It is curious that, although a whole Life of Plutarch is devoted to Marcus Crassus, so little is known as to the facts and dates of his cursus honorum. His praetorship is a fact, but of uncertain date. Plutarch is often interpreted as associating it with his special command against Spartacus in 72; Appian can be read as placing it in 71. A virtual consensus of scholars follows Broughton in favouring 73. It is contended here that Crassus' destined year was 75, when he turned 40. That it was his actual year is supported by his nobility, ambition and talent: one of eight places should have been his. No province is attested or likely. But the limited availability of praetorian provinces in these years and Crassus' known interest in special commands make this unproblematic.
The early dating proposed makes sense of the absence of an aedileship. It creates, however, an expected consular year of 72. The blocking of this is associated with the discourse of rivalry between Crassus and Pompey: the very odd trial for incestum with a Vestal Virgin finds explanation in this context. The article aspires to shine a light on the post-civil war period in which Crassus, no less than Pompey, is both player and exemplar.