Translation by John Dryden
The people of
Ah cruel Sire! how dear thy son to me!
The generous offspring of my enemy!
For on the one hand, never did the Romans give such demonstrations of a vehement and fierce hatred against any of their generals, as they did against Strabo, the father of Pompey; during whose lifetime, it is true, they stood in awe of his military power, as indeed he was a formidable warrior, but immediately upon his death, which happened by a stroke of thunder, they treated him with the utmost contumely, dragging his corpse from the bier, as it was carried to his funeral. On the other side, never had any Roman the people's good-will and devotion more zealous throughout all the changes of fortune, more early in its first springing up, or more steadily rising with his prosperity, or more constant in his adversity, than Pompey had. In Strabo, there was one great cause of their hatred, his insatiable covetousness; in Pompey, there were many that helped to make him the object of their love; his temperance, his skill, and exercise in war, his eloquence of speech, integrity of mind and affability in conversation and address; insomuch that no man ever asked a favor with less offense, or conferred one with a better grace. When he gave, it was without assumption, when he received, it was with dignity and honor.
In his youth, his countenance pleaded for him, seeming to anticipate his eloquence, and win upon the affections of the people before he spoke. His beauty even in his bloom of youth had something in it at once of gentleness and dignity; and when his prime of manhood came, the majesty kingliness of his character at once became visible in it. His hair sat somewhat hollow or rising a little; and this, with the languishing motion of his eyes, seemed to form a resemblance in his face, though perhaps more talked of than really apparent, to the statues of king Alexander. And because many applied that name to him in his youth, Pompey himself did not decline it, insomuch that some called him so in derision. And Lucius Philippus, a man of consular dignity, when he was pleading in favor of him, thought it not unfit to say, that people could not be surprised if Philip was a lover of Alexander.
It is related of Flora, the courtesan, that when she was now
pretty old; she took great delight in speaking of her early familiarity with
Pompey, and was wont to say, that she could never part after being with him
without a bite. She would further tell, that Geminius, a companion of Pompey's,
fell in love with her, and made his court with great importunity; and on her
refusing, and telling him, however her inclinations were, yet she could not
gratify his desires for Pompey's sake, he therefore made his request to Pompey,
and Pompey frankly gave his consent, but never afterwards would have any
converse with her, notwithstanding, that he seemed to have a great passion for
her; and Flora, on this occasion, showed none of the levity that might have
been expected of her, but languished for some time after under a sickness
brought on by grief and desire. This Flora, we are told, was such a celebrated
beauty, that Caecilius Metellus, when he adorned the
Of his easiness of temper and plainness, in what related to eating and drinking, the story is told, that once in a sickness, when his stomach nauseated common meats, his physician prescribed him a thrush to eat; but upon search, there was none to be bought, for they were not then in season, and one telling him they were to be had at Lucullus's, who kept them all the year round, "So then," said he, "if it were not for Lucullus's luxury, Pompey should not live;" and thereupon not minding the prescription of the physician, he contented himself with such meat as could easily be procured. But this was at a later time.
Being as yet a very young man, and upon an expedition in which his father was commanding against Cinna, he had in his tent with him one Lucius Terentius, as his companion and comrade, who, being corrupted by Cinna, entered into an engagement to kill Pompey, as others had done, to set the general's tent on fire. This conspiracy being discovered to Pompey at supper, he showed no discomposure at it, but on the contrary drank more liberally than usual, and expressed great kindness to Terentius; but about bedtime, pretending to go to his repose, he stole away secretly out of the tent, and setting a guard about his father, quietly expected the event. Terentius, when he thought the proper time come, rose with his naked sword, and coming to Pompey's bedside, stabbed several strokes through the bedclothes, as if he were lying there. Immediately after this there was a great uproar throughout all the camp, arising from the hatred they bore to the general, and a universal movement of the soldiers to revolt, all tearing down their tents, and betaking themselves to their arms. The general himself all this while durst not venture out because of the tumult; but Pompey, going about in the midst of them, besought them with tears; and at last threw himself prostrate upon his face before the gate of the camp, and lay there in the passage at their feet, shedding tears, and bidding those that were marching off, if they would go, trample upon him. Upon which, none could help going back again, and all, except eight hundred, either through shame or compassion, repented, and were reconciled to the general.
Immediately upon the death of Strabo, there was an action
commenced against Pompey, as his heir, for that his father had embezzled the
public treasure. But Pompey, having traced the principal thefts, charged them
upon one Alexander, a freed slave of his father's, and proved before the judges
that he had been the appropriator. But he himself was accused of having in his
possession some hunting tackle, and books, that were taken at
After this he went to Cinna's camp, where finding some false suggestions and calumnies prevailing against him, he began to be afraid and presently withdrew himself secretly; which sudden disappearance occasioned great suspicion. And there went a rumor and speech through all the camp, that Cinna had murdered the young man; upon which all that had been anyways disobliged, and bore any malice to him, resolved to make an assault upon him. He, endeavoring to make his escape, was seized by a centurion, who pursued him with his naked sword. Cinna, in this distress, fell upon his knees, and offered him his seal-ring, of great value, for his ransom; but the centurion repulsed him insolently, saying, "I did not come to seal a covenant, but to be revenged upon a lawless and wicked tyrant;" and so dispatched him immediately.
Thus Cinna being slain, Carbo, a tyrant yet more senseless
than he, took the command and exercised it, while Sylla meantime was
approaching, much to the joy and satisfaction of most people, who in their
present evils were ready to find some comfort if it were but in the exchange of
a master. For the city was brought to that pass by oppression and calamities, that being utterly in despair of liberty, men
were only anxious for the mildest and most tolerable bondage. At that time
Pompey was in Picenum in
Three commanders of the enemy encountered him at once, Carinna, Cloelius, and Brutus, and drew up their forces, not all in the front, nor yet together on any one part, but encamping three several armies in a circle about him, they resolved to encompass and overpower him. Pompey was no way alarmed at this, but collecting all his troops into one body, and placing his horse in the front of the battle, where he himself was in person, he singled out and bent all his forces against Brutus, and when the Celtic horsemen from the enemy's side rode out to meet him, Pompey himself encountering hand to hand with the foremost and stoutest among them, killed him with his spear. The rest seeing this turned their backs, and fled, and breaking the ranks of their own foot, presently caused a general rout; whereupon the commanders fell out among themselves, and marched off, some one way, some another, as their fortunes led them, and the towns round about came in and surrendered themselves to Pompey, concluding that the enemy was dispersed for fear. Next after these, Scipio, the consul, came to attack him, and with as little success; for before the armies could join, or be within the throw of their javelins, Scipio's soldiers saluted Pompey's, and came over to them, while Scipio made his escape by flight. Last of all, Carbo himself sent down several troops of horse against him by the river Arsis, which Pompey assailed with the same courage and success as before; and having routed and put them to flight, he forced them in the pursuit into difficult ground, unpassable for horse, where seeing no hopes of escape, they yielded themselves with their horses and armor, all to his mercy.
Sylla was hitherto unacquainted with all these actions; and on the first intelligence he received of his movements was in great anxiety about him, fearing lest he should be cut off among so many and such experienced commanders of the enemy, and marched therefore with all speed to his aid. Now Pompey, having advice of his approach, sent out orders to his officers, to marshal and draw up all his forces in full array, that they might make the finest and noblest appearance before the commander-in-chief; for he expected indeed great honors from him, but met with even greater. For as soon as Sylla saw him thus advancing, his army so well appointed, his men so young and strong, and their spirits so high and hopeful with their successes, he alighted from his horse, and being first, as was his due, saluted by them with the title of Imperator, he returned the salutation upon Pompey, in the same term and style of Imperator, which might well cause surprise, as none could have ever anticipated that he would have imparted, to one so young in years and not yet a senator, a title which was the object of contention between him and the Scipios and Marii. And indeed all the rest of his deportment was agreeable to this first compliment; whenever Pompey came into his presence, he paid some sort of respect to him, either in rising and being uncovered, or the like, which he was rarely seen to do to anyone else, notwithstanding that there were many about him of great rank and honor. Yet Pompey was not puffed up at all, or exalted with these favors. And when Sylla would have sent him with all expedition into Gaul, a province in which it was thought Metellus who commanded in it had done nothing worthy of the large forces at his disposal, Pompey urged, that it could not be fair or honorable for him, to take a province out of the hands of his senior in command and superior in reputation; however, if Metellus were willing, and should request his service, he should be very ready to accompany and assist him in the war. Which when Metellus came to understand, he approved of the proposal, and invited him over by letter. And on this Pompey fell immediately into Gaul, where he not only achieved wonderful exploits of himself, but also fired up and kindled again that bold and warlike spirit, which old age had in a manner extinguished in Metellus, into a new heat; just as molten copper, they say, when poured upon that which is cold and solid, will dissolve and melt it faster than fire itself. But as when a famous wrestler has gained the first place among men, and borne away the prizes at all the games, it is not usual to take account of his victories as a boy, or to enter them upon record among the rest; so with the exploits of Pompey in his youth, though they were extraordinary in themselves, yet because they were obscured and buried in the multitude and greatness of his later wars and conquests, I dare not be particular in them, lest, by trifling away time in the lesser moments of his youth, we should be driven to omit those greater actions and fortunes which best illustrate his character.
