. [5] This premise became known as the Buscetta theorem. That vision of Cosa Nostra was not immediately recognized. Other magistrates, in particular Corrado Carnevale – also known as the Sentence Killer – of the Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione), sustained that Mafia associations are autonomous groups, not connected amongst themselves, and therefore, the collective responsibility for the Commission members did not exist. Carnevale’s view prevailed at the appeal of the Maxi Trial, but at the theorem was confirmed upheld by the final sentence of the Supreme Court in January 1992. (Carnevale did not preside the court that did the ruling). In the meantime, the Antimafia Pool of Palermo was dismantled and judge Rocco Chinnici had been murdered in 1983.

Many Mafia bosses were condemned to life in prison and Cosa Nostra reacted furiously and started a series of revenge killings because of the Supreme Court sentence. The Mafia had counted on the politicians Salvo Lima and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to appoint Corrado Carnevale to review the sentence. Carnevale had overturned many Mafia convictions on the slenderest of technicalities previously. Carnevale, however, had to withdraw due to pressure from the public and from Giovanni Falcone – who at the time had moved to the ministry of Justice. Falcone was backed by the minister of Justice Claudio Martelli despite the fact that he served under Prime Minister Andreotti. In March 1992, Lima was killed, followed by Falcone and Paolo Borsellino later that year.

Interprovincional Commission Edit

Beyond the provincial level, details are vague. According to the pentito Tommaso Buscetta, an Interprovincial Commission was created in the 1970s, while the pentito Antonino Calderone claims that there had been a rappresentante regionale in the 1950s even before the Commissions and the capi mandamento were created. The rappresentante regionale in those days was a certain Andrea Fazio from Trapani. [6]

The Interprovincional or Regional Commission was probably set up in February 1975 on the instigation of Giuseppe Calderone from Catania who became its first "secretary". The other members were Gaetano Badalamenti for Palermo, Giuseppe Settecasi (Agrigento), Cola Buccellato (Trapani), Angelo Mongiovì (Enna) and Giuseppe Di Cristina (Caltanissetta).

According to the pentito Leonardo Messina, the Regional Commission in 1992 was made up by Salvatore Riina for the province of Palermo, Nitto Santapaola for the province of Catania, Salvatore Saitta for the province of Enna, Giuseppe "Piddu" Madonia for the province of Caltanissetta, Antonio Ferro for the province of Agrigento and Mariano Agate for the province of Trapani. [7]

According to Tommaso Buscetta, the first Sicilian Mafia Commission for the province of Palermo was formed after a series of meetings between top American and Sicilian mafiosi that took place in Palermo between October 12–16, 1957, in the hotel Delle Palme and the Spanò seafood restaurant. US gangsters Joseph Bonanno and Lucky Luciano suggested their Sicilian counterparts to form a Commission, following the example of the American Mafia that had formed their Commission in the 1930s.

The Sicilians agreed with their suggestion and Buscetta, Gaetano Badalamenti and Salvatore Greco "Ciaschiteddu" set the ground rules. Sometime in early 1958, the Sicilian Mafia formed its first Mafia Commission. It was formed among Mafia families in the province of Palermo, which had the highest concentration of cosche (Mafia families), approximately 46. Salvatore "Ciaschiteddu" Greco was appointed as its first segretario (secretary) or rappresentante regionale, essentially a primus inter pares – the first among equals. Initially, the secretary had very little power. His task was simply to organize the meetings. [3]

Before that time, the Mafia families were not connected by a collective structure. According to judge Cesare Terranova, they "were a mosaic of small republics with topographical borders marked by tradition." [3] In the days before the Commission, coordination inside Cosa Nostra was ensured by informal meetings among the most influential members of the most powerful families. In fact, the decision to form a Commission was a formalisation of these occasional meetings into a permanent, collegial body. [8]

Originally, to avoid excessive concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals, it was decided that only "men of honour" holding no leadership position within their own family – in other words, simple "soldiers" – could be appointed as members of the Commission. That rule was immediately dropped due to the opposition of some family-bosses who threatened to abandon the project from the start.

The Commission had two main competencies. The first was to settle conflicts among Mafia families and single members, and to enforce the most serious violations of the normative codes of Cosa Nostra. Second, the Commission was entrusted with the regulation of the use of violence. It had exclusive authority to order murder of police officials, prosecutors and judges, politicians, journalists and lawyers, because these killings could provoke retaliation by law enforcement. To limit internal conflicts, it was agreed that each family boss had to ask the Commission’s authorisation before killing any member of another family. [8]

Until the early 1980s, the Commission’s competencies were often disregarded due to its collegial character and the wide autonomy for the family bosses. Only when Totò Riina, Bernardo Provenzano and the Corleonesi imposed their rule, the Commission became a central leadership body. The Commission in fact lost its autonomy and became a mere enforcement body that endorsed the decisions made by Riina and Provenzano.

The first Commission Edit

According to Buscetta, the first Commission numbered "not many more than ten" and the number was variable. Among the members of the first Commission in the province of Palermo were: [9] [10]

    for the Ciaculli mandamento (Palermo) for the Resuttana mandamento (Palermo) for the San Lorenzo mandamento (Palermo) for the Acquasanta mandamento (Palermo) for the Noce mandamento (Palermo) for the Palermo Centro mandamento for the Cinisi mandamento for the Casteldaccia mandamento for the San Giuseppe Jato mandamento for the Pagliarelli mandamento (Palermo) for the Boccadifalco mandamento (Palermo) for the Santa Maria di Gesù mandamento (Palermo) for the Corso Calatafimi mandamento (Palermo).

The Commission, however, was not able to prevent the outbreak of a violent Mafia War in 1963. Casus belli was a heroin deal gone wrong, and the subsequent killing of Calcedonio Di Pisa on December 26, 1962, who was held responsible. Instead of settling the dispute, the Commission became part of the internal conflict.

On June 30, 1963, a car bomb exploded near Greco’s house in Ciaculli, killing seven police and military officers sent to defuse it after an anonymous phone call. The outrage over the Ciaculli massacre changed the Mafia war into a war against the Mafia. It prompted the first concerted anti-mafia efforts by the state in post-war Italy. The Sicilian Mafia Commission was dissolved and of those mafiosi who had escaped arrest, many went abroad. "Ciaschiteddu" Greco fled to Caracas in Venezuela. [11]

According to Tommaso Buscetta, it was Michele Cavataio, the boss of the Acquasanta quarter of Palermo, who was responsible for the Ciaculli bomb, and possibly the murder of boss Calcedonio Di Pisa in late 1962. Cavataio had lost out to the Grecos in a war of the wholesale market in the mid-1950s. Cavataio killed Di Pisa in the knowledge that the La Barberas would be blamed by the Grecos and a war would be the result. He kept fuelling the war through other bomb attacks and killings. [12] [13]

Cavataio was backed by other Mafia families who resented the growing power of the Mafia Commission to the detriment of individual Mafia families. Cavataio was killed on December 10, 1969, in the so-called Viale Lazio massacre in Palermo as retaliation for the events in 1963. According to Buscetta and Grado, the composition of the hit squad was a clear indication that the killing had been sanctioned collectively by all the major Sicilian Mafia families: not only did it include Calogero Bagarella and Bernardo Provenzano from Corleone, and members of Stefano Bontade's family in Palermo, but also a soldier of Giuseppe Di Cristina's family on the other end of Sicily, in Riesi. [13]

Triumvirate Edit

The crackdown on the Mafia resulted in a period of relative peace – a "pax mafiosa" – while many mafiosi were held in jail or were banished internally. The verdict of the Trial of the 114 against the Mafia in Catanzaro in December 1968 resulted in many acquittals or short sentences for criminal association. The vast majority of mafiosi had to be released given the time they had already spent in captivity while awaiting trial.

