Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/71

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757
POMPEY


celebrate the most magnificent triumph which Rome had ever witnessed, as the conqueror of Spain, Africa, and Asia (see A. Holm, Hist. of Greece, Eng. trans., vol. iv.). This triumph marked the turning-point of his career. As a soldier everything had gone well with him; as a politician he was a failure. He found a great change in public opinion, and the people indifferent to his achievements abroad. The optimates resented the extraordinary powers that had been conferred upon him; Lucullus and Crassus considered that they had been robbed by him of the honour of concluding the war against Mithradates. The senate refused to ratify the arrangements he made in Asia or to provide money and lands for distribution amongst his veterans. In these circumstances he drew closer to Caesar on his return from Spain, and became reconciled to Crassus. The result was the so-called first triumvirate (see Rome: History).

The remainder of his life is inextricably interwoven with that of Caesar. He was married to Caesar's daughter Julia, and as yet the relations between the two had been friendly. On more than one occasion Caesar had supported Pompey's policy, which of late had been in a decidedly democratic direction. Pompey was now in fact ruler of the greater part of the empire, while Caesar had only the two provinces of Gaul. The control of the capital, the supreme command of the army in Italy and of the Mediterranean fleet, the governorship of the two Spains, the superintendence of the corn supplies, which were mainly drawn from Sicily and Africa, and on which the vast population of Rome was wholly dependent, were entirely in the hands of Pompey, who was gradually losing the confidence of all political parties in Rome. The senate and the aristocracy disliked and distrusted him, but they felt that, should things come to the worst, they might still find in him a champion of their cause. Hence the joint rule of Pompey and Caesar was not unwillingly accepted, and anything like a rupture between the two was greatly dreaded as the sure beginning of anarchy throughout the Roman world. With the deaths of Pompey's wife Iulia (54) and of Crassus (53) the relations between him and Caesar became strained, and soon afterwards he drew closer to what we may call the old conservative party in the senate and aristocracy. The end was now near, and Pompey blundered into a false political position and an open quarrel with Caesar. In 50 the senate by a very large majority revoked the extraordinary powers conceded to Pompey and Caesar in Spain and Gaul respectively. and called upon them to disband their armies. Pompey's refusal to submit gave Caesar a good pretext for declaring war and marching at the head of his army into Italy. At the beginning of the contest the advantages were decidedly on the side of Pompey, but the superior political tact of his rival, combined with extraordinary promptitude and decision in following up his blows, soon turned the scale against him. Pompey's cause, with that of the senate and aristocracy, was finally ruined by his defeat in 48 in the neighbourhood of the Thessalian city Pharsalus. That same year he fied with the hope of finding a safe refuge in Egypt, but was treacherously murdered by one of his old centurions as he was landing. He was five times married, and three of his children survived him—Gnaeus, Sextus, and a daughter Pompeia.

Pompey, though he had some great and good qualities, hardly deserved his surname of “ the Great.” He was certainly a very good soldier, and is said to have excelled in all athletic exercises, but he fell short of being a first-rate general. He won great successes in Spain and more especially in the East, but for these he was no doubt partly indebted to what others had already done. Of the gifts which make a good statesman he had really none. As plainly appeared in the last years of his life, he was too weak and irresolute to choose a side and stand by it. But to his credit be it said that in a corrupt time he never used his opportunities for plunder and extortion, and his domestic life was pure and simple.

Authorities.—Ancient: Plutarch, Pompey; Dio Cassius; Appian; Velleius Paterculus; Caesar, De bello civili; Strabo xii., 555–560; Cicero, passim; Lucan, Pharsalia.

Modern: Histories of Rome in general (see Rome: Ancient History, ad fin.); works quoted under Caesar and Cicero. Also G. Boissier, Cicero and His Friends (Eng. trans., A. D. Jones, 1897); J. L. Strachan-Davidson’s Cicero (1894); Warde Fowler's Julius Caesar (1892); C. W. Oman, Seven Roman Statesmen of the Later Republic (1902); notes in Tyrrell and Purser’s Correspondence of Cicero (see index in vii. 80).

2. Gnaeus Pompeius, surnamed Strabo (squint-eyed), Roman statesman, father of the triumvir. He was successively quaestor in Sardinia (103 B.C.), praetor (94), propraetor in Sicily (93) and consul (89). He fought with success in the Social War, and was awarded a triumph for his services. Probably towards the end of the same year he brought forward the law (lex Pompeia de Gallia Transpadana), which conferred upon the inhabitants of that region the privileges granted to the Latin colonies. During the civil war between Marius and Sulla he seems to have shown no desire to attach himself definitely to either side. He certainly set out for Rome from the south of Italy (where he remained as proconsul) at the bidding of the aristocratic party, when the city was threatened by Marius and Cinna, but he displayed little energy, and the engagement which he fought before the Colline gate, although hotly contested, was indecisive. Soon afterwards he was killed by lightning (87). Although he possessed great military talents, Pompeius was the best-hated general of his time owing to his cruelty, avarice and perfidy. His body was dragged from the bier, while being conveyed to the funeral pile, and treated with the greatest indignity.

See Plutarch, Pompey, 1; Appian, Bell. civ. i. 50, 52, 66–68, 80; Vell. Pat. ii. 21; Livy, Epit. 74–79; Florus iii. 18.

3. Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (c. 75–45 B.C.), the elder son of the triumvir. In 48 B.C. during the civil war he commanded his father's lieet in the Adriatic. After the battle of Pharsalus he set out for Africa with the remainder of the Pompeian party, but, meeting with little success, crossed over to Spain. Having been joined by his brother Sextus, he collected a considerable army, the numbers of which were increased by the Pompeians who fled from Africa after the battle of Thapsus (46). Caesar, who regarded him as a formidable opponent, set out against him in person. A battle took place at Munda on the 17th of March 45, in which the brothers were defeated. Gnaeus managed to make his escape after the engagement, but was soon (April 12) captured and put to death. He was generally unpopular owing to his cruelty and violent temper.

See Pseudo-Oppius, Bellum hispaniense, 1–39; Lucan, Pharsalia, ix. 120; Dio Cassius xliii. 28–40.

4. Sextus Pompeius Magnus (75–35 B.C.), the younger son of the triumvir. After his father's death he continued the struggle against the new rulers of the Roman Empire. From Cyprus, where he had taken refuge, he made his way to Africa, and after the defeat of the Pompeians at Thapsus (46) crossed over to Spain. After Caesar's victory at the battle of Munda (45), in which he took no actual part, he abandoned Corduba (Cordova), though for a time he held his ground in the south, and defeated Asinius Pollio, the governor of the province; In 43, the year of the triumvirate of Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus, he was proscribed along with the murderers of Caesar, and, not daring to show himself in Italy, he put himself at the head of a fleet manned chiefly by slaves or proscribed persons,

with which he made himself master of Sicily, and from thence ravaged the coasts of Italy. Rome was threatened with a famine, as the corn supplies from Egypt and Africa were cut off by his ships, and it was thought prudent to negotiate a peace with him at Misenum (39), which was to leavehim in possession of Sicily, Sardinia and Achaea, provided he would allow Italy to be freely supplied with corn. But the arrangement could not be carried into effect, as Sextus renewed the war and gained some considerable successes at sea. However, in 36 his fleet was defeated and destroyed by Agrippa at Naulochus off the north coast of Sicily. After his defeat he fied to Mytilene, and from there to Asia Minor. In the attempt to make his way to Armenia he was taken prisoner by Antony's troops, and put to death at Miletus. Like his father, he was a brave soldier, but a man of little culture.