Now, when Sylla had brought all
About this time news came to Sylla, that Perpenna was
fortifying himself in Sicily, that the island was now become a refuge and
receptacle for the relics of the adverse party; that Carbo was hovering about
those seas with a navy, that Domitius had fallen in upon Africa and that many
of the exiled men of note who had escaped from the proscriptions were daily
flocking into those parts. Against these, therefore, Pompey was sent with a
large force; and no sooner was he arrived in
Whilst Pompey was thus busy in the affairs and government of
Sicily, he received a decree of the senate, and a commission from Sylla,
commanding him forthwith to sail into Africa, and make war upon Domitius with
all his forces: for Domitius had rallied up a far greater army than Marius had
had not long since, when he sailed out of Africa into Italy, and caused a
revolution in Rome, and himself, of a fugitive outlaw, became a tyrant. Pompey,
therefore, having prepared everything with the utmost speed, left Memmius, his
sister's husband, governor of
The enemy being routed with a great slaughter, (for it is said, that of twenty thousand there escaped but three thousand,) the army saluted Pompey by the name of Imperator; but he declined it, telling them, that he could not by any means accept of that title, as long as he saw the camp of the enemy standing; but if they designed to make him worthy of the honor, they must first demolish that. The soldiers on hearing this, went at once and made an assault upon the works and trenches, and there Pompey fought without his helmet, in memory of his former danger, and to avoid the like. The camp was thus taken by storm, and among the rest, Domitius was slain. After that overthrow, the cities of the country thereabouts were all either secured by surrender, or taken by storm. King Iarbas, likewise, a confederate and auxiliary of Domitius, was taken prisoner, and his kingdom was given to Hiempsal.
Pompey could not rest here, but being ambitious to follow
the good fortune and use the valor of his army, entered Numidia; and marching
forward many days' journey up into the country, he conquered all wherever he
came. And having revived the terror of the Roman power, which was now almost
obliterated among the barbarous nations, he said likewise, that the wild beasts
When Pompey returned back to the city of
Pompey now desired the honor of a triumph, which Sylla opposed, alleging that the law allowed that honor to none but consuls and praetors, and therefore Scipio the elder, who subdued the Carthaginians in Spain in far greater and nobler conflicts, never petitioned for a triumph, because he had never been consul or praetor; and if Pompey, who had scarcely yet fully grown a beard, and was not of age to be a senator, should enter the city in triumph, what a weight of envy would it bring, he said, at once upon his government and Pompey's honor. This was his language to Pompey, intimating that he could not by any means yield to his request, but if he would persist in his ambition, that he was resolved to interpose his power to humble him. Pompey, however, was not daunted; but bade Sylla recollect, that more worshiped the rising than the setting sun; as if to tell him that his power was increasing, and Sylla's in the wane. Sylla did not perfectly hear the words, but observing a sort of amazement and wonder in the looks and gestures of those that did hear them, he asked what it was that he said. When it was told him, he seemed astounded at Pompey's boldness, and cried out twice together, "Let him triumph," and when others began to show their disapprobation and offense at it, Pompey, it is said, to gall and vex them the more, designed to have his triumphant chariot drawn with four elephants, (having brought over several which belonged to the African kings,) but the gates of the city being too narrow, he was forced to desist from that project, and be content with horses. And when his soldiers, who had not received as large rewards as they had expected, began to clamor, and interrupt the triumph, Pompey regarded these as little as the rest, and plainly told them that he had rather lose the honor of his triumph, than flatter them. Upon which Servilius, a man of great distinction, and at first one of the chief opposers of Pompey's triumph, said, he now perceived that Pompey was truly great and worthy of a triumph. It is clear that he might easily have been a senator, also, if he had wished, but he did not sue for that, being ambitious, it seems, only of unusual honors. For what wonder had it been for Pompey, to sit in the senate before his time? But to triumph before he was in the senate, was really an excess of glory.
And moreover, it did not a little ingratiate him with the people; who were much pleased to see him after his triumph take his place again among the Roman knights. On the other side, it was no less distasteful to Sylla to see how fast he came on, and to what a height of glory and power he was advancing; yet being ashamed to hinder him, he kept quiet. But when, against his direct wishes, Pompey got Lepidus made consul, having openly joined in the canvass and, by the good-will the people felt for himself, conciliated their favor for Lepidus, Sylla could forbear no longer; but when he saw him coming away from the election through the forum with a great train after him, cried out to him, "Well, young man, I see you rejoice in your victory. And, indeed, is it not a most generous and worthy act, that the consulship should be given to Lepidus, the vilest of men, in preference to Catulus, the best and most deserving in the city, and all by your influence with the people? It will be well, however, for you to be wakeful and look to your interests; as you have been making your enemy stronger than yourself." But that which gave the clearest demonstration of Sylla's ill-will to Pompey, was his last will and testament; for whereas he had bequeathed several legacies to all the rest of his friends, and appointed some of them guardians to his eon, he passed by Pompey without the least remembrance. However, Pompey bore this with great moderation and temper; and when Lepidus and others were disposed to obstruct his interment in the Campus Martius, and to prevent any public funeral taking place, came forward in support of it, and saw his obsequies performed with all honor and security.
Shortly after the death of Sylla, his prophetic words were
fulfilled; and Lepidus proposing to be the successor to all his power and
authority, without any ambiguities or pretences, immediately appeared in arms,
rousing once more and gathering about him all the long dangerous remains of the
old factions, which had escaped the hand of Sylla. Catulus, his colleague, who
was followed by the sounder part of the senate and people, was a man of the
greatest esteem among the Romans for wisdom and justice; but his talent lay in
the government of the city rather than the camp, whereas the exigency required
the skill of Pompey. Pompey, therefore, was not long in suspense which way to
dispose of himself, but joining with the nobility, was presently appointed
general of the army against Lepidus, who had already raised up war in great
part of Italy, and held Cisalpine Gaul in subjection with an army under Brutus.
As for the rest of his garrisons, Pompey subdued them with ease in his march,
but Mutina in
There yet remained Sertorius, a very different general from
Lepidus, in possession of
When Pompey was arrived in Spain, as is usual upon the fame
of a new leader, men began to be inspired with new hopes, and those nations
that had not entered into a very strict alliance with Sertorius, began to waver
and revolt; whereupon Sertorius uttered various arrogant and scornful speeches
against Pompey, saying in derision, that he should want no other weapon but a
ferula and rod to chastise this boy with, if he were not afraid of that old
woman, meaning Metellus. Yet in deed and reality he stood in awe of Pompey, and
kept on his guard against him, as appeared by his whole management of the war,
which he was observed to conduct much more warily than before; for Metellus,
which one would not have imagined, was grown excessively luxurious in his
habits having given himself over to self-indulgence and pleasure, and from a moderate
and temperate, became suddenly a sumptuous and ostentatious liver, so that this
very thing gained Pompey great reputation and goodwill, as he made himself
somewhat specially an example of frugality, although that virtue was habitual
in him, and required no great industry to exercise it, as he was naturally
inclined to temperance, and no ways inordinate in his desires. The fortune of
the war was very various; nothing however annoyed Pompey so much as the taking
of the town of
Pompey, being elated and filled with confidence by this victory, made all haste to engage Sertorius himself, and the rather lest Metellus should come in for a share in the honor of the victory. Late in the day, towards sunset, they joined battle near the river Sucro, both being in fear lest Metellus should come; Pompey, that he might engage alone, Sertorius, that he might have one alone to engage with. The issue of the battle proved doubtful, for a wing of each side had the better; but of the generals, Sertorius had the greater honor, for that he maintained his post, having put to flight the entire division that was opposed to him, whereas Pompey was himself almost made a prisoner; for being set upon by a strong man at arms that fought on foot, (he being on horseback,) as they were closely engaged hand to hand, the strokes of their swords chanced to light upon their hands, but with a different success; for Pompey's was a slight wound only, whereas he cut off the other's hand. However, it happened so, that many now falling upon Pompey together, and his own forces there being put to the rout, he made his escape beyond expectation, by quitting his horse, and turning him out among the enemy. For the horse being richly adorned with golden trappings, and having a caparison of great value, the soldiers quarreled among themselves for the booty, so that while they were fighting with one another, and dividing the spoil, Pompey made his escape. By break of day the next morning, each drew out his forces into the field to claim the victory; but Metellus coming up, Sertorius vanished, having broken up and dispersed his army. For this was the way in which he used to raise and disband his armies, so that sometimes he would be wandering up and down all alone, and at other times again he would come pouring into the field at the head of no less than one hundred and fifty thousand fighting-men, swelling of a sudden like a winter torrent.
When Pompey was going after the battle to meet and welcome Metellus, and when they were near one another, he commanded his attendants to lower their rods in honor of Metellus, as his senior and superior. But Metellus on the other side forbade it, and behaved himself in general very obligingly to him, not claiming any prerogative either in respect of his consular rank or seniority; excepting only that when they encamped together, the watchword was given to the whole camp by Metellus. But generally they had their camps asunder, being divided and distracted by the enemy, who took all shapes, and being always in motion, would by some skillful artifice appear in a variety of places almost in the same instant, drawing them from one attack to another, and at last keeping them from foraging, wasting the country, and holding the dominion of the sea, Sertorius drove them both out of that part of Spain which was under his control, and forced them for want of necessaries to retreat into provinces that did not belong to them.
Pompey, having made use of and expended the greatest part of
his own private revenues upon the war, sent and demanded moneys of the senate,
adding, that in case they did not furnish him speedily, he should be forced to
Pompey continued in
Though a second triumph was decreed him, and he was declared consul, yet all these honors did not seem so great an evidence of his power and glory, as the ascendant which he had over Crassus; for he, the wealthiest among all the statesmen of his time, and the most eloquent and greatest too, who had looked down on Pompey himself, and on all others as beneath him, durst not appear a candidate for the consulship before he had applied to Pompey. The request was made accordingly, and was eagerly embraced by Pompey, who had long sought an occasion to oblige him in some friendly office; so that he solicited for Crassus, and entreated the people heartily, declaring, that their favor would be no less to him in choosing Crassus his colleague, than in making himself consul. Yet for all this, when they were created consuls, they were always at variance, and opposing one another. Crassus prevailed most in the senate, and Pompey's power was no less with the people, he having restored to them the office of tribune, and having allowed the courts of judicature to be transferred back to the knights by a new law. He himself in person, too, afforded them a most grateful spectacle, when he appeared and craved his discharge from the military service. For it is an ancient custom among the Romans, that the knights, when they had served out their legal time in the wars, should lead their horses into the market-place before the two officers, called censors, and having given an account of the commanders and generals under whom they served, as also of the places and actions of their service, should be discharged, every man with honor or disgrace, according to his deserts. There were then sitting in state upon the bench two censors, Gellius and Lentulus, inspecting the knights, who were passing by in muster before them, when Pompey was seen coming down into the forum, with all the ensigns of a consul, but leading his horse in his hand. When he came up, he bade his lictors make way for him, and so he led his horse to the bench; the people being all this while in a sort of amaze, and all in silence, and the censors themselves regarding the sight with a mixture of respect and gratification. Then the senior censor examined him: "Pompeius Magnus, I demand of you whether you have served the full time in the wars that is prescribed by the law?" "Yes," replied Pompey with a loud voice, "I have served all, and all under myself as general." The people hearing this gave a great shout, and made such an outcry for delight, that there was no appeasing it; and the censors rising from their judgment-seat, accompanied him home to gratify the multitude, who followed after, clapping their hands and shouting.