Under these circumstances, the Sicilian Mafia Commission was revived in 1970. It eventually consisted of ten members but initially it was ruled by a triumvirate consisting of Gaetano Badalamenti, Stefano Bontade and the Corleonesi boss Luciano Leggio, although it was Salvatore Riina who represented the Corleonesi, substituting Leggio who was on the run until his arrest in 1974. [14] [15]

In 1974, the “full” Commission was restored under the leadership of Gaetano Badalamenti. Among the members were: [9]

    for the Cinisi mandamento for the Santa Maria di Gesù mandamento (Palermo) for the Corleone mandamento, substituted by Salvatore Riina since Leggio was arrested in 1974 for the San Giuseppe Jato mandamento, often substituted by Bernardo Brusca (father of Giovanni Brusca) for the Passo di Ragano mandamento (Palermo) for the Noce mandamento (Palermo) for the Partanna mandamento (Palermo) for the Porta Nuova mandamento (Palermo) for the San Lorenzo mandamento (Palermo) for the Ciaculli mandamento (Palermo) for the Partinico mandamento

(Several pentiti, such as Salvatore Cancemi, Francesco Di Carlo and Giovanni Brusca say that Giuseppe Farinella, for the Gangi-San Mauro Castelverde mandamento, Francesco Intile for the Caccamo mandamento and Antonio Mineo for the Bagheria mandamento, were or became members as well. [16] )

During these years, tensions between different coalitions within the Commission increased. In this period, the Commission was increasingly dominated by the coalition led by Totò Riina and Bernardo Provenzano that was opposed by Gaetano Badalamenti and Stefano Bontade. Riina and Provenzano secretly formed an alliance of mafiosi in different families, cutting across clan divisions, in defiance of the rules concerning loyalty in Cosa Nostra. This secretive inter-family group became known as the Corleonesi. The wing headed by Badalamenti and Bontade defended the existing balance of power between the single Mafia families and the Commission.

Thanks to a shrewd manipulation of the rules and elimination of its most powerful rivals - in particular, the 1978 killings of Giuseppe Calderone and Giuseppe Di Cristina, members of the Interprovincial Commission - the Corleonesi coalition was able to increase its power within the Commission. Their rivals were overwhelmed and lost any power to strike back. Beside using violence, the Corleonesi also imposed their supremacy by shrewdly exploiting a competence of the Commission: the power to suspend leaders of a family and to name a reggente, a temporary boss.

The 1978 Commission Edit

In 1978, Gaetano Badalamenti was expelled from the Commission and as head of his Family. Michele Greco replaced him as the secretary of the Commission. Badalamenti’s removal marked the end of a period of relative peace and signified a major change in the Mafia itself. In 1978, the Commission was composed by: [9] [10]

    for the Ciaculli mandamento (Palermo), acting as the secretary , for the Corleone mandamento, often accompanied by Bernardo Provenzano for the Santa Maria di Gesù mandamento (Palermo) for the Passo di Rigano mandamento (Palermo) for the Porta Nuova mandamento (Palermo) for the San Giuseppe Jato mandamento, often substituted by Bernardo Brusca (father of Giovanni Brusca) because Salamone resided in São Paulo in Brazil for the Noce mandamento (Palermo) for the Partanna mandamento (Palermo) for the Resuttana mandamento (Palermo) for the Partinico mandamento representing Agrigento for the Pagliarelli mandamento (Palermo)

The Commission was divided between the Corleonesi (Riina, Calò, Madonia, Brusca, Geraci, Greco Scarpuzzedda, Motisi and probably Scaglione as well) and the group Bontade, Inzerillo and Pizzuto. A third group, Michele Greco, Riccobono and Salamone were not hostile to the group of Bontade but were against Gaetano Badalamenti.

While the more established Mafia families in the city of Palermo refrained from openly killing authorities because that would attract too much police attention, the Corleonesi deliberately killed to intimidate the authorities in such a way that the suspicion fell on their rivals in the Commission. In 1979, Pino Greco from Ciaculli also known as Scarpuzzedda and Riina’s favourite hit man entered the Commission as well.

Instead of avoiding conflict, the Commission increasingly became an instrument in the unfolding power struggle that eventually led to the quasi-dictatorship of Totò Riina. Members of the Commission were no longer freely selected by the provinces but were chosen on the basis of their allegiance to Riina's faction, and eventually were only called to legitimize decisions that had already been made elsewhere. [17] [18]

Second Mafia War Edit

The Second Mafia War raged from 1981-1983. On April 23, 1981, Bontade was machine-gunned to death in his car in Palermo. Bontade’s close ally, Salvatore Inzerillo, was killed three weeks later with the same Kalashnikov. The Corleonesi slaughtered the ruling families of the Palermo Mafia to take control of the organisation while waging a parallel war against Italian authorities and law enforcement to intimidate and prevent effective investigations and prosecutions. More than 200 mafiosi were killed and many simply disappeared.

In 1982, the Commission members were: [9]

    and Bernardo Provenzano for the Corleone mandamento for the Porta Nuova mandamento (Palermo) for the Ciaculli mandamento (Palermo) for the Bagheria mandamento for the Partanna mandamento (Palermo) for the Resuttana mandamento (Palermo) for the Altofonte mandamento for the Partinico mandamento for the San Giuseppe Jato mandamento for the Mazara del Vallo mandamento (province of Trapani) of Ciaculli

The Commission was now dominated by Riina and Provenzano. More and more, the independence of Mafia families was superseded by the authoritarian rule of Riina. Nor did the killing end when the main rivals of the Corleonesi were defeated. Whoever could challenge Riina or had lost their usefulness was eliminated. Rosario Riccobono and a dozen men of his clan were killed in November 1982. Sometime in September 1985, Pino Greco was murdered in his home, shot to death by his two fellow Mafiosi and supposed friends, Vincenzo Puccio and Giuseppe Lucchese, although the orders came from Riina, who felt Greco was getting too ambitious and too independently minded for his liking. [19]

The Commission in fact lost its autonomy and became a mere enforcement body that enforced the decisions made by Riina and Provenzano and their close group of allies. According to Buscetta: "With the power gained by the Corleonesi and their allies the traditional organizational structures had a purely formal value … the decisions were taken before … and the Commission was nothing but the faithful executor of orders." [8]

Meanwhile, new mandamenti were formed in 1983, whose members entered the Commission: Raffaele Ganci for the Noce mandamento, Giuseppe Giacomo Gambino for the San Lorenzo mandamento, Matteo Motisi for the Pagliarelli mandamento and Salvatore Buscemi for the Passo di Ragano-Boccadifalco mandamento. In 1986-87 the Santa Maria di Gesù mandamento (the former fiefdom of Stefano Bontade) was reinstated, represented by Pietro Aglieri.

Since the arrests as a result of the revelations of pentiti such as Tommaso Buscetta, Salvatore Contorno, Francesco Marino Mannoia and Antonino Calderone, and the Maxi Trial in the 1980s many Commission members ended up in jail. They were substituted by a so-called sostituto or reggente.

The 1992 Commission Edit

In 1992 the Commission that decided to kill the politician and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti’s right-hand man on Sicily Salvo Lima and the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino was composed of: [7] [20]

    and Bernardo Provenzano for the Corleone mandamento for the Porta Nuova mandamento (Palermo), substituting Giuseppe Calò who was in prison for the Noce mandamento (Palermo) for the Pagliarelli mandamento (Palermo) and/or Mariano Tullio Troia for the San Lorenzo mandamento (Palermo), substituting Giuseppe Giacomo Gambino who was in prison and Carlo Greco for the Guadagna-Santa Maria di Gesù mandamento (Palermo)
  • the brothers Giuseppe Graviano and Filippo Graviano for the Brancaccio-Ciaculli mandamento, substituting Giuseppe Lucchese who was in prison for the Resuttana mandamento (Palermo) for the Passo di Ragano-Boccadifalco mandamento (Palermo), substituting Salvatore Buscemi who was in prison for the Gangi-San Mauro Castelverde mandamento for the San Giuseppe Jato mandamento, substituting his father Bernardo Brusca who was in prison for the Villabate mandamento, substituting his father Salvatore Montalto who was in prison for the Caccamo mandamento for the Partinico mandamento for the Belmonte Mezzagno mandamento

Provenzano's new Mafia Edit

Provenzano proposed a new less violent Mafia strategy instead of the terrorist bombing campaign in 1993 against the state to get them to back off in their crackdown against the Mafia after the murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. Following the months after Riina's arrest in January 1993, [21] [22] [23] there were a series of bombings by the Corleonesi against several tourist spots on the Italian mainland – the Via dei Georgofili in Florence, in Milan and the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano and Via San Teodoro in Rome, which left 10 people dead and 93 injured as well as severe damage to centres of cultural heritage such as the Uffizi Gallery. Leoluca Bagarella, Riina's successor, was captured on June 24, 1995, Bagarella was arrested, having been a fugitive for four years. [24]

Provenzano then took the reins, establishing new guidelines: patience, compartmentalisation, coexistence with state institutions, and systematic infiltration of public finance. The diplomatic Provenzano tried to stem the flow of pentiti by not targeting their families, only using violence in case of absolute necessity. Provenzano reportedly re-established the old Mafia rules that had been abolished by Totò Riina, together with Riina and Leoluca Bagarella, he was ruling the Corleonesi faction.

Giovanni Brusca – one of Riina's hitmen who personally detonated the bomb that killed Falcone, and later became an informant after his 1996 arrest [25] – has offered a controversial version of the capture of Totò Riina: a secret deal between Carabinieri officers, secret agents and Cosa Nostra bosses tired of the dictatorship of the Corleonesi. According to Brusca, Provenzano "sold" Riina in exchange for the valuable archive of compromising material that Riina held in his apartment in Via Bernini 52 in Palermo.

The Sicilian Mafia had been divided between those bosses who support a hard line against the Italian state – mainly bosses who are in prison such as Salvatore 'Totò' Riina (deceased since 2017) and Leoluca Bagarella – and those who support the more moderate strategy of Provenzano. The incarcerated bosses are currently subjected to harsh controls on their contact with the outside world, limiting their ability to run their operations from behind bars under the article 41-bis prison regime.

Antonino Giuffrè – a close confidant of Provenzano, turned pentito shortly after his capture in April 2002 – alleges that in 1993, Cosa Nostra had direct contact with representatives of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi while he was planning the birth of Forza Italia. The deal that he says was alleged to have been made was a repeal of 41 bis, among other anti-Mafia laws in return for delivering electoral gains in Sicily. Giuffrè's declarations have not been confirmed.

During a court appearance in July 2002, Leoluca Bagarella suggested unnamed politicians had failed to maintain agreements with the Mafia over prison conditions. "We are tired of being exploited, humiliated, harassed and used as merchandise by political factions," he said. Nevertheless, the Italian Parliament, with the support of Forza Italia, subsequently prolonged the enforcement of 41 bis, which was to expire in 2002, for another four years and extended it to other crimes such as terrorism. However, according to one of Italy’s leading magazines, L’Espresso, 119 mafiosi – one-fifth of those incarcerated under the 41-bis regime – have been released on an individual basis. [26]

Division and rivalry Edit

In 2002 a rift within Cosa Nostra became clear. On the one hand there were the hardline "Corleonesi" in jail – led by Totò Riina and Leoluca Bagarella – and on the other the more moderate "Palermitani" – led by Provenzano and Antonino Giuffrè, Salvatore Lo Piccolo and Matteo Messina Denaro. Apparently the arrest of Giuffrè in April 2002 was made possible by an anonymous phone call that seems to have been made by loyalists to the Mafia hardliners Riina and Bagarella. The purpose was to send a message to Provenzano. The incarcerated bosses wanted something to be done about the harsh prison conditions (in particular the relaxation of the 41-bis incarceration regime) – and were believed to be orchestrating a return to violence while serving multiple life sentences.

Targets were to have been Marcello Dell'Utri and former Defence Minister Cesare Previti, both close advisors of then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, according to a leaked report of the intelligence service SISDE. Riina and Bagarella felt betrayed by political allies in Rome, who had promised to help pass laws to ease prison conditions and reduce sentences for its jailed members in exchange for Mafia support at the polls. The SISDE report says they believed that hits on either of the two embattled members of Berlusconi's Forza Italia party — each under separate criminal indictments — would have been less likely to provoke the kind of public outrage and police crackdown that followed the 1992 murders of the widely admired Sicilian prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. [27]

According to press reports, when Provenzano was moved to the high security prison in Terni, Totò Riina’s son Giovanni Riina, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for three murders, yelled that Provenzano was a "sbirro" – a popular Italian pejorative expression for a police officer – when Provenzano entered the cell block. The pentito Antonino Giuffrè has said in October 2005 that there had been rumours within Cosa Nostra that Provenzano was an informer for the Carabinieri while he was on the run. [28]

After Provenzano's arrest Edit

After the arrest of Bernardo Provenzano on April 11, 2006 – on the same day as Romano Prodi's victory in the 2006 Italian general election against Silvio Berlusconi – several mafiosi were mentioned as Provenzano's successor. Among the rivals were Matteo Messina Denaro (from Castelvetrano and the province of Trapani), Salvatore Lo Piccolo (boss of Tommaso Natale area and the mandamento of San Lorenzo in Palermo), and Domenico Raccuglia from Altofonte. Provenzano allegedly nominated Messina Denaro in one of his pizzini – small slips of paper used to communicate with other mafiosi to avoid phone conversations, found at Provenzano's hide out.

