After this, word was brought to Sulla that Perpenna was making himself master of Sicily and furnishing a refuge in that island for the survivors of the opposite faction1
, that Carbo was hovering in those waters with a fleet, that Domitius had forced an entry into Africa, and that many other exiled men of note were thronging to those parts, all, in fact, who had succeeded in escaping his proscriptions. Against these men Pompey was sent with a large force.
Perpenna at once abandoned Sicily to him, and he recovered the cities there. They had been harshly used by Perpenna, but Pompey treated them all with kindness except the Mamertines in Messana. These declined his tribunal and jurisdiction on the plea that they were forbidden by an ancient law of the Romans, at which Pompey said:
‘Cease quoting laws to us that have swords girt about us!’
Moreover, he was thought to have treated Carbo in his misfortunes with an unnatural insolence. For if it was necessary, as perhaps it was, to put the man to death, this ought to have been done as soon as he was seized, and the deed would have been his who ordered it. But as it was, Pompey caused a Roman who had thrice been consul to be brought in fetters and set before the tribunal where he himself was sitting, and examined him closely there, to the distress and vexation of the audience. Then he ordered him to be led away and put to death.
They say, moreover, that after Carbo had been led away to execution, when he saw the sword already drawn, he begged that a short respite and a convenient place might be afforded him, since his bowels distressed him. Furthermore, Caius Oppius, the friend of Caesar, says that Pompey treated Quintus Valerius also with unnatural cruelty. For, understanding that Valerius was a man of rare scholarship and learning, when he was brought to him, Oppius says, Pompey took him aside, walked up and down with him, asked and learned what he wished from him, and then ordered his attendants to lead him away and put him to death at once.
But when Oppius discourses about the enemies or friends of Caesar, one must be very cautious about believing him. Pompey was compelled to punish those enemies of Sulla who were most eminent, and whose capture was notorious; but as to the rest, he suffered as many as possible to escape detection, and even helped to send some out of the country.
Again, when he had made up his mind to chastise the city of Himera because it had sided with the enemy, Sthenis, the popular leader there, requested audience of him, and told him that he would commit an injustice if he should let the real culprit go and destroy those who had done no wrong. And when
Pompey asked him whom he meant by the real culprit, Sthenis said he meant himself, since he had persuaded his friends among the citizens, and forced his enemies, into their course. Pompey, then, admiring the man's frank speech and noble spirit, pardoned him first and then all the rest. And again, on hearing that his soldiers were disorderly in their journeys, he put a seal upon their swords, and whosoever broke the seal was punished.