Letter: As rich as Crassus
Wednesday 11 August 1999
The parallels with Geoffrey Robinson are interesting. Crassus stood surety for some of Ceasar's vast debts in 62 and was rewarded two years later with a place in the unofficial First Triumvirate, along with Caesar and Pompey the Great - a rich man plus a populist politician and a seasoned general.
The historian Sir Ronald Syme commented: "The lust of power, that prime infirmity of the Roman noble, impelled him to devious paths and finally to dangerous elevations."
But presumably Mr Robinson need not expect as grisly a fate as that of Crassus. The Parthians trapped his army at Carrhae in 53. They cut off his head and brought it to the Parthian king as he was enjoying a recital of Euripides' Bacchae. The actor took on the role of Agave, who tears his son to pieces, and cradled Crassus' head while singing a Bacchic song of triumph.
Mrs M LANCH
Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex
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