This presupposes that Provenzano has the power to nominate a successor, which is not unanimously accepted among Mafia observers. "The Mafia today is more of a federation and less of an authoritarian state," according to anti-Mafia prosecutor Antonio Ingroia of the Direzione distrettuale antimafia (DDA) of Palermo, referring to the previous period of authoritarian rule under Salvatore Riina. Provenzano "established a kind of directorate of about four to seven people who met very infrequently, only when necessary, when there were strategic decisions to make." [29]

According to Ingroia "in an organization like the Mafia, a boss has to be one step above the others otherwise it all falls apart. It all depends on if he can manage consensus and if the others agree or rebel." Provenzano "guaranteed a measure of stability because he had the authority to quash internal disputes." Among the members of the directorate were Salvatore Lo Piccolo Antonino Giuffrè from Caccamo Benedetto Spera from Belmonte Mezzagno Salvatore Rinella from Trabia Giuseppe Balsano from Monreale Matteo Messina Denaro from Castelvetrano Vincenzo Virga from Trapani and Andrea Manciaracina from Mazara del Vallo. [30]

After the arrests of Benedetto Spera, Vincenzo Virga (both in 2001) and Antonino Giuffrè in 2002 (who decided to cooperate with the authorities), the leadership of Cosa Nostra was in the hands of the fugitives Bernardo Provenzano, Salvatore Lo Piccolo and Matteo Messina Denaro. Following Provenzano's capture in April 2006, Italy's intelligence service report warned of "emerging tensions" between mafia groups as a result of Provenzano's failure to designate either Salvatore Lo Piccolo or Matteo Messina Denaro as his successor. The Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (DIA) cautioned that the capture of Provenzano could potentially present mafia leaders an opportunity to return to violence as a means of expressing their power. [31]

Two months after Provenzano’s arrest, on June 20, 2006, authorities issued 52 arrest warrants against the top echelon of Cosa Nostra in the city of Palermo (Operation Gotha). Study of the pizzini showed that Provenzano’s joint deputies in Palermo were Salvatore Lo Piccolo and Antonio Rotolo, capo-mandamento of Pagliarelli. In a message referring to an important decision for Cosa Nostra, Provenzano told Rotolo: "It's up to you, me and Lo Piccolo to decide this thing." [32]

The investigations showed that Rotolo had built a kind of federation within the mafia, comprising 13 families grouped in four clans. His right-hand men were Antonio Cinà – who used to be the personal physician of Salvatore Riina and Provenzano – and the builder Francesco Bonura. The city of Palermo was ruled by this triumvirate replacing the Commission whose members are all in jail.

What emerged as well was that the position of Salvatore Lo Piccolo was not undisputed. Authorities said they avoided the outbreak of a genuine war inside Cosa Nostra. The first clash would have been between Rotolo and Lo Piccolo. What sparked off the crisis was a request from the Inzerillo family, one of the clans whose leaders – among them Salvatore Inzerillo – were killed by the Corleonesi during the Second Mafia War in the 1980s and which are now in exile in the United States. Rotolo had passed a death sentence on Lo Piccolo and his son, Sandro, even before Provenzano's arrest – and even procured the barrels of acid that are used to dissolve the bodies of slain rivals. [33]

Reconstitution thwarted Edit

In December 2008, an attempt to reconstitute a new Commission was foiled, when 94 Mafiosi were arrested after a nine-month investigation dubbed "Operation Perseus" (Perseo in Italian after the Greek mythological hero Perseus who beheaded Medusa). From tapped phone conversations and surveillance, police had obtained a full list of those present and those who had sent their apologies, as well as details of the issues discussed and the decisions adopted. [34] [35]

The object, as one tapped Mafioso put it, was to "re-establish Cosa Nostra" in the old style, with a single all-powerful boss, a "capo dei capi". [34] Benedetto Capizzi, a 65-year-old boss from Villagrazia, had been nominated as the possible head of the Commission. Among the other members were other historical Cosa Nostra bosses, such as Gerlando Alberti, Gregorio Agrigento from San Giuseppe Jato, Giovanni Lipari, Gaetano Fidanzati, Giuseppe Scaduto from Bagheria and Salvatore Lombardo, the 87-year-old boss from Montelepre. Many of those arrested had recently been released from prison on health grounds, and were serving out their sentences under house arrest. [34] [35]

Among the younger bosses were Gianni Nicchi, the young and upcoming boss from Pagliarelli and Giuseppe Biondino, the son of Salvatore Biondino who had been Riina’s driver. A preliminary summit meeting had been held on November 14, 2008, with Lo Presti, Scaduto, Capizzi – and also Nicchi. [36] The new Commission had the blessing of the old bosses Totò Riina and Bernardo Provenzano, as well as Matteo Messina Denaro, the boss from the province of Trapani. Not everyone agreed, however. Gaetano Lo Presti from the Porta Nuova family objected to the choice of Capizzi as the new head. He committed suicide after his arrest. Police feared the outbreak of a new Mafia war and decided to interfere. [34] Nicchi and Fidanzati escaped the arrests, but were captured later. After the death of Riina on 17 November 2017, Settimo Mineo was elected the new head on 29 May 2018 until his arrest on 4 December 2018. [37]

Dissecting Rome’s Second Triumvirate

Rome’s first triumvirate was a power grab by Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey who sought to take the power of the Senate and share it among themselves. Crassus, the weakest of the three in political instincts, played an important role by siphoning off enough power to prevent a calamity between Caesar and Pompey. But, after his sudden death in 53 B.C, the six year old agreement became unstable as only Caesar and Pompey were left to fight each other for control of the Republic.

The second triumvirate, on the other hand, was sanctioned by the Senate as a legitimate source of consular power, because the elders had become too weak to resist anyone who would use military power to threaten them. The end point this time was the triumph of Octavian and the foundation of the imperial state.

In a certain sense, one would consider Octavian an unlikely candidate for title first emperor of imperial Rome. He grew up in modest circumstances and lost his father at a young age. Moreover, his constitution was weak and he did not have soldiering ability in him. What Octavian lacked in physical ability, he more than made up for in political skill — and his instincts were uncanny.

Raised by his mother Atia, a niece of Caesar, Octavian drew the attention of his great uncle for unknown reasons and was made his heir without the boy’s knowledge. When Caesar was assassinated, Octavian returned from Illyricum and learned that Caesar’s bequest had made him immensely rich at age nineteen. He courted Anthony but was rebuffed out of jealousy over the boy gaining Caesar’s estate, so Octavian spent the remainder of 44 B.C. paying off Caesar’s legacies out of his inheritance and winning over Caesar’s former troops by leveraging the family connection.

