As a prominent politician and military official within the ancient Roman Republic, Marcus Licinius Crassus led a life of war, spoils and power. Yet in spite of the vast fortune and prestige that he had amassed for himself, he perpetually strived for more. And it was this insatiable greed that led to his downfall – and, ultimately, to his violent and elaborate death.
Sources vary as to the precise year, but broadly speaking Crassus was born between 115 B.C. and 112 B.C. His father, Publius Licinius Crassus, had once been a consul, which was an extremely powerful position within the Roman Republic. Two consuls were elected each year, typically to oversee administrative matters during times of peace and to command the military during times of war.
Thanks in part to his powerful position, Crassus’ father had become relatively wealthy throughout his lifetime. Furthermore, he was once honored by the Republic for his military service with a Roman triumph – a celebration of a military figure’s accomplishments in which they were paraded through the streets.