Marcus Licinius Crassus
|Marcus Licinius Crassus|
Bust of Crassus
in the Louvre Museum
|Governor of Roman Syria|
54 BC – 53 BC
|Preceded by||Aulus Gabinius|
|Succeeded by||Gaius Cassius Longinus|
|Consul of the Roman Republic|
55 BC – 54 BC
Serving with Pompey the Great
|Preceded by||Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and Lucius Marcius Philippus|
|Succeeded by||Appius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus|
|Consul of the Roman Republic|
70 BC – 69 BC
Serving with Pompey
|Preceded by||Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura and Gnaeus Aufidius Orestes|
|Succeeded by||Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus and Quintus Hortensius|
|Born||c. 115 BC or 112 BC |
|Died||53 BC (aged 59)|
Carrhae, Parthian Empire
|Children||Marcus Licinius Crassus, Publius Licinius Crassus|
Crassus began his public career as a military commander under Lucius Cornelius Sulla during his civil war. Following Sulla's assumption of the dictatorship, Crassus amassed an enormous fortune through real estate speculation. Crassus rose to political prominence following his victory over the slave revolt led by Spartacus, sharing the consulship with his rival Pompey the Great.
A political and financial patron of Julius Caesar, Crassus joined Caesar and Pompey in the unofficial political alliance known as the First Triumvirate. Together the three men dominated the Roman political system. The alliance did not last long, due to the ambitions, egos, and jealousies of the three men. While Caesar and Crassus were lifelong allies, Crassus and Pompey disliked each other and Pompey grew increasingly envious of Caesar's spectacular successes in the Gallic Wars. The alliance was re-stabilized at the Lucca Conference in 56 BC, after which Crassus and Pompey again served jointly as consuls. Following his second consulship, Crassus was appointed as the Governor of Roman Syria. Crassus used Syria as the launchpad for a military campaign against the Parthian Empire, Rome's long-time Eastern enemy. Crassus' campaign was a disastrous failure, ending in his defeat and death at the Battle of Carrhae.
Crassus' death permanently unraveled the alliance between Caesar and Pompey. Within four years of Crassus' death, Caesar would cross the Rubicon and begin a civil war against Pompey and the optimates.
- 1 Family and background
- 2 History
- 3 Chronology
- 4 Artistic representations
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Family and background
Marcus Licinius Crassus was the second of three sons born to the eminent senator and vir triumphalis Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (consul 97, censor 89 BC). This line was not descended from the Crassi Divites, although often assumed to be. The eldest brother Publius (born c. 116 BC) died shortly before the Italic War and Marcus took his brother's wife as his own. His father and the youngest brother Gaius took their own lives in Rome in winter 87–86 BC to avoid capture when he was being hunted down by the Marians following their victory in the bellum Octavianum.
There were three main branches of the house of the Licinii Crassi in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, and many mistakes in identifications and lines have arisen owing to the uniformity of Roman nomenclature, erroneous modern suppositions, and the unevenness of information across the generations. In addition the Dives cognomen of the Crassi Divites means rich or wealthy, and since Marcus Crassus, the subject here, was renowned for his enormous wealth, this has contributed to hasty assumptions that his family belonged to the Divites. But no ancient source accords him or his father the Dives cognomen; in fact, we are explicitly informed that his great wealth was acquired rather than inherited, and that he was raised in modest circumstances.
Crassus' grandfather of the same name, Marcus Licinius Crassus (praetor c.126 BC), was facetiously given the Greek nickname Agelastus (the unlaughing or grim) by his contemporary Gaius Lucilius, the famous inventor of Roman satire, who asserted that he smiled once in his whole life. This grandfather was son of Publius Licinius Crassus (consul 171 BC). The latter's brother Gaius Licinius Crassus (consul 168 BC) produced the third line of Licinii Crassi of the period, the most famous of whom was Lucius Licinius Crassus, the greatest Roman orator before Cicero and the latter's childhood hero and model. Marcus Crassus was also a talented orator and one of the most energetic and active advocates of his time.
