Pompeius Magnus or Pompeius the Great or Cn. Pompeius
22. Cn. Pompeius
Magnus, the son of No. 21, and afterwards the triumvir, was born on the 30th of September, B. C. 106, in the consulship of Atilirus Serranus and Servilius Caepio.
He was consequently a few months younger than Cicero, who was born on the 3d of January in this year, and six years older than Caesar.
He had scarcely left school before he was summoned to serve under his father in the Social war.
He fought under him in B. C. 89 against the Italians, when he was only seventeen years of age, and continued with him till his death two years afterwards.
He was present at the battle of the Colline Gate, in B. C. 87, and, as has been already related, he saved the life of his father, and quelled an insurrection of the soldiers by his courage and activity.
The death of his father soon after this event left Pompey his own master at the age of nineteen.
The aristocratical party were no longer able to offer any opposition to Marius and Cinna, who accordingly entered Rome shortly afterwards, and took a bloody revenge on their opponents. Pompey's house was plundered ; and he did not venture to appear in public till after the death of Marius in the following year, B. C. 86. His enemies, however, immediately accused him of having shared with his father in the plunder of Asculum. Not trusting either to the justice of his cause, or to the eloquence of his advocates, L. Marcius Philippus and Q. Hortensius, he agreed to marry the daughter of the praetor Antistius, who presided at the trial, and was in consequence acquitted.
In B. C. 84, the Marian party made great preparations to oppose Sulla, who had now finished the Mithridatic war, and was on his way to Italy. Pompey, though so young, was fired with the ambition of distinguishing himself above all the other leaders of the aristocracy; and while the rest were content to wait quietly for Sulla's arrival in Italy to deliver them from their enemies, Pompey resolved to share with Sulla the glory of crushing the Marian party.
He accordingly fled from the camp of Cinna shorly before the latter was murdered, and hastened to Picenum, where he proceeded to levy troops without holding any public office, and without any authority from the senate or people.
The influence which he possessed by his large estates in Picenum, and by his personal popularity, enabled him to raise an army of three legions by the beginning of the following year, B. C. 83.
He assumed the command at Auximum, a town in the north of Picenum, not far from Ancona ; and while the rest of the aristocracy hastened to join Sulla, who had landed at Brundisium, Pompey was anxious to distinguish himself by some brilliant success over the enemy.
The faults of the Marian generals gave him the wished-for opportunity; he was surrounded by three armies, commanded respectively by M. Brutus, C. Caelius Caldus, and C. Carrinas, whose great object seems to have been to prevent his escape to Sulla. Pompey now displayed for the first time the great military abilities for which he became afterwards so conspicuous; he concentrated all his forces in one spot, and then fell upon M. Brutus at a time when he could receive no assistance from the other generals, and completely defeated him. Pompey also distinguished himself by his personal bravery in this engagement, charging at the head of his cavalry, and striking down a Celtic horseman with his own hand. The Marian generals, after the loss of this battle, quarrelled among themselves, and withdrew from the country. Pompey, who had no longer an enemy to oppose him, set out to join Sulla, and was hailed as a deliverer by the towns of Picenum, who had now no other alternative but submission.
He was proscribed by the senate, but his troops proved faithful to him, and he joined Sulla in safety, having already gained for himself a brilliant reputation.
He was received by Sulla with still greater distinction than he had anticipated; for when he leapt down from his horse, and saluted Sulla by the title of Imperator, the latter returned the compliment by addressing him by the same title. Pompey was only twenty-three, and had not held any public office when he received this unprecedented mark of honour.
Next year, B. C. 82, the war was prosecuted with vigour against the Marian party. Pompey took a prominent part in it as one of Sulla's legates, and by his success gained still further distinction.
The younger Marius, who was now consul, was blockaded in Praeneste, and his colleague, Carbo, was making every effort to relieve him. Sulla himself fought an indecisive battle against Carbo; but his legates, Marcius and Carrinas, were defeated by Pompey. Carbo then retreated to Ariminum, and sent Marcius to the relief of Praeneste; but Ponmpey defeated the latter again in the Apennines, and compelled him to retire. Despairing of success, Carbo then abandoned Marius to his fate, and set sail for Africa. Praeneste shortly afterwards surrendered. Sulla thus became the master of Italy, and was proclaimed dictator.
He then proceeded to reward his partizans, and to take vengeance on his enemies; and in order to connect Pompey more closely with himself, he compelled him to marry his step-daughter Aemilia, the daughter of his wife Caecilia Metella, by her former husband Aemilius Scaurus. To effect this marriage two divorces had to take place: Pompey was obliged to put away his wife Antistia, though her father had been murdered by Marius as a partizan of Sulla, simply on account of his connection with Pompey; and Aemilia was obliged to leave her husband M'. Glabrio, although she was pregnant at the time. Aemilia died shortly afterwards in child-birth.
But although the war in Italy was brought to a close, the Marian party still held out in other parts of Europe; and Pompey, who was now regarded as one of the principal leaders of the aristocracy, was sent against them by Sulla.
He first proceeded to Sicily, to which island Carbo had crossed over from Africa, but here met with no opposition; as soon as he landed, Carbo fled from the island, intending to take refuge in Egypt, but he was seized and brought in chains to Pompey, at Lilybaeum, who put him to death, and sent his head to Sulla.
He likewise executed several others of the Marian party; but he can scarcely be reproached with cruelty for so doing, as he had no other alternative, even if he had wished to save them; and he treated the cities which had espoused the popular side with greater leniency than might have been expected. Next year, B. C. 81, Pompey left Sicily, and passed over to Africa, in order to oppose Cn. Domitius Ahenobarus the son-in-law of Cinna, who, with the assistance of Hiarbas, had collected a formidable army.
But his troops, chiefly consisting of Numidians, were no match for the veterans who had conquered the well-disciplined Italian allies. Still they fought with great bravery, and out of 20,000 only 3000 are said to have survived the decisive battle. Their camp was taken, and Domitius fell.
In a few months Pompey reduced the whole of Numidia ; Hiarbas was taken prisoner and put to death, and his throne was given to Hiempsal.
But it was not only his military achievements that gained him great renown at Rome; unlike other Roman governors, he abstained from plundering the province, which seemed the more extraordinary, since the disturbed state of the country afforded him particular facilities for doing so. Intent upon triumphing, he collected a great number of elephants and lions in Numidia, and returned to Rome, in the same year, covered with glory.
As he approached Rome, numbers flocked out of the city to meet him; and the dictator himself, who formed one of the crowd, greeted him with the surname of MAGNUS, which he bore ever afterwards, and handed down to his children. 1
But Pompey did not find it easy to obtain his wished-for triumph. Hitherto no one but a dictator, consul, or praetor, had enjoyed this distinction, and it seemed a monstrous thing for a simple eques, who had not yet obtained a place in the senate, to covet this honour. Sulla at first tried to dissuade Pompey from pressing his request; and as he would not relinquish his design, the matter was referred to the senate, and there Sulla positively opposed it. Pompey was not, however, to be cowed, and uttered a threat about the rising and the setting sun; whereupon Sulla, indignant at his impudence. shouted out contemptuously, "Let him triumph then !"
It is true that Sulla's dominion was too firmly established to be overthrown by Pompey ; but he probably could not have put him down without a struggle, and therefore thought it better to let him have his own way. Pompey therefore entered Rome in triumph as a simple eques in the month of September B. C. 81, and before he had completed his twenty-fifth year. Pompey's conduct in insisting upon a triumph on this occasion has been represented by many modern writers as vain and childish but it should be recollected that it was a vanity which all distinguished Romans shared, and that to enter Rome drawn in the triumphal car was regarded as one of the noblest objects of ambition.
