52 Facts About Pompey


Pompey played a significant role in the transformation of Rome from republic to empire.


Pompey was elected as Roman consul on three occasions.


Pompey celebrated three Roman triumphs, served as a commander in the Sertorian War, the Third Servile War, the Third Mithridatic War, and in various other military campaigns.


Pompey's adversaries gave him the nickname adulescentulus carnifex for his ruthlessness.


Pompey completed the traditional cursus honorum, becoming consul in 89 BC, and acquired a reputation for greed, political duplicity, and military ruthlessness.


Pompey began his career serving with his father in the Social War.


Pompey was acquitted, supposedly after agreeing to marry the judge's daughter, Antistia.


Either through admiration of his abilities, or concern at his ambition, Sulla sought to consolidate his alliance with Pompey by persuading him to divorce Antistia, and marry his stepdaughter Aemilia.


Perperna abandoned Sicily after Pompey landed on the island with a large force, while Carbo was captured and later executed.


Pompey claimed this was justified by Carbo's alleged crimes against Roman citizens, but his opponents nicknamed him adulescentulus carnifex, or "young butcher", as a result.


Pompey now sailed for Africa, leaving Sicily in the hands of his brother-in-law, Gaius Memmius.


Shortly thereafter, Pompey formally made this part of his name.


Pompey refused to disband his army until Sulla agreed, although the latter tried to offset the impact by awarding simultaneous triumphs to Lucius Murena and Gaius Flaccus.


Sometime during this period, Pompey married Mucia Tertia, a member of the powerful Metellus family.


Pompey supported Marcus Aemilius Lepidus as consul for 78 BC; Plutarch claims he did so against Sulla's advice, but most modern historians refute the idea.


Pompey recruited 30,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry, evidence of the threat posed by Sertorius.


Pompey's arrival boosted the morale of Metellus' troops, while some rebel groups changed sides, but he was then defeated by Sertorius at the Battle of Lauron.


In 75 BCE, Sertorius led the campaign against Metellus, while Pompey smashed his subordinates Perpenna and Gaius Herennius outside Valencia.


When Sertorius took over operations against Pompey, Metellus defeated his deputy Lucius Hirtuleius at the Battle of Italica.


Lack of supplies forced Metellus to quarter his troops in Gaul, while Pompey wintered among the Vaccaei.


Pompey returned to Italy just before Crassus defeated the main rebel army in 71 BC, arriving in time to massacre 6,000 fugitives from the battle.


Pompey's claim to have ended the war by doing so was a long-standing source of resentment for Crassus.


Pompey was granted a second triumph for his victory in Hispania, and nominated for the consulship.


Plutarch suggests Pompey supported Crassus as his co-consul in order to put him under an obligation.


Pompey spread his forces throughout the Mediterranean to prevent the pirates escaping a Roman fleet by moving elsewhere.


Pompey led the decisive assault on their stronghold in Alanya, winning the Battle of Korakesion and concluding the war in only three months.


Pompey assumed leadership of the war against Mithridates, but failed to respond decisively when the latter re-occupied much of Pontus in 67 BC, then attacked Cappadocia, a Roman ally.


Pompey agreed an alliance with Phraates III, king of Parthia, whom he persuaded to invade Armenia.


When Mithridates offered a truce, Lucullus argued the war was over, but Pompey demanded concessions which could not be accepted.


Outnumbered, Mithridates withdrew into Armenia, followed by Pompey, who defeated him at Lycus near the end of 66 BC.


Meanwhile, Pompey invaded Armenia supported by Tigranes the Younger, whose father quickly came to terms; in return for the restoration of Armenian territories taken by Lucullus, he paid a substantial cash indemnity and allowed Roman troops to be based on his territory.


In 65 BC, Pompey set out to take Colchis, but to do so had first to subdue various local tribes and allies of Mithridrates.


Pompey then wintered in Armenia, settling minor border contests and raids between his allies Phraates and Tigranes.


Pompey claimed the new provinces established in the East had increased annual state income from 200 million to 340 million sesterces, plus an additional payment of 480 million sesterces to the treasury.


Pompey refused to provide details of his personal fortune, but given the amounts declared publicly, this must have been enormous.


Pompey's influence was based on his reputation as a military commander, and popularity with the Roman people.


Pompey was assigned Gallia Transalpina after its governor died in office, before leaving Rome to launch the Gallic Wars in 58 BC.


Pompey was assigned the restive provinces of Hispania, along with Africa, while Caesar's governorships in Gaul were extended.


Pompey had abandoned Rome, ordering all senators and public officials to accompany him as he withdrew south to Brundisium.


Pompey escaped from the battlefield and made his way to Mytilene, where he was reunited with his wife Cornelia.


When he went ashore to greet an official delegation, Pompey was killed by Lucius Septimius, a Roman officer and former colleague serving in the Egyptian army.


Pompey's body was cremated by two servants, while the head was kept as evidence.


One suggestion is that Ptolemy and his advisors feared Pompey planned to seize control of Egypt, especially since many Egyptian army officers were Roman mercenaries like Septimius who had previously served with him.


Pompey's head was later returned to Cornelia for burial at his villa in the Alban Hills, while his ignominious death prompted Cicero to write "his life outlasted his power".


Pompey's tactics were usually efficient, albeit not particularly innovative or imaginative, and they could prove insufficient against greater tacticians.


Pompey was a great forward planner, and had tremendous organizational skill, which allowed him to devise grand strategies and operate effectively with large armies.


Against Perpenna, a tactician far inferior to his former commander-in-chief, Pompey decided to revert to a more aggressive strategy and he scored a decisive victory that effectively ended the war.


Pompey was so striking a figure, and his fall so dramatic, that his story became the subject of frequent literary treatment.


Later in the 18th century, Pompey is made the recipient of a 'heroical epistle' in rhyming couplets from a supposed former lover in John Hervey's "Flora to Pompey".


Pompey's career is recapitulated a century later in series of historical novels.


In Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome, Pompey is mainly featured in Books III-V, covering his rise to prominence through to his betrayal and murder in Egypt.


Pompey is a recurring character in Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa crime fiction novels, where he brushes shoulders with Gordianus, the main protagonist of the series.