Marcus Licinius Crassus (consul 30 BC)

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Marcus Licinius Crassus the Younger (fl. 1st century BC), grandson of the triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus, was a Roman Consul in the year 30 BC as the colleague of Octavian (the future Roman Emperor Augustus).[1] He was best known for his successful campaigns in Macedonia and Thrace in 29–27 BC, for which he was denied customary military honors by Octavian.


The younger Crassus was the son of another Marcus Licinius Crassus, possibly by his wife Caecilia Metella Cretica, daughter of the consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus (see Caecilius Metellus); his mother's tomb is visible on the Appian Way. The father was a quaestor to Julius Caesar, and a son, possibly the eldest son,[2] of the triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus possibly by his first wife (widow of an elder brother killed in December 87 BC). Crassus the Younger apparently had no surviving sons by his wife. It is believed that Crassus adopted the future consul Marcus Licinius Crassus Frugi from the Calpurnius Piso family.[3]

Military career[edit]

Crassus was a Roman general, who fought first with Sextus Pompey and Mark Antony before defecting to Octavian. Octavian then appointed him as his colleague as consul for 30 BC, even though Crassus had not been praetor, the office that was traditionally a prerequisite for the consulship. Dispatched to Macedonia in 29 BC, he moved against the Bastarnae, a tribe of mixed ethnicity (Scythian, Dacian, and Germanic) who had crossed the Danube and threatened Roman allies in neighboring Thrace. He drove them back toward the Danube and finally defeated them in pitched battle, killing their King Deldo in single combat.[4] By Roman tradition, he was thus entitled to the Spolia opima, but Octavian blocked the privilege, apparently wishing to downplay the successes of individual generals in favor of his own prestige. Crassus likewise did not receive the agnomen of Scythicus to commemorate his victory.[5] However, Octavian eventually did grant him a triumph upon his return to Rome. Notably Octavian had left Rome to travel round the Western provinces of the Empire by the time the triumph took place and history does not record any further deeds of Crassus.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Attilio Degrassi, I fasti consolari dell'Impero Romano dal 30 avanti Cristo al 613 dopo Cristo (Rome, 1952), p. 3
  2. ^ Details of his genealogy are taken from the German Wikipedia; however, most historical sources online say that the eldest son was named Publius, the traditional name of the eldest son in the Licinius gens. Publius died in Syria with his father in 53 BC.
  3. ^ Ronald Syme, "Piso Frugi and Crassus Frugi", Journal of Roman Studies, 50 (1960), pp. 12-20
  4. ^ Cassius Dio 51.23.3 ff. [1]
  5. ^ "Legio III Scythica" [2] Archived 2007-10-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Syme, The Augustan Arstocracy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), pp. 273-275
Political offices
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Divi f. III,
and Gnaeus Pompeius (suffect)
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Imp. Caesar Divi f. IV
Succeeded by
Gaius Antistius Vetus
as Suffect consul