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1Towards Pompey the Roman people must have had, from the very beginning, the feeling which the Prometheus of Aeschylus has towards Heracles, when, having been saved by him, he says:—
For never have the Romans manifested so strong and fierce a hatred towards a general as they did towards Strabo, the father of Pompey; while he lived, indeed, they feared his talent as a soldier, for he was a very warlike man, 2but when he was killed by a thunderbolt, and his body was on its way to the funeral pyre, they dragged it from its bier and heaped insults upon it. On the other hand, no Roman ever enjoyed a heartier goodwill on the part of his countrymen, or one which began sooner, or reached a greater height in his prosperity, or remained more constant in his adversity, than Pompey did. 3And whereas there was one sole reason for the hatred felt towards Strabo, namely, his insatiable desire for money, there were many reasons for the love bestowed on Pompey; his modest and temperate way of living, his training in the arts of war, his persuasive speech, his trustworthy character, and his tact in meeting people, so that no man asked a favour with less offence, or bestowed one with a better mien. For, in addition to his other graces, he had the art of giving without arrogance, and of receiving without loss of dignity.
“I hate the sire, but dearly love this child of his.”
2At the outset, too, he had a countenance which helped him in no small degree to win the favour of the people, and which pleaded for him before he spoke. For even his boyish loveliness had a gentle dignity about it, and in the prime and flower of his youthful beauty there was at once manifest the majesty and kingliness of his nature. His hair was inclined to lift itself slightly from his forehead, and this, with a graceful contour of face about the eyes, produced a resemblance, more talked about than actually apparent, to the portrait statues of King Alexander. 2Wherefore, since many also applied the name to him in his earlier years, Pompey did not decline it, so that presently some called him Alexander in derision. Hence, too, Lucius Philippus, a man of consular rank, when pleading in his behalf, said that he was doing nothing strange if, being Philip, he loved Alexander.
We are told that Flora the courtesan, when she was now quite old, always took delight in telling about her former intimacy with Pompey, saying that she never left his embraces without bearing the marks of his teeth. 3Furthermore, Flora would tell how Geminius, one of Pompey’s companions, fell in love with her and annoyed her greatly by his attentions; and when she declared that she could not consent to his wishes because of Pompey, Geminius laid the matter before Pompey. Pompey, accordingly, turned her over to Geminius, but never afterwards had any thing at all to do with her himself, although he was thought to be enamoured of her; and she herself did not take this treatment as a mere courtesan would, but was sick for a long time with grief and longing. 4And yet Flora is said to have flowered into such beauty, and to have been so famous for it, that when Caecilius Metellus was decorating the temple of Castor and Pollux with paintings and statues, he gave her portrait also a place among his dedications. Moreover, Pompey also treated the wife of Demetrius his freedman (who had the greatest influence with him and left an estate of four thousand talents) with a lack of courtesy and generosity unusual in him, fearing lest men should think him conquered by her beauty, which was irresistible and far-famed. 5But though he was so extremely cautious in such matters and on his guard, still he could not escape the censures of his enemies on this head, but was accused of illicit relations with married women, to gratify whom, it was said, he neglected and betrayed many public interests.
As regards his simplicity and indifference in matters pertaining to the table, a story is told as follows. 6Once when he was sick and loathed his food, a physician prescribed a thrush for him. But when, on enquiry, his servants could not find one for sale (for it was past the season for them), and someone said they could be found at Lucullus’s, where they were kept the year round, “What then,” said he, “if Lucullus were not luxurious must Pompey have died?” and paying no regard to the physician he took something that could easily be procured. This, however, was at a later time.
3While he was still quite a stripling and was on a campaign with his father, who was arrayed against Cinna,he had a certain Lucius Terentius as tentmate and companion. This man was bribed by Cinna, and was himself to kill Pompey, while others were to set fire to the tent of the commander. 2But Pompey got information of the plot while he was at supper. He was not at all disturbed, but after drinking more freely even than usual and treating Terentius with kindness, as soon as he retired to rest stole out of the tent unperceived, set a guard about his father, and quietly awaited the event. Terentius, when he thought the proper time was come, arose, and approaching the couch of Pompey with drawn sword, stabbed the bed-clothing many times, supposing him to be lying there. 3After this there was a great commotion, owing to the hatred felt towards the general, and a rush to revolt on the part of the soldiers, who tore down their tents and seized their arms. The general did not venture forth for fear of the tumult, but Pompey went up and down among the soldiers beseeching them with tears, and finally threw himself on his face in front of the gate of the camp and lay there in the way, weeping and bidding those who were going out to trample on him. As a consequence, everyone drew back out of shame, and all except eight hundred changed their minds and were reconciled to their general.
4As soon as Strabo was dead, Pompey, as his heir, was put on trial for theft of public property. And although Pompey discovered that most of the thefts were committed by Alexander, one of his father’s freedmen, and proved it to the magistrates, still he himself was accused of having in his possession hunting nets and books from the booty of Asculum. Now, he did receive these things from his father when he took Asculum, but he lost them when Cinna’s guards, on that general’s return to Rome, broke into his house and ransacked it. 2He had many preliminary bouts in the case with his accuser, and since in these he showed an acumen and poise beyond his years, he won great reputation and favour, insomuch that Antistius, the praetor and judge in the case, took a great liking to him and offered him his own daughter in marriage, and conferred with his friends about the matter. 3Pompey accepted the offer and a secret agreement was made between them, but nevertheless the people got wind of the matter, owing to the pains which Antistius took to favour Pompey.And finally, when Antistius pronounced the verdict of the judges in acquittal, the people, as if upon a signal given, broke out in the ancient and customary marriage acclamation, “Talasio.”
4The origin of the custom is said to have been this. At the time when the daughters of the Sabines, who had come to Rome to see a spectacle of games, were haled away by the most distinguished Romans to be their wives, certain hirelings and herdsmen of the meaner sort seized a fair and stately maiden and were carrying her off. In order, therefore, that no one of their betters, on meeting them, might rob them of their prize, they shouted with one voice as they ran, “For Talasius,” Talasius being a well-known and popular personage. Consequently, those who heard the name clapped their hands and shouted it themselves, as if rejoicing with the others and approving what they did. 5From this circumstance, they say,—and indeed the marriage proved a happy one for Talasius,—this acclamation is used in mirthful greeting of the newly wedded. This is the most credible of the stories told about Talasius. But be it true or not, a few days afterwards Pompey married Antistia.
5Then he betook himself to Cinna’s camp, but because of some calumnious accusation grew fearful and quickly withdrew unnoticed. On his disappearance, there went a rumour through the camp which said that Cinna had slain the young man, and in consequence of this those who had long hated Cinna and felt oppressed by him made an onslaught upon him. Cinna, as he fled, having been seized by one of the centurions who pursued him with drawn sword, clasped him by the knees and held out his seal-ring, which was of great price. 2But the centurion, with great insolence, said: “Indeed, I am not come to seal a surety, but to punish a lawless and wicked tyrant,” and slew him. When Cinna had come to such an end, Carbo, a tyrant more capricious than he, received and exercised the chief authority. But Sulla was approaching, to the great delight of most men, who were led by their present evils to think even a change of masters no slight good. To such a pass had her calamities brought the city that, in despair of freedom, she sought a more tolerable servitude.
6At this time, then, Pompey was tarrying in the Italian province of Picenum, partly because he had estates there, but more because he had a liking for its cities, which were dutifully and kindly disposed towards him as his father’s son. And when he saw the best and most prominent citizens forsaking their homes and hastening from all quarters to the camp of Sulla as to a haven of refuge, he himself would not deign to go to him as a fugitive, nor empty-handed, nor with requests for help, but only after conferring some favour first, in a way that would gain him honour, and with an armed force. 2Wherefore he tried to rouse up the people of Picenum and made test of their allegiance. They readily listened to him and paid no heed to the emissaries of Carbo. Indeed, when a certain Vedius remarked that Pompey had run away from pedagogues to be a demagogue among them, they were so incensed that they fell upon Vedius at once and killed him.
3After this, Pompey, who was only twenty-three years old, and who had not been appointed general by anybody whomsoever, conferred the command upon himself, and setting up a tribunal in the market-place of Auximum, a large city, issued an edict ordering the chief men there, two brothers named Ventidius, who were acting against him in Carbo’s interest, to leave the city. Then he proceeded to levy soldiers, and after appointing centurions and commanders for them all in due form, made a circuit of the other cities, doing the same thing. 4All the partisans of Carbo withdrew and gave place to him, and the rest gladly offered their services to him, so that in a short time he had mustered three complete legions, and provided them with food, baggage-waggons, carriages, and other needful equipment. Then he led his forces towards Sulla, not in haste, nor even with a desire to escape observation, but tarrying on the march as he harried the enemy, and endeavouring to detach from Carbo’s interest all that part of Italy through which he passed.
7There came up against him, accordingly, three hostile generals at once, Carinas, Cloelius, and Brutus, not all in front of him, nor from any one direction, but encompassing him round with three armies, in order to annihilate him. Pompey, however, was not alarmed, but collected all his forces into one body and hastened to attack one of the hostile armies, that of Brutus, putting his cavalry, among whom he himself rode, in the van. 2And when from the enemy’s side also the Celtic horsemen rode out against him, he promptly closed with the foremost and sturdiest of them, smote him with his spear, and brought him down. Then the rest turned and fled and threw their infantry also into confusion, so that there was a general rout. After this the opposing generals fell out with one another and retired, as each best could, and the cities came over to Pompey’s side, arguing that fear had scattered his enemies. 3Next, Scipio the consul came up against him, but before the lines of battle were within reach of each other’s javelins, Scipio’s soldiers saluted Pompey’s and came over to their side, and Scipio took to flight. Finally, when Carbo himself sent many troops of cavalry against him by the river Arsis, he met their onset vigorously, routed them, and in his pursuit forced them all upon difficult ground impracticable for horse; there, seeing no hope of escape, they surrendered themselves to him, with their armour and horses.
8Sulla had not yet learned of these results, but at the first tidings and reports about Pompey had feared for his safety, thus engaged with so many and such able generals of the enemy, and was hastening to his assistance. But when Pompey learned that he was near, he ordered his officers to have the forces fully armed and in complete array, that they might present a very fine and brilliant appearance to the imperator; for he expected great honours from him, and he received even greater. 2For when Sulla saw him advancing with an admirable army of young and vigorous soldiers elated and in high spirits because of their successes, he alighted from off his horse, and after being saluted, as was his due, with the title of Imperator, he saluted Pompey in return as Imperator. And yet no one could have expected that a young man, and one who was not yet a senator, would receive from Sulla this title, to win which Sulla was at war with such men as Scipio and Marius. 3And the rest of his behaviour to Pompey was consonant with his first tokens of friendliness; he would rise to his feet when Pompey approached, and uncover his head before him, things which he was rarely seen to do for any one else, although there were many about him who were of high rank.
4Pompey, however, was not made vain by these things, but when Sulla would have sent him forthwith into Gaul, where, as it was thought, Metellus was doing nothing worthy of the armament at his disposal, he said it was not right for him to take the command away from a man of great reputation who was his senior, but that if Metellus wished and bade him do so, he was ready to assist him in carrying on the war. 5And when Metellus accepted the proposal and wrote him to come, he hurried into Gaul, and not only performed wonderful exploits himself, but also fanned into fresh heat and flame the bold and warlike spirit of Metellus which old age was now quenching, just as molten and glowing bronze, when poured round that which is cold and rigid, is said to soften it more than fire does, and to melt it also down. 6However, just as athletes who have won the primacy among men and borne away glorious prizes everywhere, make no account of their boyish victories and even leave them unrecorded, so it is with the deeds which Pompey performed at this time; they were extraordinary in themselves, but were buried away by the multitude and magnitude of his later wars and contests, and I am afraid to revive them, lest by lingering too long upon his first essays, I should leave myself no room for those achievements and experiences of the man which were greatest, and most illustrative of his character.
9So, then, when Sulla had made himself master of Italy and had been proclaimed dictator, he sought to reward the rest of his officers and generals by making them rich and advancing them to office and gratifying without reserve or stint their several requests; but since he admired Pompey for his high qualities and thought him a great help in his administration of affairs, he was anxious to attach him to himself by some sort of a marriage alliance. 2His wife Metella shared his wishes, and together they persuaded Pompey to divorce Antistia and marry Aemilia, the step-daughter of Sulla, whom Metella had borne to Scaurus, and who was living with a husband already and was with child by him at this time.
This marriage was therefore characteristic of a tyranny, and befitted the needs of Sulla rather than the nature and habits of Pompey, Aemilia being given to him in marriage when she was with child by another man, 3and Antistia being driven away from him in dishonour, and in piteous plight too, since she had lately been deprived of her father because of her husband (for Antistius had been killed in the senate-housebecause he was thought to be a partisan of Sulla for Pompey’s sake), and her mother, on beholding these indignities, had taken her own life. This calamity was added to the tragedy of that second marriage, and it was not the only one, indeed, since Aemilia had scarcely entered Pompey’s house before she succumbed to the pains of childbirth.
10After this, word was brought to Sulla that Perpenna was making himself master of Sicily and furnishing a refuge in that island for the survivors of the opposite faction, that Carbo was hovering in those waters with a fleet, that Domitius had forced an entry into Africa, and that many other exiled men of note were thronging to those parts, all, in fact, who had succeeded in escaping his proscriptions. Against these men Pompey was sent with a large force. 2Perpenna at once abandoned Sicily to him, and he recovered the cities there. They had been harshly used by Perpenna, but Pompey treated them all with kindness except the Mamertines in Messana. These declined his tribunal and jurisdiction on the plea that they were forbidden by an ancient law of the Romans, at which Pompey said: “Cease quoting laws to us that have swords girt about us!” 3Moreover, he was thought to have treated Carbo in his misfortunes with an unnatural insolence. For if it was necessary, as perhaps it was, to put the man to death, this ought to have been done as soon as he was seized, and the deed would have been his who ordered it. But as it was, Pompey caused a Roman who had thrice been consul to be brought in fetters and set before the tribunal where he himself was sitting, and examined him closely there, to the distress and vexation of the audience. Then he ordered him to be led away and put to death. 4They say, moreover, that after Carbo had been led away to execution, when he saw the sword already drawn, he begged that a short respite and a convenient place might be afforded him, since his bowels distressed him. Furthermore, Caius Oppius, the friend of Caesar, says that Pompey treated Quintus Valerius also with unnatural cruelty. For, understanding that Valerius was a man of rare scholarship and learning, when he was brought to him, Oppius says, Pompey took him aside, walked up and down with him, asked and learned what he wished from him, and then ordered his attendants to lead him away and put him to death at once.
5But when Oppius discourses about the enemies or friends of Caesar, one must be very cautious about believing him. Pompey was compelled to punish those enemies of Sulla who were most eminent, and whose capture was notorious; but as to the rest, he suffered as many as possible to escape detection, and even helped to send some out of the country. 6Again, when he had made up his mind to chastise the city of Himera because it had sided with the enemy, Sthenis, the popular leader there, requested audience of him, and told him that he would commit an injustice if he should let the real culprit go and destroy those who had done no wrong. And when Pompey asked him whom he meant by the real culprit, Sthenis said he meant himself, since he had persuaded his friends among the citizens, and forced his enemies, into their course. 7Pompey, then, admiring the man’s frank speech and noble spirit, pardoned him first, and then all the rest. And again, on hearing that his soldiers were disorderly in their journeys, he put a seal upon their swords, and whosoever broke the seal was punished.
11While he was thus engaged in settling the affairs of Sicily, he received a decree of the senate and a letter from Sulla ordering him to sail to Africa and wage war with all his might against Domitius. For Domitius had assembled there a much larger force than that with which Marius, no long time ago, had crossed from Africa into Italy and confounded the Roman state, making himself tyrant instead of exile. 2Accordingly, after making all his preparations with great speed, Pompey left Memmius, his sister’s husband, as governor of Sicily, while he himself put out to sea with a hundred and twenty galleys, and eight hundred transports conveying provisions, ammunition, money, and engines of war. No sooner had he landed with part of his ships at Utica, and with part at Carthage, than seven thousand of the enemy deserted and came over to him; and his own army contained six complete legions.
3Here, we are told, a ludicrous thing happened to him. Some soldiers, it would seem, stumbled upon a treasure and got considerable amounts of money. When the matter became public, the rest of the army all fancied that the place was full of money which the Carthaginians had hidden away in some time of calamity. 4Accordingly, Pompey could do nothing with his soldiers for many days because they were hunting treasures, but he went about laughing at the spectacle of so many myriads of men digging and stirring up the ground. At last they grew weary of the search and bade Pompey lead them where he pleased, assuring him that they had been sufficiently punished for their folly.