Having thus succeeded in carrying his point against the dictator Pompey again exhibited his power in promoting in B. C. 79 the election of M. Aemilius Lepidus to the consulship, in opposition to the wishes of Sulla. Through Pompey's influence Lepidus was not only elected, but obtained a greater number of votes than his colleague Q. Catulus, who was supported by Sulla.
The latter had now retired from public affairs, and would not relinquish his Epicurean enjoyments for the purpose of defeating Pompey's plans, but contented himself with warning the latter, as he met him returning from the comitia in triumph, "Young man, it is time for you not to slumber, for you have strengthened your rival against yourself."
The words of Sulla were prophetic; for upon his death, which happened in the course of the same year, Lepidus attempted to repeal the laws of Sulla, and to destroy the aristocratical constitution which he had established.
He seems to have reckoned upon the support of Pompey; but in this he was disappointed, for Pompey remained faithful to the aristocracy, and thus saved his party. During the year of the consulship of Lepidus and Catulus, B. C. 78, peace was with difficulty preserved [LEPIDUS, No. 13]; but at the beginning of the following year B. C. 77, Lepidus, who had been ordered by the senate to repair to his province of Further Gaul, marched against Rome at the head of an army, which he had collected in Etruria. Here Pompey and Catulus were ready to receive him; and in the battle which followed under the walls of the city, Lepidus was defeated and obliged to take to flight. While Catulus followed him into Etruria, Pompey marched into Cisalpine Gaul, where M. Brutus, the father of the so-called tyrannicide, commanded a body of troops on behalf of Lepidus. On Pompey's approach Brutus threw himself into Mutina, which he defended for some time, but at length surrendered the town to Pompey, on condition that his life should be spared.
This was granted by Pompey; but next day he was murdered, by Pompey's orders, at Rhegium, a small town on the Po, whither he had retired after the surrender of Mutina. Pompey was much blamed for this cruel and perfidious act, which was however more in accordance with the spirit of his party than his own general conduct.
But he seems to have acted now in accordance with Sulla's principles; for he likewise put to death Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, the son of Lepidus, whom he took prisoner at Alba in Liguria.
The war in Italy was now at an end; for Lepidus, despairing of holding his ground in Etruria, had sailed with the remainder of his forces to Sardinia, where he died shortly afterwards
The senate, who now began to dread Pompey, ordered him to disband his army; but he found various excuses for evading this command, as he was anxious to obtain the command of the war against Sertorius in Spain. Sertorius was the only surviving general of the Marian party, who still continued to hold out against the aristocracy.
By his extraordinary genius and abilities he had won the hearts of the Spaniards, and had for the last tree years successfully opposed Metellus Pius, one of the ablest of Sulla's generals [SERTORIUS].
The misfortunes of Metellus only increased Pompey's eagerness to gain laurels, where a veteran general had met with nothing but disasters; and he therefore still continued at the head of his army in the neighbourhood of Rome.
The senate, however, hesitated to give him this opportunity for gaining fresh distinction and additional power but as Sertorius was now joined by Perperna, and was daily becoming more formidable, it became absolutely necessary to strengthen Metellus ; and as they had no general except Pompey, who was either competent or willing to conduct the war against Sertorius, they at length unwillingly determined to send him to Spain, with the title of Proconsul, and with equal powers to Metellus.
In the debate in the senate which ended in his appointment, it was urged that no private man ought to receive the title of Proconsul, whereupon L. Philippus replied with bitter scorn, in allusion to the insignificance of the existing consuls, "Non ego ilium mea sententia pro consule, sed pro cosulibus mitto."
In forty days Pompey completed his preparations, and left Italy with an army of 30,000 foot and 1000 horse, at the beginning of B. C. 76, being then thirty years of age.
He crossed the Alps between the sources of the Rhoône and the Po, and advanced towards the southern coast of Spain. The Spanish tribes, through which he marched, did not offer him much resistance, and the town of Lauron (not far from Valencia) declared in his favour.
But the approach of Sertorius quickly changed the face of matters, and taught Pompey that he had a more formidable enemy to deal with than any he had yet encountered. His army was suddenly surprised by Sertorius, and he was obliged to retreat with the loss of a legion. Sertorius followed up his victory by taking the town of Lauron, which he committed to the flames, almost before Pompey's face. Thus his first campaign in Spain ended ingloriously.
He passed the winter in the Nearer Province, and at the beginning of B. C. 75 crossed the Iberus, and again marched southward against C. Herennius and Perperna, the legates of Sertorius.
These he defeated, with great loss, near Valencia; and elated with his success, and anxious to wipe off the disgrace of the preceding year, he hastened to attack Sertorius, hoping to crush him entirely before Metellus arrived to share the glory with him. Sertorius, who had advanced from the west, was equally eager to fight before the junction of the two Roman armies.
The battle, thus eagerly desired by both generals, was fought on the banks of the Sucro (Xucar).
It was obstinately contested, but was not decisive.
The right wing, where Pompey commanded in person, was put to flight by Sertorius, and Pompey himself was nearly killed in the pursuit; his left wing, however, which was under the command of his legate L. Afranius, drove the right wing of Sertorius's army off the field, and took his camp. Night put an end to the battle; and the approach of Metellus on the following day obliged Sertorius to retire. Pompey and Metellus then continued together for a time, but were reduced to great straits for want of provisions, and were frequently obliged to separate in order to obtain food and fodder. On one of these occasions they were attacked at the same time, Pompey by Sertorius, and Metellus by Perperna; Metellus defeated the latter with a loss of 5000 men, but Pompey was routed by Sertorius, and lost 6000 of his troops Shortly after this Pompey retired, for the winter, to the country of the Vaccaei, whence he wrote to the senate, in the most earnest terms, for a further supply of troops and corn, threatening to quit Spain if he did not receive them, as he was resolved to continue the war no longer at his own expence. His demands were complied with, and two legions were sent to his assistance; for the consul L. Lucullus, who then had great influence with the senate, feared that Pompey might execute his threat of returning to Italy, and then deprive him of the command of the Mithridatic war.
Of the campaigns of the next three years (B. C. 74-72) we have little information; but Sertorius, who had lost some of his influence over the Spanish tribes, and who had become an object of jealousy to M. Perperna and his principal Roman officers, was unable to prosecute the war with the same vigour as he had done during the two preceding years. Pompey accordingly gained some advantages over him, but the war was still far from a close; and the genius of Sertorius would probably have soon given a very different aspect to affairs, had he not been assassinated by Perperna in B. C. 72. [SERTORIUS.] Perperna had flattered himself that he should succeed to the power of Sertorius ; but he soon found that he had murdered the only mail who was able to save him from ruin and death.
In his first battle with Pompey, he was completely defeated, his principal officers slain, and himself taken prisoner. Anxious to save his life he offered to deliver up to Pompey the papers of Sertorius, which contained letters from many of the leading men at Rome, inviting Sertorius to Italy, and expressing a desire to change the constitution which Sulla had established. But Pompey refused to see him, and commanded him to be put to death, and the letters to be burnt: the latter was an act of prudence for which Pompey deserves no small praise.
The war was now virtually at an end; and the remainder of the year was employed in subduing the towns which had compromised themselves too far to hope for forgiveness, and which accordingly still held out against Pompey.
By the winter the greater part of Spain was reduced to obedience; and some of the Spaniards, who had distinguished themselves by their support of the troops of the republic, were rewarded by Pompey with the Roman franchise. Among those who received this honour was L. Cornelius Balbus, whose cause Cicero subsequently pleaded in an oration that has come down to us. [BALBUS.
] Metellus had taken no part in the final struggle with Perperna, and returned to Italy before Pompey.
The latter thus obtained the credit of bringing the war to a conclusion, and of making, in conjunction with commissioners from the senate, the final arrangements for settling the affairs of the conquered country. His reputation, which had been a little dimmed by the long continuance of the war, now burst forth more brightly than ever; and the people longed for his return, that he might deliver Italy from Spartacus and his horde of gladiators, who had defeated the consuls, and were in possession of a great part of the country.
In B. C. 71 Pompey returned to Italy at the head of his army. Crassus, who had now the conduct of the war against Spartacus, hastened to bring it to a conclusion before the arrival of Pompey, who he feared might rob him of the laurels of the campaign.
He accordingly fought a decisive battle with Spartacus in Lucama, in which the latter perished with a great part of his troops but Pompey was fortunate enough to fall in with six thousand of the fugitives, who had rallied again, and whom he cut to pieces, and thereupon he wrote to the senate, "Crassus, indeed, has defeated the enemy, but I have extirpated the war by the roots." Thus he claimed for himself, in addition to all his other exploits, the glory of finishing the Servile war; and the people, who now idolized him, were only too willing to admit his claims. Crassus deeply felt the injustice that was done him, but he dared not show his resentment, as he was anxious for the consulship, and could not dispense with the services of Pompey in obtaining it. Pompey himself had also declared himself a candidate for the same honour; and although he was ineligible by law, inasmuch as he was absent from Rome, had not yet reached the legal age, and had not held any of the lower offices of the state, still his election was certain.
He had always been a personal favourite with the people; and during his long absence from Italy, they seemed to have forgotten that he had been one of Sulla's principal generals, and only looked upon him as the great general, who had delivered Italy from an invasion of Spanish barbarians.
In their eyes he no longer belonged to the aristocratical party, whose corruption and venality both as magistrates and judices had become intolerable. Pompey likewise was not ignorant that he was an object of jealousy and dislike to the leading members of the aristocracy, and that they would be ready enough to throw him on one side, whenever an opportunity presented.
He accordingly resolved to answer the expectations which the people had formed respecting him, and declared himself in favour of a restoration of the tribunician power, which had been abolished by Sulla.
The senate dared not offer any resistante to his election; at the head of a powerful army, and backed by the popular enthusiasm, he could have played the part of Sulla, if he had chosen.
The senate, therefore, thought it more prudent to release him from the laws, which disqualified him from the consulship; and he was accordingly elected without any open opposition along with M. Crassus, whom he had recommended to the people as his colleague.
A triumph, of course, could not be refused him on account of his victories in Spain; and accordingly, on the 31st of December, B. C. 71, he entered the city a second time in his triumphal car, a simple eques.
On the 1st of January, B. C. 70, Pompey entered on his consulship with M. Crassus. One of his first acts was to redeem the pledge he had given to the people, by bringing forward a law for the restoration of the tribunician power. Sulla had allowed the tribunicial office to continue, but had deprived it of the greater part of its power; and there was no object for which the people were so eager as its restoration in its former authority and with its ancient privileges. Modern writers have disputed whether its restoration was an injury or a benefit to the state; but such speculations are of little use, since it is certain, that the measure was inevitable, and that it was quite impossible to maintain the aristocratical constitution in the form in which it had been left by Sulla.
It is probable enough that Pompey was chiefly induced by his love of popular favour to propose the law, but he may also have had the good sense to see, what the short-sightedness of I the majority of the aristocracy blinded them to, that further opposition to the people would have been most injurious to the interests of the aristocracy itself.
The law was passed with little opposition; for the senate felt that it was worse than useless to contend against Pompey, supported as he was by the popular enthusiasm and by his troops, which were still in the immediate neighbourhood of the city. Later in the same year Pompey also struck another blow at the aristocracy by lending his all-powerful aid to the repeal of another of Sulla's laws. From the time of C. Gracchus (B. C. 123) to that of Sulla (B. C. 80), the joudices had been taken exclusively from the equestrian order; but by one of Sulla's laws they had been chosen during the last ten years from the senate.
The corruption and venality of the latter in the administration of justice had excited such general indignation that some change was clamorously demanded by the people. Accordingly, the praetor L. Aurelius Cotta, with the approbation of Pompey, proposed a law by which the judices were to be taken in future from the senatus, equites, and tribuni aerarii, the latter probably representing the wealthier members of the third order in the state. (Comp. Madvig, De Tribunis aerariis,
vol. ii. p. 242, &c.)
This law was likewise carried; but it did not improve the purity of the administration of justice, since corruption was not confined to the senators, but pervaded all classes of the community alike.
In carrying both these measures Pompey was strongly supported by Caesar, with whom he was thus brought into close connection, and who, though he was rapidly rising in popular favour, could as yet only hope to weaken the power of the aristocracy through Pompey's means.
Pompey had thus broken with the aristocracy, and had become the great popular hero. On the expiration of his consulship he dismissed his army, which he no longer needed for the purpose of overawing the senate, and for the next two years (B. C. 69 and 68) he remained in Rome, as he had previously declared that he would not accept a province. Having had little or no experience in civil affairs, he prudently kept aloof during this time from all public matters, and appeared seldom in public, and then never without a large retinue, in order to keep up among the people the feelings of respectful admiration with which they had hitherto regarded him. Pompey did not possess the diversified talents of Caesar : he was only a soldier, but he showed no small good sense in abstaining from meddling with matters which he did not understand.
But the necessities of the commonwealth did not allowhim to remain long in inactivity. The Mediterranean sea was at this time swarming with pirates. From the earliest times down to the present day piracy has more or less prevailed in this sea, which, lying as it does between three continents, and abounding with numerous creeks and islands, presents at the same time both the greatest temptations and the greatest facilities for piratical pursuits. Moreover, in consequence of the civil wars in which the Romans had been engaged, and the absence of any fleet to preserve order upon the sea, piracy had reached an alarming height.
The pirates possessed fleets in all parts of the Mediterranean, were in the habit of plundering the most wealthy cities on the coasts, not only of Greece and of the islands, but even of Italy itself, and had at length carried their audacity so far as to make descents upon the Appian road, and carry off Roman magistrates, with all their attendants and lictors. All communication between Rome and the provinces was cut off, or at least rendered extremely dangerous; the fleets of corn-vessels, upon which Rome to a great extent depended for its subsistence, could not reach the city, and the price of provisions in consequence rose enormously. Such a state of things had become intolerable, and all eyes were now directed to Pompey.
He, however, was not willing to take any ordinary command, and the scarcity of provisions made the people ready to grant him any power he might ask. Still he was prudent enough not to ask in person for such extraordinary powers as he desired, and to appear only to yield to the earnest desires of the people. Accordingly, at the beginning of the year B. C. 67, he got the tribune A. Gabinius, a man of abandoned character, and whose services he had probably purchased, to bring forward a bill, which was intended to give Pompey almost absolute authority over the greater part of the Roman world.
It proposed that the people should elect a man with consular rank, who should possess unlimited and irresponsible power for three years over the whole of the Mediterranean, and to a distance of fifty miles inland from its coasts,--who should have fifteen legates from the senate, a fleet of 200 ships, with as many soldiers and sailors as he thought necessary, and 6000 Attic talents.
The bill did not name Pompey, but it was clear who was meant.
The aristocracy were in the utmost alarm, for not only did they dread the ambition of Pompey, but they feared that he might interfere with many of their friends and relatives, who held provinces which would come under his imperium, and probably spoil their plans for making their fortunes by the plunder of the provincials. Accordingly, they resolved to offer the most vigorous opposition to the bill.
In the senate Caesar was almost the only member of the senate who came forward in its support. Party spirit ran to such a height that the most serious riots ensued.
The aristocracy, headed by the consul C. Piso, made an attack upon Gabinius, who, in danger of his life, fled for refuge to the people; and they, in their turn, led on by Gabinius, assaulted the senate-house, and would probably have sacrificed the consul to their fury, had not Gabinius effected his rescue, dreading the odium which such a catastrophe would have occasioned. Even Pompey himself was threatened by the consul, "If you emulate Romulus, you will not escape the end of Romulus." When the day came for putting the bill to the vote, Pompey affected to be anxious for a little rest, and entreated the people to appoint another to the command, but this piece of hypocrisy deceived no one. Q. Catulus and Q. Hortensius spoke against the bill with great eloquence, but with no effect. Thereupon the tribune L. Trebellius, whom the aristocracy had gained over, placed his veto upon the voting ; and as no threats nor entreaties could induce him to withdraw his opposition, Gabinius proposed that he should be deprived of his tribuneship. Even then it was not till seventeen out of the thirty-five tribes had voted for his degradation, that Trebellius gave way, and withdrew his veto.
It was now too late in the day to come to any decision, but on the following morning the bill was passed, and became a law. When Pompey appeared before the people and accepted the command, he was received with shouts of joy : and upon his asking for still greater means in order to bring the war to a conclusion, his requests were readily complied with.
He now obtained 500 vessels, 120,000 sailors and foot-soldiers, 5000 horse-soldiers, 24 legates, and the power of taking such sums of money as he might think fit out of the public treasury. On the day that the bill was passed the price of provisions at Rome immediately fell : this was to the people the most conclusive answer that could be given to the objections of the aristocracy, and showed, at all events, the immense confidence which all parties placed in the military abilities of Pompey.
Pompey completed all his preparations by the end of the winter, and was ready to commence operations early in the spring. His plans were formed with great skill and judgment and were crowned with complete success.
He stationed his legates with different squadrons in various parts of the Mediterranean to prevent the pirates from uniting, and to hunt them out of the various bays and creeks in which they concealed themselves; while, at the same time, he swept the middle of the sea with the main body of his fleet, and drove them eastwards.
In forty days he cleared the western sea of pirates, and restored communication between Spain, Africa, and Italy.
After then remaining a short time in Italy, he sailed from Brundisium; and on his way towards Cilicia, where the pirates had gathered in large numbers, he stopped at Athens, where he was received with divine honours.
With the assistance of his legates he cleared the seas as he went along; and, in consequence of his treating mercifully the crews which fell into his power, numbers surrendered themselves to him, and it was chiefly through their means that he was able to track out the lurking places of those who still lay in concealment.
The main body of the pirates had deposited their families and property in the heights of Mount Taurus, and with their ships awaited Pompey's approach off the promontory of Coracaesium in Cilicia. Here the decisive battle was fought; the pirates were defeated, and fled for refuge into the town, which they shortly afterwards surrendered with all their property; and promised to evacuate all their strong places.
The humanity with which Pompey had acted during the whole of the war, contributed very much to this result, and saved him a tedious and difficult campaign among the fastnesses of Mount Taurus. More than 20,000 prisoners fell into his hands; and as it would have been dangerous to turn them loose upon society without creating some provision for them, he settled them in various towns, where it would be difficult for them to resume their former habits of life.
Those on whom most reliance could be placed were distributed among the small and somewhat depopulated cities of Cilicia, and a large number was settled at Soli, which had been lately deprived of its inhabitants by the Armenian king Tigranes, and which was henceforward called Pompeiopolis.
The worse class were removed to Dyme in Achaia, or to Calabria.
The second part of this campaign, reckoning from the time that Pompey sailed from Brundisium, occupied only forty-nine days, and the whole war was brought to a conclusion in the course of three months; so that, to adopt the panegyric of Cicero (pro Leg. Man.
12) "Pompey made his preparations for the war at the end of the winter, entered upon it at the commencement of spring, and finished it in the middle of the summer." Pompey, however, did not immediately return to Rome, but was employed during the remainder of this year and the beginnig of the following (B. C. 66) in visiting the cities of Cilicia and Pamphylia, and providing for the government of the newly-conquered districts.
It was during this time that he received ambassadors from the Cretans, and endeavored to obtain the credit of the pacification of that island, when its conquest had been completed by Q. Metellus.
The history of this event is related elsewhere. [METELLUS, No. 23.]
Pompey was now anxious to obtain the command of the war against Mithridates.
The rapidity with which he had crushed the pirates, whose power had been so long an object of dread, formed a striking contrast to the long-continued struggle which Lucullus had been carrying on ever since the year B. C. 74 with the king of Pontus. Nay more, the victories which Lucullus had gained at first had been forgotten in the disasters, which the Roman armies had lately experienced, and in consequence of which Mithridates was now once more in possession of his hereditary dominions.
The end of the war seemed more distant than ever.
The people demanded again the invincible arm of Pompey. Accordingly, the tribune C. Manilius, who had been secured by Pompey and his friends, brought forward a bill at the beginning of B. C. 66, giving to Pompey the command of the war against Mithridates, with unlimited power over the army and the fleet in the East, and with the rights of a proconsul in the whole of Asia as far as Armenia.
As his proconsular power already extended over all the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean in virtue of the Gabinian law, this new measure virtually placed almost the whole of the Roman dominions in his hands.
But there was no power, however excessive, which the people were not ready to intrust to their favourite hero; and the bill was accordingly passed, notwithstanding the opposition of Hortensius, Catulus, and the aristocratical party. Cicero advocated the measure in an oration which has come down to us (Pro Lege Manilia
), and Caesar likewise supported it with his growing popularity and influence. On receiving intelligence of this new appointment, Pompey, who was then in Cilicia, complained that his enemies would not let him rest in peace, and that they were exposing him to new dangers in hopes of getting rid of him.
This piece of hypocrisy, however, deceived no one, and Pompey himself exhibited no unwillingness to take the command which had been given him.
He immediately crossed the Taurus, and received the army from Lucullus, whom he treated with marked contempt, repealing all his measures and disparaging his exploits.
The power of Mithridates had been broken by the previous victories of Lucullus, and the successes which the king had gained lately were only of a temporary nature, and were mainly owing to the disorganisation of the Roman army.
The most difficult part of the war had already been finished before Pompey was appointed to the command, and it was therefore only left to him to bring it to a conclusion. For this purpose he had a more numerous army and a more powerful fleet than Lucullus had ever possessed.
The plan of his campaign, however, was characterised by great military skill, and fully justified the confidence which the Roman people reposed in him. One of his first measures was to secure the friendship and alliance of the Parthian king, Phraates III., a step by which he not only deprived Mithridates of all hopes of the co-operation of that monarch, but likewise cut him off from all assistance from the Armenian king Tigranes, who was now obliged to look to the safety of his own dominions. Pompey next stationed his fleet in different squadrons around the coasts of Asia Minor, in order to deprive Mithridates of all communication from the sea, and he then proceeded in person at the head of his land forces against the king. Thus thrown back upon his own resources, Mithridates sued for peace, but as Pompey would hear of nothing but unqualified submission, the negotiation was broken off.
The king was still at the head of an army of 30,000 foot and 2000 horse, but he knew too well the strength of a Roman army to venture an engagement with these forces, and accordingly withdrew gradually to the frontiers of Armenia. For a long time he succeeded in avoiding a battle, but he was at length surprised by Pompey in Lesser Armenia, as he was marching through a narrow pass, and was obliged to fight.
The battle was soon decided; the king lost the greater number of his troops, and escaped with only a few horsemen to the fortress of Synorium, on the borders of the Greater Armenia. Here he collected again a considerable force; but as Tigranes refused to admit him into his dominions, because he suspected him of fomenting the intrigues of his son against him, Mithridates had no alternative but to take refuge in his own distant dominions in the Cimmerian Bosporus. To reach them he had to march through Colchis, and to fight his way through the wild and barbarous tribes that occupied the country between the Caucasus and the Euxine.
He, however, succeeded eventually in his arduous attempt, and reached the Bosporus in safety in the course of next year. Pompey abandoned at present all thoughts of following the fugitive king, and resolved at once to attack the king of Armenia, who was now the more formidable of the two monarchs.
But before commencing his march he founded the city of Nicopolis in Lesser Armenia as a memorial of his victory over Mithridates.
On entering Armenia Pompey met with no opposition.
He was joined by the young Tigranes, who had revolted against his father, and all the cities submitted to them on their approach. When the Romans drew near to Artaxata, the king, deserted by his army and his court, had no alternative but submission, and accordingly went out to meet Pompey, and threw himself before him as a suppliant. Pompey received him with kindness, acknowledged him as king of Armenia, and demanded only the payment of 6000 talents. His foreign possessions, however, in Syria, Phoenicia, Cilicia, Galatia, and Cappadocia, which had been conquered by Lucullus, were to belong to the Romans. To his son Tigranes Sophene and Gordyene were given as an independent kingdom; but as the young prince was discontented with this arrangement, and even ventured to utter threats, Pompey had him arrested, and kept him in chains to grace his triumph.
After thus settling the affairs of Armenia, Pompey left L. Afranius with a part of his forces in the country between the Euphrates and the Araxes, and proceeded himself with the rest of his army towards the north in pursuit of Mithridates.
But the season was already so far advanced that he could not advance further with them than the river Cyrus (the Kur), in the neighbourhood of which he resolved to take up his quarters for the winter.
The legions were distributed through the country in three separate divisions; and Oroeses, king of Albania, on the borders of whose kingdom the Romans were encamped, thought this a favourable opportunity for crushing the invaders.
He accordingly crossed the Cyrus at the head of a large army about the middle of December, but was easily defeated by Pompey, and compelled to sue for peace, which was granted him on condition of his giving the Romans a passage through his territories.
In B. C. 65 Pompey commenced his march northwards in pursuit of Mithridates, but he had first to fight against the Iberians, a warlike people, who lay between the Albanians on the east and the Colchians on the west. Having repulsed these barbarians, and compelled them to sue for peace, Pompey then advanced as far as the river Phasis (Faz), which flows into the Euxine, and here he met with his legate Servilius, the commander of his fleet in the Euxine. From him Pompey obtained more certain information respecting the movements of Mithridates, and also learnt the wild and inaccessible nature of the country through which he would have to march in order to reach the king.
The experience he had had himself of the warlike character of the inhabitants confirmed the report of his legate; and he therefore prudently resolved to give up the pursuit of Mithridates, and not to involve himself in a war with the fierce tribes of the Caucasus, from which he could obtain little honour, and his troops must inevitably suffer much injury. Accordingly, he did not cross the Phasis, but retraced his steps southwards.
By the middle of the summer he again reached the banks of the Cyrus, which he crossed, and then proceeded to the Araxes, where the Albanians, who had again risen in arms against him, were stationed in great force.
These he again defeated without any difficulty, and received a second time the submission of the king.
He now hastened to leave this savage district, and to march to the rich and fertile country of Syria, which would be an easy prey, and from thence he meditated advancing as far south as the Persian Gulph, and carrying his victorious standards to countries hitherto unvisited by Roman arms.
But it was too late this year to march so far south, and he accordingly led his troops into winter-quarters at Amisus, a town of Pontus, on the Euxine.
He was now regarded as the master of the Eastern world; and during the winter he received ambassadors from the kings of Elymais, Media, and various other countries, who were anxious to solicit his favour.
The ruin of Mithridates seemed so certain that his favourite wife or concubine, Stratonice, surrendered to the Roman general one of the strongest fortresses of the king, which had been entrusted to her care, together with valuable treasures and private documents. Pompey now reduced Pontus to the form of a Roman province, without waiting for any commissioners from the senate; and he ordered his fleet to cruise in the Euxine, and seize all vessels that attempted to carry provisions to the king in the Bosporus.
In the spring of B. C. 64 Pompey left his winterquarters in Pontus, and set out for Syria.
In his march he passed the field of battle near Zela, where Valerius Triarius, the legate of Lucullus, had been defeated by Mithridates three years before, with a loss of more than 7000 men. Pompey collected their bones which still lay upon the field, and buried them with due honours. On his arrival in Syria he deposed Antiochus Asiaticus [ANTIOCHUS XIII.], whom Lucullus had allowed to take possession of the throne, after the defeat of Tigranes, and made the country a Roman province.
He likewise compelled the neighbouring princes, who had established independent kingdoms on the ruins of the Syrian empire, to submit to the Roman dominion.
The whole of this year was occupied with the settlement of Syria, and the adjacent countries.
Next year, B. C. 63, Pompey advanced further south, in order to establish the Roman supremacy in Phoenicia, Coele-Syria and Palestine.
In the latter country, however, a severe struggle awaited it.
The country was at the time distracted by a civil war between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, the two sons of Aristobulus I., who died B. C. 105. Pompey espoused the side of Hyreanus; and Aristobulus, who at first had made preparations for resistance, surrendered himself to Pompey, when the latter had advanced near to Jerusalem.
But the Jews themselves refused to follow the example of their king; the more patriotic and fanatical took refuge in the fortress of the temple, broke down the bridge which connected it with the city, and prepared to hold out to the last. They refused to listen to any overtures for a surrender; and it was not till after a siege of three months that the place was taken. Pompey entered the Holy of Holies, the first time that any human being, except the high-priest, had dared to penetrate into this sacred spot.
He reinstated Hyrcanus in the high-priesthood, and left the government in his hands, but at the same time compelled him to recognise the authority of Rome by the payment of an annual tribute : Aristobulus he took with him as a prisoner.
It was during this war in Palestine that Pompey received intelligence of the death of Mithridates. [MITHRIDATES, VI.] Pompey now led his troops back into Pontus for the winter, and began to make preparations for his return to Italy.
He confirmed Pharnaces, the son and murderer of Mithridates, in the possession of the kingdom of Bosporus; Deiotarus, tetrarch of Galatia, who had supported the Romans in their war with Mithridates, was rewarded with an extension of territory, and Ariobarzanes, king of Cappadocia, was restored to his kingdom.
After making all the arrangements necessary to secure the Roman supremacy in the East, Pompey set out for Italy, which he reached at the end of B. C. 62. His arrival had been long looked for by all parties with various feelings of hope and fear.
The aristocracy dreaded that he would come as their master ; the popular party, and especially the enemies of Cicero, hoped that he would punish the latter for his unconstitutional proceedings in the suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy; and both parties felt that at the head of his victorious army he might seize upon the supreme power, and play the part of Sulla. Pompey, however, soon calmed these apprehensions.
He disbanded his army almost immediately after landing at Brundisium; but he did not proceed straightway to Rome, as he was anxious to learn somewhat more accurately the state of parties before he made his appearance in the city. When he at length set out, he was received by all the cities through which he passed with an enthusiasm which knew no bounds; and as he approached the capital, the greatest part of the population flocked out to meet him, and greeted him with the wildest acclamations of joy.
