Pompey "the Great" [106-48 BCE; murdered]

Gnaeus Pompeius was a highly successful Roman general & statesman in the last decades of the Roman Republic. He played a key role in the victory of the patrician Cornelius Sulla during the civil war with supporters of the populist Gaius Marius (84-78 BCE). After re-conquering Spain, Pompey returned to Italy to help M. Licinius Crassus end the slave rebellion led by the gladiator Spartacus (71 BCE). This led to his election as consul of Rome (70 BCE). Most of the next decade he spent in the eastern Mediterranean consolidating Roman control of Asia Minor & Syria. He stifled a civil war in Judea by intervening in the sibling feud between Aristobulus II & Hyrcanus II. His conquest of Jerusalem (67 BCE) not only subordinated the Jewish state to Rome but ended the Hasmonean monarchy. On the other hand, his support for Antipater paved the way for the Herodian dynasty & involved the rulers of Judea in Roman politics for more than century.

In the short run, however, Pompey's absence from Rome allowed his conservative critics in the Senate to take control of the capitol & to veto his plans for land reform. Though himself a patrician, Pompey formed an alliance with two other reform-minded generals, Crassus & Julius Caesar, to form the first triumvirate (60 BCE). His election with Crassus as consuls in 55 BCE was the last popular election in Rome before the Republic collapsed in civil war. To cement the union, Pompey married Caesar's only daughter, Julia. But Caesar's ambitions led to a rift between the triumvirs. When Caesar brought his army into Italy in open defiance of the Senate after his conquest of Gaul (50 BCE), Pompey was chosen to lead the defense of the state. His naval blockade temporarily forced Caesar to abandon Italy & head east. But Pompey suffered a disastrous defeat at Farsala, Greece (48 BCE). Cut off from his own fleet, he sought support in Egypt from his client Ptolemy XIII, brother & co-regent of Cleopatra VII. Instead, on his arrival he was assassinated by the advisors of his young host.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 14.29, 34, 41-82, 104-105, 123-127, 144, 268.
                   ______, War 1.119, 127-160, 179, 183-187, 195-196, 201, 216, 343.
                   ______, Against Apion
2.82, 134.
                   Cassius Dio, Roman History 36.17-20, 23-37, 42-48, 52-54. 
                                                                   37.1-7, 13-23, 43-44, 49-50, 56.
                                                                   39.6, 9, 24-26, 30-32, 38-39, 55-56, 60-64.
                                                                   40.45, 50-59, 62-66.
                                                                   41.2-18, 25, 40, 43-63.
                   Plutarch, Pompey 1-80.
                   ______, Caesar 13-15, 21, 25, 28-48.
                   Caesar, Civil Wars 1.2-3, 6-19, 23-39, 53, 60;
                                                    2.3, 17-18;
                                                    3.10-13, 18-22, 29-30, 40-63, 69-110.

Other resources on line:

Roman silver denarius bearing image of Pompey with a trident & Latin inscription ("of Neptune") celebrating his control of the seas. For high resolution images of this & more coins of Pompey see Dane Kurth's ancient coin website: Wildwinds.

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