12Domitius now drew up his army against Pompey, with a ravine in front of him which was rough and difficult to cross; but a violent storm of wind and rain began in the morning and continued to rage, so that he gave up the idea of fighting that day and ordered a retreat. But Pompey, taking advantage of this opportunity, advanced swiftly to the attack, and crossed the ravine. 2The enemy met his attack in a disorderly and tumultuous fashion, not all of them indeed, nor with any uniformity; besides, the wind veered round and drove the rain into their faces. However, the Romans also were troubled by the storm, since they could not see one another clearly, and Pompey himself narrowly escaped death by not being recognized, when a soldier demanded the countersign from him and he gave it rather slowly.
3Nevertheless, they routed the enemy with great slaughter (it is said that out of twenty thousand only three thousand escaped), and hailed Pompey as Imperator. And when he said he would not accept the honour as long as the camp of the enemy was intact, but that if they thought him worthy of the appellation, they must first destroy that, his soldiers immediately made an assault upon the ramparts; and Pompey fought without his helmet, for fear of a peril like the one he had just escaped. 4The camp was soon taken, and Domitius was slain. Then some of the cities submitted at once to Pompey, and others were taken by storm. King Iarbas also, the confederate of Domitius, was captured, and his kingdom given to Hiempsal. Taking advantage of the good fortune and momentum of his army, Pompey now invaded Numidia. He marched through the country for many days, 5conquered all who came in his way, and made potent and terrible again the Barbarians’ fear of the Romans, which had reached a low ebb. Nay, he declared that even the wild beasts in African lairs must not be left without experience of the courage and strength of the Romans, and therefore spent a few days in hunting lions and elephants. It took him only forty days all told, they say, to bring his enemies to naught, get Africa into his power, and adjust the relations of its kings, though he was but twenty-four years of age.
13On his return to Utica, a letter from Sulla was brought to him, in which he was commanded to send home the rest of his army, but to remain there himself with one legion, awaiting the arrival of the general who was to succeed him. Pompey himself gave no sign of the deep distress which these orders caused him, but his soldiers made their indignation manifest. When Pompey asked them to go home before him, they began to revile Sulla, declared they would not forsake their general, and insisted that he should not trust the tyrant. 2At first, then, Pompey tried what words could do to appease and mollify them; but when he was unable to persuade them, he came down from his tribunal and withdrew to his tent in tears. Then his soldiers seized him and set him again upon his tribunal, and a great part of the day was consumed in this way, they urging him to remain and keep his command, and he begging them to obey and not to raise a sedition. At last, when their clamours and entreaties increased, he swore with an oath that he would kill himself if they used force with him, and even then they would hardly stop.
3Sulla’s first tidings of the affair were that Pompey was in revolt, and he told his friends that it was evidently his fate, now that he was an old man, to have his contests with boys. This he said because Marius also, who was quite a young man, had given him very great trouble and involved him in the most extreme perils. 4But when he learned the truth, and perceived that everybody was sallying forth to welcome Pompey and accompany him home with marks of goodwill, he was eager to outdo them. So he went out and met him, and after giving him the warmest welcome, saluted him in a loud voice as “Magnus,” or The Great, and ordered those who were by to give him this surname. 5Others, however, say that this title was first given him in Africa by the whole army, but received authority and weight when thus confirmed by Sulla. Pompey himself, however, was last of all to use it, and it was only after a long time, when he was sent as pro-consul to Spain against Sertorius, that he began to subscribe himself in his letters and ordinances “Pompeius Magnus”; for the name had become familiar and was no longer invidious.
6And herein we may fittingly respect and admire the ancient Romans; they did not bestow such titles and surnames as a reward for successes in war and military command alone, but also adorned with them the high qualities and achievements of their statesmen. 7At any rate, in two such cases the people bestowed the title of “Maximus,” which signifies the Greatest: upon Valerius, for reconciling them with the senate when it was at variance with them; and upon Fabius Rullus, because he expelled from the senate certain descendants of freedmen who had been enrolled in it on account of their wealth.
14After this, Pompey asked for a triumph, but Sulla opposed his request. The law, he said, permitted only a consul or a praetor to celebrate a triumph, but no one else. Therefore the first Scipio, after conquering the Carthaginians in Spain in far greater conflicts, did not ask for a triumph; for he was not consul, nor even praetor. 2And if Pompey, who had scarcely grown a beard as yet, and who was too young to be a senator, should ride into the city in a triumph, it would not only make Sulla’s government altogether odious, but also Pompey’s honour. This was what Sulla said to Pompey, declaring that he would not allow his request, but would oppose him and thwart his ambition if he refused to listen to him.
3Pompey, however, was not cowed, but bade Sulla reflect that more worshipped the rising than the setting sun, intimating that his own power was on the increase, while that of Sulla was on the wane and fading away. Sulla did not hear the words distinctly, but seeing, from their looks and gestures, that those who did hear them were amazed, he asked what it was that had been said. When he learned what it was, he was astounded at the boldness of Pompey, and cried out twice in succession: “Let him triumph!” 4Further, when many showed displeasure and indignation at his project, Pompey, we are told, was all the more desirous of annoying them, and tried to ride into the city on a chariot drawn by four elephants; for he had brought many from Africa which he had captured from its kings. But the gate of the city was too narrow, and he therefore gave up the attempt and changed over to his horses. 5Moreover, when his soldiers, who had not got as much as they expected, were inclined to raise a tumult and impede the triumph, he said he did not care at all, but would rather give up his triumph than truckle to them. Then Servilius, a man of distinction, and one who had been most opposed to Pompey’s triumph, said he now saw that Pompey was really great, and worthy of the honour. 6And it is clear that he might also have been easily made a senator at that time, had he wished it; but he was not eager for this, as they say, since he was in the chase for reputation of a surprising sort. And indeed it would have been nothing wonderful for Pompey to be a senator before he was of age for it; but it was a dazzling honour for him to celebrate a triumph before he was a senator. And this contributed not a little to win him the favour of the multitude; for the people were delighted to have him still classed among the knights after a triumph.
15Sulla, however, was annoyed at seeing to what a height of reputation and power Pompey was advancing, but being ashamed to obstruct his career, he kept quiet. Only, when in spite of him and against his wishes Pompey made Lepidus consul, by canvassing for him and making the people zealously support him through their goodwill towards himself, seeing Pompey going off through the forum with a throng, Sulla said: 2“I see, young man, that you rejoice in your victory; and surely it was a generous and noble thing for Lepidus, the worst of men, to be proclaimed consul by a larger vote than Catulus, the best of men, because you influenced the people to take this course. Now, however, it is time for you to be wide awake and watchful of your interests; you have made your adversary stronger than yourself.” But Sulla showed most clearly that he was not well-disposed to Pompey by the will which he wrote. 3For whereas he bequeathed gifts to other friends, and made some of them guardians of his son, he omitted all mention of Pompey. And yet Pompey bore this with great composure, and loyally, insomuch that when Lepidus and sundry others tried to prevent the body of Sulla from being buried in the Campus Martius, or even from receiving public burial honours, he came to the rescue, and gave to the interment alike honour and security.
16Soon after the death of Sulla, his prophecies were fulfilled, and Lepidus tried to assume Sulla’s powers. He took no circuitous route and used no pretence, but appeared at once in arms, stirring up anew and gathering about himself the remnants of faction, long enfeebled, which had escaped the hand of Sulla. His colleague, Catulus, to whom the incorrupt and sounder element in the senate and people attached themselves, was the greatest Roman of the time in the estimate set upon his wisdom and justice, 2but was thought better adapted for political than military leadership. The situation itself, therefore, demanded Pompey, who was not long in deciding what course to take. He took the side of the nobility, and was appointed commander of an army against Lepidus, who had already stirred up a large part of Italy and was employing Brutus to hold Cisalpine Gaul with an army.
3Other opponents against whom Pompey came were easily mastered by him, but at Mutina, in Gaul, he lay a long while besieging Brutus. Meanwhile, Lepidus had made a hasty rush upon Rome, and sitting down before it, was demanding a second consulship, and terrifying the citizens with a vast throng of followers. 4But their fear was dissipated by a letter brought from Pompey, announcing that he had brought the war to a close without a battle. For Brutus, whether he himself betrayed his army, or whether his army changed sides and betrayed him, put himself in the hands of Pompey, and receiving an escort of horsemen, retired to a little town upon the Po. Here, after a single day had passed, he was slain by Geminius, who was sent by Pompey to do the deed. 5And Pompey was much blamed for this. For as soon as the army of Brutus changed sides, he wrote to the senate that Brutus had surrendered to him of his own accord; then he sent another letter denouncing the man after he had been put to death. The Brutus who, with Cassius, killed Caesar, was a son of this Brutus, a man who was like his father neither in his wars nor in his death, as is written in his Life. 6As for Lepidus, moreover, as soon as he was expelled from Italy, he made his way over to Sardinia. There he fell sick and died of despondency, which was due, as we are told, not to the loss of his cause, but to his coming accidentally upon a writing from which he discovered that his wife was an adulteress.
17But a general quite unlike Lepidus, namely Sertorius, was in possession of Spain, and was threatening the Romans like a formidable cloud. As if for a final disease of the state, the civil wars had poured all their venom into this man. He had already slain many of the inferior commanders, and was now engaged with Metellus Pius, 2an illustrious man and a good soldier, but, as men thought, too slow by reason of his years in following up the opportunities of war, and outdistanced when events swept along at high speed. For Sertorius attacked him recklessly and in robber fashion, and by his ambuscades and flanking movements confounded a man who was practised in regular contests only, and commanded immobile and heavy-armed troops. 3Pompey, therefore, who kept his army under his command, tried to get himself sent out to reinforce Metellus, and although Catulus ordered him to disband his soldiers, he would not do so, but remained under arms near the city, ever making some excuse or other, until the senate gave him the command, on motion of Lucius Philippus. 4On this occasion, too, they say that a certain senator asked with amazement if Philippus thought it necessary to send Pompey out as pro-consul. “No indeed!” said Philippus, “but as pro-consuls,” implying that both the consuls of that year were good for nothing.
18When Pompey arrived in Spain, the reputation of a new commander produced the usual results; he transformed the men of Metellus with fresh hopes, and those nations which were not very firmly leagued with Sertorius began to be restless and change sides. Thereupon Sertorius disseminated haughty speeches against Pompey, and scoffingly said he should have needed but a cane and whip for this boy, were he not in fear of that old woman, meaning Metellus. 2In fact, however, he kept very close watch on Pompey, and was afraid of him, and therefore conducted his campaign with more caution. For Metellus, contrary to all expectation, had become luxurious in his way of living and had given himself up completely to his pleasures; in fact, there had been all at once a great change in him towards pomp and extravagance, so that this circumstance also brought Pompey an astonishing goodwill, and enhanced his reputation, since he always maintained that simplicity in his habits which cost him no great effort; for he was naturally temperate and orderly in his desires.
3The war had many phases, but what most vexed Pompey was the capture of Lauron by Sertorius. For when he supposed that his enemy was surrounded, and had made some boasts about it, all of a sudden it turned out that he was himself completely enveloped. He was therefore afraid to stir, and had to look on while the city was burned before his eyes. However, near Valentia he conquered Herennius and Perpenna, men of military experience among the refugees with Sertorius, and generals under him, and slew more than ten thousand of their men.
19Elated by this achievement and full of pride, he made all haste to attack Sertorius himself, that Metellus might not share in the victory. By the river Sucro, though it was now late in the day, they joined battle, both fearing the arrival of Metellus; the one wished to fight alone, the other wished to have only one antagonist. 2Well, then, the struggle had a doubtful issue, for one wing on each side was victorious; but of the generals, Sertorius bore away the more honour, for he put to flight the enemy in front of his position. But Pompey, who was on horseback, was attacked by a tall man who fought on foot; when they came to close quarters and were at grips, the strokes of their swords fell upon each other’s hands, but not with like result, for Pompey was merely wounded, whereas he lopped off the hand of his opponent. 3Then, when more foes rushed upon him together, his troops being now routed, he made his escape, contrary to all expectation, by abandoning to the enemy his horse, which had golden head-gear and ornamented trappings of great value. They fought with one another over the division of these spoils, and so were left behind in the pursuit. 4At break of day, however, both generals drew up their forces again to make the victory assured, but on the approach of Metellus, Sertorius retired and his army dispersed. His men were accustomed to scatter in this way, and then to come together again, so that often Sertorius wandered about alone, and often took the field again with an army of a hundred and fifty thousand men, like a winter torrent suddenly swollen.
5Pompey, then, when he went to meet Metellus after the battle and they were near each other, ordered his lictors to lower their fasces, out of deference to Metellus as his superior in rank. But Metellus would not allow this, and in all other ways was considerate of him, not assuming any superiority as a man of consular rank and the elder, except that when they shared the same camp the watchword was given out to all from the tent of Metellus; but for the most part they encamped apart. 6For their versatile enemy used to cut off their communications and separate them, and showed great skill in appearing in many places within a short time, and in drawing them from one contest into another. And finally, by cutting off their supplies, plundering the country, and getting control of the sea, he drove both of them out of that part of Spain which was under him, and forced them to take refuge in other provinces for lack of provisions.
20When Pompey had exhausted most of his private resources and spent them on the war, he asked money of the senate, threatening to come back to Italy with his army if they did not send it. Lucullus was consul at this time, and was not on good terms with Pompey, but since he was soliciting the conduct of the Mithridatic war for himself, made great efforts to have the money sent, for fear of furthering Pompey’s desire to let Sertorius go, and march against Mithridates, an antagonist whose subjection, as it was thought, would bring great glory and involve little difficulty. 2But in the meantime Sertorius was treacherously killed by his friends, and Perpenna, the ringleader among them, attempted to carry on his work. He had indeed the same forces and equipment, but lacked equal judgement in the use of them. Accordingly, Pompey took the field against him at once, and perceiving that he had no fixed plan of campaign, sent out ten cohorts as a decoy for him, giving them orders to scatter at random over the plain. 3Perpenna attacked these cohorts, and was engaged in their pursuit, when Pompey appeared in force, joined battle, and won a complete victory. Most of Perpenna’s officers perished in the battle, but Perpenna himself was brought before Pompey, who ordered him to be put to death. In this he did not show ingratitude, nor that he was unmindful of what had happened in Sicily, as some allege against him, but exercised great forethought and salutary judgement for the commonwealth. 4For Perpenna, who had come into possession of the papers of Sertorius, offered to produce letters from the chief men at Rome, who had desired to subvert the existing order and change the form of government, and had therefore invited Sertorius into Italy. Pompey, therefore, fearing that this might stir up greater wars than those now ended, put Perpenna to death and burned the letters without even reading them.
21After this, he remained in Spain long enough to quell the greatest disorders and compose and settle such affairs as were in the most inflammatory state; then he led his army back to Italy, where, as chance would have it, he found the servile war at its height. For this reason, too, Crassus, who had the command in that war, precipitated the battle at great hazard, and was successful, killing twelve thousand three hundred of the enemy. 2Even in this success, however, fortune somehow or other included Pompey, since five thousand fugitives from the battle fell in his way, all of whom he slew, and then stole a march on Crassus by writing to the senate that Crassus had conquered the gladiators in a pitched battle, but that he himself had extirpated the war entirely. And it was agreeable to the Romans to hear this said and to repeat it, so kindly did they feel towards him; while as for Spain and Sertorius, there was no one who would have said, even in jest, that the entire work of their subjugation was performed by any one else than Pompey.
3Nevertheless, mingled with the great honour shown the man and the great expectations cherished of him, there was also considerable suspicion and fear; men said he would not disband his army, but would make his way by force of arms and absolute power straight to the polity of Sulla. Wherefore those who ran out and greeted him on his way, out of their goodwill, were no more numerous than those who did it out of fear. 4But Pompey soon removed this suspicion also by declaring that he would disband his army after his triumph. Then there remained but one accusation for envious tongues to make, namely, that he devoted himself more to the people than to the senate, and had determined to restore the authority of the tribunate, which Sulla had overthrown, and to court the favour of the many; which was true. 5For there was nothing on which the Roman people had more frantically set their affections, or for which they had a greater yearning, than to behold that office again. Pompey therefore regarded it as a great good fortune that he had the opportunity for this political measure, since he could have found no other favour with which to repay the goodwill of his fellow-citizens, if another had anticipated him in this.
22Accordingly, a second triumph was decreed him, and the consulship. It was not on this account, however, that men thought him admirable and great, nay, they considered this circumstance a proof of his splendid distinction, that Crassus, the richest statesman of his time, the ablest speaker, and the greatest man, who looked down on Pompey himself and everybody else, had not the courage to sue for the consulship until he had asked the support of Pompey. 2Pompey, moreover, was delighted, since he had long wanted an opportunity of doing him some service and kindness, and therefore granted his request readily and solicited the people in his behalf, announcing that he should be no less grateful to them for such a colleague than for the consulship. 3Notwithstanding, after they had been elected consuls, they differed on all points, and were constantly in collision. In the senate, Crassus had more weight; but among the people the power of Pompey was great. For he gave them back their tribunate, and suffered the courts of justice to be transferred again to the knights by law. But the most agreeable of all spectacles was that which he afforded the people when he appeared in person and solicited his discharge from military service.