The Senate eventually outlawed Anthony in favor of the republicans Cassius and Brutus, and when the consular army, accompanied by Octavian, was sent against Anthony in Gaul the latter was defeated. Rebuffed in his request for a consulship, Octavian marched on Rome and the Senate capitulated. Now Cassius and Brutus became the outlaws when their amnesty for killing Caesar was revoked and Antony and Lepidus returned to favor when their sins were forgiven.

Mark Antony, born in 83 B.C, was a patrician by birth who lived a dissipate lifestyle until a military career presented itself during his 26 th year and he found himself proficient at it. His rise was rapid and by 54, Antony had become Caesar’s right hand man and close friend as they served together in Gaul. Following Caesar’s occupation of Rome, Antony served as administrator in Caesar’s absence and was lucky to escape death when Caesar returned and was assassinated. Antony gave the funeral oration for his friend and used the occasion to turn public opinion against the assassins.

Marcus Aemilianus Lepidus was born to a well-known patrician family in 89 B.C. Praetor in 49 B.C. and consul in 46, Lepidus was named “Master of the Horse” by Caesar in February of 44 B.C. After the assassination of Caesar, Lepidus sided with Antony and was declared to be an enemy of Rome by the Senate.

So now we have the set up for the second triumvirate: Antony and Lepidus, military men of great skill allied with each other and commanding a large army Octavian, standing as a formidable opponent with an army, a famous name, and political skills beyond those of his rivals.

Octavian met Antony and Lepidus on an island in the Remo River near Bononia (Bologna) during October of 43 B.C. Each had legions with him. They agreed to form a triumvirate for five years giving them the authority to make laws and nominate magistrates and governors.

The agreement became official when the Tribune P. Titius pushed it through the tribal assembly on November 27 th . The territories were divided up: Antony taking Transalpine and Cisalpine Gaul, Lepidus taking the rest of Gaul and Spain, and Octavian taking Africa, Sicily and Sardinia. The triumvirs agreed that Lepidus would serve as consul in 42 while the others pursued Brutus and Cassius in the east. To provide security and money, they carried out a ruthless proscription which claimed the lives of 300 Senators and 2000 knights, including Cicero. The wealth obtained was partially used to pay off the legionnaires and settle them on confiscated lands.

As we know from the history, Brutus and Cassius were defeated at Philippi, avenging the murder of Caesar and ending the Republic once and for all. The triumvirs now signed a contract specifying the division of provinces: Antony took all Gaul except Cisalpine Octavian received Spain, Sardinia, and Africa and Lepidus received nothing because he was suspected of conspiring with Sextus Pompeius. For the short term, Antony would head east to raise money and Octavian would deal with Sextus Pompeius.

Between 40 and 37 B.C, there were at least three occasions when the agreement between Octavian and Antony looked like it would fall part, but at the last minute these disputes were resolved and, in 37 B.C, the triumvirate was renewed for another five years. The next year, Octavian was finally able to corner Pompeius in Sicily and defeat him, but, oddly, Lepidus took command of some Pompeian troops and ordered Octavian off the island. As a result, Lepidus was stripped of his powers as a triumvir and retired from public life. Now, as in the case of the first triumvirate, the balancing power was removed. When the triumvirs contract expired at the end of 33, the agreement was not renewed. Antony continued to use the title, but Octavian moved on as consul and son of a god (Caesar had been deified).

Octavian used Antony’s relationship with Cleopatra to paint him as more loyal to Egypt than Rome and a traitor to the Republic. This public relations campaign served as a prelude to the sea battle of Actium in 31 B.C, which spelled defeat for Antony and his death along with Cleopatra.

Octavian had triumphed by guile and calculation. He would utilize those same tools to build an Imperial system that pretended to be Republican.

43 BC - 2nd Triumvirate Octavius, Antony and Lepidus

Although Caesar was dead, both parties, the conspirators and the personal and political friends of the dead leader, rested on their arms. Neither faction knew the strength of the other nor the sentiment of the people. The Caesarian consul Mark Antony thought it best to propose a compromise, and Marcus and Decimus Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators accepted it. Caesar's arrangements for the future were ratified, but no inquiry was to be made into the circumstances of his death.

An unexpected turn was given to affairs by the arrival in Italy of Octavius, Caesar's grand-nephew, a young man in his nineteenth year, whom the dictator had named as his heir. His fidelity in carrying out the generous provisions of Caesar's will, his tactful course, and the fact that he bore the name of their late leader drew to him so many of Caesar's veterans that Antony, for fear of losing all his troops, hastily left Rome for the North with the forces which were still loyal to him.

Antony had secured by law the transfer to himself of Cisalpine Gaul, which had originally been assigned to Decimus Brutus, one of the conspirators. His purpose now was to drive out Brutus and take possession of the province. The senate called Octavius to its assistance and sent him with Hirtius and Pansa, the two consuls of the year 43, to the relief of Brutus. Antony was worsted at Mutina. But the victory was dearly bought. Hirtius and Pansa were killed.

Octavius was so aggrieved at the assignment of the vacant position of commander-in-chief to Brutus that he came to an understanding with Antony and his ally Lepidus, and in 43 BC the three men formed a compact, commonly known as the second triumvirate, which was later ratified by law, and gave them even more extensive powers than Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus had exercised twenty years before. Their return to Rome was followed by a reign of terror which rivaled that of Sulla.

Cicero was one of the early victims of their fury. Cicero's political course was based upon a new method of securing strength for the social fabric. Gaius Gracchus had exalted the middle classes at the expense of the nobility, Sulla had restored the supremacy of the senate, and thereby antagonized the middle classes. Now Cicero sought to unite both senators and knights in a joint defense of the cause of law and order. His efforts were as futile as theirs had been, because the 'Roman empire had outgrown the old regime, and because ambitious leaders had been taught by the examples of Sulla, of Marius, and of Pompey to look to the sword, and not to the ballot, as the source of political power.

From 47 to his death in 44 Caesar was dictator. Cicero mourned the downfall of the republic, and took little part in public affairs. He attended meetings of the senate, but rarely spoke. This policy of silence was interrupted (in 46) by the oration for Marcellus, an extravagant eulogy of the dictator's clemency in pardoning one who, like the orator himself, had taken the side of Pompey against Caesar. To Cicero's grief at the state of his country were added troubles 79 of a domestic nature. His wife, Terentia, to whom he had written so affectionately when an exile (Ep. 9), after thirty years of wedded life was divorced. He married a young woman named Publilia, but soon separated from her. But the crowning sorrow was the death of his daughter, Tullia, which almost crushed him. It was only by devoting himself with tremendous energy and concentration to literary labors that he was able to forget his public and private cares. In these last years of his life he turned out an enormous amount of work, mostly on philosophical subjects.

Cicero had been the head and front of the senatorial opposition, and however vainglorious he may have been of his consulship, however weak during his year of exile, and vacillating when the war broke out between Caesar and Pompey, in this period he rose to the full stature of a brave man of action and a statesman. Antony's aggressions became so intolerable that Cicero, in the hope of discrediting and finally defeating him, uttered that remarkable series of invectives known as the fourteen Philippics. His scathing denunciation of Antony in his Philippic orations, his brave letters to the governors of provinces, encouraging them to stand firm for the senatorial cause, and his bold leadership of the senate made him the heart and soul of the lost cause. In the end the sole effect of Cicero 's efforts was to arouse the implacable hatred of Antony. Within a few months Antony and Octavian reached an understanding, and with Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate. Each of the three made a list of men whom he considered dangerous to the new regime, and these, to the number of some thousands, were put to death. As might have been expected, Cicero's name appeared on the list of the proscribed by Antony. Cicero started to leave Italy, but was overtaken by cavalry at his estate near Formise and beheaded, Dec. 7, 43. He did not long survive the republic which in his consulship he had saved and throughout his life had served with all his wonderful talents.

The bravery of Cicero in this last struggle of the republic a century later not undeservedly called forth from Velleius Paterculus this enthusiastic eulogy of Cicero and denunciation of Antony: "Thou hast robbed Cicero, Mark Antony, of the light of life, but of a light obscured by the clouds of trouble - of his declining years, and of a life which would have been more wretched under thee as prince than was death under thee as triumvir, but the fame and the glory which his deeds and words brought him thou hast rather exalted than taken from him. He lives and will live in memory for all time, and so long as this world, ruled by chance or by providence, or however it be governed, so long as this world shall last whose significance, structure, and constitution, he was almost the only Roman to discern, to comprehend, and to set forth in a clear light by means of his eloquence, it will take with it through the ages the praise of Cicero, and in times to come all men will execrate thy crime against him, and the human race shall disappear from the earth before the name of Cicero dies."

Meanwhile the two republican leaders, M. Brutus and Cassius, had withdrawn to the East to take possession of their provinces, and were exerting themselves to the utmost to prepare for the struggle which they knew to be inevitable. In the autumn of 42 BC they had brought together at Philippi a force of nineteen legions of foot soldiers and twenty thousand horsemen. Here they were met by the triumvirs and defeated. Brutus and Cassius took their own lives, and the struggle to reestablish the republic was at an end. The Roman World Divided between Octavianus and Antony. In the division of territory which followed the victory, Octavius, or Octavianus as he was called after his adoption by Caesar, took Italy and the West, Antony the East, with Alexandria as his capital. Lepidus had to content himself with Africa, and played henceforth a minor role.

The compact between Octavianus and Antony, broken only by temporary misunderstandings, ran for ten years, but the rivalry between the two men was too intense to allow the arrangement to be permanent. It was believed too at Rome that Antony and Cleopatra were planning to set up a rival power in the East. The great naval battle near Actium in 31 BC was, therefore, a struggle between the East and the West, and the victory of Octavianus over Antony and Cleopatra established once for all the supremacy of the West.

5. The Crisis of the 3rd Century

Emperor Diocletian’s reforms helped bring an end to the crisis. (Credit: ullstein bild via Getty Images)

In A.D. 235, the young Roman Emperor Alexander Severus was murdered by his troops during a campaign along the Rhine. The coup couldn’t have come at a worse time. Rome was already straining under the weight of increased raids by barbarian tribes, and the sudden political instability launched a period of civil war that nearly brought the Empire to its knees. Over the next 35 years, the Roman throne was claimed by a merry-go-round of several dozen usurpers and generals, nearly all of whom were eventually killed in battles with their rivals or assassinated by their own men. To make matters worse, the infighting overlapped with a brutal outbreak of plague and increased threats from the Goths, the Persians and other outside forces.

As the mayhem mounted, the Empire briefly splintered into three separate states. Unity was later restored by Emperor Aurelian, who drove Rome’s enemies beyond the frontier and re-conquered its lost territories, but the situation devolved back into chaos after his death. The crisis wouldn’t fully end until the late-third century, when Diocletian passed a series of groundbreaking reforms that divided Rome into an Eastern and Western Empire ruled by a tetrarchy of four leaders—two senior 𠇊ugusti” and a pair of lower-ranking �sars.”

The Roman Empire: founding, development and decline

Romance languages

The history of the Roman Empire is fundamental not only for the development of Italian culture, but also for the establishment of European languages, because it allowed latin to spread to many territories, like Spain, France, Portugal, Romania etc.

In short, the expansion of the Roman Empire laid the foundation for what today we call “Romance languages”: Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and so on.

The three periods of ancient Rome

Historians divided the history of Rome in three main periods:

1) The Roman Kingdom: from 753 B.C, year of the foundation of Rome, to 509 B.C., year of the exile of the Tarquinii (the last kings of Rome) from the city.

2) The Roman Republic: from 509 B.C. to 27 B.C., when the Roman Senate granted full powers and the title of “Augustus” to Octavius.

3) The Roman Empire: from 27 B.C. to 476 B.C., year of the downfall of the Western Roman Empire.

Well, now that we made this chronological division, let’s get to the heart of the Roman history!

The Roman Kingdom

According to the legend, Rome was founded in the middle of the VIII century B.C. by two brothers raised by a she-wolf: Romulus and Remus, descendants of Aeneas.

Actually, modern archeological studies and historical research believe that the city of Rome was born when the communities that inhabited the seven hills of Rome, on the left side of the Tiber river, merged together.

During the first period, called the Roman Kindom, Rome was a monarchical city-state, similar to Greek poleis: the power was in the hands of a monarch, who received the title of rex. The king did not only detain political power, but also military and religious power moreover, he was assisted by a Senate, composed of patricians (the elite class of the ancient Roman society).

The monarchy in Rome lasted for about two and a half centuries, during which time, according to tradition, 7 kings reigned one after another:

1 – Romulus, who became the first king of Rome after killing his brother Remus, as claimed by the legend

The Roman Republic

The 7th king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, made a lot of enemies, and was eventually exiled from Rome in 509 B.C., becoming the last king of the city.

This marked the beginning of the Roman Republic, a phase characterised by the leading role of the Senate in the government of the city.

During this period, Rome exapanded in Italy and in the Mediterranean after winning the Samnite Wars, against the Samnites and their allies (IV-III centuries B.C.) and the Punic Wars against Carthage (III-II centuries B.C.).

Nonetheless, in the I century B.C. the Republic suffered a terrible crisis, mainly because of the conflict between those who supported the faction of the populares (the political party that supported the people’s requests) and those who supported the optimates (the conservative aristocrat party) in the Senate.

The civil wars

Between the years 83 and 82 B.C., the first civil war in Rome was fought between the factions of the populares, guided by Gaius Marius, and tha faction of the optimates, guided by Sulla. The latter won and became emperor for life after taking out all of his enemies.

In any case, internal problems had not been solved, as proven by the conspiracy against the Republic organised by the Roman senator Catiline and exposed by the lawyer Cicero in 63 B.C.

In 60 B.C. commanders Pompey, Crassus e Caesar, despite party differences, joined forces in the First Triumvirate to try and solve the period of instability and crisis that Rome was suffering.

This alliance did not last long: after Crassus’ death, in 49 B.C., while returning from Gaul, Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon river, in which occasion he pronounced the famous words «alea iacta est» (“the die has been cast”), and triggered the second civil war , fought between his legions and Pompey’s optimates.

Caesar defeated Pompey in Pharsalus (48 B.C.), and then the other optimates, becoming the undisputed chief and dictator of Rome.

After carrying out a series of reforms, Caesar was stabbed to death on the 15th March 44 B.C. (the “Ides of March”) from a conspiracy organised by a group of conservatives and republicans, headed by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and Decimus Brutus.

Caesar’s death marked the beginning of a phase of instability in Rome. Octavius, his adopted son, Mark Anthony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus created the Second Triumvirate in 43 B.C., brought order back to the Republic and divided Rome’s territories among them.

After Lepidus was expelled from the triumvirate, Octavius became the ruler of the West and Anthony of the East. The latter married the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and started drifting away from Roman customs. Octavius took advantage of the Senate’s disappointment towards Anthony and declared war to him.

In 31 B.C. Octavius defeated Mark Anthony in Actium and in 27 B.C. the Senate granted him full powers and the title of “Augustus”. This is how the Empire was born.

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire began when the Senate put all of the power in the hands of a single person: the emperor.

The Roman Empire can be divided into two phases:

1 – A phase of prosperity and glory (until the II century A.D.).

2 – A phase of deep crisis (beginning in the III century A.D.).

Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, had full political and military powers and brought peace and stability after years of civil wars. He was the first of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which ruled until 68 A.D. with emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.

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One thing worth mentioning is that the maximum expansion of the Empire was achieved between 98 and 117 A.D. with emperor Trajan, covering an area that ranged from Spain to Asia Minor and from England to Northern Africa.

Crisis and downfall of the Empire

The main causes of the Empire’s deep crisis in the III century A.D. were: (1) the immense power of the army, which organised many coup d’etats, (2) the economic crisis, (3) the threat of the populations across the borders and (4) the spreading of Christianity.

Moreover, because of the difficulty of managing such a huge empire, in the IV century A.D. emperor Diocletian decided to opt for the Tetrarchy (the administrative subdivision of Roman holdings in four different territories): this is how the partition of the empire began, and it became final in 395 A.D. with the death of emperor Theodosius I, who split the Empire in two (Eastern and Western Empire).

In the IV century, the Western Roman Empire, wrecked by the deep political and economical crisis, was unable to oppose the attacks from nearby populations: in 476 A.D commander Odoacer deposed the last emperor, Romulus Augustulus, marking the downfall of the Western Empire.

The Eastern Roman Empire survived for a very long time in Constantinople, until 1453, when the imperial city, conquered by Mehmed II, became the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

This was the history of ancient Rome in a nutshell, filled with events and fundamental for the development of Europe as we know it today.

And you, have you ever been to Rome? Have you visited the Roman Hills or the Colosseum?

Well, don’t worry if you haven’t visited Rome, Italy is full of stunning places and amazing monuments: if you want to know more about them, watch our video about the best Italian monuments !

War between Octavian and Antony

In order to provide treasures and rewards for his troops and cement his reputation as a military commander, Octavian pursued a war in Illyricum to bring it under Roman control. [ citation needed ] Meanwhile, Antony was preparing his war against Parthia, taking advantage of divisions caused by the new Parthian king Phraates IV. [ citation needed ] However Antony over-extended himself and was forced to retreat with considerable loss of troops. [19]

Despite having married Octavia, Octavian's sister, in 40 BC (Octavian had married Antony's stepdaughter Clodia Pulchra three years earlier), Antony openly lived in Alexandria with Cleopatra VII of Egypt, even siring children with her. [ citation needed ] When the Triumvirate's second term expired in 33 BC, Antony continued to use the title Triumvir Octavian, opting to distance himself from Antony, refrained from using it. [ citation needed ]

After Antony's defeat in Parthia, Cleopatra had come to his aid with supplies Antony then turned his attention to Armenia, seizing its king Artavasdes and occupying the country. [ citation needed ] He minted coins to commemorate the victory, created a mimic of a Roman triumph, [ citation needed ] and read out a declaration, known as the Donations of Alexandria in which he granted territories to Cleopatra's children. [20]

Octavian illegally obtained Antony's will in July 32 BC and exposed it to the Roman public: it promised substantial legacies to Antony's children by Cleopatra, and left instructions for shipping his body to Alexandria for burial. [ citation needed ] Octavian's forces decisively defeated those of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in Greece in September 31 BC, chasing them to Egypt in 30 BC both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in Alexandria, and Octavian personally took control of Egypt and Alexandria (Egyptian chronologies treat Octavian as Cleopatra's successor as Pharaoh). [ citation needed ]

Octavian's ally Gaius Maecenas forestalled a conspiracy allegedly organised by Lepidus's son (31 BC). With the complete defeat of Antony and the marginalisation of Lepidus, Octavian, having been restyled "Augustus" in 27 BC, remained as the sole master of the Roman world, and proceeded to establish the Principate as the first Roman "emperor". [ citation needed ]

An Institution of General History, or, The History of the World by William Howell (1661-1685)


AN INSTITUTION OF Generall History. The First Part. BOOK I.
CHAP. I. From the beginning of the world, to the beginning of the first Empire.
CHAP. II. Of the Babylonian Empire, from the first founding thereof to it's utter subversion by Cyrus.
CHAP. III. Of Sacred History. Contemporaries with the Babylonian Empire.
SECT. I. From the time of Phaleg, and the division of the Earth to the departure of the Israelites out of Aegypt.
SECT. II. From the departure of the Israelites out of Aegypt, to the death of So|lomon, and the Rent of the Kingdom.
SECT. III. From the death of Solomon and the rent of the Kingdom, to the de|struction of the Kingdom of Judah.
SECT. IV. The Kingdom of Israel From the revolt of the Tribes, to their final Captivity under Salmanasser.
CHAP. IV. The most ancient Kingdom of Egypt, Contemporary with the Babylonian Empire.
CHAP. V. The most Ancient state, and condition of Greece, during the Baby|lonian Empire, with a Description of its Kingdoms and Common-wealth.
SECT. I. The State of Greece in General.
SECT. II. The Sicyonian Kingdom.
SECT. III. The Kingdom of Argos.
SECT. IV. The most antient Kingdom and Common-wealth of Athens.
SECT. V. The most antient Kingdom and Commonwealth of Lacedaemon.
SECT. VI. The most antient Kingdom of Corinth.
SECT. VII. The antient Kingdom of Thebes.
CHAP. VI. The Original, and Kingdom of Rome, Contemporary with the Babylonian Empire.
SECT. I. The Original of the Citie of Rome.
SECT. II. From the building of the Citie to the destruction of the Kingdom, the space of 245 years.
AN INSTITUTION OF General History. The First Part. BOOK II. Of the Persian Empire, and the Affairs of the World Contemporary with it.
CHAP. I. The Persian Empire.
SECT. I. From the beginning of the Empire of Cyrus, to the death of Cam|byses his Son and Successor.
SECT. II. From the death of Cambyses to that of Xerxes.
SECT. III. From the death of Xerxes, and the beginning of Artaxerxes Longima|nus, to the death of Artaxerxes Mnemon, containing the space of 103 years.
SECT. IV. From the death of Artaxerxes Mnemon, and the beginning of Ochus, to the death of Darius Codomannus, containing the space of 32 years.
Contemporaries with the Persian Empire.
SECT. I. Of such things as hapned from the beginning thereof until the Expedi|tion of Xerxes.
SECT. II. Of such things as fell out amongst the Graecians, from their Victories at Plataea and Mycale, until the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, containing the space of 48 years.
SECT. III. From the beginning of the Peloponnesian War to the ending thereof, containing the space of 27 years.
SECT. IV. From the end of the Peloponnesian War to the beginning of the reign of Philip King of Macedonia, containing the space of 44 years.
SECT. V. From the beginning of the reign of Philip King of Macedonia, to the Monarchy of Alexander his Son, containing the space of 31 years.
CHAP. III. The affairs of Sicilie during this Empire.
SECT. I. The first Names and Inhabitants of this Island, with a relation of such things as preceded the Persian Empire.
SECT. II. Of such thing as were Contemporary with the Persian Empire.
CHAP. IV. The affairs of the Romans contem|porary with the second Empire.
SECT. I. From the Banishment of Tarquinius and first change of the Government, to the alteration made by the Decemvivi, the space of 57 years.
SECT. II. From the Creation of the Decemviri to the War of Privernae, which fell out the same year that Darius Codomannus died: the space of 121 years.
AN INSTITUTION OF General History. The First Part. BOOK III. Of the Empire of the Macedonians, and Affairs of the World Contempora|ry with it.
CHAP. I. From the beginning of the Monarchy of Alexander to his death, containing the space of six years and ten moneths.
CHAP. II. Of such things as hapned after the death of Alexander amongst his Captains, till their Cantonizing of his Empire into their par|ticular Kingdoms, and their taking the Stile and Title of Kings upon them, containing the space of 17 years.
CHAP. III. From Alexanders Captains taking the Title of Kings, to the death of Seleucus the Surviver of them, containing the space of 24 years.
CHAP. IV. The Macedonian Kingdom. From the death of Seleucus to the Captivity of Perseus, and the end of this Kingdom, containing the space of 139 years.
CHAP. V. The Asian and Syrian Kingdom.
CHAP. VI. The Aegyptian Kingdom.
Contemporaries with the Empire of the Macedonians.
CHAP. VIII. The affaires of Sicilie Contemporary with the Empire of the Macedonians.
CHAP. IX. The affaires of the Romans Contem|porary with the Empire of the Macedonians.
SECT. I. From the War of Privernum to the first Punick War, wherein the Romans first set foot out of Italy, the space of 66 years.
SECT. II. From the First Punick War, to that with Antiochus the Great, in which the Romans first invaded Asia, the space of 37 years.
SECT. III. From the War with Antiochus, and the invasion of Asia, to the destruction of Carthage, after which the Romans dege|nerated through security, the space of 45 years.
SECT. IV. From the destruction of Carthage to the War with Mithridates King of Pontus, which afforded the occasion to the first Civil War, the space of 58 years.
SECT. V. From the War with Mithridates, and first Civil War, to the combina|nation of Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar, termed by Varro Tricipitina, which proved the ruin of the Po|pular Government, for the space for 28 years.
SECT. VI. From the beginning of the Tricipitina or first Triumvirate, to the absolutenesse of Julius Caesar, containing the space of sixteen years.
SECT. VII. From the absolutenesse of Julius Caesar, to the end of the second Triumvirate, and the absolutenesse of Octavius Caesar, or Caesar Octavianus, the space of 15 years.
AN INSTITUTION OF General History. The First Part. BOOK IV. The Roman Empire.
CHAP. I. From the absolutenesse of Octavius, to the death of Tiberius, containing the space of 66 years.
CHAP. II. From the death of Tiberius to that of Nero, the last Emperour of Caesar's family, containing the space of 20 years.
CHAP. III. From the death of Nero to that of Domitian, the last of the fa|mily of Vespasian, the space of 27 years.
CHAP. IV. From the death of Domitian to that of Pertinax, and the exposing of the Empire to publick sale by the Soldiers, the space of 97 years.
CHAP. V. From the death of Pertinax, and the exposing of the Empire to sale, to the death of Maximinus the first elected Emperour without consent of the Senate, the space of 45 years.
CHAP. VI. From the death of Maximinus the first created Emperour without consent of the Senate, to the Monarchy of Constantine the first Christian Emperour, who reformed Religion, and translated the Imperial seat to Byzantium, the space of 86 years.

During Caesar's Consulship

During his consulship, in 59 (elections were held before the year in office), Caesar pushed through Pompey's land settlements, which were to be administered by Crassus and Pompey. This was also when Caesar saw to it that the acts of the Senate were published for public reading. Julius Caesar obtained the provinces he had wanted to take charge of after his term as consul ended and finagled his desired five year-term as proconsul. These provinces were Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum -- not what the Senate had wished for him.

The doggedly moral Optimate Cato did all he could to thwart the aims of the triumvirate. He had help from the year's second consul, Bibulus, who boycotted and vetoed Caesar. Many

Cicero’s Contribution to the Renaissance

Scholars say the Italian Renaissance really began when the poet Petrarch unearthed Cicero’s letters in 1345 and later, leading Enlightenment thinkers John Locke and Voltaire saw Cicero as immortal. More recently, historian Michael Grant wrote, “the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language.”

Beyond the togas, sandals, and grandeur, Rome degenerated into authoritarian rule under the Second Triumvirate. Caesar’s former henchman Mark Antony commanded his army to incite violence for political ends, persecuting constitutionalists like Cicero and Brutus, who spoke truth to power.

Antony had an insatiable appetite for tyranny, civic disrespect, and drunkenness, even vomiting in the senate chamber. By 44-43 B.C., Cicero had had enough, unleashing 14 scathing Philippics against Mark Antony’s debauched character. These speeches are masterpieces. Rome’s political bloodsport escalated, and Antony’s soldiers hunted down and butchered Cicero. This tragedy teaches students how despots destroy republics.

The historian Plutarch reports that Antony “laugh[ed] aloud for joy many times,” having ordered his men to cut off Cicero’s head and right hand, “with which Cicero had written the speeches against him…” Then Antony had them placed in the public forum.

Cicero’s martyrdom has inspired liberty-loving patriots across eras. But not in our time. Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick killed off a basic history-civics graduation requirement, which current Gov. Charlie Baker thus far has lacked the courage to reinstate. At the federal level, the Obama administration also canceled national U.S. history and civics tests, substituting them with technology literacy tests, a decision the Trump administration has yet to revisit.

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child,” Cicero said. “For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”

If American schooling seeks to revitalize its historic duty to teach civic knowledge, it should look to Cicero, our civilization’s most compelling profile in eloquent statesmanship.

Watch the video: Julius Caesar speech to the Senate (August 2022).