Youth and the First Civil War
After the Marian purges and the subsequent sudden death of Gaius Marius, the surviving consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna (father-in-law of Julius Caesar) imposed proscriptions on those surviving Roman senators and equestrians who had supported Lucius Cornelius Sulla in his 88 BC march on Rome and overthrow of the traditional Roman political arrangements.
Cinna's proscription forced Crassus to flee to Hispania. He stayed in Spain from 87-84 BC. Here he recruited 2,500 men (an understrength legion) from his father's clients settled in the area. Crassus used his army to extort money from the local cities to pay for his campaigns. He is even accused of sacking Malaca. After Cinna's death in 84 BC, Crassus went to the Roman province of Africa and joined Metellus Pius, one of Sulla's closest allies. He did not stay there long because of disagreements with Metellus. He sailed his army to Greece and joined Sulla "with whom he stood in a position of special honour".  During Sulla's second civil war, Crassus and Gnaeus Pompey fought a battle in the plain of Spoletium (Spoleto), killed some 3000 of the men of Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, the leader of the Marian forces, and besieged Carinas, a Marian commander.
During the decisive battle outside the Colline Gate Crassus commanded the right flank of Sulla's army. After almost a day of fighting the battle was not going very well for Sulla, his own centre was being pushed back and was on the verge of collapse when he got word from Crassus that he had comprehensively crushed the enemy before him. Now, Crassus wanted to know if Sulla needed a hand, or could his men retire. Sulla told him to advance on the enemy's centre. Sulla also used the news to stiffen the resolve of his own troops. The battle still lasted till the next morning, but in the end the Sullan army emerged victorious. And so Sulla became master of Rome. Sulla's victory and Crassus contribution in achieving it put Crassus in a key position. Sulla was as loyal to his allies as he was cruel towards his enemies and Crassus had been a very loyal ally.
Rise to power and wealth
Marcus Licinius Crassus' next concern was to rebuild the fortunes of his family, which had been confiscated during the Marian-Cinnan proscriptions. Sulla's proscriptions, in which the property of his victims was cheaply auctioned off, found one of the greatest acquirers of this type of property in Crassus: indeed, Sulla was especially supportive of this because he wished to spread around the blame as much as possible, among those unscrupulous enough to do so. Sulla's proscriptions ensured that his survivors would recoup their lost fortunes from the fortunes of wealthy adherents to Gaius Marius or Lucius Cornelius Cinna. Proscriptions meant that their political enemies lost their fortunes and their lives; that their female relatives (notably, widows and widowed daughters) were forbidden to remarry; and that in some cases, their families' hopes of rebuilding their fortunes and political significance were destroyed. Crassus is said to have made part of his money from proscriptions, notably the proscription of one man whose name was not initially on the list of those proscribed but was added by Crassus who coveted the man's fortune. Crassus's wealth is estimated by Pliny at approximately 200 million sestertii. Plutarch, in his "Life of Crassus," says the wealth of Crassus increased from less than 300 talents at first to 7,100 talents. This represented 229 tonnes of gold, or about 7.4 million troy ounces, worth about $9 billion US dollars today, accounted right before his Parthian expedition, most of which Plutarch declares Crassus got "by fire and war, making the public calamities his greatest source of revenue.".
Some of Crassus' wealth was acquired conventionally, through traffic in slaves, production from silver mines, and speculative real estate purchases. Crassus bought property which was confiscated in proscriptions. He notoriously purchased burnt and collapsed buildings. Plutarch wrote that observing how frequent such occurrences were, he bought slaves 'who were architects and builders.' When he had over 500 slaves he bought houses which had burnt and the adjacent 'ones because their owners would let go at a trifling price.' He bought 'the largest part of Rome' in this way. He bought them on the cheap and rebuilt them with slave labour.
Crassus assiduously befriended Licinia, a Vestal Virgin, whose valuable property he coveted. Plutarch says: "And yet when he was further on in years, he was accused of criminal intimacy with Licinia, one of the vestal virgins and Licinia was formally prosecuted by a certain Plotius. Now Licinia was the owner of a pleasant villa in the suburbs which Crassus wished to get at a low price, and it was for this reason that he was forever hovering about the woman and paying his court to her, until he fell under the abominable suspicion. And in a way it was his avarice that absolved him from the charge of corrupting the vestal, and he was acquitted by the judges. But he did not let Licinia go until he had acquired her property." 
