On one side were the empire-builders: Julius Caesar and his right-hand man Marc Antony (and sickly little Octavian in the next tent), Pompey the Great, and Marcus Crassus, who wanted to be great himself but never quite got there.
On the other side were Marcus Tullius Cicero, Rome’s greatest orator, consul in 63 BC, dictator during the Catiline Conspiracy, and all-around clever guy. At his side was Rome’s greatest conservative and champion of ancient ideals, Cato the Younger.
They also had in their corner—at least on paper--the cowardly Roman Senate, but being cowardly--and venal--the Senate was always kind of a moving target. They could be bought and they could be intimidated, and the empire-builders had money and soldiers to burn.
Cicero and Cato had their work cut out for them.
Duncan, Mike. “The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic.” Public Affairs, 2017.
Goodman, Rob and Soni, Jimmy. “Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar.” St. Martin’s Press, 2012.
Wikipedia, “Cicero.” Retrieved December 2, 2021 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicero