Marcus Aemilius Lepidus' role in Roman history is rather ambiguous. His actions are similarly obscure, as we are torn between historian's accounts and the almost unlimited amount of propaganda that was produced by Octavian and Antonius at this time. One thing, however, we can be sure of is that any allusion that Lepidus was a Republican, or any more of an oppurtunist than your average Roman, is simply not true.

From the Autocrat's perspective, Lepidus was a good guy, a bono homo. Indeed, Lepidus had goals that were with self interest in mind, but all good Romans did. Lepidus lived a relatively quiet life, and his career began reaching its peak in 49 B.C. with his appointment as governor of Narbonese Gaul. Later with his governorship of Hither Spain and his appointment as Dominus Equites (Master of the Horses), his career was about as good as it would get. He was unswervingly loyal to Caesar and truly belived in his ideals, but he was not advocative of this. Lepidus saw it fit to prove his loyalty by simply remaining silent and doing as he was told.

With Caesar's death in 44 B.C. Lepidus seemingly went behind his back to join Brutus and Cassius, with the promise of appointment as Pontifus Maximus. Yet this is not the case; Lepidus was still an Authoritarian through and through, and rather than simply allowing the situation to be wasted he exploited it, manipulating the two Republicans. Thus he had risen in station, and when Antonius seized control of the Rome he wasted no time in declaring his allegiance. This was oppurtunism, not betrayal - he remained an Autocrat.

Skipping over the next few years of war with the Republicans and the formation of the Second Triumvirate, Lepidus now controlled all of Spain and Narbonese Gaul, but after the Treaty of Misenium in 37 B.C. Lepidus was unoficcially relocated to Africa. Now the last stand against Autocracy in Rome was Sextus Pompeius, and Octavian requested Lepidus' aid in the war. Lepidus' legions landed on Sicily in 36 B.C., and they remained there until the end of the war in 33 B.C. They were invaluable in conquering Sicily, and Lepidus felt he deserved something for his hard work, and he therefore refused to leave Sicily and demanded governorship of it. His intention was not to sieze it, but simply to gain political control over it. Although, as his legions had already been stationed there for three years, they were weary and they defected to Octavian.

Lepidus was expelled from the Triumvirate and stripped of all his commands, under the accusation that he was collaborating with Sextus. This was not true, but Lepidus went without a fight. They were leniant on him, however, and they confirmed him as governor of Africa and allowed him to keep Pontifus Maximus. Lepidus now spent the rest of his life living off his accumulated wealth over the years, a life of quiet luxury in Africa. He stayed loyal to the Autocrats, and swore allegiance to Octavian when he ascended to power. Lepidus died in Africa, 13 B.C.

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