Of course this also was annoying to Pompey, who was not accustomed to vilification and was inexperienced in this sort of warfare; but he was more distressed when he perceived that the senate was delighted to see him insulted and paying a penalty for his betrayal of Cicero.
When, however, it had come to blows and even wounds in the forum and a servant of Clodius, stealing along through the crowd of bystanders towards Pompey, was found to have a sword in his hand, Pompey made this his excuse, although he was also afraid of the insolent abuse of Clodius, and came no more into the forum as long as Clodius was tribune, but kept himself continually at home, where he was ever debating with his friends how he might appease the anger of the senate and the nobility against him.
To Culleo, however, who urged him to divorce Julia and exchange the friendship of Caesar for that of the senate, he would not listen, but he yielded to the arguments of those who thought he ought to bring Cicero back, who was the greatest enemy of Clodius and most beloved in the senate, and he escorted Cicero's brother, who was a petitioner for his return, with a large force into the forum, where, though some were wounded and some killed, he nevertheless got the better of Clodius.
And when Cicero returned to the city1
by virtue of the law then passed, he immediately reconciled Pompey to the senate, and by his advocacy of the corn law he in a manner once more made Pompey master of all the land and sea in Roman possession. For under his direction were placed harbours, trading-places, distributions of crops,—in a word, navigation and agriculture.2
Clodius alleged that the law had not been proposed on account of the scarcity of grain, but the scarcity of grain had arisen in order that the law might be proposed, a law whereby the power of Pompey, which was withering away, as it were, in consequence of his failing spirits, might be rekindled again and recovered in a new office. But others declare that this was a device of the consul Spinther, whose aim was to confine Pompey in a higher office, in order that he himself might be sent out to aid King Ptolemy.3
However, Canidius, as tribune of the people, brought in a law providing that Pompey, without an army, and with two lictors only, should go out as a meditator between the king and the people of Alexandria. Pompey was thought to regard the law with no disfavour, but the senate rejected it, on the plausible pretence that it feared for his safety. Besides, writings were to be found scattered about the forum and near the senate-house, stating that it was Ptolemy's wish to have Pompey given to him as a commander instead of Spinther.
And Timagenes actually says that Ptolemy left home without sufficient reason and under no necessity, and that his abandonment of Egypt was owing to the persuasions of Theophanes, who was aiming to give Pompey profitable occupation in the holding of a new command. But this is not made credible by the baseness of Theophanes as much as it is made incredible by the nature of Pompey, in which ambition was not of such a mean and base order.