Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 3.djvu/492

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480 POMPEIUS.

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