After remaining in the neighbourhood of the city for some months, he at length entered it in triumph, on his birth-day, the 30th of September, B. C. 61. Pompey had just completed his forty-fifth year, and this was the third time that he had enjoyed the honour of a triumph. His admirers represented him as celebrating now his victory over the third continent, just as his first triumph had been gained over Africa, and his second over Europe.
This triumph, however, was not only the greatest of the three, but the most splendid that the Romans had ever yet seen.
It lasted for two days, although there was no army to lengthen out the procession.
In front, large tablets were carried, specifying the nations and kings he had conquered, and proclaiming that he had taken 1000 strong fortresses, and nearly 900 towns and 800 ships; that he had founded 39 cities, that he had raised the revenue of the Roman people from 50 millions to 85 millions ; and that he had brought into the treasury 20,000 talents, in addition to 16,000 that he had distributed among his troops at Ephesus. Next followed an endless train of waggons loaded with the treasures of the East. On the second day Pompey himself entered the city in his triumphal car, preceded by the princes and chiefs whom he had taken prisoners, or received as hostages, 324 in number, and followed by his legates and military tribunes, who concluded the procession.
After the triumph, he displayed his clemency by sparing the lives of his prisoners, and dismissing them to their various states, with the exception of Aristobulus and Tigranes, who, he feared, might excite commotions in Judaea and Armenia respectively, if they were set at liberty.
With this triumph the first and most glorious part of Pompey's life may be said to have ended. Hitherto he had been employed almost exclusively in war, and his whole life had been an almost uninterrupted succession of military glory.
But now he was called upon to play a prominent part in the civil commotions of the commonwealth, a part for which neither his natural talents nor his previous habits had in the least fitted him. From the death of Sulla to the present time, a period of nearly twenty years, he had been unquestionably the first man in the Roman world, but he did not retain much longer this proud position, and eventually discovered that the genius of Caesar had reduced him to a second place in the state.
It would seem as if Pompey on his return to Rome hardly knew himself what part to take in the politics of the city.
He had been appointed to the command against the pirates and Mithridates in opposition to the aristocracy, and they still regarded him with jealousy and distrust.
He could not therefore ally himself to them, especially too as some of their most influential leaders, such as M. Crassus, L. Lucullus, and Metellus Creticus, were his personal enemies.
At the same time he does not seem to have been disposed to unite himself to the popular party, which had risen into importance during his absence in the East, and over which Caesar possessed unbounded influence.
The object, however, which engaged the immediate attention of Pompey was to obtain from the senate a ratification for all his acts in Asia, and an assignment of lands which he had promised to his veterans.
In order to secure this object the more certainly, he had purchased the consulship for one of his creatures, L. Afranius, who accordingly was elected with Q. Metellus for the year B. C. 60.
But he was cruelly disappointed; L. Afranius was a man of slender ability and little courage, and did hardly any thing to promote the views of his patron: the senate, glad of an opportunity to put an affront upon a man whom they both feared and hated, resolutely refused to sanction Pompey's measures in Asia.
This was the unwisest thing the senate could have done. If they had known their real interests, they would have yielded to all Pompey's wishes, and have sought by every means to win him over to their side, as a counterpoise to the growing and more dangerous influence of Caesar.
But their shortsighted policy threw Pompey into Caesar's arms, and thus sealed the downfal of their party. Pompey was resolved to fulfil the promises he had made to his Asiatic clients and his veteran troops; his honour and reputation were pledged; and the refusal of the senate to redeem his pledge was an insult that he could not brook, more especially as he might have entered Rome at the head of his army, and have obtained his wishes with his sword.
With these feelings Pompey broke off all connection with the aristocracy, and devoted himself to Caesar, who promised to obtain for him the ratification of his acts. Pompey, on his side, agreed to support Caesar in all his measures; and that they might be more sure of carrying their plans into execution, Caesar prevailed upon Pompey to become reconciled to Crassus, who by his connections, as well as by his immense wealth, had great influence at Rome. Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus, accordingly agreed to assist one another against their mutual enemies; and thus was first formed the first triumvirate.
This union of the three most powerful men at Rome crushed the aristocracy for the time. Supported by Pompey and Crassus, Caesar was able in his consulship, B. C. 59, to carry all his measures.
An account of these is given elsewhere. [CAESAR, p. 543.] It is only necessary to mention here, that by Caesar's agrarian law, which divided the rich Campanian land among the poorer citizens, Pompey was able to fulfil the promises he had made to his veterans; and that Caesar likewise obtained from the people a ratification of all Pompey's acts in Asia.
In order to cement their union more closely, Caesar gave to Pompey his daughter Julia in marriage, Pompey having shortly before divorced his wife Mucia.
At the beginning of the following year, B. C. 58, Gabinius and Piso entered upon the consulship, and Caesar went to his province in Gaul Pompey retired with his wife Julia to his villa of Albanum near Rome, and took hardly any part in public affairs during this year.
He quietly allowed Clodius to ruin Cicero, whom the triumvirs had determined to leave to his fate. Cicero therefore went into banishment; but after Clodius had once gained from the triumvirs the great object he had desired, he did not care any longer to consult their views.
He restored Tigranes to liberty whom Pompey had kept in confinement, ridiculed the great Imperator before the people, and was accused of making an attempt upon Pompey's life. Pompey in revenge resolved to procure the recal of Cicero from banishment, and was thus brought again into some friendly connections with the aristocratical party. With Pompey's support the bill for Cicero's return was passed in B. C. 57, and the orator arrived at Rome in the month of September. To show his gratitude, Cicero proposed that Pompey should have the superintendence of the cornmarket throughout the whole republic for a period of five years, since there was a scarcity of corn at Rome, and serious riots had ensued in consequence.
A bill was accordingly passed, by which Pompey was made the Praefectus Annonae for five years.
In this capacity he went to Sicily, and sent his legates to various parts of the Mediterranean, to collect corn for the capital; and the price in consequence soon fell. About the same time there were many discussions in the senate respecting the restoration of Ptolemy Auletes to Egypt. Ptolemy had come to Rome, and been received by Pompey in his villa at Albanum, and it was generally believed that Pompey himself wished to be sent to the East at the head of an army for the purpose of restoring the Egyptian monarch.
The senate, however, dreaded to let him return to the scene of his former triumphs, where he possessed unbounded influence; and accordingly they discovered, when he was in Sicily and Ptolemy in Ephesus, that the Sibylline books forbade the employment of force.
Pompey returned to Rome early in B. C. 56; and though he could not obtain for himself the mission to the East, he used all his influence in order that the late consul, Lentulus Spinther, who had obtained the province of Cilicia, should restore Ptolemy to his kingdom. Clodius, who was now curule aedile, accused Milo at the beginning of February; and when Pompey spoke in his favour, he was abused by Milo in the foulest manner, and held up to laughter and scorn.
At the same time he was attacked in the senate by the tribune C. Cato, who openly charged him with treachery towards Cicero.
The evident delight with which the senate listened to the attack inflamed Pompey's anger to the highest pitch; he spoke openly of conspiracies against his life, denounced Crassus as the author of them, and threatened to take measures for his security.
He had now lost the confidence of all parties; the senate hated and feared him; the people had deserted him for their favourite Clodius; and he had no other resource left but to strengthen his connection with Caesar, and to avail himself of the popularity of the conqueror of Gaul for the purpose of maintaining his own power and influence.
This was a bitter draught for the conqueror of the East to swallow : he was already compelled to confess that he was only the second man in the state.
But as he had no alternative, he repaired to Caesar's winter-quarters at Lucca, whither Crassus had already gone before him. Caesar reconciled Pompey and Crassus to one another, and concluded a secret agreement with them, in virtue of which they were to be consuls for the next year, and obtain provinces and armies, while he was to have his government prolonged for another five years, and to receive pay for his troops.
This arrangement took place about the middle of April. Pompey now hastened to Sardinia and Africa in order to have plenty of corn to distribute among the people, which was always one of the surest means of securing popularity with the rabble of the city. Pompey and Crassus, however, experienced more opposition to their election than they had anticipated.
It is true that all the other candidates gave way with the exception of L. Domitius Ahenobarbus; but supported by M. Cato and the aristocracy, he offered a most determined opposition.
The consul Lentulus Marcellinus likewise was resolved to use every means to prevent their election; and Pompey and Crassus, finding it impossible to carry their election while Marcellinus was in office, availed themselves of the veto of the tribunes Nonius Sufenas and C. Cato to prevent the consular comitia from being held this year.
The elections therefore did not take place till the beginning of B. C. 55, under the presidency of an interrex. Even then Ahenobarbus and Cato did not relax in their opposition, and it was not till the armed bands of Pompey and Crassus had cleared the Campus Martius of their adversaries that they were declared consuls.
Thus, in B. C. 55, Pompey and Crassus were consuls the second time. They forthwith proceeded to carry into effect the compact that had been made at Lucca. They got the tribune C. Trebonius to bring forward two bills, one of which gave the province of the two Spains to Pompey, and that of Syria to Crassus, and the other prolonged Caesar's government for five years more, namely from the 1st of January, B. C. 53, to the end of the year 49. Pompey was now at the head of the state, and at the expiration of his year of office, would no longer be a private man, but at the head of an army, and in the possession of the imperium.
With an army he felt sure of regaining his former influence; and he did not see that Caesar had only used him as his tool to promote his own ends, and that sooner or later he must succumb to the superior genius of his colleague. Pompey had now completed the theatre which he had been some time buildings ; and, as a means of regaining the popular favour, he resolved to open it with an exhibition of games of unparalleled splendourand magnificence.
The theatre itself was worthy of the conqueror of the East.
It was the first stone theatre that had been erected at Rome, and was sufficiently large to accommodate 40,000 spectators.
It wits situate in the Campus Martins, and was built model the model of one which Pompey had seen at Mytilene, in the year 62.
The games exhibited by Pompey lasted many days, and consisted of scenic representations, in which the actor Aesopus appeared for the last time, gymnastic contests, gladiatorial combats, and fights of wild beasts. Five hundred African lions were killed, and eighteen elephants were attacked and most of them put to death by Gaetulian huntsmen.
A rhinoceros was likewise exhibited on this occasion for the first time.
The splendour of these games charmed the people for the moment, but were not sufficient to regain him his lost popularity. Of this he had a striking proof almost immediately afterwards ; for the people began to express their discontent when he levied troops in Italy and Cisalpine Gaul and sent them into Spain under the command of his legates, L. Afranius and M. Petreius, while he himself remained in the neighbourhood of the city. Pompey's object now was to obtain the dictatorship, and to make himself the undisputed master of the Roman world. Caesar's continued successes in Gaul and Britain, and his increasing power and influence, at length made it clear to Pompey that a struggle must take place between them, sooner or later; but down to the breaking out of the civil war, he seems to have thought that Caesar would never venture to draw the sword against him, and that as long as he could rule the senate and the comitia, his rival would likewise be obliged to submit to his sway.
The death of his wife Julia, in B. C. 54, to whom he was tenderly attached, broke one link which still connected him with Caesar; and the fall of Crassus in the following year (B. C. 53), in the Parthian expedition, removed the only person who had the least chance of contesting the supremacy with them.
In order to obtain the dictatorship, Pompey secretly encouraged the civil discord with which the state was torn asunder, hoping that the senate and the people, tired of a state of anarchy, would at length throw themselves into his arms for the purpose of regaining peace and order.
In consequence of the riots, which he secretly abetted, the consular comitia could not be held in B. C. 54, and it was not till the middle of B. C. 53 that Domitius Calvinus and Valerius Messalla were chosen consuls, and that the other magistrates were elected.
But new tumults ensued. Milo had become a candidate for the consulship, and Clodius for the praetorship ; each was attended by a band of hired ruffians ; battles took place almost every day between them in the forum and the streets; all order and government were at an end.
In such a state of things no elections could be held; and the confusion at length became downright anarchy, when Milo murdered Clodius on the 20th of January in the following year (B. C. 52). [Vol. I. p. 774.] The senate, unable to restore order, had now no alternative but calling in the assistance of Pompey. They therefore commissioned him to collect troops and put an end to the disturbances. Pompey, who had at length obtained the great object of his desires, obeyed with alacrity; he was invested with the supreme power of the state by being elected sole consul on the 25th of February; and in order to deliver the city from Milo and his myrmidons, he brought forward laws against violence (De Vi
) and bribery at elections. Milo was put upon his trial; the court was surrounded with soldiers, and the accused went into exile. Others also were condemned, and peace was once more restored to the state. Having thus established order, he made Metellus Scipio, whose daughter Cornelia he had married since Julia's death, his colleague on the 1st of August, and then held the comitia for the election of the consuls for the ensuing year.
He next proceeded to strike a blow at Caesar.
He brought forward an old law, which had fallen into disuse that no one should become a candidate for a public office in his absence, in order that Caesar might be obliged to resign his command, and to place himself in the power of his enemies at Rome, if he wished to obtain the consulship a second time.
But the renewal of this enactment was so manifestly aimed at Caesar that his friends insisted he should be specially exempted from it; and as Pompey was not yet prepared to break openly with him, he thought it more expedient to yield. Pompey at the same time provided that he should continue in possession of an army after his rival had ceased to have one, by obtaining a senatusconsultum, by which his government of the Spains was prolonged for another five years. And, in case Caesar should obtain the consulship, he caused a law to be enacted, in virtue of which no one should have a province till five years had elapsed from the time of his holding a public office. Such were the precautions adopted against his great rival, the uselessness of which time soon showed,
The history of the next four years (B. C. 51-48) is related at length in the life of CAESAR [Vol. I. pp. 549-552]; and it is, therefore, only necessary to give here a brief outline of the remaining events of Pompey's life. In B. C. 51 Pompey became reconciled to the aristocracy, and was now regarded as their acknowledged head, though it appears that he never obtained the full confidence of the party.
In the following year (B. C. 50) the struggle between Caesar and the aristocracy came to a crisis.
The latter demanded that Caesar should resign his province and come to Rome as a private man in order to sue for the consulship; but it would have been madness in Caesar to place himself in the power of his enemies, who had an army in the neighbourhood of the city under the command of Pompey.
There was no doubt that he would immediately have been brought to trial, and his condemnation would have been certain, since Pompey would have overawed the judges by his soldiery as he had done at the trial of Milo. Caesar, however, agreed to resign his provinces, and disband his army, provided Pompey would do the same.
This proposition, however, was rejected, and Caesar prepared for war.
He had now completed the subjugation of Gaul, and could confideftly rely on the fidelity of his veteran troops, whom he had so often led to victory and glory.
At the same time he lost no opportunity of strengthening his interest at Rome; the immense wealth he had acquired by the conquest of Gaul was lavishly spent in gaining over many of the most influential men in the city; the services of the consul Aemilius Paulus and of the tribune Curio, who were reckoned devoted partizans of Pompey, were purchased by enormous bribes. Pompey, on the other hand, neglected to prepare for the coming contest; he was firmly convinced, as we have already remarked, that Caesar would never venture to march against the constituted authorities of the state; and if he were mad enough to draw the sword, Pompey believed that his troops would desert him in the desperate enterprize, while his own fame and the cause of the republic would attract to his standard a multitude of soldiers from all parts of Italy. So confident was he of success that he did not attempt to levy troops; and when some of his friends remonstrated with him, and pointed out the defenceless condition of their party, if Caesar advanced against the city, Pompey replied "that he had only to stamp with his foot in any part of Italy, and numbers of troops would immediately spring up."
He was confirmed in the conviction of his own popularity by the interest expressed on his behalf during a dangerous illness by which he was attacked this year at Neapolis. Many cities offered sacrifices for his restoration to health ; and on his recovery public rejoicings took place in numerous towns of Italy.
But he was soon cruelly undeceived.
At the beginning of B. C. 49 the senate decreed that Caesar should disband his army by a certain day, or otherwise be regarded as an enemy of the state. Two of the tribunes put their veto upon the decree, but their opposition was set at nought, their lives were threatened, and they fled for refuge to Caesar's camp. Caesar hesitated no longer; he crossed the Rubicon, which separated his province from Italy, and at the head of a single legion marched upon Rome.
He was received with enthusiasm by the Italian towns ; his march was like a triumphal progress; city after city threw open their gates to him; the troops of the aristocracy went over to his side; and Pompey, after all his confident boasting, found himself unable to defend the capital.
He fled, with all the leading senators, first to Capua, where he remained for a short time, and subsequently to Brundisium. Caesar, however, gave him no rest; by the 8th of March he was under the walls of Brundisium ; and as Pompey despaired of holding out in that city, he embarked on the 15th of the month, and crossed over to Greece. As Caesar had no ships ho could not follow him for the present, and therefore marched against Pompey's legates in Spain, whom he conquered in the course of the same year.
In the next year (B. C. 48) the war was decided. Early in January Caesar arrived in Greece, and forthwith commenced active operations. Pompey meantime had collected a numerous army in Greece, Egypt, and the East, the scene of his former glories.
But although his troops far outnumbered Caesar's, he well knew that they were no match for them in the field, and therefore prudently resolved to decline a battle. His superiority in cavalry enabled him to cut off Caesars's supplies, and gave him the complete command of all the provisions of the country.
The utmost scarcity began to prevail in Caesar's camp; since not only could he obtain nothing from the country, but he was likewise unable to receive any supplies from Italy, in consequence of the fleet of Pompey, which had the entire command of the sea. But Pompey was prevented from carrying out the prudent plan which he had formed for conducting the campaign. His camp was filled with a multitude of Roman nobles, unacquainted with war, and anxious to return to their estates in Italy and to the luxuries of the capital. Their superior numbers made them sure of victory; and Pompey's success at Dyrrhacium, when he broke through Caesar's lines and compelled him to retire with considersword, able loss, rendered them still more confident of success. Pompey's unwillingness to fight, which only showed that he understood his profession far better than the vain and ignorant nobles who would school him, was set down to his love of power and his anxiety to keep the senate in subjection. Stung with the reproaches with which he was assailed, and likewise elated to some degree by his victory at Dyrrhacium, he resolved to bring the contest to an issue. Accordingly, he offered battle to Caesar in the plain of Pharsalia in Thessaly, on the 9th of August, and the result justified his previous fears. His numerous army was completely defeated by Caesar's veterans.
This defeat by his great rival seems at once to have driven Pompey to despair.
He made no attempt to rally his forces, though he might still have collected a considerable army; but regarding every thing as lost, he hurried to the seacoast with a few friends, only anxious to escape from the country.
He embarked on board a merchant ship at the mouth of the river Peneus, and first sailed to Lesbos, where he took up his wife Cornelia, who was staying in the island, and from thence made for the coast of Pamphylia, where he was joined by several vessels and many senators. His friends now advised him to seek refuge in Egypt, since he had been the means of restoring to his kingdom the father of the young Egyptian monarch, and might, therefore, reckon upon the gratitude of the court.
He accordingly set sail for Egypt, with a considerable fleet and about 2000 soldiers, and upon his arrival off the coast sent to beg for the protection of the king.
The latter was only thirteen years of age, and the government was in the hands of Pothinus, an eunuch, Theodotus of Chios, and Achillas.
These three men, dreading Caesar's anger if they received Pompey, and likewise fearing the resentment of the latter if they forbade him to land, resolved to release themselves from their difficulties by putting him to death. They accordingly sent out a small boat, took Pompey on board with three or four attendants, and rowed for the shore. His wife and friends watched him from the ship, anxious to see in what manner he would be received by the king, who was standing on the edge of the sea with his troops; but just as the boat reached the shore, and Pompey was in the act of rising from his seat, in order to step on land, he was stabbed in the back by Septimius, who had formerly been one of his centurions, and was now in the service of the Egyptian monarch. Achillas and the rest then drew their swords; whereupon Pompey covered his face with his toga, without uttering a word, and calmly submitted to his fate.
He was killed on the 29th of September, the day before his birth-day, B. C. 48, and had consequently just completed his 58th year. His head was cut off, and his body, which was thrown out naked on the shore, was buried by his freedman Philippus, who had accompanied him from the ship.
The head was brought to Caesar when he arrived in Egypt soon afterwards, but he turned away from the sight, shed tears at the untimely end of his rival, and put his murderers to death.
The character of Pompey is not difficult to estimate.
He was simply a soldier; his life from his seventeenth to his forty-second year was spent almost entirely in military service; and when he returned to Rome after the conquest of Mithridates, he did not possess any knowledge of civil affairs, and soon displayed his incompetency to take a leading part in the political commotions of the time.
He had a high sense of his own importance, had been accustomed for years to the passive obedience which military discipline required, and expected to be treated at Rome with the same deference and respect which he had received in the camp.
With an overweening sense of his own influence, he did not condescend to attach himself to any political party, and thus became an object of suspicion to both the aristocracy and the people.
He soon found out, what Marius had discovered before him, that something more was required than military glory to retain the affections of the multitude; and he never learnt the way to win the hearts of men.
He was of a cold and phlegmatic temperament, and seems to have possessed scarcely any personal friends among the Roman nobles.
He was both a proud and a vain man, faults which above all others make a man disliked by his associates and equals.
At the same time his moral character was superior to that of the majority of his contemporaries; and he was free from most of the vices which pervaded all the higher ranks of society at the time.
The ancient writers bear almost unanimous testimony to the purity of his marriage life, to his affection for his different wives, to the simplicity and frugality of his mode of life, and to the control which he possessed over his passions and appetites.
In his government of the provinces he also exhibited a striking contrast to most of the Roman nobles ; justice was not to be purchased from him, nor did he enrich himself, according to the ordinary fashion, by plundering the subjects of Rome. His untimely death excites pity; but no one, who has well studied the state of parties at the downfal of the Roman commonwealth, can regret his fall.
He had united himself to a party which was intent on its own aggrandizement and the ruin of its opponents; and there is abundant evidence to prove, that had that party gained the mastery, a proscription far more terrible than Sulla's would have taken place, the lives of every distinguished man on the other side would have been sacrificed, their property confiscated, and Italy and the provinces divided as booty among a few profligate and unprincipled nobles. From such horrors the victory of Caesar saved the Roman world.
Pompey was married several times. His wives and children are mentioned in the Stemma in p. 475, and an account of his two surviving sons is given below. Pompey never had his own portrait struck upon his coins; but it appears on the coins of Pompeiopolis and on those of his sons Cneius and Sextus. [See below Nos. 24 and 25.]
(The principal ancient authorities for the life of Pompey are the biography of Plutarch, the histories of Dio Cassius, Appian, and Velleius Paterculus, the Civil War of Caesar, and the Letters and Orations of Cicero. His life is related at length by Drumann, Geschichte Roms,