After rebuilding his fortune, Crassus' next concern was his political career. As a wealthy man in Rome, an adherent of Sulla, and a man who hailed from a line of consuls and praetors, Crassus' political future was apparently assured. His problem was that despite his military successes, he was eclipsed by his contemporary Pompey the Great who blackmailed the dictator Sulla into granting him a triumph for victory in Africa over a rag-tag group of dissident Romans; a first in Roman history on a couple of counts. First, Pompey was not even a praetor, on which grounds a triumph had been denied in 206 BC to the great Scipio Africanus, who had just defeated Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal in Spain and brought Rome the entire province of Hispania. Second, Pompey had defeated fellow Romans, rather than a foreign enemy; however, a quasi-precedent had been set when the consul Lucius Julius Caesar (a relative of Gaius Julius Caesar) had been granted a triumph for a small victory over Italian (non-Roman) peoples in the Social War. Pompey's triumph was the first granted to any Roman for defeating another Roman army. Crassus' rivalry with Pompey and his envy of Pompey's triumph would influence his subsequent career.
Crassus and Spartacus
Crassus was rising steadily up the cursus honorum, the sequence of offices held by Roman citizens seeking political power, when ordinary Roman politics were interrupted by two events, the Third Mithridatic War, and later, the Third Servile War, which was the two-year rebellion of slaves under the leadership of Spartacus (from the summer of 73 BC to the spring of 71 BC). In response to the first threat, Rome's best general, Lucius Licinius Lucullus (consul in 74 BC), was sent to defeat Mithridates, followed shortly by his brother Varro Lucullus (consul in 73 BC, whose daughter Tertulla later became Crassus' wife). Meanwhile, Pompey was fighting in Hispania against Quintus Sertorius, the last effective Marian general, without notable advantage. Pompey succeeded only when Sertorius was assassinated by one of his own commanders. The only source to mention Crassus holding the office of praetor is Appian, and the date appears to be in 73 or possibly 72 BC.
The Senate did not initially take the slave rebellion seriously, until they believed Rome itself was under threat. Crassus offered to equip, train, and lead new troops, at his own expense, after several legions had been defeated and their commanders killed in battle or taken prisoner. Eventually, Crassus was sent into battle against Spartacus by the Senate. At first he had trouble both in anticipating Spartacus' moves and in inspiring his army and strengthening their morale. When a segment of his army fled from battle, abandoning their weapons, Crassus revived the ancient practice of decimation – i.e., executing one out of every ten men, with the victims selected by drawing lots. Plutarch reports that "many things horrible and dreadful to see" occurred during the infliction of punishment, which was witnessed by the rest of Crassus' army. Nevertheless, according to Appian, the troops' fighting spirit improved dramatically thereafter, since Crassus had demonstrated that "he was more dangerous to them than the enemy."
Afterwards, when Spartacus retreated to the Bruttium peninsula in the southwest of Italy, Crassus tried to pen up his armies by building a ditch and a rampart across the peninsula of Rhegium in Bruttium, "from sea to sea." Despite this remarkable feat, Spartacus and part of his army still managed to break out. On the night of a heavy snowstorm, they sneaked through Crassus' lines and made a bridge of dirt and tree branches over the ditch, thus escaping.
Some time later, when the Roman armies led by Pompey and Varro Lucullus were recalled to Italy in support of Crassus, Spartacus decided to fight rather than find himself and his followers trapped between three armies, two of them returning from overseas action. In this last battle, the Battle of the Silarius River, Crassus gained a decisive victory, and captured six thousand slaves alive. During the fighting, Spartacus attempted to kill Crassus personally, slaughtering his way toward the general's position, but he succeeded only in killing two of the centurions guarding Crassus. Spartacus himself is believed to have been killed in the battle, although his body was never recovered. The six thousand captured slaves were crucified along the Via Appia by Crassus' orders. At his command, their bodies were not taken down afterwards but remained rotting along Rome's principal route to the South. This was intended as an object lesson to anyone who might think of rebelling against Rome in the future, particularly of slave insurrections against their owners and masters, the Roman citizens.
Crassus effectively ended the Third Servile War in 71 BC. In Plutarch's account, Crassus "had written to the senate that they must summon Lucullus from Thrace and Pompey from Spain, but he was sorry now that he had done so, and was eager to bring the war to an end before those generals came. He knew that the success would be ascribed to the one who came up with assistance, and not to himself."  He decided to attack a splinter group of rebels. After this Spartacus withdrew to the mountains. Pompey had arrived from Hispania with his veterans and was sent to provide reinforcements. Crassus hurried to seek the final battle, which he won. Pompey arrived in time merely for a mop-up operation against the disorganized and defeated fugitives. Pompey wrote to the Senate that "indeed, Crassus had conquered the slaves, but that he himself had extirpated the war". "Crassus, for all his self-approval, did not venture to ask for the major triumph, and it was thought ignoble and mean in him to celebrate even the minor triumph on foot, called the ovation." 
In Plutarch's account Pompey was asked to stand for the consulship. Crassus wanted to become his colleague and asked Pompey for his assistance; "Pompey received his request gladly (for he was desirous of having Crassus, in some way or other, always in debt to him for some favour), and eagerly promoted his candidature, and finally said in a speech to the assembly that he should be no less grateful to them for the colleague than for the office which he desired."  However, in office they did not remain friendly. They "differed on almost every measure, and by their contentiousness rendered their consulship barren politically and without achievement."  Crassus displayed his wealth by public sacrifices to Hercules and entertained the populace at 10,000 tables and distributing sufficient grain to last each family three months, an act which had the additional ends of performing a previously made religious vow of a tithe to the demigod Hercules and also to gain support among the members of the popular party.
In Appian's account, Crassus ended the rebellion and there was a contention over honours between him and Pompey. Neither men dismissed their armies. Both were candidates for the consulship. Crassus had been praetor as the law of Sulla required. Pompey had been neither praetor nor quaestor, and was only thirty-four years old, but he had promised the plebeian tribunes to restore much of their power which had been taken away by Sulla's constitutional reforms. Even when they were both chosen consuls, they did not dismiss their armies stationed near the city. Pompey said that he was awaiting the return of Metellus for his Spanish triumph; Crassus said that Pompey ought to dismiss his army first. In the end Crassus yielded first, offering Pompey his hand.
Alliance with Pompey and Caesar
In 65 BC, Crassus was elected censor with another conservative, Quintus Lutatius Catulus (Capitolinus), himself son of a consul. During that decade, Crassus was Julius Caesar's patron in all but name, financing Caesar's successful election to become Pontifex Maximus. Caesar had formerly been the priest of Jupiter or flamen dialis, but had been deprived of office by Sulla. Crassus also supported Caesar's efforts to win command of military campaigns. Caesar's mediation between Crassus and Pompey led to the creation of the First Triumvirate in 60/59 BC, consisting of Crassus, Pompey, and Caesar (who became consul in 59). This coalition would last until Crassus' own death.
In 55 BC, after the Triumvirate met at the Lucca Conference, Crassus was again consul with Pompey, and a law was passed assigning the provinces of the two Hispanias and Syria to Pompey and Crassus respectively for five years.
Syrian governorship and death
Crassus received Syria as his province, which promised to be an inexhaustible source of wealth. It might have been, had he not also sought military glory and crossed the Euphrates in an attempt to conquer Parthia. Crassus attacked Parthia not only because of its great source of riches, but because of a desire to match the military victories of his two major rivals, Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. The king of Armenia, Artavazdes II, offered Crassus the aid of nearly forty thousand troops (ten thousand cataphracts and thirty thousand infantrymen) on the condition that Crassus invaded through Armenia so that the king could not only maintain the upkeep of his own troops but also provide a safer route for his men and Crassus'. Crassus refused, and chose the more direct route by crossing the Euphrates. His legions were defeated at Carrhae (modern Harran in Turkey) in 53 BC by a numerically inferior Parthian force. Crassus' legions were mainly infantry men and were not prepared for the type of swift, cavalry-and-arrow attack in which Parthian troops were particularly adept. The Parthians would get within shooting range, rain a barrage of arrows down upon Crassus's troops, turn, fall back, and charge forth with another attack in the same vein. They were even able to shoot as well backwards as they could forwards, increasing the deadliness of their onslaught. Crassus refused his quaestor Gaius Cassius Longinus's plans to reconstitute the Roman battle line, and remained in the testudo formation, thinking that the Parthians would eventually run out of arrows.
