After this, he remained in Spain long enough to quell the greatest disorders and compose and settle such affairs as were in the most inflammatory state; then he led his army back to Italy, where, as chance would have it, he found the servile war at its height. For this reason, too, Crassus, who had the command in that war, precipitated the battle at great hazard, and was successful, killing twelve thousand three hundred of the enemy.
Even in this success, however, fortune somehow or other included Pompey, since five thousand fugitives from the battle fell in his way, all of whom he slew, and then stole a march on Crassus by writing to the senate that Crassus had conquered the gladiators in a pitched battle, but that he himself had extirpated the war entirely.1
And it was agreeable to the Romans to hear this said and to repeat it, so kindly did they feel towards him; while as for Spain and Sertorius, there was no one who would have said, even in jest, that the entire work of their subjugation was performed by any one else than Pompey.
Nevertheless, mingled with the great honour shown the man and the great expectations cherished of him, there was also considerable suspicion and fear; men said he would not disband his army, but would make his way by force of arms and absolute power straight to the polity of Sulla. Wherefore those who ran out and greeted him on his way, out of their goodwill, were no more numerous than those who did it out of fear.
But Pompey soon removed this suspicion also by declaring that he would disband his army after his triumph. Then there remained but one accusation for envious tongues to make, namely, that he devoted himself more to the people than to the senate, and had determined to restore the authority of the tribunate, which Sulla had overthrown, and to court the favour of the many; which was true.
For there was nothing on which the Roman people had more frantically set their affections, or for which they had a greater yearning, than to behold that office again. Pompey therefore regarded it as a great good fortune that he had the opportunity for this political measure, since he could have found no other favour with which to repay the goodwill of his fellow-citizens, if another had anticipated him in this.