|Marcus Licinius Crassus|
|First appearance||S3E01: Enemies of Rome|
|Last appearance||S3E10: Victory|
Licinia (Cousin, deceased)
Kore (Body Slave/Lover, deceased)
Tiberius (Son, Rapist, deceased)
Julius Caesar (Tribune/Friend)
Rufus (Soldier, deceased)
Mummius (Soldier/Friend, deceased)
Hilarus (Trainer, deceased)
Spartacus (Enemy, deceased)
Publius Varinius (Friend, deceased)
|Status||Active. Victor of the Third Servile War|
Marcus Licinius Crassus is said to be the richest man in Rome and is also a senator of the Republic. Envied and despised by the highborn among the Senate, he craves the power and respect that defeating Spartacus and his Rebel army would bring him.
Marcus Crassus is a middle-aged noble who wears the typical finely-cut Roman robes, fitting for a man of his station. Despite his age he boasts a well toned, yet thin build. When deployed in combat, Crassus wears the armor of a Roman officer, and wields his father's sword on the field of battle.
Marcus Crassus displays a keen, ambitious psyche. He possesses one of the most intelligent minds that Spartacus and the Rebel army ever faces. He expects more from his son as a military authority, waiting for him to display true competence as a leader before granting him a position rather than forcing him in through bribes or favors. Marcus Crassus craves the downfall of Spartacus for the glory of Rome. Unlike Glaber and Varinius, Crassus is more calculative and doesn't underestimate Spartacus. Also unlike other Roman leaders tasked to take down Spartacus, Crassus actually admires the Rebel general, especially for his keen intellect, unique strategies, and military tactics.
Though he is certainly not without personal ambitions, he is also fiercely loyal to the republic and his fellow Romans. He believes in meritocracy and despises the sense of entitlement held by some of his fellow patricians. Crassus also holds respect for slaves, particularly gladiators. This is seen from his interactions with Kore and Hilarus, as he shows great care for them. Crassus also has a profound sense of justice and believes that nobody is above punishment, including fellow Romans and even family, friends, or lovers.
Unlike most of the other families in the series, Crassus and his family treat their slaves fairly well. They protect them from abuse, show them respect and even chastise those who wrong them. He displays a great care for his family, but his time is often consumed by pressing business and work, which causes occasional rifts in his marriage. Crassus' greatest weakness, however, is his oblivious nature to the pain of those closest to him, which has resulted in several damages within the effort of the army, particularly the rivalry between Tiberius and Caesar.
Crassus possesses formidable fighting skills, having been trained as both a Roman soldier and even in the ways of a champion-level gladiator, eventually being capable of besting one. He was trained in the style of dimachaeri, wielding two blades.
As such, the Imperator is of considerable skill, able to easily best low-level Rebels during combat, and even managed to skillfully hold his own against the Rebel leader Spartacus during their final confrontation. It should be noted that Spartacus had received several wounds from battle whilst dispatching a clutch of soldiers and was already in a weakened state; while Crassus had suffered a head wound and most likely a concussion from their initial confrontation. This leads him to stand as one of, if not the most, skilled Roman in swordplay seen in the series.
Crassus's signature move when completely disarmed, is grab his opponent's naked blade with both hands and impale them with their own sword in the torso.
Crassus is also a skilled and highly cunning tactician who, unlike Glaber, Varinius, and other high-ranking Romans, does not adhere to typical Roman tactics and traditions, making a more flexible strategist. This sharp reasoning served as way to best Spartacus' own keen mind, on several occasions.
Blood and Sand
Crassus is mentioned throughout the first season on several occasions. His cousin Licinia makes an appearance, and following her "disappearance" it is revealed that Crassus had offered a massive reward to anyone who would bring information that would lead to her whereabouts, even more so to the capture of the suspects if any foul play was involved.
Again, while not making an actual appearance, Crassus is mentioned through dialogue. He is mentioned by Glaber when arguing with Ilithyia in regards to how she killed Licinia, and Glaber had to give patronage to
Batiatus in order to cover it up. Crassus is again mentioned, in passing, when Varinius makes a derogatory joke about him to two ladies at a party. Crassus' power and reputation is augmented when Varinius tells Ilithyia not to let Crassus hear of this jest, for fear of reprisal.
War of the Damned
Crassus is first seen in Rome, sparring with his slave Hilarus. The former gladiator tutors Crassus, whom is revealed to be a dedicated student. Senator Metellus interrupts the two men, informing Crassus of the complications that Spartacus' rebellion has caused the republic. Metellus goes on to ask for the assistance of Crassus; 10,000 men, amongst the largest armies ever amassed by the Romans, and in return Crassus will be given command under Cossinius and Furius. Crassus accepts Metellus' offer, but his wife Tertulla insists that their son, Tiberius, accompanies Crassus as a tribune. Crassus refuses, saying that Tiberius is not ready and must prove himself on the field.
