Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 3.djvu/494

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482 POMPEIUS.

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