Subsequently Crassus' men, being near mutiny, demanded he parley with the Parthians, who had offered to meet with him. Crassus, despondent at the death of his son Publius in the battle, finally agreed to meet the Parthian general; however, when Crassus mounted a horse to ride to the Parthian camp for a peace negotiation, his junior officer Octavius suspected a Parthian trap and grabbed Crassus' horse by the bridle, instigating a sudden fight with the Parthians that left the Roman party dead, including Crassus. A story later emerged to the effect that after Crassus' death, the Parthians poured molten gold into his mouth as a symbol of his thirst for wealth.
The account given in Plutarch's biography of Crassus also mentions that, during the feasting and revelry in the wedding ceremony of Artavazdes's sister to the Parthian king Orodes II's son and heir Pacorus in the Armenian capital of Artashat, Crassus' head was brought to Orodes II. Both kings were enjoying a performance of Euripides' Greek tragedy The Bacchae when a certain actor of the royal court, named Jason of Tralles, took the head and sang the following verses (also from the Bacchae):
We bring from the mountain
A tendril fresh-cut to the palace
A wonderful prey.
Also according to Plutarch, a final mockery was made ridiculing the memory of Crassus, by dressing up a Roman prisoner, Caius Paccianus, who resembled him in appearance, in women's clothing, calling him "Crassus" and "Imperator", and leading him in a spectacular show of a final, mock "triumphal procession", putting to ridiculous use the traditional symbols of Roman triumph and authority.
- 115 BC or 112 BC – Crassus born, second of three sons of Publius Licinius Crassus (cos.97, cens.89)
- 97 BC – Father is consul of Rome
- 87 BC – Crassus flees to Hispania from Marian forces
- 84 BC – Joins Sulla against Marius
- 82 BC – Commands the victorious right wing of Sulla's army at the Colline Gate, the decisive battle of the civil war, fought on Kalends of November
- 78 BC – Sulla dies in the spring
- 73 BC – Revolt of Spartacus, probable year Crassus was praetor (75, 74, 73 all possible)
- 72 BC – Crassus given special command of the war against Spartacus following the ignominious defeats of both consuls
- 71 BC – Crassus destroys the remaining slave armies in the spring, elected consul in the summer
- 70 BC – Consulship of Crassus and Pompey
- 65 BC – Crassus Censor with Quintus Lutatius Catulus
- 63 BC – Catiline Conspiracy
- 59 BC – First Triumvirate formed. Caesar is Consul
- 56 BC – Conference at Luca
- 55 BC – Second consulship of Crassus and Pompey. In November, Crassus leaves for Syria
- 54 BC – Campaign against the Parthians
- 53 BC – Crassus dies in the Battle of Carrhae
- Crassus is a major character in Howard Fast's 1951 novel Spartacus.
- Crassus is a major character in the 1956 Alfred Duggan novel Winter Quarters. The novel follows two fictional Gallic nobles who join Julius Caesar's cavalry and then find their way into the service of Marcus' son, Publius Licinius Crassus, in Gaul. The characters eventually become clients of Publius Crassus, and, by extension, his father Marcus. The second half of the novel is related by its Gallic narrator from within the ranks of Crassus' doomed army en route to do battle with Parthia. The book depicts an overconfident and militarily incompetent Crassus up to the moment of his death.
- Crassus is a major character in the 1992 novel Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor. He is portrayed as the cousin and patron of Lucius Licinius, the investigation of whose murder forms the basis of the novel. He also has minor appearances in Roman Blood and Catalina's Riddle.
- In David Drake's Ranks of Bronze (1986), the Lost Legion is the major participant, although Crassus himself has been killed before the book begins.