As Crassus' training with Hilarus continues, he tries to teach his son that a slave is as worthy an adversary as any Roman, pointing out how Spartacus has proven to his superiority over even Romans on various occassions. When Tiberius mocks such claims, Crassus forces him to battle Hilarus to humble him. One night, Crassus and Hilarus continue to train. Crassus realizes the gladiator will never attempt to kill him, fearing for his own life, and in a fit and anger, offers Hilarus freedom and 10,000 denarii if Hilarus can strike him down. Crassus sees this as a test to see if he is ready to face Spartacus. Hilarus accepts and they enter a final fight. Hilarus briefly overwhelms him, disarming him of both his weapons, but as Hilarus makes a final jab at him, Crassus grabs his sword with both hands, pulls it from the gladiators grasp, and impales him with his own sword. After a short conversation, wherein Crassus tells Hilarus that the money he was promised will be used to construct a statue in his honor, he dies in Crassus' arms.
Following the deaths of Cossinius and Furius, Metellus returns and grants Crassus the rank of Imperator, along with sole command of the war against Spartacus. Crassus reveals to Tiberius that their deaths were a part of his plan to quickly ascend up the political ladder and says "The House of Crassus bows to no one." He walks off as his son looks after him in respectful gaze due to his cunning of his plan to attain rank
Julius Caesar arrives at the House of Crassus and after a brief tussle with Crassus' guards, he is welcomed by the man himself. Crassus strikes an alliance with Caesar in order to bring an end to Spartacus' rebellion. He orders Caesar to remain unshaven and the purpose of this is not revealed. When Caesar makes a move on Kore, Crassus briefly scolds him. Crassus later discovers Tertulla preparing her and their family's belongings for travel with Crassus. He denies them, saying he won't have his family close to the threat of death. Crassus later has a passionate encounter with Kore in which he asks her "not as a master but as a man" if she wants to accompany him on his campaign. She smiles and sincerely agrees.
She then moves him to a final decision on the role that his son, Tiberius shall take part in his campaign against Spartacus. Crassus makes Tiberius his "word and will" and warns his son not to tempt engagement with Spartacus until he arrives with proper force. This enrages Caesar, but Crassus tells him to treat his son with respect and that Caesar will become his military tribune.
Crassus is later seen visiting his son after he was wounded during a failed attempt on Spartacus. A disappointed Crassus informs him Caesar has secreted himself amongst the Rebels ranks to hasten their fall. During a later meeting, Crassus scolds his son for ignoring his commands and engaging Spartacus before proper force could arrive. He states that his first battle in his campaign would be remembered as a victory to Spartacus and disregards his son's explanation. He then decides to employ the ancient punishment of Decimation for Tiberius' men falling into retreat. After having sex with Kore later on, Crassus decides to treat Tiberius like any other soldier. During decimation, Crassus apologizes to his son for treating him like a child and orders his son to join his men in the act. Afterwards, when Tiberius is allowed to live and kills Sabinus, he is banished to the followers camp though not before addressing him as Imperator rather than Father, and Crassus watches as his son leaves unaware that he has developed a deep resentment for him.
As Crassus plans the downfall of Spartacus, Metellus interrupts the Imperator and questions as to why Spartacus remains active despite the Senate's investment in Crassus. Unfazed, Crassus discusses military strategy and battle tactics with Metellus, and justifies his reasoning in bringing down the rebel army. Later on, Crassus travels through the follower's camp where he spots his son who gives him a cold blank stare. He confides to Kore about his son and says "I look into his eyes and no longer gaze upon the boy I knew." Kore tells him to speak with his son to bring him close, and Crassus says he wishes for nothing more, but Tiberius must find his own path or be forever lost. He then makes love to Kore.
After Caesar's successful infiltration of the rebel camp in Sinuessa and Crassus' (off-screen)negotiations with the Cilician pirates, Spartacus and the Rebels are forced to retreat from the city, but not before Crassus himself gives chase with his Roman horde. Reunited with Caesar, Crassus manages to confront Spartacus at the rear gates of the city, where he witnesses Spartacus, Crixus, and Agron defend against an entire Roman phalanx formation. As the Rebels close the bridge to block the pathway from the Romans, Caesar points out Spartacus as "The man you seek". Crassus calls out Spartacus' name, and the two leaders meet face to face for the first time. The meeting is short though, as Crassus orders his men to "Seize him!" and Spartacus barely manages to escape under the bridge, the Rebels now fully retreated to the mountains. Caesar questions Crassus' decision to maintain themselves in Sinuessa instead of giving chase, but the confident Crassus ensures Caesar it is all within his plan, and quells further doubts.
Within the city walls of Sinuessa, Crassus comforts Kore and assures her placement in the city, and then holds Tiberius responsible for setting up a celebration in honor of the name of Caesar, unbeknownst of Tiberius' resentful actions against his father for the earlier decimation. Tiberius, however, complies with his duty, and soon the celebrations are prepared. In his villa, Crassus then interrogates Laeta, who was a captured prisoner among the Rebels, and questions her loyalty to the Romans, and as to why she allowed the Rebels such valuable resources and supplies. Laeta adamantly responds she only did this to save her people within the city, who were targets of attack by the Rebels, and declares her allegiance never wavered. The Imperator then inquires as to the character of Spartacus, to which Laeta informs the rebel leader is no longer a man consumed by vengeance, but by a desire for freedom of all people under the tyranny of Rome.
Crassus thanks her for the information, when just then a surviving Heracleo and his remaining pirates arrive to take Laeta away as their slave, as part of their dealing with the Romans. Despite Laeta's protests, Crassus honors the terms as she give aid to the enemy, although he warns the pirates to never return to the city unless they desired death.
Crassus attends the celebration of Caesar, where surviving Rebels are tortured to death in various ways, such as being torn limb from limb or getting their heads bashed in while wearing metal helmets. Here, Crassus displays his repertoire of financial skills and acumen in investments, as he negotiates with the visiting Metellus about taking over the city as theirs, with Metellus getting a good portion of Sinuessa for himself, in exchange for the Senate to hear grandiose tales of Crassus victories over Spartacus. After Donar breaks free, Crassus orders for him to be killed but Caesar has the captive rebel given a sword to fight back as he engages him in combat. The battle ends with Caesar injuring Donar but the latter commits suicide before Caesar could land the final blow in an effort to showcase his defiance over Rome, Crassus manages to save face in he situation by boasting that even the strongest Rebels kill themselves out of fear of Caesar, prompting riotous laughing among his soldiers.
Soon enough, Crassus plan for allowing the Rebels to retreat is clear - a dug-out ditch in the mountain preventing the Rebels from escaping, as well as an incoming storm. Crassus then prepares to fight Spartacus in the mountains, and ensembles his soldiers to set up camp nearby. Kore then tries to inform Crassus of the actions of his son, although Crassus proves too busy to listen. Before he leaves to the mountains, Crassus reinstates Tiberius back to his former ranking, assuring his son of his worth within the army, and gives him command over Caesar. Crassus also informs Tiberius that the body slave Kore would be promoted to a high-ranking position of villaca in the city of Sinuessa, where she can be closer to both Crassus and Tiberius. When an infuriated Caesar demands an explanation for his perceived demotion, Crassus replies Caesar has already acquired various accolades, and commands him to do his duty.
At the Roman encampment in the mountains, Crassus has already devised a trap for Spartacus using the dead body of Donar, although Spartacus and his Rebels survive. To his surprise and irritation, he finds Caesar and Kore in the mountains, the latter of which requests words with the Imperator. although she can't find a proper way to break them. The two lovers share another night in their tent, although late in the night Kore contemplates her future. In the morning, Crassus wakes to find a Roman guard killed and that Kore had run off in the night. He infuriatingly questions Caesar as to why he brought her here in the first place. As Crassus prepares to investigate the ditch they build, he takes Caesar and Tiberius alongside him, he triggers a trap by Spartacus. As Crassus knelt down just in time for an arrow to miss him, raining arrows and spears fly from the Rebels on the walls as Crassus and the Romans retreat. Before Crassus escapes, however, he sights a smirking Spartacus, who has won his first victory over Crassus himself.
When the Romans pursue the rebels, they lose scores of men before Crassus arrives. Although Caesar advises caution and rest, an agitated Crassus demands that they continue their pursuit of Spartacus. Back at camp, compounding Crassus' problems, Metellus voices not only the Senate's disapproval towards Crassus' progress but his own, and refuses Crassus' earlier offer of Sinuessa's villas and tax breaks.
Crassus and Metellus continue talking until Metellus makes a remark about Kore leaving to join the rebels at a breaking point. This sore point of Crassus proves grave error however. Out of rage, Crassus begins to strike Metellus repeatedly telling him "You will do as I fucking command !" as Caesar and Tiberius look on in horror. When Crassus prepares to strike Metellus again, he is stopped by Caesar and regains his senses. Crassus then threatens the Senator that if word gets out over his meltdown, he will devote fortune and send assassins in the night to finish Metellus off. Through this act, Crassus affirms his tenacity and brutality if pushed and manages to make the Senate withold their pressure for a period.
When Crixus' army defeats Arrius and his legions outside of Rome, Crassus' legions appear on the horizon, taking Crixus and his rebels by surprise. Charging forth, Crassus' men completely annihilate the rebels serving under Crixus. While attempting to fight his way toward Crassus, Crixus is attacked by Caesar who he defeats in battle but is speared through the back by Tiberius. Crassus appears and after pondering on what to do with the mortally wounded rebel general, Crassus' orders for Tiberius to reclaim his sword and use it to behead Crixus and that his head be sent back to Spartacus as a message of his future fate.
Spartacus then sends some of his men to Crassus' camp, posing as Pompey' soldiers, in order to lure him and some of his men to meet with them. However, Tiberius goes in Crassus' name instead, and on arrival Tiberius and his men are captured. In the meantime, Crassus and Caesar meet a captive Agron and after he refuses to give information, Crassus orders that he be crucified. When Crassus learns of his son's capture by Pompey's messenger, he sends Caesar to offer a trade: the 500 remaining survivors for Tiberius' life. Despite Caesar's concerns, he obliges to Crassus.
In the time of the exchange of Tiberius with the 500 prisoners, he is killed by Kore with a knife, and when Tiberius' body returned to a saddened Crassus, the surprise corpse of his eldest son bringing the otherwise controlled Roman to grief. Caesar conspires with Kore and tells him that a rebel men stabbed his son in the exchange. Crassus then says they will march for Spartacus to see him to deserved end. He embraces Kore, who refers to him as Marcus, but he corrects her saying that from now on she will call him Dominus.
To throw off the inevitable arrival of Pompey, Spartacus and the other rebels ambush many Roman villas to free the slaves, with every rebel proclaiming the name of Spartacus for himself in strategy. Crassus and Caesar discuss for the events, and can't believe they're all Spartacus, knowing the Thracian as a man of strategy. He then looks thoughtfully at a mold of Tiberius' face and on getting his revenge.
Before the battle, Crassus prepares to meet Spartacus by sparring with his men. Kore is brought to him in shackles, as she looks at the Tiberius' face mold, to which Crassus says he appears at peace. He says it's a
false image of the boy he knew who was always with the furrowed brow, just like his father. Crassus is reflective while his body slave says she wishes nothing more that their journeys had set a different path. Caesar enters and says Spartacus' men have been spotted. The armies march towards one another and stand their ground across a field. Rufus advances and Spartacus throws a spear at him, forcing him to stop. He states that Crassus wants to talk. Up on a hill, Crassus and a clutch of men meet with Spartacus and his main rebels. Spartacus wonders why he called him up and Crassus responds that it was the same reason he came: curiosity. Both leaders disarm themselves and left alone to speak. Crassus says Spartacus can't win this time and Spartacus notes he's been told that by every Roman he's conquered. Crassus tries to talk about their losses, and Spartacus warns him to not make those things equal and refers that he didn't give the order to the woman to kill Tiberius, in this moment Crassus learns the truth for the death of his son but does not speak, and he points out that even if they lose they are making the decision of their own free will. Crassus wonders if Spartacus gets justice for his wife if he'll withdraw from the Republic. Spartacus says there is no justice in this world. Crassus says, finally,
something about which they can agree. Afterwards, they shake hands and showing respect to each other. Spartacus says when they meet again he will kill him, Crassus responds that he will try with Spartacus adding it's all a free man can do. Crassus is livid and goes back to his tent to confront Kore and Caesar and the truth comes out fully. Kore confesses when Crassus says only the truth will gain
forgiveness. He is devastated and puts a knife to her neck. Caesar explains that Tiberius raped her. He asks why she didn't tell him which she says she tried. Crassus then remembers back to telling Kore on the night she left that nothing could turn him against his son. Caesar says they didn't want to cause him further pain. Crassus looks at the mold of Tiberius' face and destroys it, seeing himself in it as 'grotesque'. Kore tries to reassure him and he apologizes to her for all she has suffered and tells her it shall end when Spartacus falls. The two then embrace warmly.
The next day, the two sides square off. Crassus gives his gratitude to Caesar for his loyalty throughout the campaign. Rufus sneers that Spartacus is a fool for facing them with so few men. Crassus retorts that Spartacus has proven to be many things but not a fool among them. Crassus orders the siege engines to open fire upon the rebels, which are effective until the rebels push foward with their own hidden tactics. Crassus orders the continued strikes, even though this means killing his own men with the fire as well. He says it will end the war, though Caesar remains against the idea.
Crassus tells his men to show no mercy as the Romans then use siege engines to rain pitch pots and ballistae bolts on the rebel army. Spartacus orders the rebel army to advance, so that the siege weaponry cannot fire without the risk of hitting Roman lines. The Roman infantry advance in tandem. The fighting becomes intense and Crassus calls out to Spartacus, charging on horseback towards him. Spartacus jumps of the back of a dead Roman soldier and knocks Crassus off his horse, injuring him in the head. Rufus and Roman tr
oops surround their Imperator, dragging him off to safety before Spartacus can finish him off.
Crassus is carried up to a ridge by his men, but angrily demands to return to the fight, contrary to the insistence of Rufus by his side not to risk his life. Spartacus, in a rage, promptly charges up the ridge and kills Crassus' bodyguards, including Rufus. Now alone, Crassus picks up two swords, to combat Spartacus on equal footing. The two then proceed to engage in an equally-matched fight, though out of the two, Spartacus is considerably more weathered and exhausted from the final battle between Crassus’ legions and the last of the Rebel King’s forces. Spartacus manages to disarm Crassus, but Crassus pulls a familiar trick he did against Hilarus; yanking the naked blade from Spartacus with his bare hands, and shoving the blade at Spartacus' torso. Spartacus, however, stops the blade using the exact same trick, headbutts Crassus, and body slams him into the dirt.
Spartacus is about to finish Crassus off, when he himself is impaled by three spears hurled by a small band of arriving Rom
an troops. Spartacus, mortally wounded and down in his knees, watches on as Crassus admires the warrior and says to him "Would that you'd been born Roman and stood beside me." Spartacus replies "I bless the fates it was not so." Crassus raises a sword for the final blow, but unexpectedly Agron rides up along Nasir and the retreating remnants of the rebel army, and knocks Crassus off a small cliff on the ridge, with the rest of the Roman soldiers killed off. Crassus, however, survives the fall. Caesar and other Roman troops arrived from the battlefield to come to Crassus' aid. They scramble back up the hill, yet Spartacus and the rebels are gone. Crassus says he'll bleed to death, and that victory is theirs. He orders the remai
nder of the captured slaves to be crucified, at the side of the Appian Way, as a deterrent to any slaves throughout the Roman Republic who would think of turning against their masters again. During Gannicus' crucifixion, Kore is seen right beside him, having been crucified next to him. Caesar laments the sadness of the sight. Crassus is saddened by this as well, but says he did what he had too, because Kore had participated on the side of Spartacus, although he has forgiven her. Nonetheless their long-standing relationship ad once existing live had perished and they stood now only as dutiful Imperator and rebellious slave, enemy of Rome condemned to die at Appian Way. Pompey finally arrives, with a still battered Metellus in tow, to greet Crassus and report that he
came upon Spartacus in the north and defeated him as they tried to flee to the mountains. Caesar is livid, saying he knows this is a lie and that Spartacus was defeated right there by their own troops, but Crassus stops his comrade and honors Pompey, to which Pompey says Crassus honors him. Crassus says he honors Rome and those who are of like mind who would see her flourish. Pompey, knowing full well what Crassus is doing, thanks him and invites him to dine when Crassus gets back to Rome. Crassus and Caesar share final words as the former remarks the unfair course that their campaign and victory over Spartacus, even after untold suffering and untethered bonds, the glory would only be snared by Pompey from “deserving hands”. Crassus but responses with his usual reflective manner, saying that sacrificing their rightful honour to Pompey will make him as ally. Caesar remarks his comrade’s constant futuristic view, to which Crassus simply answers by saying how past is unable to be altered, present often full of regret and sorrow, while, ultimately, the future holds only reasonable consideration. He finalises by justifying that what lies ahead promises peace and solice, only “when memory fades”. The calmed and war-fed Imperator, then exchange a last sad, cold and void expression when looking upon Kore and Gannicus, as well as the rest of the cruxifyed slaves, before setting out on business with Caesar accompanying him to construct the First Triumvirate, leaving the Third Sevile War behind them.
List of Appearances
- Hilarus - Stabbed. (Enemies of Rome)
- 4 Rebels - During the battle on Sinuesa. (Spoils of War)
- 3 Rebels – During battle. (Separate Paths)
Descended from an aristocratic family in Rome, Marcus Licinius Crassus, known as "the richest man in Rome" during his life-time, was partially credited with securing victory for the Republic over the forces of Spartacus during the Third Servile War and would later become a founding member, along with Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus, of the First Triumvirate. Some experts believe that Crassus's wealth during his lifetime was so vast that, after considering currency exchange rates and inflation, he may have been the richest person who has ever lived.
In 87 BC, the forces of Gaius Marius seized control of Rome during what became known as The Social War. During this war, the Crassus family had allied themselves with Marius' nemesis, Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Thus, when Marius took control of the city, Crassus' father, a former consul of Rome named Licinius Crassus, took his own life. His head, along with those of many other Roman noblemen who had allied themselves with Sulla were placed atop stakes in the Roman forum. Marius died shortly after taking the city and his second in command, Lucius Cornelius Cinna (Caesar's father-in-law) ascended to power. Cinna placed multiple proscriptions (bounties) on many of the remaining noblemen who had supported Sulla. Crassus found himself among these men and soon thereafter left Rome and fled to Hispanic, where he lived in hiding for nearly a year.
He would eventually make his way to Greece and joined up with Sulla himself, who was about to launch an attack on Italy and retake Rome. Sulla was successful in his campaign and eventually captured Rome on November 1st, 82 BC. During this final battle at the gates of Rome, Crassus commanded the right wing of Sulla's army, distinguishing himself. Following the successful completion of the war, Crassus turned his full attention away from the battlefield and onto business. His position in Sulla's ranks gave him access to immense financial growth.
Much of Crassus' wealth was acquired through rather unethical means, including by proscriptions of political opponents of Sulla's regime. Crassus seized the property of several of the people marked for death, then sold it at an outrageous mark-up, or kept some for himself. When Sulla's political opponents were all either dead or exiled, Crassus was said to have arbitrarily added names of citizens whose property he coveted to the proscription list to have them killed, eventually fabricating charges against them to justify their proscription. He then took their property and sold or kept it. Among his independent enterprises, he was in charge of his own private fire-service (such services existed in the Roman Republic before the formation of the Cohortes Vigiles by Augustus), where Crassus would force the home owner to sell his property at a reduced price, and would order his slaves to cease work on containing the fire until his client complied with his demands.
It is believed that Crassus' personal fortune amounted to two hundred million sestertii. Four sestertii amounted to one denarius. A single denarius was considered to be the daily wage of an unskilled Roman laborer or soldier. For a worker currently making minimum wage in the United States, a single day's wages is around US$58. If one were to use this as a comparison, then Crassus' wealth might have roughly stood somewhere around 2.9 billion US dollars.
The year following the Roman victory over Spartacus, Crassus would go on to hold the Consulship of the Republic of Rome, with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus as his co-consul. Despite holding this position and several others throughout the course of his life, Crassus was never considered a legitimate statesman because he did not have any major military victories to call his own. He mostly received his positions through bribery, political strong-arming, and other manipulative tactics rather than through genuine merit and support.
While Crassus had military experience and was known for some minor victories, he did not have the martial respect required for true political legitimacy in Rome. His goal (or at least one of them) in taking up Roman efforts in the Third Servile War was to achieve a glorious, conspicuous landslide victory against the rebels, earning him the reputation needed to gain political office on his own merits. However, while besieging Spartacus behind Crassus's infamous wall, the latter was admonished by the senate for taking too long to defeat the rebels, especially when most Romans wanted the rebels' blood shed, but Crassus resorted to the less-gratifying method of starvation. It was around this time when Pompey finished his campaign in Hispania, which prompted the senate to entrust him with the responsibility of defeating Spartacus. Crassus was enraged, and clamored to claim Spartacus's life himself, taking sole credit for defeating the rebel army.
After the final battle at the Silar(i)us River (now known as the Sele River), Crassus expounded enormous effort and expense to crucify the six thousand prisoners taken during the battle. This was done in part to wage psychological warfare against anyone with lingering thoughts of rebellion, but also to provide Rome with extravagant and graphic proof of Crassus's triumph and cement his reputation as a victor and a conqueror. The crosses were distributed along the Appian Way between Capua and Rome, approximately every 100 feet on both sides of the path. He also ordered that the bodies were not to be moved after the rebels perished, and the decaying corpses were said to have remained on the Appian Way for several years before they were either dismantled by locals or eroded by weather conditions. Archaeologists continue to find remnants of the executions along the Appian Way, which follows the same path today that it did in 71 BC.
While Crassus was carrying out the mass crucifixions, Pompey caught wind of Spartacus's defeat and scrambled to claim his own glory. He traveled very quickly to Rome, supposedly capturing and crucifying 5,000 more rebels along the way (though some dispute this and speculate that if he did encounter them, they were conscripted into his army instead). He claimed that this meant that he won the war, and due to their preexisting disappointment with Crassus, the senate believed him. Pompey was declared the victor of the war, enraging Crassus, who returned to Rome after Pompey to find that he would only be receiving minor honors for his part in the rebels' defeat. Furious, Crassus kept his army camped just outside of Rome to intimidate his opponents and compete with Pompey, whose army was also camping outside of Rome. The two kept their forces there until, frightened that one or both of them would march on Rome and seize power by force if they did not receive political power, the senate chose them to be co-consuls. This event deepened Crassus's insecurities about his comparative lack of military honors, and set the stage for the rest of his political career and his life.
In the year 60 BCE, eleven years after the Third Servile War, Crassus, together with Gaius Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, formed an informal political alliance known to history as the First Triumvirate. He and Caesar were friends and allies for much of their careers, but Crassus resented Pompey for stealing the credit for ending the Third Servile War, and the two probably only tolerated each other as useful political allies. However, the three of them were believed to be the three most powerful men in Rome, but they believed none of them would accomplish their objectives if they were constantly competing for power. They joined forces to pool their resources and power to each man's benefit. This had major implications for the short and tumultuous future of the Roman republic going forward. Crassus's defeat and death at the Battle of Carrhae destabilized the triumvirate, leading Caesar and Pompey to go to war with each other.
In 53 BCE, some eighteen years after the conclusion of the Third Servile War, when Crassus held the Proconsulship of Syria, he pursued war with the Parthian Empire, as he hungered for recognition as a general from the Senate; recognition that was denied him despite his victory over Spartacus. He was jealous of both Caesar's conquests in Gaul as well as Pompey's successes in Hispania and the eastern Mediterranean, and also still bitter that Pompey received the credit for the victory over Spartacus' army. In this, Crassus was offered aid by King Artavazdes II of Hayasdan (Armenia), who offered Crassus a safer route into Mesopotamia through Armenian lands. But Crassus refused the offer and chose to approach the Parthians head-on by crossing the Euphrates River.
At the infamous Battle of Carrhae, Crassus's forces suffered losses by the expert Parthian cavalry. To draw them away from their supply lines in hopes that they would run out of arrows, Crassus sent his adult son Publius . But Publius's forces were cornered on a hill by the Parthians, and Publius killed himself before he could be captured or executed. When Crassus learned that Publius encountered problems with the Parthian cavalry, he risked his entire surviving army to go rescue his son, believing he could still be alive. This was proven wrong when Crassus himself discovered that the Parthians had cut off Publius's head and put it on a spear to taunt Crassus. Crassus's resulting depression negatively impacted his ability to lead, and nearly his entire force was killed by the Parthian Spahbod (general) Surena, the few survivors were taken prisoner. Crassus's Quaestor, Gaius Longinus Cassius, would lead 10,000 men back into the safety of the Province of Syria, but this was only a fraction of Crassus's original force. Crassus would be captured himself, and was shortly executed on Surena's orders by having molten gold poured down his throat to mock his wealth and insatiable greed. Afterward, Surena reportedly sent Crassus' head to the Parthian emperor Orodes II, who was watching a Greek play of Agave. Crassus's head was sent to the actor on the stage who used it as a prop to represent the character Pentheus.
Crassus appears as one of the characters in Spartacus: Morituri.
- Simon Merrells, the actor who plays Marcus Licinius Crassus is (6'0") 183cm tall and weighs 168lbs.
- Crassus was born in the Roman year 639 Ab Urbe Conditia (115 BCE), otherwise known contemporarily as the Year of the Consulship of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus and Marcus Caecilius Metellus.
- Historically, Crassus never had a son named Tiberius, but had two sons; Publius and Marcus. Publius appears as Tiberius's younger brother in the series. Publius would follow his father to Parthia, where he committed suicide to avoid capture. The desecration of his body, and the discovery of it by Crassus himself, negatively impacted the latter's ability to lead. Crassus and his army would soon be obliterated in one of the most notorious military defeats in history.
- Unlike other Romans such as Batiatus, Glaber, Marcus, Varinius, Cossinius, and his son Tiberius, who believed Spartacus to be beneath them, Crassus admires and doesn't underestimate Spartacus.
- Historically, the Senate would not 'grant' the title Imperator to a general. Military commanders were only acclaimed as imperator by their troops after winning a great victory. This would allow the general to apply to the Senate for a triumph, after which they would relinquish their imperium (high military command). By the Principate era of Roman history, Imperator would become part of the titulature of the Caesars, where it would evolve into the monarchical title of emperor.
- Appian mentions Crassus as being appointed to the office of Praetor by the Senate at the time of the Third Servile War, which would have been his formal title as a military commander, whereas an Imperator would have been proclaimed as such only after achieving victory in the campaign.
- One of Crassus' other motivations for defeating Spartacus (other than military and political glory) may have been financial reasons. As historian Barry Strauss notes in his book The Spartacus War, "Crassus had his economic interests at stake. Since he owned large, slave-run estates in southern Italy, he fitted the profile of Spartacus' victims. Putting down the rebellion would not just bring Crassus glory but save his investments". He could also have sought to seize more land and slaves to sell at a high mark-up, as he did while serving under Lucius Cornelius Sulla during the latter's proscriptions.
- In the novel Spartacus: Morituri, Spartacus and Crassus meet while Spartacus is still a Gladiator in Batiatus' Ludus. However, in the show, they make no reference to this.
- Crassus is a member of the Gens Licinia. The first ancestor with the name of Crassus was Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (born Publius Licinius Varus), who was Pontifex Maximus as of 213 BCE, and held the Consulship with Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (victor of the Second Punic War) in 205 BCE. The Gens Licinia have Etruscan ancestry.
- Crassus is elected to the Consulship, alongside his rival Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus in 70 BCE, the year following the Roman victory over Spartacus' rebels.
- Though he is the most capable Roman warrior shown in the entire series, he does not kill any rebel of prominence, in contrast to Caesar, who kills Nemetes, Brictius, Naevia, and defeated Donar, or Tiberius who kills Totus and Crixus.
- Pater is the Latin word for father (his relationship with Tiberius and Publius Crassus).
- The Latin word for husband is Maritus (his relationship with Tertulla).
- Crassus's taking over the city of Sinuessa after most of the Roman citizens have been slaughtered is likely meant to mirror Crassus's real life practice of buying properties in Rome that had been seized from their previous owners by the dictator Sulla (to whom Crassus was allied), and then selling them for exorbitant prices. In fact this is how Crassus made his fortune. He also purchased properties that were destroyed in fire at below market prices, restored them with slave labour and then sold them for exorbitant prices. The historian Plutarch remarked such fires were disturbingly common, however it is not known whether or not Crassus had any direct hand in the starting of the fires.
- In a deep depression after discovering the death and dismemberment of his son Publius, Crassus was practically incapable of leadership. He made several questionable decisions during this time, including leaving his army's 4,000 wounded soldiers behind when they retreated toward the city of Carrhae itself. All of the wounded were slaughtered by the Parthians as they caught up to the Romans, and all of Crassus's soldiers either died in battle or were captured. Crassus himself was said to be executed by having molten gold poured down his throat to mock his insatiable greed. Some stories also allege that his head was then severed and used as a prop in a play for Parthian nobility.
- Crassus's humiliating defeat and his morbid execution inspired severe outrage in Rome. Many people wanted to invade Parthia to avenge him. Caesar, now dictator, almost used the clamor to justify his own invasion of Parthia. This proposed invasion was decried by the senate, as Rome had never had a successful invasion of Parthia and they were too unstable to launch a war of revenge against such a strong foe. Caesar ignored them and prepared the campaign anyway, which was the last straw for the beleaguered senate; the senators assassinated him right before he departed for Parthia. Crassus's defeat and death, aside from being infamous for its severity and irony, was an important late contributor to the collapse of the Roman republic.
"You did but teach lesson sorely needed. As Spartacus schools those who consider themselves gods, perched far above lesser men. And laughs as they tumble from the heavens." ―Crassus to Hilarus, in reference to Tiberius
"A man's true enemy is doubt, a thing I would not carry into battle against Spartacus."
—Crassus to Tiberius
"Caesar is blessed with storied name, and shall one day rise to shame the very sun."
—Crassus to Tiberius
"Coin to set Midas to envy is carried to your ships. See yourself far from my presence. Or witness rise of morning sun from the shores of the afterlife."
—Crassus to Heracleo
"Behold! The greatest warriors take their own lives in fear of Caesar."
—Crassus to his troops
"Knowledge and patience, the only counter to greater skill." —Crassus to Hilarus
"Then he and I stand the same, each believes himself the hero, the other, villain. It is for history to decide who is mistaken."
—Crassus to Laeta
"Greed is but a word jealous men inflict upon the ambitious."
—Crassus to Metellus
"Would that you had been born a Roman, and had stood beside me."
--Crassus to Spartacus
"Supporting claim he will be made ally. We shall stand fearsome Triumvirate, with means to bend the course of history... the past cannot be altered, the present holds but regret and loss, it is only in the days to come that a man may find solace... when memory fades."
--Crassus to Caesar