4It is customary for a Roman knight, when he has served for the time fixed by law, to lead his horse into the forum before the two men who are called censors, and after enumerating all the generals and imperators under whom he has served, and rendering an account of his service in the field, to receive his discharge. Honours and penalties are also awarded, according to the career of each.
5At this time, then, the censors Gellius and Lentulus were sitting in state, and the knights were passing in review before them, when Pompey was seen coming down the descent into the forum, otherwise marked by the insignia of his office, but leading his horse with his own hand. When he was near and could be plainly seen, he ordered his lictors to make way for him, and led his horse up to the tribunal. 6The people were astonished and kept perfect silence, and the magistrates were awed and delighted at the sight. Then the senior censor put the question: “Pompeius Magnus, I ask thee whether thou hast performed all the military services required by law?” Then Pompey said with a loud voice: “I have performed them all, and all under myself as imperator.” On hearing this, the people gave a loud shout, and it was no longer possible to check their cries of joy, but the censors rose up and accompanied Pompey to his home, thus gratifying the citizens, who followed with applause.
23When Pompey’s term of office was now about to expire, and his differences with Crassus were increasing, a certain Caius Aurelius, who, though belonging to the equestrian order, had never meddled in public affairs, ascended the rostra at an assembly of the people, and came forward to say that Jupiter had appeared to him in his sleep, bidding him tell the consuls not to lay down their office before they had become friends. 2After these words had been said, Pompey stood motionless, but Crassus took the initiative, clasped his hand and greeted him, and then said: “I think I do nothing ignoble or mean, my fellow-citizens, in yielding first to Pompey, whom you were pleased to call Magnus when he was still beardless, and to whom you decreed two triumphs before he was a senator.” Upon this, they were reconciled, and afterwards laid down their office.
3Now, Crassus continued the manner of life which he had chosen at the outset; but Pompey ceased his frequent appearances as an advocate, gradually forsook the forum, rarely shewed himself in public, and when he did, it was always with a retinue of followers. In fact, it was no longer easy to meet him or even to see him without a throng around him, but he took the greatest pleasure in making his appearance attended by large crowds, encompassing his presence thus with majesty and pomp, and thinking that he must keep his dignity free from contact and familiar association with the multitude. 4For life in the robes of peace has a dangerous tendency to diminish the reputation of those whom war has made great and ill suited for democratic equality. Such men claim that precedence in the city also which they have in the field, while those who achieve less distinction in the field feel it to be intolerable if in the city at any rate they have no advantage. Therefore when the people find a man active in the forum who has shone in camps and triumphs, they depress and humiliate him, but when he renounces and withdraws from such activity, they leave his military reputation and power untouched by their envy. How true, this is, events themselves soon showed.
24The power of the pirates had its seat in Cilicia at first, and at the outset it was venturesome and elusive; but it took on confidence and boldness during the Mithridatic war, because it lent itself to the king’s service. 2Then, while the Romans were embroiled in civil wars at the gates of Rome, the sea was left unguarded, and gradually drew and enticed them on until they no longer attacked navigators only, but also laid waste islands and maritime cities. And presently men whose wealth gave them power, and those whose lineage was illustrious, and those who laid claim to superior intelligence, began to embark on piratical craft and share their enterprises, feeling that the occupation brought them a certain reputation and distinction. 3There were also fortified roadsteads and signal-stations for piratical craft in many places, and fleets put in here which were not merely furnished for their peculiar work with sturdy crews, skilful pilots, and light and speedy ships; nay, more annoying than the fear which they inspired was the odious extravagance of their equipment, with their gilded sails, and purple awnings, and silvered oars, as if they rioted in their iniquity and plumed themselves upon it. 4Their flutes and stringed instruments and drinking bouts along every coast, their seizures of persons in high command, and their ransomings of captured cities, were a disgrace to the Roman supremacy. For, you see, the ships of the pirates numbered more than a thousand, and the cities captured by them four hundred. 5Besides, they attacked and plundered places of refuge and sanctuaries hitherto inviolate, such as those of Claros, Didyma, and Samothrace; the temple of Chthonian Earth at Hermione; that of Asclepius in Epidaurus; those of Poseidon at the Isthmus, at Taenarum, and at Calauria; those of Apollo at Actium and Leucas; and those of Hera at Samos, at Argos, and at Lacinium. They also offered strange sacrifices of their own at Olympus, and celebrated there certain secret rites, among which those of Mithras continue to the present time, having been first instituted by them.
6But they heaped most insults upon the Romans, even going up from the sea along their roads and plundering there, and sacking the neighbouring villas. Once, too, they seized two praetors, Sextilius and Bellinus, in their purple-edged robes, and carried them away, together with their attendants and lictors. They also captured a daughter of Antonius, a man who had celebrated a triumph, as she was going into the country, and exacted a large ransom for her. But their crowning insolence was this. 7Whenever a captive cried out that he was a Roman and gave his name, they would pretend to be frightened out of their senses, and would smite their thighs, and fall down before him entreating him to pardon them; and he would be convinced of their sincerity, seeing them so humbly suppliant. Then some would put Roman boots on his feet, and others would throw a toga round him, in order, forsooth, that there might be no mistake about him again. 8And after thus mocking the man for a long time and getting their fill of amusement from him, at last they would let down a ladder in mid ocean and bid him disembark and go on his way rejoicing; and if he did not wish to go, they would push him overboard themselves and drown him.
25This power extended its operations over the whole of our Mediterranean Sea, making it unnavigable and closed to all commerce. This was what most of all inclined the Romans, who were hard put to it to get provisions and expected a great scarcity, to send out Pompey with a commission to take the sea away from the pirates. 2Gabinius, one of Pompey’s intimates, drew up a law which gave him, not an admiralty, but an out-and-out monarchy and irresponsible power over all men. For the law gave him dominion over the sea this side of the pillars of Hercules, over all the mainland to the distance of four hundred furlongs from the sea. These limits included almost all places in the Roman world, and the greatest nations and most powerful kings were comprised within them. 3Besides this, he was empowered to choose fifteen legates from the senate for the several principalities, and to take from the public treasuries and the tax-collectors as much money as he wished, and to have two hundred ships, with full power over the number and levying of soldiers and oarsmen.
When these provisions of the law were read in the assembly, the people received them with excessive pleasure, but the chief and most influential men of the senate thought that such unlimited and absolute power, while it was beyond the reach of envy, was yet a thing to be feared. 4Therefore they all opposed the law, with the exception of Caesar; he advocated the law, not because he cared in the least for Pompey, but because from the outset he sought to ingratiate himself with the people and win their support. The rest vehemently attacked Pompey. And when one of the consuls told him that if he emulated Romulus he would not escape the fate of Romulus, he was near being torn in pieces by the multitude. 5Moreover, when Catulus came forward to speak against the law the people had regard enough for him to be quiet for some time; but after he had spoken at length in Pompey’s praise and without any disparagement of him, and then counselled the people to spare such a man and not expose him to successive wars and perils, asking, “Whom else will you have if you lose him?” all with one accord replied, “Thyself.” 6Catulus, accordingly, since he could not persuade them, retired; but when Roscius came forward to speak, no one would listen to him. He therefore made signs with his fingers that they should not choose Pompey alone to this command, but give him a colleague. At this, we are told, the people were incensed and gave forth such a shout that a raven flying over the forum was stunned by it and fell down into the throng. 7From this it appears that such falling of birds is not due to a rupture and division of the air wherein a great vacuum is produced, but that they are struck by the blow of the voice, which raises a surge and billow in the air when it is borne aloft loud and strong.
26For the time being, then, the assembly was dissolved; but when the day came for the vote upon the law, Pompey withdrew privately into the country. On hearing, however, that the law had been passed, he entered the city by night, feeling that he was sure to awaken envy if the people thronged to meet him. But when day came, he appeared in public and offered sacrifice, and at an assembly held for him he managed to get many other things besides those already voted, and almost doubled his armament. 2For five hundred ships were manned for him, and a hundred and twenty thousand men-at-arms and five thousand horsemen were raised. Twenty-four men who had held command or served as praetors were chosen from the senate by him, and he had two quaestors. And since the prices of provisions immediately fell, the people were moved to say in their joy that the very name of Pompey had put an end to the war.
3However, he divided the waters and the adjacent coasts of the Mediterranean Sea into thirteen districts, and assigned to each a certain number of ships with a commander, and with his forces thus scattered in all quarters he encompassed whole fleets of piratical ships that fell in his way, and straightway hunted them down and brought them into port; others succeeded in dispersing and escaping, and sought their hive, as it were, hurrying from all quarters into Cilicia. Against these Pompey intended to proceed in person with his sixty best ships. 4He did not, however, sail against them until he had entirely cleared of their pirates the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Libyan Sea, and the sea about Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, in forty days all told. This was owing to his own tireless energy and the zeal of his lieutenants.
27But the consul Piso at Rome, out of wrath and envy, was interfering with Pompey’s equipment and discharging his crews; Pompey therefore sent his fleet round to Brundisium, while he himself went up by way of Tuscany to Rome. On learning of this, the citizens all streamed out into the road, just as if they had not escorted him forth only a few days before. 2What caused their joy was the unhoped for rapidity of the change, the market being now filled to overflowing with provisions. As a consequence Piso came near being deprived of his consulship, and Gabinius had the requisite law already written out. But Pompey prevented this, as well as other hostile acts, and after arranging everything else in a reasonable manner and getting what he wanted, went down to Brundisium and set sail. 3But though his immediate business was urgent and he sailed past other cities in his haste, still, he could not pass Athens by, but went up into the city, sacrificed to the gods, and addressed the people. Just as he was leaving the city, he read two inscriptions, each of a single verse, addressed to him, one inside the gate:—
and the other outside:—
“As thou knowest thou art mortal, in so far thou art a god;”
4Some of the pirate bands that were still roving at large begged for mercy, and since he treated them humanely, and after seizing their ships and persons did them no further harm, the rest became hopeful of mercy too, and made their escape from the other commanders, betook themselves to Pompey with their wives and children, and surrendered to him. All these he spared, and it was chiefly by their aid that he tracked down, seized, and punished those who were still lurking in concealment because conscious of unpardonable crimes.
“We awaited, we saluted, we have seen, and now conduct thee forth.”
28But the most numerous and powerful had bestowed their families and treasures and useless folk in forts and strong citadels near the Taurus mountains, while they themselves manned their ships and awaited Pompey’s attack near the promontory of Coracesium in Cilicia; here they were defeated in a battle and then besieged. At last, however, they sent suppliant messages and surrendered themselves, together with the cities and islands of which they were in control; these they had fortified, making them hard to get at and difficult to take by storm. 2The war was therefore brought to an end and all piracy driven from the sea in less than three months, and besides many other ships, Pompey received in surrender ninety which had brazen beaks. The men themselves, who were more than twenty thousand in number, he did not once think of putting to death; and yet to let them go and suffer them to disperse or band together again, poor, warlike, and numerous as they were, he thought was not well. 3Reflecting, therefore, that by nature man neither is nor becomes a wild or an unsocial creature, but is transformed by the unnatural practice of vice, whereas he may be softened by new customs and a change of place and life; also that even wild beasts put off their fierce and savage ways when they partake of a gentler mode of life, he determined to transfer the men from the sea to land, and let them have a taste of gentle life by being accustomed to dwell in cities and to till the ground. 4Some of them, therefore, were received and incorporated into the small and half-deserted cities of Cilicia, which acquired additional territory; and after restoring the city of Soli, which had lately been devastated by Tigranes, the king of Armenia, Pompey settled many there. To most of them, however, he gave as a residence Dyme in Achaea, which was then bereft of men and had much good land.
29Well, then, his maligners found fault with these measures, and even his best friends were not pleased with his treatment of Metellus in Crete. Metellus, a kinsman of the Metellus who was a colleague of Pompey in Spain, had been sent as general to Crete before Pompey was chosen to his command; for Crete was a kind of second source for pirates, next to Cilicia. Metellus hemmed in many of them and was killing and destroying them. 2But those who still survived and were besieged sent suppliant messages to Pompey and invited him into the island, alleging that it was a part of his government, and that all parts of it were within the limit to be measured from the sea. Pompey accepted the invitation and wrote to Metellus putting a stop to his war. He also wrote the cities not to pay any attention to Metellus, and sent them one of his own officers as general, namely, Lucius Octavius, 3who entered the strongholds of the besieged pirates and fought on their side, thus making Pompey not only odious and oppressive, but actually ridiculous, since he lent his name to godless miscreants, and threw around them the mantle of his reputation to serve like a charm against evil, through envy and jealousy of Metellus. 4For not even Achilles played the part of a man, men said, but that of a youth wholly crazed and frantic in his quest of glory, when he made a sign to the rest which prevented them from smiting Hector,
5whereas Pompey actually fought in behalf of the common enemy and saved their lives, that he might rob of his triumph a general who had toiled hard to win it. Metellus, however, would not give in, but captured the pirates and punished them, and then sent Octavius away after insulting and abusing him before the army.
“Lest some one else win honour by the blow, and he come only second”;
30When word was brought to Rome that the war against the pirates was at an end, and that Pompey, now at leisure, was visiting the cities, Manlius, one of the popular tribunes, proposed a law giving Pompey all the country and forces which Lucullus commanded, with the addition, too, of Bithynia, which Glabrio had, and the commission to wage war upon Mithridates and Tigranes, the kings, retaining also his naval force and his dominion over the sea as he had originally received them. 2But this meant the placing of the Roman supremacy entirely in the hands of one man; for the only provinces which were held to be excluded from his sway by the former law, namely, Phrygia, Lycaonia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Upper Colchis, and Armenia, these were now added to it, together with the military forces which Lucullus had used in his conquest of Mithridates and Tigranes. 3But though Lucullus was thus robbed of the glory of his achievements, and was receiving a successor who would enjoy his triumph rather than prosecute the war, this was of less concern to the aristocratic party, although they did think that the man was unjustly and thanklessly treated; they were, however, displeased at the power given to Pompey, which they regarded as establishing a tyranny, and privately exhorted and encouraged one another to attack the law, and not to surrender their freedom. But when the time came, 4their hearts failed them through fear of the people, and all held their peace except Catulus; he denounced the law at great length and the tribune who proposed it, and when none of the people would listen to him, he called out in loud tones from the rostra urging the senate again and again to seek out a mountain, as their forefathers had done, or a lofty rock, whither they might fly for refuge and preserve their freedom. 5But still the law was passed by all the tribes, as we are told, and Pompey, in his absence, was proclaimed master of almost all the powers which Sulla had exercised after subduing the city in armed warfare. Pompey himself, however, on receiving his letters and learning what had been decreed, while his friends surrounded him with their congratulations, frowned, we are told, smote his thigh, and said, in the tone of one who was already oppressed and burdened with command: 6“Alas for my endless tasks! How much better it were to be an unknown man, if I am never to cease from military service, and cannot lay aside this load of envy and spend my time in the country with my wife!” As he said this, even his intimate friends could not abide his dissimulation; they knew that his enmity towards Lucullus gave fuel to his innate ambition and love of power, and made him all the more delighted.
31And certainly his actions soon unmasked him. For he sent out edicts in all directions calling the soldiers to his standard, and summoned the subject potentates and kings into his presence. Moreover, as he traversed the country, he left nothing undisturbed that Lucullus had done, but remitted punishments in many cases, and took away rewards, and did everything, in a word, with an eager desire to shew the admirers of that general that he was wholly without power. 2Lucullus expostulated through his friends, and it was decided that they should have a meeting; they met, therefore, in Galatia. And since both were very great and very successful generals, their lictors had their rods alike wreathed with laurel when they met; but Lucullus was advancing from green and shady regions, while Pompey chanced to have made a long march through a parched and treeless country. 3Accordingly, when the lictors of Lucullus saw that Pompey’s laurels were withered and altogether faded, they took some of their own, which were fresh, and with them wreathed and decorated his rods. This was held to be a sign that Pompey was coming to rob Lucullus of the fruits of his victories and of his glory. 4Now, Lucullus had been consul before Pompey, and was older than he; but Pompey’s two triumphs gave him a greater dignity. At first, however, their interview was conducted with all possible civility and friendliness, each magnifying the other’s exploits and congratulating him on his successes; but in the conferences which followed they could come to no fair or reasonable agreement, nay, they actually abused each other, Pompey charging Lucullus with love of money, and Lucullus charging Pompey with love of power, and they were with difficulty separated by their friends.
5Furthermore, Lucullus, remaining in Galatia, assigned parts of the conquered territory and made other gifts to whom he pleased; while Pompey, encamped at a little distance from him, tried to prevent any attention to his commands, and took away all his soldiers from him, except sixteen hundred, whose mutinous spirit made them, as he thought, useless to himself and hostile to Lucullus. 6Besides this, he would belittle the achievements of Lucullus, declaring that he had waged war against mimic and shadowy kings only, while to himself there was now left the struggle against a real military force, and one disciplined by defeat, since Mithridates had now betaken himself to shields, swords, and horses. To this Lucullus retorted that Pompey was going forth to fight an image and shadow of war, following his custom of alighting, like a lazy carrion-bird, on bodies that others had killed, and tearing to pieces the scattered remnants of wars. 7For it was in this way that he had appropriated to himself the victories over Sertorius, Lepidus, and the followers of Spartacus, although they had actually been won by Metellus, Catulus, and Crassus. Therefore it was no wonder that he was trying to usurp the glory of the Pontic and Armenian wars, a man who had contrived to thrust himself in some way or other into the honour of a triumph for defeating runaway slaves.
32After this, Lucullus withdrew from those parts, and Pompey, having distributed his whole fleet so as to guard the sea between Phoenicia and the Bosporus, himself marched against Mithridates, who had a fighting force of thirty thousand foot and two thousand horse, but did not dare to offer battle. 2To begin with, the king was strongly encamped on a mountain which was difficult of assault, but abandoned it, supposing that it had no water. Pompey took possession of this very mountain, and judging by the nature of the vegetation and by the channels in the slopes that the place had springs, ordered his men to sink wells everywhere. At once, then, his camp was abundantly supplied with water, and men wondered that in all the time of his encampment Mithridates had been ignorant of this possibility. 3Next, he invested the king’s camp and walled him in. But after enduring a siege of forty-five days, Mithridates succeeded in stealing off with his most effective troops; the sick and unserviceable he killed. Then, however, Pompey overtook him near the Euphrates river, and encamped close by; and fearing lest the king should get the advantage of him by crossing the Euphrates, he put his army in battle array and led it against him at midnight. 4At this time Mithridates is said to have seen a vision in his sleep, revealing what should come to pass. He dreamed that he was sailing the Pontic Sea with a fair wind, and was already in sight of the Bosporus, and was greeting pleasantly his fellow-voyagers, as a man would do in his joy over a manifest and sure deliverance; but suddenly he saw himself bereft of all his companions and tossed about on a small piece of wreckage. As he dreamed of such distress, his friends came to his couch and roused him with the news that Pompey was advancing to the attack. 5He was therefore compelled to give battle in defence of his camp, and his generals led out their troops and put them in array. But when Pompey perceived their preparations to meet him, he hesitated to hazard matters in the dark, and thought it necessary merely to surround them, in order to prevent their escape, and then to attack them when it was day, since they were superior in numbers. But his oldest officers, by their entreaties and exhortations, prevailed upon him to attack at once; for it was not wholly dark, but the moon, which was setting, made it still possible to distinguish persons clearly enough; indeed, it was this circumstance that brought most harm to the king’s troops. 6For the Romans came to the attack with the moon at their backs, and since her light was close to the horizon, the shadows made by their bodies were thrown far in advance and fell upon the enemy, who were thus unable to estimate correctly the distance between themselves and their foes, but supposing that they were already at close quarters, they hurled their javelins to no purpose and hit nobody. 7The Romans, seeing this, charged upon them with loud cries, and when the enemy no longer ventured to stand their ground, but fled in panic fear, they cut them down, so that many more than ten thousand of them were slain, and their camp was captured.
Mithridates himself, however, at the outset, cut and charged his way through the Romans with eight hundred horsemen; but the rest were soon dispersed and he was left with three companions. 8One of these was Hypsicrateia, a concubine, who always displayed a right manly spirit and extravagant daring (for which reason the king was wont to call her Hypsicrates), and at this time, mounted and accoutred like a Persian, she was neither exhausted by the long journeys, nor did she weary of caring for the king’s person and for his horse, until they came to a place called Sinora, which was full of the king’s money and treasures. 9Thence Mithridates took costly raiment and distributed it to those who had flocked to him in his flight. He also gave each of his friends a deadly poison to carry with them, that no one of them might fall into the hands of the enemy against his will. From thence he set out towards Armenia on his way to Tigranes; but that monarch forbade his coming and proclaimed a reward of a hundred talents for his person; he therefore passed by the sources of the Euphrates and continued his flight through Colchis.
33Pompey then invaded Armenia on the invitation of young Tigranes, who was now in revolt from his father, and who met Pompey near the river Araxes, which takes its rise in the same regions as the Euphrates, but turns towards the east and empties into the Caspian Sea. 2These two, then, marched forward together, receiving the submission of the cities as they passed; King Tigranes, however, who had recently been crushed by Lucullus, but now learned that Pompey was rather mild and gentle in his disposition, received a Roman garrison into his palace, and taking with him his friends and kindred, set out of his own accord to surrender himself. 3When he rode up to the Roman camp, two of Pompey’s lictors came to him and bade him dismount from his horse and go on foot; for no man mounted on horseback had ever been seen in a Roman camp. Tigranes, accordingly, not only obeyed them in this, but also unloosed his sword and gave it to them; and finally, when he came into the presence of Pompey himself, he took off his royal tiara and made as if to lay it at his feet, and what was most humiliating of all, would have thrown himself down and clasped his knees in supplication. 4But before he could do this, Pompey caught him by the hand and drew him forward, and after giving him a seat near himself, and putting his son on the other side, told him that he must lay the rest of his losses to Lucullus, who had robbed him of Syria, Phoenicia, Cilicia, Galatia, and Sophene; but that what he had kept up to the present time he should continue to hold if he paid six thousand talents to the Romans as a penalty for his wrongdoing; and that his son should be king of Sophene. 5With these terms Tigranes was well pleased, and when the Romans hailed him as King, he was overjoyed, and promised to give each soldier half a mina of silver, to each centurion ten minas, and to each tribune a talent. But his son was dissatisfied, and when he was invited to supper, said that he was not dependent on Pompey for such honours, for he himself could find another Roman to bestow them. Upon this, he was put in chains and reserved for the triumph. 6Not long after this, Phraates the Parthian sent a demand for the young man, on the plea that he was his son-in-law, and a proposition that the Euphrates be adopted as a boundary between his empire and that of the Romans. Pompey replied that as for Tigranes, he belonged to his father more than to his father-in-law; and as for a boundary, the just one would be adopted.
34Then leaving Afranius in charge of Armenia, Pompey himself proceeded against Mithridates, and of necessity passed through the peoples dwelling about the Caucasus mountains. The greatest of these peoples are the Albanians and the Iberians, of whom the Iberians extend to the Moschian mountains and the Euxine Sea, while the Albanians lie to the eastward as far as the Caspian Sea. 2These latter at first granted Pompey’s request for a free passage; but when winter had overtaken his army in their country and it was occupied in celebrating the Roman festival of the Saturnalia, they mustered no less than forty thousand men and made an attack upon it. To do this, they crossed the river Cyrnus, which rises in the Iberian mountains, and receiving the Araxes as it issues from Armenia, empties itself by twelve mouths into the Caspian. 3Others say that the Araxes makes no junction with this stream, but takes a course of its own, and empties itself close by into the same sea. Although Pompey could have opposed the enemy’s passage of the river, he suffered them to cross undisturbed; then he attacked them, routed them, and slew great numbers of them. 4When, however, their king sent envoys and begged for mercy, Pompey condoned his wrongdoing and made a treaty with him; then he marched against the Iberians, who were not less numerous than the others and more warlike, and had a strong desire to gratify Mithridates by repulsing Pompey. 5For the Iberians had not been subject either to the Medes or the Persians, and they escaped the Macedonian dominion also, since Alexander departed from Hyrcania in haste. Notwithstanding, Pompey routed this people also in a great battle, in which nine thousand of them were slain and more than ten thousand taken prisoners; then he invaded Colchis, where, at the river Phasis, Servilius met him, at the head of the fleet with which he was guarding the Euxine.
35Now, the pursuit of Mithridates, who had thrown himself among the peoples about the Bosporus and the Maeotic Sea, was attended with great difficulties; besides, word was brought to Pompey that the Albanians had again revolted. Turning back against these in resentment and wrath, he crossed the Cyrnus again with great difficulty and hazard, since the Barbarians had fenced off its banks with long stretches of palisades; 2then, since he must make a long march through a waterless and difficult country, he ordered ten thousand skins to be filled with water, and with this provision advanced upon the enemy. He found them drawn up on the river Abas, sixty thousand foot and twelve thousand horse, but wretchedly armed, and clad for the most part in the skins of wild beasts. They were led by a brother of the king, named Cosis, 3who as soon as the fighting was at close quarters, rushed upon Pompey himself and smote him with a javelin on the fold of his breastplate; but Pompey ran him through the body and killed him.
In this battle it is said that there were also Amazons fighting on the side of the Barbarians, and that they came down from the mountains about the river Thermodon. For when the Romans were despoiling the Barbarians after the battle, they came upon Amazonian shields and buskins; but no body of a woman was seen. 4The Amazons inhabit the parts of the Caucasus mountains that reach down to the Hyrcanian Sea, and they do not border on the Albani, but Gelae and Leges dwell between. With these peoples, who meet them by the river Thermodon, they consort for two months every year; then they go away and live by themselves.
36After the battle, Pompey set out to march to the Hyrcanian and Caspian Sea, but was turned back by a multitude of deadly reptiles when he was only three days march distant, and withdrew into Lesser Armenia. 2Here the kings of the Elymaeans and the Medes sent ambassadors to him, and he wrote them a friendly answer; but against the Parthian king, who had burst into Gordyene and was plundering the subjects of Tigranes, he sent an armed force under Afranius, which drove him out of the country and pursued him as far as the district of Arbela.
Of all the concubines of Mithridates that were brought to Pompey, he used not one, but restored them all to their parents and kindred; for most of them were daughters and wives of generals and princes. 3But Stratonice, who was held in highest esteem by the king and had the custody of the richest of his fortresses, was, it would seem, the daughter of a humble harpist, an old man, and poor besides; but she made such a swift conquest of Mithridates as she once played for him at his wine, that he took her with him to his bed, but sent the old man away in great displeasure at not getting so much as a kindly greeting. 4In the morning, however, when the old man rose and saw in his house tables loaded with gold and silver beakers, a large retinue of servants, and eunuchs and pages bringing costly garments to him, and a horse standing before his door caparisoned like those of the king’s friends, he thought the thing a mockery and a joke, and tried to run out of doors. 5But the servants laid hold of him and told him that the king had bestowed on him the large estate of a rich man who had recently died, and that these things were only small foretastes and specimens of the goods and chattels still remaining. In this way he was with difficulty persuaded, and putting on his purple robes and leaping upon his horse, he rode through the city, crying: “All this is mine.” 6To those who laughed at him he said that what he was doing was no wonder; the wonder was that he did not throw stones at those who met him, for he was mad with joy. Of such a stock and lineage was Stratonice. But she surrendered this stronghold to Pompey, and brought him many gifts, of which he accepted only those which were likely to adorn the temples at Rome and add splendour to his triumph; the rest he bade Stratonice keep and welcome. 7In like manner, too, when the king of the Iberians sent him a couch, a table, and a throne, all of gold, and begged him to accept them, he delivered these also to the quaestors, for the public treasury.
37In the fortress of Caenum Pompey found also private documents belonging to Mithridates, and read them with no little satisfaction, since they shed much light upon the king’s character. For there were memoranda among them from which it was discovered that, besides many others, he had poisoned to death his son Ariarathes, and also Alcaeus of Sardis, because he had surpassed him in driving race-horses. 2Among the writings were also interpretations of dreams, some of which he himself had dreamed, and others, some of his wives. There were also letters from Monime to him, of a lascivious nature, and answering letters from him to her. Moreover, Theophanes says there was found here an address of Rutilius, which incited the king to the massacre of the Romans in Asia. 3But most people rightly conjecture that this was a malicious invention on the part of Theophanes, perhaps because he hated Rutilius, who was wholly unlike himself, but probably also to please Pompey, whose father had been represented as an utter wretch by Rutilius in his histories.
38From Caenum Pompey went to Amisus, where his ambition led him into obnoxious courses. For whereas he had roundly abused Lucullus because, while his enemy was still alive, he would issue edicts and distribute gifts and honour,—things which victors are wont to do only when a war has been brought to an end and finished,—yet he himself, while Mithridates was supreme in Bosporus and had collected a formidable force, just as though the whole struggle was ended, 2took the same course, regulating the provinces and distributing gifts; for many leaders and princes and twelve barbarian kings had come to him. Wherefore, to gratify these other kings, he would not deign, in answering a letter from the king of Parthia, to address him as King of Kings, which was his usual title. Moreover, a great and eager passion possessed him to recover Syria, and march through Arabia to the Red Sea, in order that he might bring his victorious career into touch with the Ocean which surrounds the world on all sides; 3for in Africa he had been the first to carry his conquests as far as the Outer Sea, and again in Spain he had made the Atlantic Ocean the boundary of the Roman dominion, and thirdly, in his recent pursuit of the Albani, he had narrowly missed reaching the Hyrcanian Sea. In order, therefore, that he might connect the circuit of his military expeditions with the Red Sea, he put his army in motion. And, besides, he saw that it was difficult to hunt Mithridates down with an armed force, and that he was harder to deal with when he fled than when he gave battle.
39Wherefore, remarking that he would leave behind him for this fugitive a mightier enemy than himself, to wit, famine, he stationed ships to keep guard against the merchants sailing to Bosporus; and death was the penalty for such as were caught. Then taking the great mass of his army, he set out on his march, and when he came upon the still unburied bodies of those who, led by Triarius, had fallen in an unsuccessful combat with Mithridates, he gave them all an honourable and splendid burial. 2The neglect of this is thought to have been the chief reason why Lucullus was hated by his soldiers. After his legate Afranius had subdued for him the Arabians about Amanus, he himself went down into Syria, and since this country had no legitimate kings, he declared it to be a province and possession of the Roman people; he also subdued Judaea, and made a prisoner of Aristobulus the king. Some cities he built up, others he set free, chastising their tyrants. 3But most of his time he spent in judicial business, settling the disputes of cities and kings, and for those to which he himself could not attend, sending his friends. Thus when the Armenians and Parthians referred to him the decision of a territorial quarrel, he sent them three arbiters and judges. 4For great was the name of his power, and not less that of his virtue and clemency. This enabled him to hide away most of the transgressions of his friends and intimates, since he was not fitted by nature to restrain or chastise evil doers; but he was so helpful himself to those who had dealings with him that they were content to endure the rapacity and severity of his friends.
40The one who had most influence with him was Demetrius, a freedman, a young man of some intelligence otherwise, but who abused his good fortune. The following story is told about him. Cato the philosopher, when he was still a young man, but had already great reputation and lofty purposes, went up to Antioch, at a time when Pompey was not there, wishing to inspect the city. 2Cato himself, the story goes, marched on foot, as always, but the friends who journeyed with him were on horseback. When he beheld before the gate of the city a throng of men in white raiment, and drawn up along the road the youths on one side, and the boys on the other, he was vexed, supposing this to be done out of deference and honour to himself, who desired nothing of the kind. 3However, he ordered his friends to dismount and walk with him; but when they drew near, the master of all these ceremonies met them, with a wreath on his head and a wand in his hand, and asked them where they had left Demetrius, and when he would come. The friends of Cato, accordingly, burst out laughing, but Cato said, “O the wretched city!” and passed on without any further answer.
4However, Pompey himself made this Demetrius less odious to the rest by enduring his caprices without vexation. For instance, it is said that many times at his entertainments, when Pompey was awaiting and receiving his other guests, that fellow would be already reclining at table in great state, with the hood of his toga drawn down behind his ears. 5Before his return to Italy, he had purchased the pleasantest suburbs of Rome and the most beautiful places of entertainment, and very costly gardens were called “Demetrian” after him; and yet Pompey himself, up to the time of his third triumph, had a simple and modest house. After that, it is true, when he was erecting the famous and beautiful theatre which bears his name, he built close by it, like a small boat towed behind a ship, a more splendid house than the one he had before. But even this was not large enough to excite envy, so that when he who succeeded Pompey as its owner entered it, he was amazed, and inquired where Pompey the Great used to sup. At any rate, so the story runs.
41The king of the Arabians about Petra had hitherto made no account of the Roman power, but now he was thoroughly alarmed and wrote that he had determined to obey and perform all commands. Pompey, therefore, wishing to confirm him in his purpose, marched towards Petra, an expedition which was not a little censured by most of his followers. 2For they thought it an evasion of the pursuit of Mithridates, and demanded that he should rather turn against that inveterate enemy, who was again kindling the flames of war and preparing, as it was reported, to march an army through Scythia and Paeonia against Italy. Pompey, however, thinking it easier to crush the king’s forces when he made war than to seize his person when he was in flight, was not willing to wear out his own strength in a vain pursuit, and therefore sought other employment in the interval of the war and thus protracted the time.
3But fortune resolved the difficulty. For when he was come within a short distance of Petra, and had already pitched his camp for that day and was exercising himself on horseback near by, dispatch-bearers rode up from Pontus bringing good tidings. Such messengers are known at once by the tips of their spears, which are wreathed with laurel. As soon as the soldiers saw these couriers they ran in throngs to Pompey. 4At first he was disposed to finish his exercise, but at their shouts and entreaties he dismounted from his horse, took the dispatches, and led the way into camp. There was no regular tribunal, nor had there been time to erect the military substitute, which the soldiers make with their own hands by digging up large clods of earth and heaping them one upon another; but in the eager haste of the moment they piled up the pack-saddles of the beasts of burden and made an eminence of them. 5Pompey ascended this and announced to his soldiers that Mithridates was dead, having made away with himself because his son Pharnaces had revolted from him, and that Pharnaces had come into possession of all the power there, acting, as he wrote, in behalf of himself and the Romans.
42Upon this the army, filled with joy, as was natural, gave itself up to sacrifices and entertainments, feeling that in the person of Mithridates ten thousand enemies had died. Then Pompey, having brought his achievements and expeditions to such an unexpectedly easy completion, straightway withdrew from Arabia, 2and passing rapidly through the intervening provinces, came to Amisus. Here he found many gifts that had been brought from Pharnaces, and many dead bodies of the royal family, and the corpse of Mithridates himself, which was not easy to recognize by the face (for the embalmers had neglected to remove the brain), but those who cared to see the body recognized it by the scars. 3Pompey himself could not bring himself to look upon the body, but to propitiate the divine jealousy sent it away to Sinope. He was amazed at the size and splendour of the arms and raiment which Mithridates used to wear; although the sword-belt, which cost four hundred talents, was stolen by Publius and sold to Ariarathes, and the tiara was secretly given by Caius, the foster brother of Mithridates, to Faustus the son of Sulla, at his request; it was a piece of wonderful workmanship. All this escaped the knowledge of Pompey at the time, but Pharnaces afterwards learned of it and punished the thieves.
4After arranging and settling affairs in those parts, Pompey proceeded on his journey, and now with greater pomp and ceremony. For instance, when he came to Mitylene, he gave the city its freedom, for the sake of Theophanes, and witnessed the traditional contest of the poets there, who now took as their sole theme his own exploits. And being pleased with the theatre, he had sketches and plans of it made for him, that he might build one like it in Rome, only larger and more splendid. 5And when he was in Rhodes, he heard all the sophists there, and made each of them a present of a talent. Poseidonius has actually described the discourse which he held before him, against Hermagoras the rhetorician, on Investigation in General. At Athens, too, he not only treated the philosophers with like munificence, 6but also gave fifty talents to the city towards its restoration. He therefore hoped to set foot in Italy with a reputation more brilliant than that of any other man, and that his family would be as eager to see him as he was to see them. But that divine agency which always takes pains to mingle with the great and splendid gifts of fortune a certain portion of evil, had long been secretly at work preparing to make his return a very bitter one. 7For Mucia his wife had played the wanton during his absence. While Pompey was far away, he had treated the report of it with contempt; but when he was nearer Italy and, as it would seem, had examined the charge more at his leisure, he sent her a bill of divorce, although he neither wrote at that time, nor afterwards declared, the grounds on which he put her away; but the reason is stated in Cicero’s letters.
43All sorts of stories about Pompey kept travelling to Rome before him, and there was much commotion there, where it was thought that he would straightway lead his army against the city, and that a monarchy would be securely established. Crassus took his children and his money and secretly withdrew, whether it was that he was really afraid, or rather, as seemed likely, because he wished to give credibility to the calumny and make the envious hatred of Pompey more severe. 2Pompey, accordingly, as soon as he set foot in Italy, held an assembly of his soldiers, and after he had said what fitted the occasion, and had expressed his gratitude and affection for them, he bade them disperse to their several cities and seek their homes, remembering to come together again for the celebration of his triumph. When the army had been thus disbanded and all the world had learned about it, a wonderful thing happened. 3When the cities saw Pompey the Great journeying along unarmed and with only a few intimate friends, as though returning from an ordinary sojourn abroad, the people streamed forth to show their good will, and escorting him on his way with a larger force, brought him with them back to Rome, where, had he purposed any revolutionary changes at that time, he had no need of the army that he had disbanded.
44Now, since the law did not permit a commander to enter the city before his triumph, Pompey sent a request to the senate that they should put off the consular elections, asking them to grant him this favour in order that he might personally assist Piso in his candidacy. 2But Cato opposed the request, and Pompey did not get what he wished. However, Pompey admired Cato’s boldness of speech and the firmness which he alone publicly displayed in defence of law and justice, and therefore set his heart on winning him over in some way or other; and since Cato had two nieces, Pompey wished to take one of them to wife himself, and to marry the other to his son. 3But Cato saw through the design, which he thought aimed at corrupting him and in a manner bribing him by means of marriage alliance, although his sister and his wife were displeased that he should reject Pompey the Great as a family connection. In the meantime, however, wishing to have Afranius made consul, Pompey spent money lavishly on his behalf among the tribes, and the people went down to Pompey’s gardens to get it. 4As a consequence, the matter became notorious and Pompey was in ill repute; the office of consul was highest of all, and he himself had therefore received it as a reward for his successes, and yet he was making this office a thing to be bought by those who were unable to win it by merit. “In these reproaches, however,” said Cato to the women, “we must have taken our share, if we had become allied to Pompey.” And when they heard this, they agreed that his estimate of the fit and proper was better than theirs.
45His triumph had such a magnitude that, although it was distributed over two days, still the time would not suffice, but much of what had been prepared could not find a place in the spectacle, enough to dignify and adorn another triumphal procession. Inscriptions borne in advance of the procession indicated the nations over which he triumphed. 2These were: Pontus, Armenia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Media, Colchis, Iberia, Albania, Syria, Cilicia, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia and Palestine, Judaea, Arabia, and all the power of the pirates by sea and land which had been overthrown. Among these peoples no less than a thousand strongholds had been captured, according to the inscriptions, and cities not much under nine hundred in number, besides eight hundred piratical ships, while thirty-nine cities had been founded. 3In addition to all this the inscriptions set forth that whereas the public revenues from taxes had been fifty million drachmas, they were receiving from the additions which Pompey had made to the city’s power eighty-five million, and that he was bringing into the public treasury in coined money and vessels of gold and silver twenty thousand talents, apart from the money which had been given to his soldiers, of whom the one whose share was the smallest had received fifteen hundred drachmas. 4The captives led in triumph, besides the chief pirates, were the son of Tigranes the Armenian with his wife and daughter, Zosime, a wife of King Tigranes himself, Aristobulus, king of the Jews, a sister and five children of Mithridates, Scythian women, and hostages given by the Iberians, by the Albanians, and by the king of Commagene; there were also very many trophies, equal in number to all the battles in which Pompey had been victorious either in person or in the persons of his lieutenants. 5But that which most enhanced his glory and had never been the lot of any Roman before, was that he celebrated his third triumph over the third continent. For others before him had celebrated three triumphs; but he celebrated his first over Libya, his second over Europe, and this his last over Asia, so that he seemed in a way to have included the whole world in his three triumphs.
46His age at this time, as those insist who compare him in all points to Alexander and force the parallel, was less than thirty-four years, though in fact he was nearly forty. How happy would it have been for him if he had ended his life at this point, up to which he enjoyed the good fortune of Alexander! For succeeding time brought him only success that made him odious, and failure that was irreparable. 2That political power which he had won by his own legitimate efforts, this he used in the interests of others illegally, thus weakening his own reputation in proportion as he strengthened them, so that before he was aware of it he was ruined by the very vigour and magnitude of his own power. And just as the strongest parts of a city’s defences, when they are captured by an enemy, impart to him their own inherent strength, so it was by Pompey’s power and influence that Caesar was raised up against the city, and Caesar overthrew and cast down the very man by whose aid he had waxed strong against the rest. And this was the way it came about.
3When Lucullus came back from Asia, where he had been outrageously treated by Pompey, the senate at once gave him a splendid reception, and after Pompey’s arrival, wishing to obstruct that leader’s reputation, it urged Lucullus all the more to take part in public life. In other matters Lucullus was already dulled and chilled past all efficiency, having given himself over to the pleasures of ease and the enjoyment of his wealth; but he sprang at once upon Pompey and by a vigorous attack won a victory over him in the matter of those ordinances of his own which Pompey had annulled, and carried the day in the senate with the support of Cato. 4Thus worsted and hard pressed, Pompey was forced to fly for refuge to popular tribunes and attach himself to young adventurers. Among these the boldest and vilest was Clodius, who took him up and threw him down under the feet of the people, and keeping him ignobly rolled about in the dust of the forum, and dragging him to and fro there, he used him for the confirmation of what was said and proposed to gratify and flatter the people. 5He even went so far as to ask a reward for his services from Pompey, as if he were helping him instead of disgracing him, and this reward he subsequently got in the betrayal of Cicero, who was Pompey’s friend and had done him more political favours than any one else. For when Cicero was in danger of condemnation and begged his aid, Pompey would not even see him, but shut his front door upon those who came in Cicero’s behalf, and slipped away by another. Cicero, therefore, fearing the result of his trial, withdrew secretly from Rome.
47At this time Caesar had returned from his province and had inaugurated a policy which brought him the greatest favour for the present and power for the future, but proved most injurious to Pompey and the city. He was a candidate for his first consulship, and seeing that, while Crassus and Pompey were at variance, if he attached himself to the one he would make an enemy of the other, he sought to reconcile them with one another,—a thing which was honourable in itself and conducive to the public good, but he undertook it for an unworthy reason and with all the cleverness of an intriguer. 2For those opposing forces which, as in a vessel, prevented the city from rocking to and fro, were united into one, thereby giving to faction an irresistible momentum that overpowered and overthrew everything. At all events, Cato, when men said that the state had been overturned by the quarrel which afterwards arose between Caesar and Pompey, declared that they wrongly laid the blame on what had merely happened last; 3for it was not their discord nor yet their enmity, but their concord and harmony which was the first and greatest evil to befall the city. Caesar was, indeed, chosen consul; but he at once paid his court to the indigent and pauper classes by proposing measures for the founding of cities and the distribution of lands, thereby lowering the dignity of his office and making the consulate a kind of tribunate. 4And when he was opposed by his colleague Bibulus, and Cato stood ready to support Bibulus with all his might, Caesar brought Pompey on the rostra before the people, and asked him in so many words whether he approved the proposed laws: and when Pompey said he did, “Then,” said Caesar, “in case any resistance should be made to the law, will you come to the aid of the people?” 5“Yes, indeed,” said Pompey, “I will come, bringing, against those who threaten swords, both sword and buckler.” Never up to that day had Pompey said or done anything more vulgar and arrogant, as it was thought, so that even his friends apologized for him and said the words must have escaped him on the spur of the moment. However, by his subsequent acts he made it clear that he had now wholly given himself up to do Caesar’s bidding. 6For to everybody’s surprise he married Julia, the daughter of Caesar, although she was betrothed to Caepio and was going to be married to him within a few days; and to appease the wrath of Caepio, Pompey promised him his own daughter in marriage, although she was already engaged to Faustus the son of Sulla. Caesar himself married Calpurnia, the daughter of Piso.
48After this, Pompey filled the city with soldiers and carried everything with a high hand. As Bibulus the consul was going down into the forum with Lucullus and Cato, the crowd fell upon him and broke the fasces of his lictors, and somebody threw a basket of ordure all over the head of Bibulus himself, and two of the tribunes who were escorting him were wounded. 2When they had thus cleared the forum of their opponents, they passed the law concerning the distribution of lands; and the people, caught by this bait, became tame at once in their hands, and ready to support any project, not meddling at all, but silently voting for what was proposed to them. 3Accordingly, Pompey got those enactments of his ratified which Lucullus contested;Caesar received the two Gauls and Illyricum for five years, together with four complete legions; and it was decided that the consuls for the ensuing year should be Piso, the father-in-law of Caesar, and Gabinius, who was the most extravagant of Pompey’s flatterers.
4While this was going on, Bibulus shut himself up in his house and for the eight months remaining of his consulship did not appear in public, but issued edicts which were full of accusations and slanders against Pompey and Caesar; Cato, as though inspired and possessed by a spirit of prophecy, foretold in the senate what the future would bring to the city and to Pompey; while Lucullus renounced the struggle and led a life of ease, on the plea that he was past the age for political affairs; whereat Pompey remarked that for an old man luxurious living was more unseasonable than political activity. 5However, Pompey himself also soon gave way weakly to his passion for his young wife, devoted himself for the most part to her, spent his time with her in villas and gardens, and neglected what was going on in the forum, so that even Clodius, who was then a tribune of the people, despised him and engaged in most daring measures. 6For after he had driven Cicero into banishment, and sent Cato off to Cyprus under pretence of giving him military command, and Caesar was gone off to Gaul, and when he saw that the people were devoted to him because all his political measures were undertaken to please them, he straightway attempted to repeal some of the arrangements which Pompey had made; he took away his prisoner, Tigranes, and kept him about his own person; and he prosecuted some of his friends, making a test of the power of Pompey by his proceedings against them. 7And finally, when Pompey appeared at a public trial, Clodius, having at his beck and call a rabble of the lewdest and most arrogant ruffians, stationed himself in a conspicuous place and put to them such questions as these: “Who is a licentious imperator?” “What man seeks for a man?” “Who scratches his head with one finger?” And they, like a chorus trained in responsive song, as he shook his toga, would answer each question by shouting out “Pompey.”
49Of course this also was annoying to Pompey, who was not accustomed to vilification and was inexperienced in this sort of warfare; but he was more distressed when he perceived that the senate was delighted to see him insulted and paying a penalty for his betrayal of Cicero. 2When, however, it had come to blows and even wounds in the forum, and a servant of Clodius, stealing along through the crowd of bystanders towards Pompey, was found to have a sword in his hand, Pompey made this his excuse, although he was also afraid of the insolent abuse of Clodius, and came no more into the forum as long as Clodius was tribune, but kept himself continually at home, where he was ever debating with his friends how he might appease the anger of the senate and the nobility against him. 3To Culleo, however, who urged him to divorce Julia and exchange the friendship of Caesar for that of the senate, he would not listen, but he yielded to the arguments of those who thought he ought to bring Cicero back, who was the greatest enemy of Clodius and most beloved in the senate, and he escorted Cicero’s brother, who was a petitioner for his return, with a large force into the forum, where, though some were wounded and some killed, he nevertheless got the better of Clodius. 4And when Cicero returned to the city by virtue of the law then passed, he immediately reconciled Pompey to the senate, and by his advocacy of the corn law he in a manner once more made Pompey master of all the land and sea in Roman possession. For under his direction were placed harbours, trading-places, distributions of crops,—in a word, navigation and agriculture. 5Clodius alleged that the law had not been proposed on account of the scarcity of grain, but the scarcity of grain had arisen in order that the law might be proposed, a law whereby the power of Pompey, which was withering away, as it were, in consequence of his failing spirits, might be rekindled again and recovered in a new office. But others declare that this was a device of the consul Spinther, whose aim was to confine Pompey in a higher office, in order that he himself might be sent out to aid King Ptolemy. 6However, Canidius, as tribune of the people, brought in a law providing that Pompey, without an army, and with two lictors only, should go out as a meditator between the king and the people of Alexandria. Pompey was thought to regard the law with no disfavour, but the senate rejected it, on the plausible pretence that it feared for his safety. Besides, writings were to be found scattered about the forum and near the senate-house, stating that it was Ptolemy’s wish to have Pompey given to him as a commander instead of Spinther. 7And Timagenes actually says that Ptolemy left home without sufficient reason and under no necessity, and that his abandonment of Egypt was owing to the persuasions of Theophanes, who was aiming to give Pompey profitable occupation in the holding of a new command. But this is not made credible by the baseness of Theophanes as much as it is made incredible by the nature of Pompey, in which ambition was not of such a mean and base order.
50Having thus been set over the administration and management of the grain trade, Pompey sent out his agents and friends in various directions, while he himself sailed to Sicily, Sardinia and Africa, and collected grain. When he was about to set sail with it, there was a violent storm at sea, and the ship-captains hesitated to put out; but he led the way on board and ordered them to weigh anchor, crying with a loud voice: “To sail is necessary; to live is not.” 2By this exercise of zeal and courage attended by good fortune, he filled the sea with ships and the markets with grain, so that the excess of what he had provided sufficed also for foreign peoples, and there was an abundant overflow, as from a spring, for all.
51Meanwhile, his Gallic wars raised Caesar to greatness; and though he was thought to be very far removed from Rome, and to be occupied with Belgae, Suevi, and Britanni, he secretly and cleverly contrived to thwart Pompey’s designs in the heart of the city and in the most important matters. 2For he himself, with his military force clothing him as the body does the soul, was carefully training it, not against the Barbarians merely, nay, he used its combats with these only to give it exercise, as if in hunting and the chase,—and was making it invincible and terrible; but all the while he was sending back to Rome gold and silver and the other spoils and the rest of the wealth which came to him in abundance from his numerous wars, and by tempting people with his bribes, and contributing to the expenses of aediles, praetors, consuls, and their wives, he was winning many to his side. 3Therefore when he crossed the Alps and spent the winter in Luca, a great crowd of ordinary men and women gathered there in eager haste to see him, while two hundred men of senatorial rank, among whom were Pompey and Crassus, and a hundred and twenty fasces of proconsuls and praetors were seen at Caesar’s door. 4Accordingly, he filled all the rest with hopes and loaded them with money, and sent them away; but between himself, Pompey, and Crassus the following compact was made: these two were to stand for the consulship, and Caesar was to assist their candidacy by sending large numbers of his soldiers home to vote for them; as soon as they were elected, they were to secure for themselves commands of provinces and armies, and to confirm Caesar’s present provinces to him for another term of five years. 5When all this was publicly known, it gave displeasure to the chief men of the state, and Marcellinus rose in the assembly and asked Pompey and Crassus to their faces whether they were going to be candidates for the consulship. As the majority of the people bade them answer, Pompey did so first, and said that perhaps he would be a candidate, and perhaps he would not; but Crassus gave a more politic answer, for he said he would take whichever course he thought would be for the advantage of the commonwealth. 6And when Marcellinus persisted in his attack upon Pompey and was thought to be making a strong speech, Pompey remarked that Marcellinus was of all men most unjust, since he was not grateful to him for making him eloquent instead of speechless, and full to vomiting instead of famished.
52However, though all the rest declined to be candidates for the consulship, Cato encouraged and persuaded Lucius Domitius not to desist, for the struggle with the tyrants, he said, was not for office, but for liberty. But Pompey and his partisans, seeing the firmness of Cato, and fearing lest, having all the senate with him, he should draw away and pervert the sound-minded among the people, would not suffer Domitius to go down into the forum, 2but sent armed men and slew the link-bearer who was leading his company, and put the rest to flight; Cato was the last to retire, after being wounded in the right arm while he was fighting to defend Domitius.
By such a path they made their way into the office they sought, nor even then did they behave more decently. But first of all, while the people were casting their votes for the election of Cato to the praetorship, Pompey dissolved the assembly, alleging an inauspicious omen, and after corrupting the tribes with money, they proclaimed Vatinius praetor instead of Cato. 3Then, by means of Trebonius, a tribune, they introduced laws which, according to the agreement, continued his provinces to Caesar for a second term of five years, gave Crassus Syria and the expedition against the Parthians, and to Pompey himself the whole of Africa, both Spains, and four legions; of these he lent two to Caesar, at his request, for the war in Gaul. 4But although Crassus went out to his province at the expiration of his consulship, Pompey opened his theatre and held gymnastic and musical contests at its dedication, and furnished combats of wild beasts in which five hundred lions were killed, and above all, an elephant fight, a most terrifying spectacle.
53All this won him admiration and affection; but on the other hand he incurred a corresponding displeasure, because he handed over his provinces and his armies to legates who were his friends, while he himself spent his time with his wife among the pleasure-places of Italy, going from one to another, either because he loved her, or because she loved him so that he could not bear to leave her; for this reason too is given. 2Indeed, the fondness of the young woman for her husband was notorious, although the mature age of Pompey did not invite such devotion. The reason for it, however, seems to have lain in the chaste restraint of her husband, who knew only his wedded wife, and in the dignity of his manners, which were not severe, but full of grace, and especially attractive to women, as even Flora the courtesan may be allowed to testify. 3It once happened that at an election of aediles people came to blows, and many were killed in the vicinity of Pompey and he was covered with their blood, so that he changed his garments. His servants carried these garments to his house with much confusion and haste, and his young wife, who chanced to be with child, at sight of the blood-stained toga, fainted away and with difficulty regained her senses, and in consequence of the shock and her sufferings, miscarried. 4Thus it came to pass that even those who found most fault with Pompey’s friendship for Caesar could not blame him for the love he bore his wife. However, she conceived again and gave birth to a female child, but died from the pains of travail, and the child survived her only a few days. Pompey made preparations to bury her body at his Alban villa, but the people took it by force and carried it down to the Campus Martius for burial, more out of pity for the young woman than as a favour to Pompey and Caesar. 5But of these two, it was thought that the people gave a larger share of the honour to Caesar, who was absent, than to Pompey, who was present. For the city became at once a tossing sea, and everywhere surging tumult and discordant speeches prevailed, since the marriage alliance which had hitherto veiled rather than restrained the ambition of the two men was now at an end. 6After a short time, too, tidings came that Crassus had lost his life in Parthia, and so what had been a great hindrance to the breaking out of civil war was removed; for through fear of him both Pompey and Caesar had somehow or other continued to treat one another fairly. But when fortune had removed the third champion who waited to compete with the victor in their struggle, at once the comic poet’s words were apt, and
7So slight a thing is fortune when compared with human nature; for she cannot satisfy its desires, since all that extent of empire and magnitude of wide-stretching domain could not suffice for two men. They had heard and read that the gods “divided the universe into three parts, and each got his share of power,” and yet they did not think the Roman dominion enough for themselves, who were but two.
“each wrestler against the other
Anoints himself with oil and smears his hands with dust.”
54Still, Pompey once said in addressing the people that he had received every office earlier than he had expected, and had laid it down more quickly than others had expected. And in truth his disbanding of his armies was a perpetual witness to the truth of his words. But at this time he thought that Caesar was not going to dismiss his forces, and therefore sought to make himself strong against him by means of magistracies in the city. Beyond this, however, he attempted no revolutionary changes, nor did he wish to be thought to distrust Caesar, but rather to neglect and despise him. 2But when he saw that the magistracies were not bestowed according to his wishes, because the citizens were bribed, he suffered an anarchy to arise in the city; and forthwith there was prevalent much talk in favour of a dictator, which Lucilius the popular tribune first ventured to make public, when he advised the people to elect Pompey dictator. But Cato attacked him, and Lucilius came near losing his tribunate, and many of Pompey’s friends came forward in defence of him, declaring that he neither asked nor desired that office. 3And when Cato applauded Pompey and urged him to devote himself to the cause of law and order, for the time being he did so, out of shame, and Domitius and Messala were installed in the consulship; but afterwards an anarchy arose again, and more people now agitated the question of a dictatorship more boldly. Therefore Cato and his party, fearing lest they should be overborne, determined to allow Pompey a certain legalized office, and so to divert him from the unmixed tyranny of a dictatorship. 4Consequently, Bibulus, who was an enemy of Pompey, was first to propose in the senate that Pompey be chosen sole consul; for thus, he said, the city would either be set free from the prevailing disorder, or would become the slave of its strongest man. The proposal seemed strange, considering the man who made it; but Cato rose, leading everybody to think that he was going to speak against it, and when silence was made, said that he himself would not have introduced the proposed measure, but that since it had been introduced by another, he urged its adoption, because he preferred any government whatever to no government at all, and thought that no one would govern better than Pompey in a time of such disorder. 5The senate accepted the measure, and decreed that Pompey, if elected consul, should govern alone, but that if he himself desired a colleague, he might choose whom he thought fit after two months had fully expired. Having in this way been made consul and so declared by Sulpicius, the Interrex, Pompey addressed himself in a friendly manner to Cato, acknowledging that he was much indebted to him, and inviting him to give advice in a private capacity on the conduct of the government. 6But Cato would not admit that Pompey was indebted to him, declaring that none of his words had been spoken in the interests of Pompey, but in the interests of the city; and that he would give him advice in a private capacity if he were invited, and in case he should not be invited, would publicly make known his opinion. Such, indeed, was Cato in everything.
55Pompey now entered the city, and married Cornelia, a daughter of Metellus Scipio. She was not a virgin, but had lately been left a widow by Publius, the son of Crassus, whose virgin bride she had been before his death in Parthia. The young woman had many charms apart from her youthful beauty. She was well versed in literature, in playing the lyre, and in geometry, and had been accustomed to listen to philosophical discourses with profit. 2In addition to this, she had a nature which was free from that unpleasant officiousness which such accomplishments are apt to impart to young women; and her father’s lineage and reputation were above reproach. Nevertheless, the marriage was displeasing to some on account of the disparity in years; for Cornelia’s youth made her a fitter match for a son of Pompey. 3Those, too, who were more critical, considered that Pompey was neglectful of the unhappy condition of the city, which had chosen him as her physician and put herself in his sole charge; whereas he was decking himself with garlands and celebrating nuptials, though he ought to have regarded his very consulship as a calamity, since it would not have been given him in such an illegal manner had his country been prosperous. 4Moreover, although he presided over the suits for corruption and bribery, and introduced laws for the conduct of the trials, and in all other cases acted as arbiter with dignity and fairness, making the court-rooms safe, orderly, and quiet by his presence there with an armed force, still, when Scipio, his father-in-law, was put on trial, he summoned the three hundred and sixty jurors to his house and solicited their support, and the prosecutor abandoned the case when he saw Scipio conducted from the forum by the jurors. Once more, therefore, Pompey was in ill repute, 5and this was still further increased because, although he had put a stop by law to encomiums on persons under trial, he himself came into court to pronounce an encomium on Plancus. Cato, who happened to be one of the jurors, clapped his hands to his ears and said it was not right for him, contrary to the law, to listen to encomiums. 6Cato was therefore set aside before he could cast his vote, but Plancus was convicted by the other votes, to the disgrace of Pompey. For, a few days afterwards, Hypsaeus, a man of consular dignity, who was under prosecution, lay in wait for Pompey as he was returning from his bath for supper, clasped his knees, and supplicated his favour; but Pompey passed along contemptuously, telling him that, except for spoiling his supper, he was accomplishing nothing. In this way he got the reputation of being partial, and was blamed for it. 7Everything else, however, he succeeded in bringing into good order, and chose his father-in-law as his colleague for the remaining five months of the year. It was also decreed that he should retain his provinces for another four years, and receive a thousand talents yearly, out of which he was to feed and maintain his soldiers.
56But the friends of Caesar took occasion from this to demand that some consideration be shewn for Caesar also, who was waging so many contests in behalf of the Roman supremacy; they said he deserved either another consulship, or the prolongation of his command, so that no one else might succeed to his labours and rob him of the glory of them, but that the one who had performed them might himself continue in power and enjoy his honours undisturbed. 2A debate arose on these matters, during which Pompey, giving the impression that it was goodwill towards Caesar that led him to deprecate the odium in which Caesar stood, said he had letters from Caesar wherein he expressed a wish to have a successor and be relieved of his command; he thought it right, however, that he should be permitted to stand for the consulship even in his absence. 3Opposition to this was made by Cato and his party, who urged that Caesar must lay down his arms and become a private citizen before he could obtain any favour from his fellow-citizens; and since Pompey made no contention, but as it were accepted defeat, there was more suspicion about his sentiments towards Caesar. He also sent and asked back the troops which he had lent him, making the Parthian war his pretext for doing so. And although Caesar knew the real reasons for asking back the soldiers, he sent them home with generous gifts.
57After this Pompey had a dangerous illness at Naples, but recovered from it, and on the advice of Praxagoras the Neapolitans offered sacrifices of thanksgiving for his preservation. Their example was followed by the neighbouring peoples, and so the thing made its way throughout all Italy, and every city, small and great, held festival for many days. 2No place could contain those who came to greet him from all quarters, but roads and villages and ports were filled with sacrificing and feasting throngs. Many also with garlands on their heads and lighted torches in their hands welcomed and escorted him on his way, pelting him with flowers, so that his progress and return to Rome was a most beautiful and splendid sight. 3And yet this is said to have done more than anything else to bring about the war. For while the public rejoicing was so great, a spirit of arrogance came upon Pompey, which went beyond the calculations based upon facts, and, throwing to the winds that caution which had thus far always given security to his successful achievements, he indulged himself in unlimited confidence and contempt for Caesar’s power, feeling that he would need neither an armed force to oppose him nor any irksome labour of preparation, but that he would pull him down much more easily than he had raised him up. 4Besides this, Appius came, bringing from Gaul the troops which Pompey had lent Caesar. He said much to belittle Caesar’s achievements there, and gave out scandalous stories about Caesar. He also said that Pompey knew not his own power and reputation if he surrounded himself with other troops against Caesar, for he could put down Caesar with Caesar’s own soldiers as soon as he appeared on the scene, so great was their hatred of Caesar and their warm affection for Pompey. 5In this way, then, Pompey was elated, and his confidence filled him with so great a contempt for his adversary that he mocked at those who were afraid of the war; and when some said that if Caesar should march upon the city, they did not see any forces with which to defend it from him, with a smiling countenance and calm mien he bade them be in no concern; “For,” said he, “in whatever part of Italy I stamp upon the ground, there will spring up armies of foot and horse.”
58And now, too, Caesar devoted himself to public affairs with greater vigour. He no longer kept himself far away from Italy, was always sending his soldiers back to the city to take part in the elections, and by means of his money was secretly working upon many of the magistrates and corrupting them. Among these was Paulus the consul, who was won over by a bribe of fifteen hundred talents; and Curio the popular tribune, whom Caesar set free from innumerable debts; and Mark Antony, whose friendship for Curio had involved him in Curio’s obligations. 2It was said, indeed, that one of Caesar’s centurions who had come back to Rome and was standing near the senate-house, when he heard that the senate would not give Caesar a prolongation of his term of office, struck his hand upon his sword and said: “But this will give it.” And Caesar’s intrigues and preparations had this purpose.
3And yet the requests and demands which Curio made in behalf of Caesar seemed to be very popular in their character. For he demanded one of two things: either that Pompey also should be required to give up his soldiery, or else that Caesar’s should not be taken away from him; for whether they became private persons on just and equal terms, or remained a match for each other with their present forces, they would make no disturbance; but he who weakened one of them doubled the power of which he stood in fear. 4To this Marcellus the consul replied by calling Caesar a robber, and urging that he be voted a public enemy unless he should lay down his arms; nevertheless, Curio, aided by Antony and Piso, prevailed so far as to have the opinion of the senate taken. He therefore moved that those should withdraw to one side who wished that Caesar only should lay down his arms and that Pompey should remain in command; and the majority withdrew. 5But when he moved again that all those should withdraw who wished both to lay down their arms and neither to remain in command, only twenty-two favoured Pompey, while all the rest sided with Curio. Curio, therefore, felt that he had won the day, and with a joyful countenance rushed before the people, who clapped their hands in welcome and pelted him with garlands and flowers. Pompey was not present in the senate, since commanders of armies cannot enter the city; 6Marcellus, however, rose and declared that he would not sit there listening to speeches, but since he saw ten legions already looming up in their march over the Alps, he himself also would send forth a man who would oppose them in defence of his country.
59Upon this, the city went into mourning, as in the presence of a public calamity; and Marcellus, followed by the senate, marched through the forum to meet Pompey, and standing before him said: “I bid thee, Pompey, to defend thy country, to employ the forces now in readiness, and to levy others.” Lentulus also said the same, being one of the consuls elected for the coming year. 2But when Pompey began to levy recruits, some refused to obey the summons, and a few came together reluctantly and without zest, but the greater part cried out for a settlement of the controversy. For Antony, in defiance of the senate, had read before the people a letter of Caesar containing propositions which were attractive to the multitude. He asked, namely, that both Pompey and he should give up their provinces, disband their armies, put themselves in the hands of the people, and render an account of what they had done. 3But Lentulus, who was by this time consul, would not call the senate together; Cicero, however, who was just returned from Cilicia, tried to effect a settlement of the dispute on these terms, namely, that Caesar should renounce Gaul and dismiss the rest of his forces, but should retain two legions and Illyricum, and wait for his second consulship. 4And when Pompey was dissatisfied with this, the friends of Caesar conceded that he should dismiss one of the two legions; but since Lentulus still opposed, and Cato cried out that Pompey was blundering again in allowing himself to be deceived, the settlement came to naught.
60And now word was brought that Caesar had seized Ariminum, a large city of Italy, and was marching directly upon Rome with all his forces. But this was false. For he was marching with no more than three hundred horsemen and five thousand men-at-arms; the rest of his forces were beyond the Alps, and he did not wait for them, since he wished to fall upon his enemies suddenly, when they were in confusion and did not expect him, rather than to give them time and fight them after they were prepared. 2And so, when he was come to the river Rubicon, which was the boundary of the province allotted to him, he stood in silence and delayed to cross, reasoning with himself, of course, upon the magnitude of his adventure. Then, like one who casts himself from a precipice into a yawning abyss, he closed the eyes of reason and put a veil between them and his peril, and calling out in Greek to the bystanders these words only, “Let the die be cast,” he set his army across.
3As soon as the report of this came flying to Rome and the city was filled with tumult, consternation, and a fear that was beyond compare, the senate at once went in a body and in all haste to Pompey, and the magistrates came too. And when Tullus asked Pompey about an army and a military force, and Pompey, after some delay, said timidly that he had in readiness the soldiers who had come from Caesar, 4and thought that he could speedily assemble also those who had been previously levied, thirty thousand in number, Tullus cried aloud, “Thou hast deceived us, Pompey!” and advised sending envoys to Caesar; and a certain Favonius, a man otherwise of no bad character, but who often thought that his insolent presumption was an imitation of Cato’s boldness of speech, ordered Pompey to stamp upon the ground and call up the forces which he used to promise. But Pompey bore this ill-timed raillery with meekness; 5and when Cato reminded him of what he had said to him at the outset about Caesar, he replied that what Cato had said was more prophetic, but what he himself had done was more friendly.
61Cato now advised that Pompey should be elected general with unlimited powers, adding that the very men who caused great mischief must also put an end to it. Then he set out at once for Sicily, the province which had fallen to his lot, and the other senators likewise departed for the provinces which had severally been allotted to them. But since nearly all Italy was in commotion, the course of things was perplexing. 2For those who dwelt outside the city came rushing in hurried flight from all quarters into Rome, and those who dwelt in Rome were rushing out of it and abandoning the city, where, in such tempestuous confusion, the better element was weak, and the insubordinate element strong and hard for the magistrates to manage. For it was impossible to check the reigning fear, nor would any one suffer Pompey to follow the dictates of his own judgement, but whatever feeling each one had, whether fear, or distress, or perplexity, he promptly infected Pompey’s mind with this. 3Therefore opposite counsels prevailed in the same day, and it was impossible for Pompey to get any true information about the enemy, since many reported to him whatever they happened to hear, and then were vexed if he did not believe them. Under these circumstances he issued an edict in which he recognized a state of civil war, ordered all the senators to follow him, declared that he would regard as a partisan of Caesar any one who remained behind, and late in the evening left the city. 4The consuls also fled, without even making the sacrifices customary before a war. But even amid the actual terrors of the hour Pompey was a man to be envied for the universal good will felt towards him, because, though many blamed his generalship, there was no one who hated the general. Indeed, one would have found that those who fled the city for the sake of liberty were not so numerous as those who did so because they were unable to forsake Pompey.
62A few days after this, Caesar entered and took possession of Rome. He treated everybody with kindness and calmed their fears, except that when Metellus, one of the tribunes, attempted to prevent him from taking money out of the public treasury, he threatened to kill him, and added to the threat a still harsher speech, namely, that it was easier for him to execute it than to utter it. 2Having thus driven away Metellus, he took what he wanted, and then set out in pursuit of Pompey, being anxious to drive him out of Italy before his forces came back from Spain. But Pompey, having taken possession of Brundisium, where he found plenty of transports, immediately embarked the consuls, and with them thirty cohorts of soldiers, and sent them before him to Dyrrachium; Scipio his father-in-law, however, and Gnaeus his son, he sent to Syria to raise a fleet. 3He himself, after barricading the gates and manning the walls with his lightest-armed soldiers, ordered the Brundisians to remain quietly in their houses, and then dug up all the ground inside the city into trenches, and filled the streets with sunken stakes, all except two, by which he himself finally went down to the sea. 4Then on the third day, when he had already embarked the rest of his host at his leisure, he suddenly raised a signal for those who were still guarding the walls to run swiftly down to the sea, took them on board, and set them across to Dyrrachium. Caesar, however, when he saw the walls deserted, perceived that Pompey had fled, and in his pursuit of him came near getting entangled in the ditches and stakes; but since the Brundisians told him about them, he avoided the city, and making a circuit round it, found that all the transports had put out to sea except two, which had only a few soldiers aboard.
63Other people, now, count this sailing away of Pompey among his best stratagems, but Caesar himself was astonished that when he was in possession of a strong city and expected his forces from Spain and was master of the sea, he gave up and abandoned Italy. Cicero also blames him for imitating the generalship of Themistocles rather than that of Pericles, although he was situated like Pericles, and not like Themistocles. 2Moreover, Caesar had shown by what he did that he greatly feared a protraction of the war. For after capturing Numerius, a friend of Pompey, he sent him to Brundisium with a request for a reconciliation on equal terms. But Numerius sailed away with Pompey. Then Caesar, who in sixty days had become master of all Italy without bloodshed, wished to pursue Pompey at once, but since he had no transports, he turned back and marched into Spain, desiring to win over to himself the forces there.
64In the meantime a great force was gathered by Pompey. His navy was simply irresistible, since he had five hundred ships of war, while the number of his light galleys and fast cruisers was immense; his cavalry numbered seven thousand, the flower of Rome and Italy, preëminent in lineage, wealth, and courage; and his infantry, which was a mixed multitude and in need of training, he exercised at Beroea, not sitting idly by, but taking part in their exercises himself, as if he had been in the flower of his age. 2And indeed it was a great incentive to confidence when they saw Pompey the Great, who was now sixty years of age less two, but who nevertheless competed in full armour as a foot-soldier, and then again, as a horseman, drew his sword without trouble while his horse was at a gallop and put it back in its sheath with ease; while in hurling the javelin he not only displayed accuracy, but also vigour in the length of his cast, which many of the young men could not surpass. 3There kept coming to him also kings of nations and potentates, and of the leading men from Rome there were enough about him to form a full senate. Labienus also came, having deserted Caesar, though he had been his friend and had served under him in Gaul; and Brutus, a son of the Brutus who had been put to death by Pompey in Gaul, a man of lofty spirit, who had never spoken to Pompey nor even saluted him before, because he held him to be the murderer of his father, but now he put himself under his command, believing him to be a deliverer of Rome. 4Cicero, too, although he had advocated other measures in his writings and his speeches in the senate, nevertheless was ashamed not to be of the number of those who risked all for their country. There came also Tidius Sextius, a man of extreme old age and lame of one leg, into Macedonia. The rest laughed and jeered at him, but when Pompey saw him, he rose and ran to meet him, counting it a great testimony that men past the years and past the power of service should choose danger with him in preference to their safety.
65When their senate convened and a decree was passed, on motion of Cato, that no Roman should be killed except on a field of battle, and that no city subject to Rome should be plundered, the party of Pompey was held in still greater favour. For those even who took no part in the war, either because they dwelt too far away, or were too weak to be regarded, attached themselves to it in their wishes at least, and, as far as their words went, fought with it in behalf of the right, considering him a foe to gods and men who did not wish Pompey to be victorious.
2However, it is also true that Caesar showed himself merciful as a conqueror; after defeating and capturing the forces of Pompey in Spain, he sent away their commanders, and took the soldiers into his service. Then he re-crossed the Alps, marched rapidly through Italy, and came to Brundisium shortly after the winter solstice. 3Crossing the sea there, he himself put in at Oricum, but he dispatched Vibullius, the friend of Pompey, who was his prisoner of war, to Pompey, with a proposition that they should hold a conference, disband all their armies within three days, and after renewing their friendship under oath, return to Italy. 4This Pompey thought to be another snare, and marching swiftly down to the sea, he took possession of the posts, regions, and sites which offered strong positions for land forces, as well as of the naval stations and landing-places which were favourable for those who came by sea, so that every wind that blew brought Pompey grain, or troops, or money; while Caesar, on the other hand, reduced to straits by sea and land, was forced to seek a battle, attacking Pompey’s defences and challenging him to come out all the while. 5In these skirmishes Caesar was for the most part victorious and carried the day; but once he narrowly escaped being utterly crushed and losing his army, for Pompey made a brilliant fight and at last routed Caesar’s whole force and killed two thousand of them. He did not, however, force his way into their camp with the fugitives, either because he could not, or because he feared to do so, and this led Caesar to say to his friends: “To-day victory would have been with the enemy if they had had a victor in command.”
66At this success the followers of Pompey were so elated that they were eager to have the issue decided by a battle. Pompey, however, although he wrote to distant kings and generals and cities in the tone of a victor, feared the risk of such a battle, thinking that by imposing delays and distresses upon them he would finally subdue men who were invincible in arms and had been accustomed to conquer together now for a long time, 2but who for the other duties of a campaign, such as long marches, changes of position, the digging of trenches, and the building of walls, were incapacitated by old age, and therefore eager to come to close quarters and fight hand to hand without delay. Notwithstanding their over-confidence, Pompey had hitherto somehow or other succeeded in inducing his followers to keep quiet; but when after the battle Caesar was compelled by his lack of supplies to break camp and march through Athamania into Thessaly, their spirits could no longer be restrained, 3but, crying out that Caesar was in flight, some of them were for following in pursuit of him, others for crossing over into Italy, and others were sending their attendants and friends to Rome in order to pre-occupy houses near the forum, purposing at once to become candidates for office. Many, too, of their own accord sailed to Cornelia in Lesbos with the glad tidings that the war was at an end; for Pompey had sent her there for safety.
4A senate having been assembled, Afranius gave it as his opinion that they should make sure of Italy, for Italy was the greatest prize of the war, and would at once put also into the hands of her masters Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Spain, and all Gaul; and since his native land, which was of the greatest concern to Pompey, stretched out suppliant hands to him close by, it was not right to allow her to be enslaved and insulted by servants and flatterers of tyrants. 5Pompey himself, however, thought it neither well for his own reputation to run away a second time from Caesar and to be pursued by him, when fortune made him the pursuer, nor right before Heaven to abandon Scipio and the men of consular rank in Thessaly and Hellas, who would at once come into the power of Caesar together with their moneys and large forces; but that he cared most for Rome who fought for her at the farthest remove, in order that she might neither suffer nor hear about any evil, but quietly await her master.
67Having decided the matter in this way, Pompey set out in pursuit of Caesar, determined to avoid a battle, but to keep him under siege and harass him with lack of supplies by following close upon him. He had reasons for thinking this the best course, and besides, a saying current among the cavalry reached his ears, to the effect that as soon as they had routed Caesar they must put down Pompey himself also. 2And some say this was also the reason why Pompey called upon Cato for no service of any importance, but even when marching against Caesar left him at the coast in charge of the baggage, fearing lest, if Caesar should be taken off, he himself also might be forced by Cato to lay down his command at once. While he was thus quietly following the enemy he was loudly denounced, and charges were rife that he was directing his campaign, not against Caesar, but against his country and the senate, in order that he might always be in office and never cease to have for his attendants and guards men who claimed to rule the world. 3Domitius Ahenobarbus, too, by calling him Agamemnon, and King of Kings, made him odious. And Favonius was no less displeasing to him than those who used a bolder speech, when he bawled out his untimely jest: “O men, this year, also, shall we eat no figs of Tusculum?” And Lucius Afranius, who lay under a charge of treachery for having lost his forces in Spain, on seeing Pompey now avoiding a battle with Caesar, said he was astonished that his accusers did not go forth and fight this trafficker in provinces.
4With these and many similar speeches they forced Pompey from his settled purpose,—a man who was a slave to fame and loath to disappoint his friends,—and dragged him into following after their own hopes and impulses, abandoning his best laid plans, a thing which even in the master of a ship, to say nothing of a general in sole command of so many nations and armies, would have been unbecoming. 5Pompey himself approved of those physicians who never gratify the morbid desires of their patients, and yet he yielded to the diseased passion of his followers, for fear of offending if he tried to heal and save them. For how can one say that those men were sound and well, some of whom were already going about among the soldiers and canvassing for consulships and praetorships, while Spinther, Domitius, and Scipio were quarrelling, scheming, and conspiring over the pontificate of Caesar, 6just as though Tigranes the Armenian were encamped over against them, or the king of the Nabataeans, and not that Caesar, and that army, who had taken by storm a thousand cities, subdued more than three hundred nations, and fought unvanquished with Germans and Gauls in more battles than one could number, taking a hundred times ten thousand prisoners, and slaying as many, after routing them on the battle-field.
68But notwithstanding, by their importunities and agitations, after they had gone down into the plain of Pharsalia, they forced Pompey to hold a council of war, where Labienus, the commander of the cavalry, rose first and took an oath that he would not come back from the battle unless he routed the enemy; then all likewise swore the same oath. 2That night Pompey dreamed that as he entered his theatre the people clapped their hands, and that he decorated a temple of Venus Victrix with many spoils. On some accounts he was encouraged, but on others depressed, by the dream; he feared lest the race of Caesar, which went back to Venus, was to receive glory and splendour through him; and certain panic tumults which went rushing through the camp roused him from sleep. 3Furthermore, during the morning watch a great light shone out above the camp of Caesar, which was perfectly quiet, and a flaming torch rose from it and darted down upon the camp of Pompey; Caesar himself says he saw this as he was visiting the watches. At break of day, Caesar was about to decamp and move to Scotussa, and his soldiers were taking down their tents and sending on ahead the beasts of burden and servants, when the scouts came in with a report that they saw many shields moving to and fro in the enemy’s camp, and that there was a noisy movement there of men coming out to battle. 4After these, others came announcing that the foremost ranks were already forming in battle array. Caesar, therefore, after saying that the expected day had come, on which they would fight against men, and not against want and hunger, quickly ordered the purple tunic to be hung up in front of his tent, that being the Roman signal for battle. 5His soldiers, on seeing this, left their tents with shouts of joy, and hurried to arms. And when their officers led them to the proper place, each man, as if in a chorus, not tumultuously, but with the quiet ease which training gives, fell into line.
69Pompey himself, with the right wing, intended to oppose Antony; in the centre he stationed Scipio, his father-in-law, over against Lucius Calvinus; his left wing was commanded by Lucius Domitius, and was supported by the main body of the cavalry. 2For almost all the horsemen had crowded to this point, in order to overpower Caesar and cut to pieces the tenth legion; for this was generally said to fight better than any other, and in its ranks Caesar usually stood when he fought a battle. But Caesar, observing that the left wing of the enemy was enclosed by such a large body of horsemen, and alarmed at their brilliant array, sent for six cohorts from his reserves and stationed them behind the tenth legion, 3with orders to keep quiet and out of the enemy’s sight; but whenever the cavalry charged, they were to run out through the front ranks, and were not to hurl their javelins, as the best soldiers usually did in their eagerness to draw their swords, but to strike upwards with them and wound the faces and eyes of the enemy; for these blooming and handsome war-dancers (he said) would not stand their ground for fear of having their youthful beauty marred, nor would they face the steel when it was right at their eyes. Caesar, then, was thus engaged.
4But Pompey, who was surveying on horseback the battle array, when he saw that his antagonists were standing quietly in their ranks and awaiting the moment of attack, while the greater part of his own army was not at rest, but tossing about in waves of tumult, owing to its inexperience, was afraid that his array would be completely broken up at the beginning of the battle, and therefore ordered his front ranks to stand with their spears advanced, to remain fixed in their places, and so to receive the enemy’s onset. 5Now, Caesar finds fault with these tactics; he says that Pompey thereby robbed the blows of his weapons of that impetus which a rapid charge would have given them; and as for that rushing counter-charge, which more than any thing else fills most soldiers with impetuous enthusiasm as they close with their enemies, and combines with their shouts and running to increase their courage, Pompey deprived his men of this, and so rooted them to the spot where they stood, and chilled their spirits. And yet Caesar’s forces numbered twenty-two thousand, while those of Pompey were a little more than twice as many.
70And now at last the signal was given on both sides and the trumpet began to call to the conflict, and of that great host every man sought to do his part; but a few Romans, the noblest, and some Greeks, men who were present without taking part in the battle, now that the dreadful crisis was near, began to reflect upon the pass to which contentiousness and greed had brought the sovereign Roman state. 2For with kindred arms, fraternal ranks, and common standards, the strong manhood and might of a single city in such numbers was turning its own hand against itself, showing how blind and frenzied a thing human nature is when passion reigns. For had they now been willing quietly to govern and enjoy what they had conquered, the greatest and best part of earth and sea was subject to them, and if they still desired to gratify their thirst for trophies and triumphs, they might have had their fill of wars with Parthians or Germans. 3Besides, a great task still remained in the subjugation of Scythia and India, and here their greed would have had no inglorious excuse in the civilization of barbarous peoples. And what Scythian horse or Parthian archery or Indian wealth could have checked seventy thousand Romans coming up in arms under the leadership of Pompey and Caesar, whose names those nations had heard of long before that of Rome, so remote and various and savage were the peoples which they had attacked and conquered. 4But now they were about to join battle with one another, nor were they moved even by a compassion for their own glory to spare their country, men who up to that day had been called invincible! For the family alliance which had been made between them, and the charms of Julia, and her marriage, were now seen to have been from the first suspicious and deceptive pledges of a partnership based on self-interest; there was no real friendship in it.
71So then, when the Pharsalian plain was filled with men and horses and arms and the signals for battle had been lifted on both sides, the first to rush out from Caesar’s lines was Caius Crassianus, a centurion in command of one hundred and twenty men, who was thus redeeming a great promise made to Caesar. 2For he had been the first man whom Caesar saw as he issued from the camp, and addressing him, he had asked him what be thought about the battle. The centurion stretched forth his right hand and cried with a loud voice: “Thou wilt win a splendid victory, O Caesar; and I shall have thy praise to-day, whether I live or die.” Mindful now of these words of his, he rushed forward, carrying many along with him, and threw himself into the midst of the enemy. 3The combatants at once took to their swords and many were slain, and as the centurion was forcing his way along and cutting down the men in the front ranks, one of them confronted him and drove his sword in at his mouth with such force that its point went through to the nape of his neck.
After Crassianus had fallen, the battle was evenly contested at this point; Pompey, however, did not lead up his right wing swiftly, but kept looking anxiously towards the other parts of the field, and awaited the action of his cavalry on the left, thus losing time. 4These at last deployed their squadrons with a view to envelop Caesar, and to hurl back upon their supporting lines the horsemen whom he had stationed in front, only a few in number. But Caesar gave a signal, his cavalry retired, and the cohorts drawn up to oppose the enveloping movement ran out, three thousand men, and confronted their enemies, and standing close by the horses, as they had been directed, they thrust their javelins upwards, aiming at the faces of the riders. 5These, since they were without experience in every kind of fighting, and did not expect or even know anything about such a kind as this, had neither courage nor endurance to meet the blows which were aimed at their mouths and eyes, but wheeling about and putting their hands before their faces, they ingloriously took to flight. Then Caesar’s soldiers, suffering these to make their escape, advanced upon the enemy’s infantry, attacking at just that point where the wing, left unprotected by the flight of the cavalry, could be surrounded and enclosed. 6And since this body attacked them on the flank, while at the same time the tenth legion fell upon their front, the enemy did not stand their ground nor even hold together, for they saw that while they were expecting to surround the enemy, they were themselves being surrounded.
72After his infantry was thus routed, and when, from the cloud of dust which he saw, Pompey conjectured the fate of his cavalry, what thoughts passed through his mind it were difficult to say; but he was most like a man bereft of sense and crazed, who had utterly forgotten that he was Pompey the Great, and without a word to any one, he walked slowly off to his camp, exemplifying those verses of Homer: 2
In such a state of mind he went to his tent and sat down speechless, until many pursuers burst into the camp with the fugitives; then he merely ejaculated; “What! even to my quarters?” and without another word rose up, took clothing suitable to his present fortune, 3and made his escape. The rest of his legions also fled, and there was a great slaughter in the camp of tent-guards and servants; but only six thousand soldiers fell,according to Asinius Pollio, who fought in that battle on the side of Caesar.
But Zeus the father, throned on high, in Ajax stirred up fear;
He stood confounded, and behind him cast his shield of seven ox-hides,
And trembled as he peered around upon the throng.
4When Caesar’s troops captured the camp, they beheld the vanity and folly of the enemy. For every tent was wreathed with myrtle boughs and decked out with flowered couches and tables loaded with beakers; bowls of wine also were laid out, and preparation and adornment were those of men who had sacrificed and were holding festival rather than of men who were arming themselves for battle. With such infatuated hopes and such a store of foolish confidence did they go forth to war.
73But Pompey, when he had gone a little distance from the camp, gave his horse the rein, and with only a few followers, since no one pursued him, went quietly away, indulging in such reflections as a man would naturally make who for four and thirty years had been accustomed to conquer and get the mastery in everything, and who now for the first time, in his old age, got experience of defeat and flight; he thought how in a single hour he had lost the power and glory gained in so many wars and conflicts, 2he who a little while ago was guarded by such an array of infantry and horse, but was now going away so insignificant and humbled as to escape the notice of the enemies who were in search of him. After passing by Larissa, he came to the Vale of Tempe, and there, being thirsty, he threw himself down on his face and drank of the river; then, rising up again, he went on his way through Tempe, and at last came down to the sea. 3There he rested for the remainder of the night in a fisherman’s hut. At early dawn he went aboard a river-boat, taking with him such of his followers as were freemen, but bidding his servants to go back to Caesar and to have no fear. Then he coasted along until he saw a merchant-ship of goodly size about to put to sea, the master of which was a Roman who, though not intimately acquainted with Pompey, nevertheless knew him by sight; his name was Peticius. 4This man, as it happened, had dreamed the night before that Pompey, not as he had often seen him, but humble and downcast, was addressing him. He was just telling this dream to his shipmates, as men who are at leisure are wont to make much of such matters, 5when suddenly one of the sailors told him that he saw a river-boat rowing out from the shore, and some men in it waving their garments and stretching out their hands towards them. Peticius, accordingly, turned his attention in that direction, and at once recognised Pompey, as he had seen him in his dream; then, smiting his head, he ordered the sailors to bring the little boat alongside, and stretching out his hand, hailed Pompey, already comprehending from his garb the change of fortune which the man had suffered. 6Wherefore, without waiting for argument or entreaty, he took Pompey on board, and also all whom Pompey wished to have with him (these were the two Lentuli and Favonius), and set sail; and shortly after, seeing Deiotarus the king hurrying out from shore, they took him on board also. Now, when it was time for supper and the master of the ship had made such provision for them as he could, Favonius, seeing that Pompey, for lack of servants, was beginning to take off his own shoes, ran to him and took off his shoes for him, and helped him to anoint himself. 7And from that time on he continued to give Pompey such ministry and service as slaves give their masters, even down to the washing of his feet and the preparation of his meals, so that any one who beheld the courtesy and the unfeigned simplicity of that service might have exclaimed:
74And so, after coasting along towards Amphipolis, he crossed over to Mitylene, desiring to take on board Cornelia and his son. And when he had reached the shore of the island, he sent a messenger to the city, not such a one as Cornelia was expecting in view of the joyful messages and letters she had received, for she was hoping that the war was ended at Dyrrachium, and that the only task left for Pompey was the pursuit of Caesar. 2The messenger, finding her in this mood, could not bring himself to salute her, but indicated to her the most and greatest of her misfortunes by his tears rather than by his speech, and merely bade her hasten if she had any wish to see Pompey with one ship only, and that not his own. When she heard this, she cast herself upon the ground and lay there a long time bereft of sense and speech. At last, however, and with difficulty, she regained her senses, and perceiving that the occasion was not one for tears and lamentations, she ran out through the city to the sea. 3Pompey met her and caught her in his arms as she tottered and was falling. “I see thee,” she cried, “husband, not by thy fortune, but by mine, reduced to one small vessel, thou who before thy marriage with Cornelia didst sail this sea with five hundred ships. Why hast thou come to see me, and why didst thou not leave to her cruel destiny one who has infected thee also with an evil fortune so great? What a happy woman I had been if I had died before hearing that Publius, whose virgin bride I was, was slain among the Parthians! And how wise if, even after his death, as I essayed to do, I had put an end to my own life! But I was spared, it seems, to bring ruin also upon Pompey the Great.”
“Ah, yes! to generous souls how noble every task!”
75So spake Cornelia, as we are told, and Pompey answered, saying: “It is true, Cornelia, thou hast known but one fortune to be mine, the better one, and this has perhaps deceived thee too, as well as me, in that it remained with me longer than is customary. But this reverse also we must bear, since we are mortals, and we must still put fortune to the test. For I can have some hope of rising again from this low estate to my former high estate, since I fell from that to this.”
2His wife, accordingly, sent for her goods and servants from the city; and though the Mitylenaeans gave Pompey a welcome and invited him to enter their city, he would not consent to do so, but bade them also to submit to the conqueror, and to be of good heart, for Caesar was humane and merciful. 3He himself, however, turning to Cratippus the philosopher, who had come down from the city to see him, complained and argued briefly with him about Providence, Cratippus yielding somewhat to his reasoning and trying to lead him on to better hopes, that he might not give him pain by arguing against him at such a time. 4For when Pompey raised questions about Providence, Cratippus might have answered that the state now required a monarchy because it was so badly administered; and he might have asked Pompey: “How, O Pompey, and by what evidence, can we be persuaded that thou wouldst have made a better use of fortune than Caesar, hadst thou got the mastery?” But this matter of the divine ordering of events must be left without further discussion.
76After taking on board his wife and his friends, Pompey went on his way, putting in at harbours only when he was compelled to get food or water there. The first city that he entered was Attaleia in Pamphylia; there some triremes from Cilicia met him, soldiers were assembled for him, and he was surrounded again by senators, sixty of them. 2On hearing, too, that his fleet still held together, and that Cato had taken many soldiers aboard and was crossing the sea to Africa, he lamented to his friends, blaming himself for having been forced to do battle with his land forces, while he made no use of his navy, which was indisputably superior, and had not even stationed it at a point where, if defeated on land, he might have had this powerful force close at hand by sea to make him a match for his enemy. 3And, in truth, Pompey made no greater mistake, and Caesar showed no abler generalship, than in removing the battle so far from naval assistance. However, since he was compelled to decide and act as best he could under the circumstances, he sent messengers round to the cities; to some also he sailed about in person, asking for money and manning ships. But fearing the quickness and speed of his enemy, who might come upon him and seize him before he was prepared, he began to look about for a temporary refuge and retreat. 4Accordingly, as he deliberated with his followers, there appeared to be no province to which they could safely fly, and as for the kingdoms, he himself expressed the opinion that the Parthian was best able for the present to receive and protect them in their weak condition, and later on to strengthen them and send them forth with a large force; 5of the rest, some turned their thoughts to Africa and Juba. But Theophanes the Lesbian thought it a crazy thing for Pompey to decide against Egypt, which was only three days’ sail away, and Ptolemy, who was a mere youth and indebted to Pompey for friendship and kindness shown his father, and put himself in the power of Parthians, a most treacherous race; to refuse to take the second place under a Roman who had been connected with him by marriage, and to be second to none other, nay, to refuse even to make trial of that Roman’s moderation, 6but instead to make Arsaces his lord and master, a thing which even Crassus could not be made to do while he lived; and to carry a young wife, of the family of Scipio, among Barbarians who measure their power by their insolence and licentiousness, where, even if she suffer no harm, but is only thought to have suffered harm, her fate is a terrible one, since she has come into the power of those who are able to do her harm. This consideration alone, as we are told, diverted Pompey from journeying to the Euphrates, if indeed it was longer any calculation of Pompey’s, and not rather an evil genius, that was guiding him on this last journey.
77So when it was decided that he should fly to Egypt, he set sail from Cyprus on a Seleucian trireme with his wife (of the rest, some sailed along with him in ships of war like his own, and others in merchant vessels), and crossed the sea in safety; but on learning that Ptolemy was posted at Pelusium with an army, making war upon his sister, he put in there, and sent on a messenger to announce his arrival to the king and to ask his aid. 2Now, Ptolemy was quite young; but Potheinus, who managed all his affairs, assembled a council of the most influential men (and those were most influential whom he wished to be so), and bade each one give his opinion. It was certainly a dreadful thing that the fate of Pompey the Great was to be decided by Potheinus the eunuch, and Theodotus of Chios, who was a hired teacher of rhetoric, and Achillas the Egyptian; for these were the chief counsellors of the king among the chamberlains and tutors also gathered there. 3And it was such a tribunal’s verdict which Pompey, tossing at anchor some distance off the shore, was waiting for, a man who would not deign to be under obligations to Caesar for his life.
The opinions of the other counsellors were so far divergent that some advised to drive Pompey away, and others to invite him in and receive him. 4But Theodotus, making a display of his powerful speech and rhetorical art, set forth that neither course was safe for them, but that if they received Pompey, they would have Caesar for an enemy and Pompey for a master; while if they rejected him, Pompey would blame them for casting him off, and Caesar for making him continue his pursuit; the best course, therefore, was to send for the man and put him to death, for by so doing they would gratify Caesar and have nothing to fear from Pompey. To this he smilingly added, we are told, “A dead man does not bite.”
78Having determined upon this plan, they entrusted the execution of it to Achillas. So he took with him a certain Septimius, who had once been a tribune of Pompey’s, and Salvius besides, a centurion, with three or four servants, and put out towards the ship of Pompey. Now, all the most distinguished of Pompey’s fellow-voyagers had come aboard of her to see what was going on. 2Accordingly, when they saw a reception that was not royal, nor splendid, nor in accordance with the hopes of Theophanes, but a few men sailing up in a single fishing-boat, they viewed this lack of respect with suspicion, and advised Pompey to have his ship rowed back into the open sea, while they were beyond reach of missiles. But meanwhile the boat drew near, and first Septimius rose up and addressed Pompey in the Roman tongue as Imperator. 3Then Achillas saluted him in Greek, and invited him to come aboard the boat, telling him that the shallows were extensive, and that the sea, which had a sandy bottom, was not deep enough to float a trireme. At the same time some of the royal ships were seen to be taking their crews aboard, and men-at-arms were occupying the shore, so that there seemed to be no escape even if they changed their minds; and besides, this very lack of confidence might give the murderers an excuse for their crime. 4Accordingly, after embracing Cornelia, who was bewailing his approaching death, he ordered two centurions to go into the boat before him, besides Philip, one of his freedmen, and a servant named Scythes, and while Achillas was already stretching out his hand to him from the boat, turned towards his wife and son and repeated the verses of Sophocles:—
79After these last words to his friends, he went into the boat. And since it was a long distance from the trireme to the land, and none of his companions in the boat had any friendly word for him, turning his eyes upon Septimius he said: “Surely I am not mistaken, and you are an old comrade of mine!” 2Septimius nodded merely, without saying anything to him or showing any friendliness. So then, as there was profound silence again, Pompey took a little roll containing a speech written by him in Greek, which he had prepared for his use in addressing Ptolemy, and began to read in it. 3Then, as they drew near the shore, Cornelia, together with his friends, stood on the trireme watching with great anxiety for the outcome, and began to take heart when she saw many of the king’s people assembling at the landing as if to give him an honourable welcome. But at this point, while Pompey was clasping the hand of Philip that he might rise to his feet more easily, Septimius, from behind, ran him through the body with his sword, then Salvius next, and then Achillas, drew their daggers and stabbed him. 4And Pompey, drawing his toga down over his face with both hands, without an act or a word that was unworthy of himself, but with a groan merely, submitted to their blows, being sixty years of age less one, and ending his life only one day after his birth-day.
Whatever man unto a tyrant takes his way,
His slave he is, even though a freeman when he goes.
80When the people on the ships beheld the murder, they uttered a wailing cry that could be heard as far as the shore, and weighing anchor quickly, took to flight. And a strong wind came to their aid as they ran out to sea, so that the Egyptians, though desirous of pursuing, turned back. But they cut off Pompey’s head, and threw the rest of his body unclothed out of the boat, and left it for those who craved so pitiful a sight. 2Philip, however, stayed by the body, until such had taken their fill of gazing; then he washed it in sea-water, wrapped it in a tunic of his own, and since he had no other supply, sought along the coast until he found the remnants of a small fishing-boat, old stuff, indeed, but sufficient to furnish a funeral pyre that would answer for an unclothed corpse, and that too not entire. 3As he was gathering the wood and building the pyre, there came up a Roman who was now an old man, but who in his youth had served his first campaigns with Pompey, and said: “Who art thou, my man, that thinkest to give burial rites to Pompey the Great?” And when Philip said that he was his freedman, the man said: “But thou shalt not have this honour all to thyself; let me too share in a pious privilege thus offered, that I may not altogether regret my sojourn in a foreign land, if in requital for many hardships I find this happiness at least, to touch with my hands and array for burial the greatest of Roman imperators.” Such were the obsequies of Pompey. 4And on the following day Lucius Lentulus, as he came sailing from Cyprus and coasted along the shore not knowing what had happened, saw a funeral pyre and Philip standing beside it, and before he had been seen himself exclaimed: “Who, pray, rests here at the end of his allotted days?” Then, after a slight pause and with a groan he said: “But perhaps it is thou, Pompey the Great!” And after a little he went ashore, was seized, and put to death.
5This was the end of Pompey. But not long afterwards Caesar came to Egypt, and found it filled with this great deed of abomination. From the man who brought him Pompey’s head he turned away with loathing, as from an assassin; and on receiving Pompey’s seal-ring, he burst into tears; the device was a lion holding a sword in his paws. But Achillas and Potheinus he put to death. The king himself, moreover, was defeated in battle along the river, and disappeared. 6Theodotus the sophist, however, escaped the vengeance of Caesar; for he fled out of Egypt and wandered about in wretchedness and hated of all men. But Marcus Brutus, after he had slain Caesar and come into power, discovered him in Asia, and put him to death with every possible torture. The remains of Pompey were taken to Cornelia, who gave them burial at his Alban villa.
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