- Crassus is a major character in Conn Iggulden's Emperor series
- The story of the Battle of Carrhae is the centrepiece of Ben Kane's novel The Forgotten Legion (2008). Crassus is depicted as a vain man with poor military judgement.
- Crassus is a major character in Robert Harris's novel Lustrum (published as Conspirata in the USA), the sequel to Imperium, which both chronicle the career of Marcus Tullius Cicero.
- Crassus is a major character in the novels Fortune's Favourites and Caesar's Women by Colleen McCullough. He is portrayed as a brave but mediocre general, a brilliant financier, and a true friend of Caesar.
- Crassus is a principal character in the 1960 film Spartacus, played by actor Laurence Olivier. The film is based on Howard Fast's 1951 novel of the same name.
- A highly fictionalised version of Crassus called "Marcus Crassius" is an enemy figure in the film Amazons and Gladiators (2001), and is played by Patrick Bergin. They mention his defeating Spartacus and that Caesar exiles him due to his popularity to a poor province, where he's very cruel to the populace; he conquers the Amazons, under Queen Zenobia (who apparently rules a tribe of Amazons in the same province, Pannae [Pannonia, one assumes]). In this film, he is killed by a young girl whose family he killed.
- Crassus is a principal character in the 2004 TV film Spartacus, played by actor Angus Macfadyen.
- Crassus appears in a 3rd season episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, where he is beheaded in the Colosseum.
- He is portrayed by Simon Merrells in Spartacus: War of the Damned as the main antagonist. Unlike in Alfred Duggan's novel, he is portrayed as a brilliant military tactician.
- Crassus was also mentioned in the fifth series of Horrible Histories, with a song dedicated to his life.
- Crassus appears in the Netflix Original Series Roman Empire (season 2)
- Crassus, along with Palene, is one of the two narrators in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus. He is played by Anthony Hopkins.
- Crassus appears as one of the villains in the video game Spartan: Total Warrior.
- Crassus makes an appearance as a Great Merchant in the video game Sid Meier's Civilization V.
- Schmuck, Hilmar, ed. (2012). Biographischer Index der Antike. Walter de Gruyter. p. 537. ISBN 9783110954418.
- The Pimilico Dictionary of Classical Civilisations: "These were dismantled during Lepidus’ youth, however, as a new generation of leaders, including Cicero(106-43BC), Pompey(106-48BC), Crassus (112-53BC) and Julius Caesar(100-44BC)"
- Primary Sources for Ancient History: Volume II: The Roman World, Volume 2: "Though Pompey was six years younger than Crassus ( the latter was born in 112 B.C., and the former in 106 B.C.), Pompey rose to pre eminence far more quickly than Crassus"
- Smith, William (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 2., p. 831
- In Classical Latin, M·LICINIVS·P·F·P·N·CRASSVS; in English, English: "Marcus Licinius Crassus, son of Publius, grandson of Publius"
- Plutarch,Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 4.1; also Cic.Scaur. fragment at Ascon.27G=23C, with Asconius' comment on the passage.
- deducible from their common gentilicium and cognomen, while Cic.Scaur. fragment at Ascon.27G=23C explicitly states that the homonymous consulars who both took their own lives, P. Crassus Dives Mucianus (cos.131) and P. Crassus (cos.97), belonged to the same stirps
- Plutarch. Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 1.1; 2.2
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 4.1
- Ibid, 6.1.
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 6.2
- Appian, The Civil Wars, 1.90.1
- (Plutarch, The Life of Crassus, 6.6-7 (trans. Perrin, 1916). "It is said that in Bruttium he actually proscribed a man without Sulla's orders, merely to get his property, and that for this reason Sulla, who disapproved of his conduct, never employed him again on public business.")
- Plutarch (1916). Parallel Lives, "Life of Crassus", 2.2. Loeb Classical Library. III. Translated by Perrin, Bernadotte. ISBN 9780674990722.
- Plutarch (1916). Parallel Lives, "Life of Crassus", 2.3. Loeb Classical Library. III. Translated by Perrin, Bernadotte. ISBN 9780674990722.
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus 2.3–4
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 1
- Shaw, Brent D. Spartacus and the Slave Wars. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2001. pp. 178–79.
