Pompey now entered the city, and married Cornelia, a daughter of Metellus Scipio. She was not a virgin, but had lately been left a widow by Publius, the son of Crassus, whose virgin bride she had been before his death in Parthia. The young woman had many charms apart from her youthful beauty. She was well versed in literature, in playing the lyre, and in geometry, and had been accustomed to listen to philosophical discourses with profit.
In addition to this, she had a nature which was free from that unpleasant officiousness which such accomplishments are apt to impart to young women; and her father's lineage and reputation were above reproach. Nevertheless, the marriage was displeasing to some on account of the disparity in years; for Cornelia's youth made her a fitter match for a son of Pompey.
Those, too, who were more critical, considered that Pompey was neglectful of the unhappy condition of the city, which had chosen him as her physician and put herself in his sole charge; whereas he was decking himself with garlands and celebrating nuptials, though he ought to have regarded his very consulship as a calamity, since it would not have been given him in such an illegal manner had his country been prosperous.
Moreover, although he presided over the suits for corruption and bribery, and introduced laws for the conduct of the trials, and in all other cases acted as arbiter with dignity and fairness, making the court-rooms safe, orderly, and quiet by his presence there with an armed force, still, when Scipio, his father-in-law, was put on trial, he summoned the three hundred and sixty jurors to his house and solicited their support, and the prosecutor abandoned the case when he saw Scipio conducted from the forum by the jurors. Once more, therefore, Pompey was in ill repute,
and this was still further increased because, although he had put a stop by law to encomiums on persons under trial, he himself came into court to pronounce an encomium on Plancus. Cato, who happened to be one of the jurors, clapped his hands to his ears and said it was not right for him, contrary to the law, to listen to encomiums.
Cato was therefore set aside before he could cast his vote, but Plancus was convicted by the other votes, to the disgrace of Pompey. For, a few days afterwards, Hypsaeus, a man of consular dignity, who was under prosecution, lay in wait for Pompey as he was returning from his bath for supper, clasped his knees, and supplicated his favour; but Pompey passed along contemptuously, telling him that, except for spoiling his supper, he was accomplishing nothing. In this way he got the reputation of being partial, and was blamed for it.
Everything else, however, he succeeded in bringing into good order, and chose his father-in-law as his colleague for the remaining five months of the year. It was also decreed that he should retain his provinces for another four years, and receive a thousand talents yearly, out of which he was to feed and maintain his soldiers.