Pompey's consulship was now expiring, and yet his difference with Crassus increasing, when one Caius Aurelius, a knight, a man who had declined public business all his lifetime, mounted the hustings, and addressed himself in an oration to the assembly, declaring that Jupiter had appeared to him in a dream, commanding him to tell the consuls, that they should not give up office until they were friends. After this was said, Pompey stood silent, but Crassus took him by the hand, and spoke in this manner: "I do not think, fellow-citizens, that I shall do anything mean or dishonorable, in yielding first to Pompey, whom you were pleased to ennoble with the title of Great, when as yet he scarce had a hair on his face; and granted the honor of two triumphs, before he had a place in the senate." Hereupon they were reconciled and laid down their office. Crassus resumed the manner of life which he had always pursued before; but Pompey in the great generality of causes for judgment declined appearing on either side, and by degrees withdrew himself totally from the forum, showing himself but seldom in public; and whenever he did, it was with a great train after him. Neither was it easy to meet or visit him without a crowd of people about him; he was most pleased to make his appearance before large numbers at once, as though he wished to maintain in this way his state and majesty, and as if he held himself bound to preserve his dignity from contact with the addresses and conversation of common people. And life in the robe of peace is only too apt to lower the reputation of men that have grown great by arms, who naturally find difficulty in adapting themselves to the habits of civil equality. They expect to be treated as the first in the city, even as they were in the camp; and on the other hand, men who in war were nobody, think it intolerable if in the city at any rate they are not to take the lead. And so, when a warrior renowned for victories and triumphs shall turn advocate and appear among them in the forum, they endeavor their utmost to obscure and depress him; whereas, if he gives up any pretensions here and retires, they will maintain his military honor and authority beyond the reach of envy. Events themselves not long after showed the truth of this.
The power of the pirates first commenced in Cilicia, having
in truth but a precarious and obscure beginning, but gained life and boldness
afterwards in the wars of Mithridates, where they hired themselves out, and
took employment in the king's service. Afterwards, whilst the Romans were
embroiled in their civil wars, being engaged against one another even before
the very gates of
This piratic power having got the dominion and control of
The assembly broke up for that day; and when the day was come, on which the bill was to pass by suffrage into a decree, Pompey went privately into the country; but hearing that it was passed and confirmed, he resumed again into the city by night, to avoid the envy that might be occasioned by the concourse of people that would meet and congratulate him. The next morning he came abroad and sacrificed to the gods, and having audience at an open assembly, so handled the matter that they enlarged his power, giving him many things besides what was already granted, and almost doubling the preparation appointed in the former decree. Five hundred ships were manned for him, and an army raised of one hundred and twenty thousand foot, and five thousand horse. Twenty-four senators that had been generals of armies were appointed to serve as lieutenants under him, and to these were added two quaestors. Now it happened within this time that the prices of provisions were much reduced, which gave an occasion to the joyful people of saying, that the very name of Pompey had ended the war. However, Pompey in pursuance of his charge divided all the seas, and the whole Mediterranean into thirteen parts, allotting a squadron to each, under the command of his officers; and having thus dispersed his power into all quarters, and encompassed the pirates everywhere, they began to fall into his hands by whole shoals, which he seized and brought into his harbors. As for those that withdrew themselves betimes, or otherwise escaped his general chase, they all made to Cilicia, where they hid themselves as in their hive; against whom Pompey now proceeded in person with sixty of his best ships, not however until he had first scoured and cleared all the seas near Rome, the Tyrrhenian, and the African, and all the waters of Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily; all which he performed in the space of forty days, by his own indefatigable industry and the zeal of his lieutenants.
Pompey met with some interruption in Rome, through the malice and envy of Piso, the consul, who had given some check to his proceedings, by withholding his stores and discharging his seamen; whereupon he sent his fleet round to Brundusium, himself going the nearest way by land through Tuscany to Rome; which was no sooner known by the people, than they all flocked out to meet him upon the way, as if they had not sent him out but few days before. What chiefly excited their joy, was the unexpectedly rapid change in the markets, which abounded now with the greatest plenty, so that Piso was in great danger to have been deprived of his consulship, Gabinius having a law ready prepared for that purpose; but Pompey forbade it, behaving himself as in that, so in all things else, with great moderation, and when he had made sure of all that he wanted or desired, he departed for Brundusium, whence he set sail in pursuit of the pirates. And though he was straitened in time, and his hasty voyage forced him to sail by several cities without touching, yet he would not pass by the city of Athens unsaluted; but landing there, after he had sacrificed to the gods, and made an address to the people, as he was returning out of the city, he read at the gates two epigrams, each in a single line, written in his own praise; one within the gate: --
Thy humbler thoughts make thee a god the more;
the other without: --
Adieu we bid, who welcome bade before.
Now because Pompey had shown himself merciful to some of these pirates that were yet roving in bodies about the seas, having upon their supplication ordered a seizure of their ships and persons only, without any further process or severity, therefore the rest of their comrades in hopes of mercy too, made their escape from his other commanders, and surrendered themselves with their wives and children into his protection. He continued to pardon all that came in, and the rather because by them he might make discovery of those who fled from his justice, as conscious that their crimes were beyond an act of indemnity. The most numerous and important part of these conveyed their families and treasures, with all their people that were unfit for war, into castles and strong forts about Mount Taurus; but they themselves having well manned their galleys, embarked for Coracesium in Cilicia, where they received Pompey and gave him battle. Here they had a final overthrow, and retired to the land, where they were besieged. At last, having dispatched their heralds to him with a submission, they delivered up to his mercy themselves, their towns, islands, and strong-holds, all which they had so fortified that they were almost impregnable, and scarcely even accessible.
Thus was this war ended, and the whole power of the pirates at sea dissolved everywhere in the space of three months, wherein, besides a great number of other vessels, he took ninety men-of-war with brazen beaks; and likewise prisoners of war to the number of no less than twenty thousand.
As regarded the disposal of these prisoners, he never so
much as entertained the thought of putting them to death; and yet it might be
no less dangerous on the other hand to disperse them, as they might reunite and
make head again, being numerous, poor, and warlike. Therefore wisely weighing
with himself, that man by nature is not a wild or unsocial creature, neither
was he born so, but makes himself what he naturally is not, by vicious habit;
and that again on the other side, he is civilized and grows gentle by a change
of place, occupation, and manner of life, as beasts themselves that are wild by
nature, become tame and tractable by housing and gentler usage, upon this
consideration he determined to translate these pirates from sea to land, and
give them a taste of an honest and innocent course of life, by living in towns,
and tilling the ground. Some therefore were admitted into the small and
half-peopled towns of the Cilicians, who for an enlargement of their territories, were willing to receive them. Others he planted
in the city of the Solians, which had been lately laid waste by Tigranes, king
However, these proceedings could not escape the envy and
censure of his enemies; and the course he took against Metellus in
Some other hand should give the blow, and he
Lose the first honor of the victory."
Whereas Pompey even sought to preserve the common enemies of the world, only that he might deprive a Roman praetor, after all his labors, of the honor of a triumph. Metellus however was not daunted, but prosecuted the war against the pirates, expelled them from their strongholds and punished them; and dismissed Octavius with the insults and reproaches of the whole camp.
When the news came to Rome that the war with the pirates was
at an end, and that Pompey was unoccupied, diverting himself in visits to the
cities for want of employment, one Manlius, a tribune of the people, preferred
a law that Pompey should have all the forces of Lucullus, and the provinces
under his government, together with Bithynia, which was under the command of
Glabrio; and that he should forthwith conduct the war against the two kings,
Mithridates and Tigranes, retaining still the same naval forces and the
sovereignty of the seas as before. But this was nothing less than to constitute
one absolute monarch of all the
As indeed appeared not long afterwards by his actions, which
clearly unmasked him; for in the first place, he sent out his proclamations
into all quarters, commanding the soldiers to join him, and summoned all the
tributary kings and princes within his charge; and in short, as soon as he had
entered upon his province, he left nothing unaltered that had been done and
established by Lucullus. To some he remitted their penalties, and deprived
others of their rewards, and acted in all respects as if with the express design
that the admirers of Lucullus might know that all his authority was at an end.
Lucullus expostulated by friends, and it was thought fitting that there should
be a meeting betwixt them; and accordingly they met in the country of
After this Lucullus went away, and Pompey having placed his
whole navy in guard upon the seas betwixt Phoenicia and Bosporus, himself
marched against Mithridates, who had a phalanx of thirty thousand foot, with
two thousand horse, yet durst not bid him battle. He had encamped upon a strong
mountain where it would have been hard to attack him, but abandoned it in no
long time, as destitute of water. No sooner was he gone but Pompey occupied it,
and observing the plants that were thriving there, together with the hollows
which he found in several places, conjectured that such a plot could not be
without springs, and therefore ordered his men to sink wells in every corner.
After which there was, in a little time, great plenty of water throughout all
the camp, insomuch that he wondered how it was possible for Mithridates to be
ignorant of this, during all that time of his encampment there. After this
Pompey followed him to his next camp, and there drawing lines round about him,
shut him in. But he, after having endured a siege of forty-five days, made his
escape secretly, and fled away with all the best part of his army, having first
put to death all the sick and unserviceable. Not long after Pompey overtook him
again near the banks of the river
Pompey in the meantime made an invasion into
Not long after this Phraates, king of Parthia, sent to Pompey, and demanded to have young Tigranes, as his son-in-law, given up to him, and that the river Euphrates should be the boundary of the empires. Pompey replied, that for Tigranes, he belonged more to his own natural father than his father-in-law, and for the boundaries, he would take care that they should be according to right and justice.
So Pompey, leaving
The pursuit of Mithridates, who had thrown himself among the
tribes inhabiting Bosporus and the shores of the
After this engagement, Pompey was eager to advance with his
forces upon the Hyrcanian and Caspian Sea, but was forced to retreat at a
distance of three days' march from it, by the number of venomous serpents, and
so he retreated into
Of the concubines of king Mithridates that were brought before Pompey, he took none to himself, but sent them all away to their parents and relations; most of them being either the daughters or wives of princes and great commanders. Stratonice, however, who had the greatest power and influence with him, and to whom he had committed the custody of his best and richest fortress, had been, it seems, the daughter of a musician, an old man, and of no great fortune, and happening to sing one night before Mithridates at a banquet, she struck his fancy so, that immediately he took her with him, and sent away the old man much dissatisfied, the king having not so much as said one kind word to himself. But when he rose in the morning, and saw tables in his house richly covered with gold and silver plate, a great retinue of servants, eunuchs, and pages, bringing him rich garments, and a horse standing before the door richly caparisoned, in all respects as was usual with the king's favorites, he looked upon it all as a piece of mockery, and thinking himself trifled with, attempted to make off and run away. But the servants laying hold upon him, and informing him really that the king had bestowed on him the house and furniture of a rich man lately deceased, and that these were but the first-fruits or earnests of greater riches and possessions that were to come, he was persuaded at last with much difficulty to believe them. And so putting on his purple robes, and mounting his horse, he rode through the city, crying out, "All this is mine;" and to those that laughed at him, he said, there was no such wonder in this, but it was a wonder rather that he did not throw stones at all he met, he was so transported with joy. Such was the parentage and blood of Stratonice. She now delivered up this castle into the hands of Pompey, and offered him many presents of great value, of which he accepted only such as he thought might serve to adorn the temples of the gods, and add to the splendor of his triumph; the rest he left to Stratonice's disposal, bidding her please herself in the enjoyment of them.
And in the same manner he dealt with the presents offered
him by the king of
In another castle called Caenum, Pompey found and read with pleasure several secret writings of Mithridates, containing much that threw light on his character. For there were memoirs by which it appeared that besides others, he had made away with his son Ariarathes by poison, as also with Alcaeus the Sardian, for having robbed him of the first honors in a horse-race. There were several judgments upon the interpretation of dreams, which either he himself or some of his mistresses had had; and besides these, there was a series of wanton letters to and from his concubine Monime. Theophanes tells us that there was found also an address by Rutilius, in which he attempted to exasperate him to the laughter of all the Romans in Asia; though most men justly conjecture this to be a malicious invention of Theophanes, who probably hated Rutilius because he was a man in nothing like himself; or perhaps it might be to gratify Pompey, whose father is described by Rutilius in his history, as the vilest man alive.
From thence Pompey came to the city of
Moreover, he had a great desire and emulation to occupy
Syria, and to march through Arabia to the Red Sea, that he might thus extend
his conquests every way to the great ocean that encompasses the habitable
earth; as in Africa he was the first Roman that advanced his victories to the
ocean; and again in Spain he made the Atlantic Sea the limit of the empire; and
then thirdly, in his late pursuit of the Albanians, he had wanted but little of
reaching the Hyrcanian Sea. Accordingly he raised his camp, designing to bring
Then he set forward with the greatest part of his army, and
in his march casually fell in with several dead bodies still uninterred, of
those soldiers who were slain with Triarius in his unfortunate engagement with
Mithridates; these he buried splendidly and honorably. The neglect of whom, it is thought, caused, as much as anything, the hatred
that was felt against Lucullus, and alienated the affections of the soldiers
from him. Pompey having now by his forces under the command of Afranius,
subdued the Arabians about the mountain Amanus, himself entered Syria, and
finding it destitute of any natural and lawful prince, reduced it into the form
of a province, as a possession of the people of Rome. He conquered also
Among these friends of his, there was one Demetrius who had the greatest influence with him of all; he was a freed slave, a youth of good understanding, but somewhat too insolent in his good fortune, of whom there goes this story. Cato, the philosopher, being as yet a very young man, but of great repute and a noble mind, took a journey of pleasure to Antioch, at a time when Pompey was not there, having a great desire to see the city. He, as his custom was, walked on foot, and his friends accompanied him on horseback; and seeing before the gates of the city a multitude dressed in white, the young men on one side of the road, and the boys on the other, he was somewhat offended at it, imagining that it was officiously done in honor of him, which was more than he had any wish for. However, he desired his companions to alight and walk with him; but when they drew near, the master of the ceremonies in this procession came out with a garland and a rod in his hand, and met them, inquiring, where they had left Demetrius, and when he would come? Upon which Cato's companions burst out into laughter, but Cato said only, "Alas, poor city!" and passed by without any other answer. However, Pompey rendered Demetrius less odious to others by enduring his presumption and impertinence to himself. For it is reported how that Pompey, when he had invited his friends to an entertainment, would be very ceremonious in waiting, till they all came and were placed, while Demetrius would be already stretched upon the couch as if he cared for no one, with his dress over his ears, hanging down from his head. Before his return into Italy, he had purchased the pleasantest country-seat about Rome, with the finest walks and places for exercise, and there were sumptuous gardens, called by the name of Demetrius, while Pompey his master, up to his third triumph, was contented with an ordinary and simple habitation. Afterwards, it is true, when he had erected his famous and stately theater for the people of Rome, he built as a sort of appendix to it, a house for himself, much more splendid than his former, and yet no object even this to excite men's envy, since he who came to be master of it after Pompey could not but express wonder and inquire where Pompey the Great used to sup. Such is the story told us.
The king of the Arabs near Petra, who had hitherto despised the power of the Romans, now began to be in great alarm at it, and sent letters to him promising to be at his commands, and to do whatever he should see fit to order. However, Pompey having a desire to confirm and keep him in the same mind, marched forwards for Petra, an expedition not altogether irreprehensible in the opinion of many; who thought it a mere running away from their proper duty, the pursuit of Mithridates, Rome's ancient and inveterate enemy, who was now rekindling the war once more, and making preparations, it was reported, to lead his army through Scythia and Paeonia, into Italy. Pompey, on the other side, judging it easier to destroy his forces in battle, than to seize his person in flight, resolved not to tire himself out in a vain pursuit, but rather to spend his leisure upon another enemy, as a sort of digression in the meanwhile. But fortune resolved the doubt; for when he was now not far from Petra, and had pitched his tents and encamped for that day, as he was talking exercise with his horse outside the camp, couriers came riding up from Pontus, bringing good news, as was known at once by the heads of their javelins, which it is the custom to carry crowned with branches of laurel. The soldiers, as soon as they saw them, flocked immediately to Pompey, who notwithstanding was minded to finish his exercise; but when they began to be clamorous and importunate, he alighted from his horse, and taking the letters went before them into the camp. Now there being no tribunal erected there, not even that military substitute for one which they make by cutting up thick turfs of earth and piling them one upon another, they, through eagerness and impatience, heaped up a pile of pack-saddles, and Pompey standing upon that, told them the news of Mithridates's death, how that he had himself put an end to his life upon the revolt of his son Pharnaces, and that Pharnaces had taken all things there into his hands and possession, which he did, his letters said, in right of himself and the Romans. Upon this news, the whole army expressing their joy, as was to be expected, fell to sacrificing to the gods, and feasting, as if in the person of Mithridates alone there had died many thousands of their enemies.
Pompey by this event having brought this war to its
completion, with much more ease than was expected, departed forthwith out of
Pompey now having ordered all things, and established that
province, took his journey homewards in greater pomp and with more festivity.
For when he came to Mitylene, he gave the city their freedom upon the
intercession of Theophanes, and was present at the contest, there periodically
held, of the poets, who took at that time no other theme or subject than the
actions of Pompey. He was extremely pleased with the theater itself, and had a
model of it taken, intending to erect one in
Rumors of every kind were scattered abroad about Pompey, and
were carried to
Now, because the law permitted no commander to enter into the city before his triumph, he sent to the senate, entreating them as a favor to him to prorogue the election of consuls, that thus he might be able to attend and give countenance to Piso, one of the candidates. The request was resisted by Cato, and met with a refusal. However, Pompey could not but admire the liberty and boldness of speech which Cato alone had dared to use in the maintenance of law and justice. He therefore had a great desire to win him over, and purchase his friendship at any rate; and to that end, Cato having two nieces, Pompey asked for one in marriage for himself, the other for his son. But Cato looked unfavorably on the proposal, regarding it as a design for undermining his honesty, and in a manner bribing him by a family alliance; much to the displeasure of his wife and sister, who were indignant that he should reject a connection with Pompey the Great. About that time Pompey having a design of setting up Afranius for the consulship, gave a sum of money among the tribes for their votes, and people came and received it in his own gardens a proceeding which, when it came to be generally known, excited great disapprobation, that he should thus for the sake of men who could not obtain the honor by their own merits, make merchandise of an office which had been given to himself as the highest reward of his services. "Now," said Cato to his wife and sister, "had we contracted an alliance with Pompey, we had been allied to this dishonor too;" and this they could not but acknowledge, and allow his judgment of what was right and fitting to have been wiser and better than theirs.
The splendor and magnificence of Pompey's triumph was such that though it took up the space of two days, yet they were extremely straitened in time, so that of what was prepared for that pageantry, there was as much withdrawn as would have set out and adorned another triumph. In the first place, there were tables carried, inscribed with the names and titles of the nations over whom he triumphed, Pontus, Armenia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Media, Colchis, the Iberians, the Albanians, Syria, Cilicia, and Mesopotamia, together with Phoenicia and Palestine, Judaea, Arabia, and all the power of the pirates subdued by sea and land. And in these different countries there appeared the capture of no less than one thousand fortified places, nor much less than nine hundred cities, together with eight hundred ships of the pirates, and the foundation of thirty-nine towns. Besides, there was set forth in these tables an account of all the tributes throughout the empire, and how that before these conquests the revenue amounted but to fifty millions, whereas from his acquisitions they had a revenue of eighty-five millions; and that in present payment he was bringing into the common treasury ready money, and gold and silver plate, and ornaments, to the value of twenty thousand talents, over and above what had been distributed among the soldiers, of whom he that had least had fifteen hundred drachmas for his share. The prisoners of war that were led in triumph, besides the chief pirates, were the son of Tigranes, king of Armenia, with his wife and daughter; as also Zosime, wife of king Tigranes himself, and Aristobulus, king of Judaea, the sister of king Mithridates and her five sons, and some Scythian women. There were likewise the hostages of the Albanians and Iberians, and of the king of Commagene, besides a vast number of trophies, one for every battle in which he was conqueror, either himself in person, or by his lieutenants. But that which seemed to be his greatest glory, being one which no other Roman ever attained to, was this, that he made his third triumph over the third division of the world. For others among the Romans had the honor of triumphing thrice, but his first triumph was over Africa, his second, over Europe, and this last, over Asia; so that he seemed in these three triumphs to have led the whole world captive.
As for his age, those who affect to make the parallel exact
in all things betwixt him and Alexander the Great, do
not allow him to have been quite thirty-four, whereas in truth at that time he
was near forty. And well had it been for him had he terminated his life at this
date, while he still enjoyed Alexander's fortune, since all his aftertime
served only either to bring him prosperity that made him odious,
or calamities too great to be retrieved. For that great authority which he had
gained in the city by his merits, he made use of only in patronizing the
iniquities of others, so that by advancing their fortunes, he detracted from
his own glory, till at last he was overthrown even by the force and greatness
of his own power. And as the strongest citadel or fort in a town, when it is
taken by an enemy, does then afford the same strength to the foe, as it had
done to friends before; so Caesar, after Pompey's aid had made him strong
enough to defy his country, ruined and overthrew at last the power which had
availed him against the rest. The course of things was as follows. Lucullus,
when he returned out of Asia, where he had been treated with insult by Pompey,
was received by the senate with great honor, which was yet increased when
Pompey came home; to check whose ambition they encouraged him to assume the
administration of the government, whereas he was now grown cold and disinclined
to business, having given himself over to the pleasures of ease and the
enjoyment of a splendid fortune. However, he began for the time to exert
himself against Pompey, attacked him sharply, and succeeded in having his own
acts and decrees, which were repealed by Pompey, reestablished, and with the
assistance of Cato, gained the superiority in the senate. Pompey having fallen
from his hopes in such an unworthy repulse, was forced to fly to the tribunes
of the people for refuge, and to attach himself to the young men, among whom
was Clodius, the vilest and most impudent wretch alive, who took him about, and
exposed him as a tool to the people, carrying him up and down among the throngs
in the market-place, to countenance those laws and speeches which he made to
cajole the people and ingratiate himself. And at last for his reward, he
demanded of Pompey, as if he had not disgraced, but done him great kindness,
that he should forsake (as in the end he did forsake) Cicero, his friend, who
on many public occasions had done him the greatest service. And so when
About that time Caesar, returning from military service, started a course of policy which brought him great present favor, and much increased his power for the future, and proved extremely destructive both to Pompey and the commonwealth. For now he stood candidate for his first consulship, and well observing the enmity betwixt Pompey and Crassus, and finding that by joining with one he should make the other his enemy, he endeavored by all means to reconcile them, an object in itself honorable and tending to the public good, but as he undertook it, a mischievous and subtle intrigue. For he well knew that opposite parties or factions in a commonwealth, like passengers in a boat, serve to trim and balance the unready motions of power there; whereas if they combine and come all over to one side, they cause a shock which will be sure to overset the vessel and carry down everything. And therefore Cato wisely told those who charged all the calamities of Rome upon the disagreement betwixt Pompey and Caesar, that they were in error in charging all the crime upon the last cause; for it was not their discord and enmity, but their unanimity and I friendship, that gave the first and greatest blow to the commonwealth.
Caesar being thus elected consul, began at once to make an interest with the poor and meaner sort, by preferring and establishing laws for planting colonies and dividing lands, lowering the dignity of his office, and turning his consulship into a sort of tribuneship rather. And when Bibulus, his colleague, opposed him, and Cato was prepared to second Bibulus, and assist him vigorously, Caesar brought Pompey upon the hustings, and addressing him in the sight of the people, demanded his opinion upon the laws that were proposed. Pompey gave his approbation. "Then," said Caesar, "in case any man should offer violence to these laws, will you be reedy to give assistance to the people?" "Yes," replied Pompey, "I shall be ready, and against those that threaten the sword, I will appear with sword and buckler." Nothing ever was said or done by Pompey up to that day, that seemed more insolent or overbearing; so that his friends endeavored to apologize for it as a word spoken inadvertently; but by his actions afterwards it appeared plainly that he was totally devoted to Caesar's service. For on a sudden, contrary to all expectation, he married Julia, the daughter of Caesar, who had been affianced before and was to be married within a few days to Caepio. And to appease Caepio's wrath, he gave him his own daughter in marriage, who had been espoused before to Faustus, the son of Sylla. Caesar himself married Calpurnia, the daughter of Piso.
Upon this Pompey, filling the city with soldiers, carried all things by force as he pleased. As Bibulus, the consul, was going to the forum, accompanied by Lucullus and Cato, they fell upon him on a sudden and broke his rods; and somebody threw a vessel of ordure upon the head of Bibulus himself; and two tribunes of the people, who escorted him, were desperately wounded in the fray. And thus having cleared the forum of all their adversaries, they got their bill for the division of lands established and passed into an act; and not only so, but the whole populace being taken with this bait, became totally at their devotion, inquiring into nothing and without a word giving their suffrages to whatever they propounded. Thus they confirmed all those acts and decrees of Pompey, which were questioned and contested by Lucullus; and to Caesar they granted the provinces of Gaul, both within and without the Alps, together with Illyricum, for five years, and likewise an army of four entire legions; then they created consuls for the year ensuing, Piso, the father-in-law of Caesar, and Gabinius, the most extravagant of Pompey's flatterers.
During all these transactions, Bibulus kept close within doors, nor did he appear publicly in person for the space of eight months together, notwithstanding he was consul, but sent out proclamations full of bitter invectives and accusations against them both. Cato turned prophet, and, as if he had been possessed with a spirit of divination, did nothing else in the senate but foretell what evils should befall the Commonwealth and Pompey. Lucullus pleaded old age, and retired to take his ease, as superannuated for affairs of State; which gave occasion to the saying of Pompey, that the fatigues of luxury were not more seasonable for an old man than those of government. Which in truth proved a reflection upon himself; for he not long after let his fondness for his young wife seduce him also into effeminate habits. He gave all his time to her, and passed his days in her company in country-houses and gardens, paying no heed to what was going on in the forum. Insomuch that Clodius, who was then tribune of the people, began to despise him, and engage in the most audacious attempts. For when he had banished Cicero, and sent away Cato into Cyprus under pretence of military duty, and when Caesar was gone upon his expedition to Gaul, finding the populace now looking to him as the leader who did everything according to their pleasure, he attempted forthwith to repeal some of Pompey's decrees; he took Tigranes, the captive, out of prison, and kept him about him as his companion; and commenced actions against several of Pompey's friends, thus designing to try the extent of his power. At last, upon a time when Pompey was present at the hearing of a certain cause, Clodius, accompanied with a crowd of profligate and impudent ruffians, standing up in a place above the rest, put questions to the populace as follows: "Who is the dissolute general? who is the man that seeks another man? who scratches his head with one finger?" and the rabble, upon the signal of his shaking his gown, with a great shout to every question, like singers making, responses in a chorus, made answer, "Pompey."
This indeed was no small annoyance to Pompey, who was quite
unaccustomed to hear anything ill of himself, and
unexperienced altogether in such encounters; and he was yet more vexed, when he
saw that the senate rejoiced at this foul usage, and regarded it as a just
punishment upon him for his treachery to
Thus Pompey being appointed chief purveyor, and having
within his administration and management all the corn trade, sent abroad his
factors and agents into all quarters, and he himself sailing into
Meantime Caesar grew great and famous with his wars in Gaul,
and while in appearance he seemed far distant from
Most of the candidates nevertheless abandoned their canvass for the consulship; Cato alone persuaded and encouraged Lucius Domitius not to desist, "since," said he, "the contest now is not for office, but for liberty against tyrants and usurpers." Therefore those of Pompey's party, fearing this inflexible constancy in Cato, by which he kept with him the whole senate, lest by this he should likewise pervert and draw after him all the well-affected part of the commonalty, resolved to withstand Domitius at once, and to prevent his entrance into the forum. To this end, therefore, they sent in a band of armed men, who slew the torchbearer of Domitius, as he was leading the way before him, and put all the rest to flight; last of all, Cato himself retired, having received a wound in his right arm while defending Domitius. Thus by these means and practices they obtained the consulship; neither did they behave themselves with more decency in their further proceedings; but in the first place, when the people were choosing Cato praetor, and just ready with their votes for the poll, Pompey broke up the assembly, upon a pretext of some inauspicious appearance, and having gained the tribes by money, they publicly proclaimed Vatinius praetor. Then, in pursuance of their covenants with Caesar, they introduced several laws by Trebonius, the tribune, continuing Caesar's commission to another five years' charge of his province; to Crassus there were appointed Syria, and the Parthian war; and to Pompey himself, all Africa, together with both Spains, and four legions of soldiers, two of which he lent to Caesar upon his request, for the wars in Gaul.
Crassus, upon the expiration of his consulship, departed
forthwith into his province; but Pompey spent some time in
These entertainments brought him great honor and popularity; but on the other side he created no less envy to himself, in that he committed the government of his provinces and legions into the hands of friends as his lieutenants, whilst he himself was going about and spending his time with his wife in all the places of amusement in Italy; whether it were he was so fond of her himself, or she so fond of him, and he unable to distress her by going away, for this also is stated. And the love displayed by this young wife for her elderly husband was a matter of general note, to be attributed, it would seem, to his constancy in married life, and to his dignity of manner, which in familiar intercourse was tempered with grace and gentleness, and was particularly attractive to women, as even Flora, the courtesan, may be thought good enough evidence to prove. It once happened in a public assembly, as they were at an election of the aediles, that the people came to blows, and several about Pompey were slain, so that he, finding himself all bloody, ordered a change of apparel; but the servants who brought home his clothes, making a great bustle and hurry about the house, it chanced that the young lady, who was then with child, saw his gown all stained with blood; upon which she dropped immediately into a swoon, and was hardly brought to life again; however, what with her fright and suffering, she fell into labor and miscarried; even those who chiefly censured Pompey for his friendship to Caesar, could not reprove him for his affection to so attached a wife. Afterwards she was great again, and brought to bed of a daughter, but died in childbed; neither did the infant outlive her mother many days. Pompey had prepared all things for the interment of her corpse at his house near Alba, but the people seized upon it by force, and performed the solemnities in the field of Mars, rather in compassion for the young lady, than in favor either for Pompey or Caesar; and yet of these two, the people seemed at that time to pay Caesar a greater share of honor in his absence, than to Pompey, though he was present.
For the city now at once began to roll and swell, so to say, with the stir of the coming storm. Things everywhere were in a state of agitation, and everybody's discourse tended to division, now that death had put an end to that relation which hitherto had been a disguise rather than restraint to the ambition of these men. Besides, not long after came messengers from Parthia with intelligence of the death of Crassus there, by which another safeguard against civil war was removed, since both Caesar and Pompey kept their eyes on Crassus, and awe of him held them together more or less within the bounds of fair-dealing all his lifetime. But when fortune had taken away this second, whose province it might have been to revenge the quarrel of the conquered, you might then say with the comic poet,
The combatants are waiting to begin,
Smearing their hands with dust and oiling each his skin.
So inconsiderable a thing is fortune in respect of human nature, and so insufficient to give content to a covetous mind, that an empire of that mighty extent and sway could not satisfy the ambition of two men; and though they knew and had read, that
The gods, when they divided out 'twixt three,
This massive universe, heaven, hell, and sea,
Each one sat down contented on his throne,
And undisturbed each god enjoys his own,
yet they thought the whole Roman empire not sufficient to contain them, though they were but two.
Pompey once in an oration to the people, told them, that he had always come into office before he expected he should, and that he had always left it sooner than they expected he would; and, indeed, the disbanding of all his armies witnessed as much. Yet when he perceived that Caesar would not so willingly discharge his forces, he endeavored to strengthen himself against him by offices and commands in the city; but beyond this he showed no desire for any change, and would not seem to distrust, but rather to disregard and contemn him. And when he saw how they bestowed the places of government quite contrary to his wishes, because the citizens were bribed in their elections, he let things take their course, and allowed the city to be left without any government at all. Hereupon there was mention straightaway made of appointing a dictator. Lucilius, a tribune of the people, was the man who first adventured to propose it, urging the people to make Pompey dictator. But the tribune was in danger of being turned out of his office, by the opposition that Cato made against it. And for Pompey, many of his friends appeared and excused him, alleging that he never was desirous of that government, neither would he accept of it. And when Cato therefore made a speech in commendation of Pompey, and exhorted him to support the cause of good order in the Commonwealth, he could not for shame but yield to it, and so for the present Domitius and Messala were elected consuls. But shortly afterwards, when there was another anarchy, or vacancy in the government, and the talk of a dictator was much louder and more general than before, those of Cato's party, fearing lest they should be forced to appoint Pompey, thought it policy to keep him from that arbitrary and tyrannical power, by giving him an office of more legal authority. Bibulus himself, who was Pompey's enemy, first gave his vote in the senate, that Pompey should be created consul alone; alleging, that by these means either the Commonwealth would be freed from its present confusion, or that its bondage should be lessened by serving the worthiest. This was looked upon as a very strange opinion, considering the man that spoke it; and therefore on Cato's standing up, everybody expected that he would have opposed it; but after silence made, he said that he would never have been the author of that advice himself, but since it was propounded by another, his advice was to follow it, adding, that any form of government was better than none at all; and that in a time so full of distraction, he thought no man fitter to govern than Pompey. This counsel was unanimously approved of, and a decree passed that Pompey should be made sole consul, with this clause, that if he thought it necessary to have a colleague, he might choose whom he pleased, provided it were not till after two months expired.
Thus was Pompey created and declared sole consul by Sulpicius, regent in this vacancy; upon which he made very cordial acknowledgments to Cato, professing himself much his debtor, and requesting his good advice in conducting the government; to this Cato replied, that Pompey had no reason to thank him, for all that he had said was for the service of the commonwealth, not of Pompey; but that he would be always ready to give his advice privately, if he were asked for it; and if not, he should not fail to say what he thought in public. Such was Cato's conduct on all occasions.
On his return into the city Pompey married Cornelia, the
daughter of Metellus Scipio, not a maiden, but lately left a widow by Publius,
the son of Crassus, her first husband, who had been killed in
This gave occasion to some of Caesar's friends to think it
reasonable, that some consideration should be had of him too, who had done such
signal services in war, and fought so many battles for the empire, alleging,
that he deserved at least a second consulship, or to have the government of his
province continued, that so he might command and enjoy in peace what he had
obtained in war, and no successor come in to reap the fruits of his labor, and
carry off the glory of his actions. There arising some debate about this
matter, Pompey took upon him, as it were out of kindness to Caesar, to plead
his cause, and allay any jealousy that was conceived against him, telling them,
that he had letters from Caesar, expressing his desire for a successor, and his
own discharge from the command; but it would be only right that they should
give him leave to stand for the consulship though in his absence. But those of
Cato's party withstood this, saying, that if he expected any favor from the
citizens, he ought to leave his army, and come in a private capacity to canvas
for it. And Pompey's making no rejoinder, but letting it pass as a matter in
which he was overruled, increased the suspicion of his real feelings towards
Caesar. Presently, also, under presence of a war with
About that time Pompey recovered of a dangerous fit of
sickness which seized him at
Caesar, on the other side, was more and more vigorous in his
proceedings, himself always at hand about the frontiers of
Upon this the city went into mourning, as in a public calamity, and Marcellus, accompanied by the senate, went solemnly through the forum to meet Pompey, and made him this address. "I hereby give you orders, O Pompey, to defend your country, to employ the troops you now command, and to levy more." Lentulus, consul elect for the year following, spoke to the same purpose. Antony, however, contrary to the will of the senate, having in a public assembly read a letter of Caesar's, containing various plausible overtures such as were likely to gain the common people, proposing, namely, that both Pompey and he quitting their governments, and dismissing their armies, should submit to the judgment of the people, and give an account of their actions before them, the consequence was that when Pompey began to make his levies, he found himself disappointed in his expectations. Some few, indeed, came in, but those very unwillingly; others would not answer to their names, and the generality cried out for peace. Lentulus, notwithstanding he was now entered upon his consulship, would not assemble the senate; but Cicero, who was lately returned from Cilicia, labored for a reconciliation, proposing that Caesar should leave his province of Gaul and army, reserving two legions only, together with the government of Illyricum, and should thus be put in nomination for a second consulship. Pompey disliking this motion, Caesar's friends were contented that he should surrender one of the two; but Lentulus still opposing, and Cato crying out that Pompey did ill to be deceived again, the reconciliation did not take effect.
In the meantime, news was brought that Caesar had occupied
Ariminum, a great city in
Some few days after Pompey was gone out, Caesar came into
the city, and made himself master of it, treating everyone with a great deal of
courtesy, and appeasing their fears, except only Metellus, one of the tribunes;
on whose refusing to let him take any money out of the treasury, Caesar
threatened him with death, adding words yet harsher than the threat, that it
was far easier for him to do it than say it. By this means removing Metellus,
and taking what moneys were of use for his occasions, he set forwards in
pursuit of Pompey, endeavoring with all speed to drive him out of
But Pompey arriving at Brundusium, and having plenty of ships there, bade the two consuls embark immediately, and with them shipped thirty cohorts of foot, bound before him for Dyrrhachium. He sent likewise his father-in-law Scipio, and Cnaeus his son, into Syria, to provide and fit out a fleet there; himself in the meantime having blocked up the gates, placed his lightest soldiers as guards upon the walls; and giving express orders that the citizens should keep within doors, he dug up all the ground inside the city, cutting trenches, and fixing stakes and palisades throughout all the streets of the city, except only two that led down to the sea-side. Thus in three days space having with ease put all the rest of his army on shipboard, he suddenly gave the signal to those that guarded the walls, who nimbly repairing to the ships, were received on board and carried off. Caesar meantime perceiving their departure by seeing the walls unguarded, hastened after, and in the heat of pursuit was all but entangled himself among the stakes and trenches. But the Brundusians discovering the danger to him, and showing him the way, he wheeled about, and taking a circuit round the city, made towards the haven, where he found all the ships on their way, excepting only two vessels that had but a few soldiers aboard.
Most are of opinion, that this departure of Pompey's is to
be counted among the best of his military performances, but Caesar himself
could not but wonder that he, who was thus ingarrisoned in a city well
fortified, who was in expectation of his forces from Spain, and was master of
the sea besides, should leave and abandon Italy.
In the meantime Pompey raised a mighty army both by sea and land. As for his navy, it was irresistible. For there were five hundred men of war, besides an infinite company of light vessels, Liburnians, and others; and for his land forces, the cavalry made up a body of seven thousand horse, the very flower of Rome and Italy, men of family, wealth, and high spirit; but the infantry was a mixture of unexperienced soldiers drawn from different quarters, and these he exercised and trained near Beroea, where he quartered his army; himself noways slothful, but performing all his exercises as if he had been in the flower of his youth, conduct which raised the spirits of his soldiers extremely. For it was no small encouragement for them to see Pompey the Great, sixty years of age wanting two, at one time handling his arms among the foot, then again mounted among the horse, drawing out his sword with ease in full career, and sheathing it up as easily; and in darting the javelin, showing not only skill and dexterity in hitting the mark, but also strength and activity in throwing it so far that few of the young men went beyond him.
Several kings and princes of nations came thither to him,
and there was a concourse of Roman citizens who had held the magistracies, so
numerous that they made up a complete senate. Labienus forsook his old friend
Caesar, whom he had served throughout all his wars in Gaul, and came over to
Pompey; and Brutus, son to that Brutus that was put to death in Gaul, a man of
a high spirit, and one that to that day had never so much as saluted or spoke
to Pompey, looking upon him as the murderer of his father, came then and
submitted himself to him as the defender of their liberty.
Neither was Pompey's clemency such, but that Caesar likewise
showed himself as merciful a conqueror; for when he had taken and overthrown
all Pompey's forces in Spain, he gave them easy terms, leaving the commanders
at their liberty, and taking the common soldiers into his own pay. Then
repassing the Alps, and making a running march through
Pompey had all along hitherto by his persuasions pretty well
quieted his soldiers; but after this last engagement, when Caesar for want of
provisions was forced to raise his camp, and passed through Athamania into
With this determination, Pompey marched forwards in pursuit of Caesar, firmly resolved with himself not to give him battle, but rather to besiege and distress him, by keeping close at his heels, and cutting him short. There were other reasons that made him continue this resolution, but especially because a saying that was current among the Romans serving in the cavalry came to his ear, to the effect, that they ought to beat Caesar as soon as possible, and then humble Pompey too. And some report, it was for this reason that Pompey never employed Cato in any matter of consequence during the whole war, but now when he pursued Caesar, left him to guard his baggage by sea, fearing lest, if Caesar should be taken off, he himself also by Cato's means not long after should be forced to give up his power.
Whilst he was thus slowly attending the motions of the
enemy, he was exposed on all sides to outcries, and imputations of using his
generalship to defeat, not Caesar, but his country and the senate, that he
might always continue in authority, and never cease to keep those for his
guards and servants, who themselves claimed to govern the world. Domitius
Aenobarbus, continually calling him Agamemnon, and king of kings, excited
jealousy against him; and Favonius, by his unseasonable raillery, did him no
less injury than those who openly attacked him, as when he cried out,
"Good friends, you must not expect to gather any figs in
With these and many such speeches they wrought upon Pompey, who never could bear reproach, or resist the expectations of his friends; and thus they forced him to break his measures, so that he forsook his own prudent resolution to follow their vain hopes and desires: weakness that would have been blamable ill the pilot of a ship, how much more in the sovereign commander of such an army, and so many nations. But he, though he had often commended those physicians who did not comply with the capricious appetites of their patients, yet himself could not but yield to the malady and disease of his companions and advisers in the war, rather than use some severity in their cure. Truly who could have said that health was not disordered and a cure not required in the case of men who went up and down the camp, suing already for the consulship and office of praetor, while Spinther, Domitius, and Scipio made friends, raised factions, and quarrelled among themselves, who should succeed Caesar in the dignity of his high-priesthood, esteeming all as lightly, as if they were to engage only with Tigranes, king of Armenia, or some petty Nabathaean king, not with that Caesar and his army that had stormed a thousand towns, and subdued more than three hundred several nations; that had fought innumerable battles with the Germans and Gauls, and always carried the victory; that had taken a million of men prisoners, and slain as many upon the spot in pitched battles?
But they went on soliciting and clamoring, and on reaching
the plain of Pharsalia, they forced Pompey by their pressure and importunities
to call a council of war, where Labienus, general of the horse, stood up first
and swore that he would not return out of the battle if he did not rout the
enemies; and a]l the rest took the same oath. That
night Pompey dreamed that as he went into the theater, the people received him
with great applause, and that he himself adorned the
Now Caesar having designed to raise his camp with the morning and move to Scotussa, whilst the soldiers were busy in pulling down their tents, and sending on their cattle and servants before them with their baggage, there came in scouts who brought word that they saw arms carried to and fro in the enemy's camp, and heard a noise and running up and down, as of men preparing for battle; not long after there came in other scouts with further intelligence, that the first ranks were already set in battle array. Thereupon Caesar, when he had told them that the wished for day was come at last, when they should fight with men, not with hunger and famine, instantly gave orders for the red colors to be set up before his tent, that being the ordinary signal of battle among the Romans. As soon as the soldiers saw that, they left their tents, and with great shouts of joy ran to their arms; the officers, likewise, on their parts drawing up their companies in order of battle, every man fell into his proper rank without any trouble or noise, as quietly and orderly as if they had been in a dance.
Pompey himself led the right wing of his army against
Caesar's army consisted of twenty-two thousand, and Pompey's
of somewhat above twice as many. When the signal of battle was given on both
sides, and the trumpets began to sound a charge, most men of course were fully
occupied with their own matters; only some few of the noblest Romans, together
with certain Greeks there present, standing as spectators without the battle,
seeing the armies now ready to join, could not but consider in themselves to
what a pass private ambition and emulation had brought the empire. Common arms,
and kindred ranks drawn up under the self-same standards, the whole flower and
strength of the same single city here meeting in collision with itself, offered
plain proof how blind and how mad a thing human nature is, when once possessed
with any passion; for if they had been desirous only to rule, and enjoy in
peace what they had conquered in war, the greatest and best part of the world
was subject to them both by sea and land. But if there was yet a thirst in their
ambition, that must still be fed with new trophies and triumphs, the Parthian
and German wars would yield matter enough to satisfy the most covetous of
Now, therefore, as soon as the plains of Pharsalia were covered with men, horse, and armor, and that the signal of battle was raised on either side, Caius Crassianus, a centurion, who commanded a company of one hundred and twenty men, was the first that advanced out of Caesar's army, to give the charge, and acquit himself of a solemn engagement that he had made to Caesar. He had been the first man that Caesar had seen going out of the camp in the morning, and Caesar, after saluting him, had asked him what he thought of the coming battle. To which he, stretching out his right hand, replied aloud, "Thine is the victory, O Caesar, thou shalt conquer gloriously, and I myself this day will be the subject of thy praise either alive or dead." In pursuance of this promise he hastened forward, and being followed by many more, charged into the midst of the enemy. There they came at once to a close fight with their swords, and made a great slaughter; but as he was still pressing forward, and breaking the ranks of the vanguard, one of Pompey's soldiers ran him in at the mouth, so that the point of the sword came out behind at his neck; and Crassianus being thus slain, the fight became doubtful, and continued equal on that part of the battle.
Pompey had not yet brought on the right wing, but stayed and looked about, waiting to see what execution his cavalry would do on the left. They had already drawn out their squadrons in form, designing to turn Caesar's flank, and force those few horse, which he had placed in the front, to give back upon the battalion of foot. But Caesar, on the other side, having given the signal, his horse retreated back a little, and gave way to those six subsidiary cohorts, which had been posted in the rear, as a reserve to cover the flank; and which now came out, three thousand men in number, and met the enemy; and when they came up, standing by the horses, struck their javelins upwards, according to their instructions, and hit the horsemen full in their faces. They, unskillful in any manner of fight, and least of all expecting or understanding such a kind as this, had not courage enough to endure the blows upon their faces, but turning their backs, and covering their eyes with their hands, shamefully took to flight. Caesar's men, however, did not follow them, but marched upon the foot, and attacked the wing, which the flight of the cavalry had left unprotected, and liable to be turned and taken in the rear, so that this wing now being attacked in the flank by these, and charged in the front by the tenth legion, was not able to abide the charge, or make any longer resistance, especially when they saw themselves surrounded and circumvented in the very way in which they had designed to invest the enemy. Thus these being likewise routed and put to flight, when Pompey, by the dust flying in the air, conjectured the fate of his horse, it were very hard to say what his thoughts or intentions were, but looking like one distracted and beside himself, and without any recollection or reflection that he was Pompey the Great, he retired slowly towards his camp, without speaking a word to any man, exactly according to the description in the verses,
But Jove from heaven struck
In this state and condition he went into his own tent, and sat down, speechless still, until some of the enemy fell in together with his men that were flying into the camp, and then he let fall only this one word, "What? into the very camp?" and said no more; but rose up, and putting on a dress suitable to his present fortune, made his way secretly out.
By this time the rest of the army was put to flight, and there was a great slaughter in the camp among the servants and those that guarded the tents, but of the soldiers themselves there were not above six thousand slain, as is stated by Asinius Pollio, who himself fought in this battle on Caesar's side. When Caesar's soldiers had taken the camp, they saw clearly the folly and vanity of the enemy; for all their tents and pavilions were richly set out with garlands of myrtle, embroidered carpets and hangings, and tables laid and covered with goblets. There were large bowls of wine ready, and everything prepared and put in array, in the manner rather of people who had offered sacrifice and were going to celebrate a holiday, than of soldiers who had armed themselves to go out to battle, so possessed with the expectation of success and so full of empty confidence had they gone out that morning.
When Pompey had got a little way from the camp, he dismounted and forsook his horse, having but a small retinue with him; and finding that no man pursued him, walked on softly afoot, taken up altogether with thoughts, such as probably might possess a man that for the space of thirty-four years together had been accustomed to conquest and victory, and was then at last, in his old age, learning for the first time what defeat and flight were. And it was no small affliction to consider, that he had lost in one hour all that glory and power, which he had been getting in so many wars, and bloody battles; and that he who but a little before was guarded with such an army of foot, so many squadrons of horse, and such a mighty fleet, was now flying in so mean a condition, and with such a slender retinue, that his very enemies who fought him could not know him. Thus, when he had passed by the city of Larissa, and came into the pass of Tempe, being very thirsty, he kneeled down and drank out of the river; then rising up again, he passed through Tempe, until he came to the seaside, and there he betook himself to a poor fisherman's cottage, where he rested the remainder of the night. The next morning about break of day he went into one of the river boats, and taking none of those that followed him except such as were free, dismissed his servants, advising them to go boldly to Caesar, and not be afraid. As he was rowing up and down near the shore, he chanced to spy a large merchant-ship, lying off, just ready to set sail; the master of which was a Roman citizen, named Peticius, who, though he was not familiarly acquainted with Pompey, yet knew him well by sight. Now it happened that this Peticius dreamed, the night before, that he saw Pompey, not like the man he had often seen him, but in a humble and dejected condition, and in that posture discoursing with him. He was then telling his dream to the people on board, as men do when at leisure, and especially dreams of that consequence, when of a sudden one of the mariners told him, he saw a river boat with oars putting off from shore, and that some of the men there shook their garments, and held out their hands, with signs to take them in; thereupon Peticius looking attentively, at once recognized Pompey, just as he appeared in his dream, and smiting his hand on his head, ordered the mariners to let down the ship's boat, he himself waving his hand, and calling to him by his name, already assured of his change and the change of his fortune by that of his garb. So that without waiting for any further entreaty or discourse, he took him into his ship, together with as many of his company as he thought fit, and hoisted sail. There were with him the two Lentuli, and Favonius; and a little after they spied king Deiotarus, making up towards them from the shore; so they stayed and took him in along with them. At supper time, the master of the ship having made ready such provisions as he had aboard, Pompey, for want of his servants, began to undo his shoes himself; which Favonius noticing ran to him and undid them, and helped him to anoint himself, and always after continued to wait upon, and attend him in all things, as servants do their masters, even to the washing of his feet, and preparing his supper. Insomuch that anyone there present, observing the free and unaffected courtesy of these services, might have well exclaimed,
O heavens, in those that noble are,
Whate'er they do is fit and fair.
Pompey, sailing by the city of
Thus, they say, Cornelia spoke to him, and this was Pompey's
reply: "You have had, Cornelia, but one season of a better fortune, which
it may be, gave you unfounded hopes, by attending me a longer time than is
usual. It behoves us, who are mortals born, to endure these events, and to try
fortune yet again; neither is it any less possible to recover our former state,
than it was to fall from that into this." Thereupon Cornelia sent for her
servants and baggage out of the city. The citizens also of Mitylene came out to
salute and invite Pompey into the city, but he refused, advising them to be
obedient to the conqueror, and fear not, for that Caesar was a man of great
goodness and clemency. Then turning to Cratippus, the philosopher, who came
among the rest out of the city to visit him, he began to find some fault, and
briefly argued with him upon
Pompey having taken his wife and friends aboard, set sail, making no port, nor touching anywhere, but when he was necessitated to take in provisions, or fresh water. The first city he entered was Attalia, in Pamphylia, and whilst he was there, there came some galleys thither to him out of Cilicia, together with a small body of soldiers, and he had almost sixty senators with him again; then hearing that his navy was safe too, and that Cato had rallied a considerable body of soldiers after their overthrow, and was crossing with them over into Africa, he began to complain and blame himself to his friends that he had allowed himself to be driven into engaging by land, without making use of his other forces, in which he was irresistibly the stronger, and had not kept near enough to his fleet, that failing by land, he might have reinforced himself from the sea, and would have been again at the head of a power quite sufficient to encounter the enemy on equal terms. And in truth, neither did Pompey during all the war commit a greater oversight, nor Caesar use a more subtle stratagem, than in drawing the fight so far off from the naval forces.
As it now was, however, since he must come to some decision,
and try some plan within his present ability, he dispatched his agents to the
neighboring cities, and himself sailed about in person to others, requiring
their aid in money and men for his ships. But, fearing lest the rapid approach
of the enemy might cut off all his preparations, he began to consider what
place would yield him the safest refuge and retreat at present. A consultation
was held, and it was generally agreed that no province of the Romans was secure
enough. As for foreign kingdoms, he himself was of opinion, that
As soon, therefore, as it was resolved upon, that he should
This advice being approved of, they committed the execution of it to Achillas. He, therefore, taking with him as his accomplices one Septimius, a man that had formerly held a command under Pompey, and Salvius, another centurion, with three or four attendants, made up towards Pompey's galley. In the meantime, all the chiefest of those who accompanied Pompey in this voyage, were come into his ship to learn the event of their embassy. But when they saw the manner of their reception, that in appearance it was neither princely nor honorable, nor indeed in any way answerable to the hopes of Theophanes, or their expectation, (for there came but a few men in a fisherman's boat to meet them,) they began to suspect the meanness of their entertainment, and gave warning to Pompey that he should row back his galley, whilst he was out of their reach, and make for the sea. By this time, the Egyptian boat drew near, and Septimius standing up first, saluted Pompey in the Latin tongue, by the title of imperator. Then Achillas, saluting him in the Greek language, desired him to come aboard his vessel, telling him, that the sea was very shallow towards the shore, and that a galley of that burden could not avoid striking upon the sands. At the same time they saw several of the king's galleys getting their men on board, and all the shore covered with soldiers; so that even if they changed their minds, it seemed impossible for them to escape, and besides, their distrust would have given the assassins a pretence for their cruelty. Pompey, therefore, taking his leave of Cornelia, who was already lamenting his death before it came, bade two centurions, with Philip, one of his freedmen, and a slave called Scythes, go on board the boat before him. And as some of the crew with Achillas were reaching out their hands to help him, he turned about towards his wife and son, and repeated those iambics of Sophocles,
He that once enters at a tyrant's door,
Becomes a slave, though he were free before.
These were the last words he spoke to his friends, and so he went aboard. Observing presently that notwithstanding there was a considerable distance betwixt his galley and the shore, yet none of the company addressed any words of friendliness or welcome to him all the way, he looked earnestly upon Septimius, and said, "I am not mistaken, surely, in believing you to have been formerly my fellow-soldier." But he only nodded with his head, making no reply at all, nor showing any other courtesy. Since, therefore, they continued silent, Pompey took a little book in his hand, in which was written out an address in Greek, which he intended to make to king Ptolemy, and began to read it. When they drew near to the shore, Cornelia, together with the rest of his friends in the galley, was very impatient to see the event, and began to take courage at last, when she saw several of the royal escort coming to meet him, apparently to give him a more honorable reception; but in the meantime, as Pompey took Philip by the hand to rise up more easily, Septimius first stabbed him from behind with his sword; and after him likewise Salvius and Achillas drew out their swords. He, therefore, taking up his gown with both hands, drew it over his face, and neither saying nor doing anything unworthy of himself, only groaning a little, endured the wounds they gave him, and so ended his life, in the fifty-ninth year of his age, the very next day after the day of his birth.
Cornelia, with her company from the galley, seeing him murdered, gave such a cry that it was heard to the shore, and weighing anchor with all speed, they hoisted sail, and fled. A strong breeze from the shore assisted their flight into the open sea, so that the Egyptians, though desirous to overtake them, desisted from the pursuit. But they cut off Pompey's head, and threw the rest of his body overboard, leaving it naked upon the shore, to be viewed by any that had the curiosity to see so sad a spectacle. Philip stayed by and watched till they had glutted their eyes in viewing it; and then washing it with sea-water, having nothing else, he wrapped it up in a shirt of his own for a winding-sheet. Then seeking up and down about the sands, at last he found some rotten planks of a little fisher-boat, not much, but yet enough to make up a funeral pile for a naked body, and that not quite entire. As Philip was busy in gathering and putting these old planks together, an old Roman citizen, who in his youth had served in the wars under Pompey, came up to him and demanded, who he was that was preparing the funeral of Pompey the Great. And Philip making answer, that he was his freedman, "Nay, then," said he, "you shall not have this honor alone; let even me, too, I pray you, have my share in such a pious office. that I may not altogether repent me of this pilgrimage in a strange land, but in compensation of many misfortunes, may obtain this happiness at last, even with mine own hands to touch the body of Pompey, and do the last duties to the greatest general among the Romans." And in this manner were the obsequies of Pompey performed. The next day Lucius Lentulus, not knowing what had passed, came sailing from Cyprus along the shore of that coast, and seeing a funeral pile, and Philip standing by, exclaimed, before he was yet seen by any one, "Who is this that has found his end here?" adding, after a short pause, with a sigh, "Possibly even thou, Pompeius Magnus!" and so going ashore, he was presently apprehended and slain. This was the end of Pompey.
Not long after, Caesar arrived in the country that was
polluted with this foul act, and when one of the Egyptians was sent to present
him with Pompey's head, he turned away from him with abhorrence as from a
murderer; and on receiving his seal, on which was engraved a lion holding a
sword in his paw, he burst into tears. Achillas and Pothinus he put to death;
and king Ptolemy himself, being overthrown in battle
upon the banks of the