- Liv. Per. 97.1; Appian, Bellum Civile 1.121. This obscure passage is important because although Crassus was likely named pro-praetor against Spartacus in 72, the mystery of Crassus' true praetorship has baffled many scholars. For example in a 1993 graduate seminar Hist 275A at UC Berkeley, Prof. Gruen documented for students that Pompey and maybe Crassus were the only two politicians not to abide by Sulla's laws for holding office in the proper sequence and at the proper age (Gruen, Last Generation of the Roman Republic, 509, his praetorship is listed as c. 73). The Appian passage was found years after the seminar by Gaius Stern and appears in an upcoming paper. Livy implies, probably incorrectly, that Crassus was praetor in 72 against Spartacus, rather than fighting under a special authorization as a pro-praetor. Were he praetor in 72, his consulship 366 days later in 70 would be illegal according to Sulla's constitution. Eutrop. 6.7; call Crassus a pro-consul. See also the Penguin translator Rex Warner, Plut. Cras. 10, n. 26 citing Broughton MRR calling him a pro-consul.
- Plutarch, Life of Crassus, 10.2–3
- Appian, The Civil Wars, I.18–19. Loeb Classics Edition, 1913.
- Plutarch-Crassus, 10.4–6
- Plutarch, Life of Crassus, Chapter XI. Translated by Aubrey Stewart & George Long. London: George Bell & Sons, 1892.
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 11.2
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 11.7
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 11.8
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 12.1
- Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Crassus, 12.2
- Appian, the Civil Wars, 1.121
- Plutarch. Life of Crassus. 19.1–3.
- Richard Bulliet, Professor of Middle Eastern History, Columbia University
- Bivar (1983), p. 55.
- Cassius Dio 40.27
- Payaslian, Simon (2007). The history of Armenia : from the origins to the present (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 24. ISBN 1403974675.
- Plutarch. Life of Crassus, 33.2–3.
- Bivar (1983), p. 56.
- Plutarch, 'Life Of Crassus,' p418: "That one of his captives who bore the greatest likeness to Crassus, Caius Paccianus, put on a woman's royal robe, and under instructions to answer to the name of Crassus and the title of Imperator when so addressed, was conducted along on horseback."
- "Spartacus". 17 November 1960 – via www.imdb.com.
- "BBC - CBBC - Page not found".
- Plutarch. "Life of Crassus". Parallel Lives. trans. Bernadotte Perrin (Loeb Classical Library ed.).
- Plutarch. "Life of Crassus". Parallel Lives. trans. John Dryden.
- Plutarch. Plutarch's Lives Volume III at Project Gutenberg
- Cicero. Letters of Marcus Tullius Cicero at Project Gutenberg
- Dio Cassius Book 40, Stanza 26 
- Bivar, A.D.H. (1983). "The Political History of Iran Under the Arsacids," in The Cambridge History of Iran (Vol 3:1), 21–99. Edited by Ehsan Yarshater. London, New York, New Rochelle, Melbourne, and Sydney: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-20092-X.
- Marshall, B A: Crassus: A Political Biography (Adolf M Hakkert, Amsterdam, 1976)
- Ward, Allen Mason: Marcus Crassus and the Late Roman Republic (University of Missouri Press, 1977)
- Twyman, Briggs L: critical review of Marshall 1976 and Ward 1977, Classical Philology 74 (1979), 356–61
- Hennessy, Dianne. (1990). Studies in Ancient Rome. Thomas Nelson Australia. ISBN 0-17-007413-7.
- Holland, Tom. (2003). Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic. Little,Brown.
- Sampson, Gareth C: The defeat of Rome: Crassus, Carrhae & the invasion of the east (Pen & Sword Books, 2008) ISBN 978-1-84415-676-4.
- Smith, William (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 2.
- Marcus Licinius Crassus
- Lang, David Marshall: Armenia: cradle of civilization (Allen & Unwin, 1970)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marcus Licinius Crassus.|
- Crassus entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura and Gnaeus Aufidius Orestes
| Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus and Quintus Hortensius
Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and Lucius Marcius Philippus
| Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
Appius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus