Triumvirate comes from the Latin word TRIVMVIR, which means a group of three men. In Roman history, the word is used to refer to two groups of three men who took over the Roman government when they became powerful enough.
The First Triumvirate consisted of Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompey (Pompey the Great). These three powerful men met in 60 B. C. and agreed to share the power and rule the growing Roman Empire. Crassus was later killed in battle against the Parthians (53 B. C.) and Pompey later had a disagreement with Caesar. Pompey was later defeated at the battle of Pharsalus (48 B. C.) and killed as he stepped ashore in Egypt after fleeing the battle. This left Julius Caesar in total control of the Roman government.
The Second Triumvirate consisted of Marc Antony, Octavian, and Marcus Lepidus. Like the first time this arrangement was tried, one man wound up with all the power and the other two were forced out. Lepidus was forced to give up his position after he tried to get troops to mutiny against Caesar, and Antony fell upon his sword and killed himself after Octavian defeated him at the Battle of Actium.
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