Pompey the Great
Pompey the Great.jpg
Marble bust of Pompey the Great in the musée du Louvre at Paris
Consul of the Roman Republic
In office
52 – 51 BC
Preceded byMarcus Valerius Messalla Rufus and Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus
Succeeded byMarcus Claudius Marcellus and Servius Sulpicius Rufus
In office
55 – 54 BC
Preceded byGnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and Lucius Marcius Philippus
Succeeded byAppius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
Governor of the Hispania Ulterior
In office
58 – 55 BC
Consul of the Roman Republic
In office
70 – 69 BC
Preceded byPublius Cornelius Lentulus Sura and Gnaeus Aufidius Orestes
Succeeded byQuintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus and Quintus Hortensius
Personal details
BornSeptember 29, 106 BC
Picenum (Italy), Roman Republic
DiedSeptember 28, 48 BC (aged 57)[1]
Pelusium, Ptolemaic Egypt
Political partyOptimates
Spouse(s)Antistia (86–82 BC, divorced)
Aemilia Scaura (82–79 BC, her death)
Mucia Tertia (79–61 BC, divorced)
Julia (59–54 BC, her death)
Cornelia Metella (52–48 BC, his death)
ChildrenGnaeus Pompeius
Pompeia Magna
Sextus Pompeius
OccupationPolitician and military commander

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus[2] (Classical Latin: [ˈgnae̯.ʊs pɔmˈpɛj.jʊs ˈmaŋ.nʊs]; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC),[1] usually known in English as Pompey / or Pompey the Great,[3] was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. He came from a wealthy Italian provincial background, and his father had been the first to establish the family among the Roman nobility. Pompey's immense success as a general while still very young enabled him to advance directly to his first consulship without meeting the normal requirements for office. His success as a military commander in Sulla's second civil war resulted in Sulla bestowing the nickname Magnus, "the Great", upon him. His Roman adversaries insulted him as adulescentulus carnifex, "the teenage butcher", after his Sicilian campaign.[4] He was consul three times (twice with Crassus and once a consul without a partner) and celebrated three triumphs.

In mid-60 BC, Pompey joined Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gaius Julius Caesar in the unofficial military-political alliance known as the First Triumvirate, which Pompey's marriage to Caesar's daughter Julia helped secure. After the deaths of Julia and Crassus, Pompey sided with the optimates, the conservative faction of the Roman Senate. Pompey and Caesar then contended for the leadership of the Roman state, leading to a civil war. When Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated. His career and defeat are significant in Rome's subsequent transformation from Republic to Empire.

Early life and political debut

Pompey was born in Picenum (modern Marche and the northern part of Abruzzo) to a local noble family. Pompey's father, Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, was first of his family to achieve senatorial status, despite the anti-rural prejudice of the Roman Senate. The Romans referred to Strabo as a novus homo (new man).[1] Pompeius Strabo ascended the traditional cursus honorum, becoming quaestor in 104 BC, praetor in 92 BC and consul in 89 BC. He acquired a reputation for greed, political double-dealing and military ruthlessness. He fought the Social War (91–88 BC) against Rome's Italian allies. He supported Sulla, who belonged to the optimates, the pro-aristocracy faction, against Marius, who belonged to the populares (in favour of the people), in Sulla's first civil war (88–87 BC). He died during the siege of Rome by the Marians, in 87 BC—either as a casualty of an epidemic,[5] or by having been struck by lightning.[6] His twenty-year-old son Pompey inherited his estates, and the loyalty of his legions.

Roman statue of so-called Pompey, at the Villa Arconati a Castellazzo di Bollate (Milan, Italy). It was brought there from Rome in 1627 by Galeazzo Arconati.

Pompey had served two years under his father's command, and had participated in the final part of the Social War. When his father died, Pompey was put on trial due to accusations that his father stole public property. As his father's heir, Pompey could be held to account. He discovered that the theft was committed by one of his father's freedmen. Following his preliminary bouts with his accuser, the judge took a liking to Pompey and offered his daughter Antistia in marriage. Pompey was acquitted.[7]

Another civil war broke out between the Marians and Sulla in 83–82 BC. The Marians had previously taken over Rome while Sulla was fighting the First Mithridatic War (89–85 BC) against Mithridates VI of Pontus in Greece.[8] In 83 BC, Sulla returned from that war, landing in Brundisium (Brindisi) in southern Italy. Pompey raised three legions in Picenum to support Sulla's march on Rome against the Marian regime of Gnaeus Papirius Carbo and Gaius Marius the Younger. Cassius Dio described Pompey's troop levy as a "small band".[9]

Sulla defeated the Marians and was appointed as Dictator. He admired Pompey's qualities and thought that he was useful for the administration of his affairs. He and his wife, Metella, persuaded Pompey to divorce Antistia and marry Sulla's stepdaughter Aemilia Scaura. Plutarch commented that the marriage was "characteristic of a tyranny, and benefitted the needs of Sulla rather than the nature and habits of Pompey, Aemilia being given to him in marriage when she was with child by another man." Antistia had recently lost both her parents. Pompey accepted, but "Aemilia had scarcely entered Pompey's house before she succumbed to the pains of childbirth."[10] Pompey later married Mucia Tertia. We have no record of when this took place. The sources only mentioned Pompey divorcing her. Plutarch wrote that Pompey dismissed with contempt a report that she had had an affair while he was fighting in the Third Mithridatic War between and 66 BC and 63 BC. However, on his journey back to Rome he examined the evidence more carefully and filed for divorce.[11] Cicero wrote that the divorce was strongly approved.[12] Cassius Dio wrote that she was the sister of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer and that Metellus Celer was angry because he had divorced her despite having had children by her.[13] Pompey and Mucia had three children: The eldest, Gnaeus Pompey (Pompey the Younger), Pompeia Magna, a daughter, and Sextus Pompey, the younger son. Cassius Dio wrote that Marcus Scaurus was Sextus’ half-brother on his mother's side. He was condemned to death, but later released for the sake of his mother Mucia.[14]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Pompeius
አማርኛ: ፖምፐይ
azərbaycanca: Qney Pompey
বাংলা: পম্পে
български: Помпей Велики
བོད་ཡིག: ཕང་ཕེ་
bosanski: Pompej
čeština: Pompeius
dansk: Pompejus
eesti: Pompeius
Ελληνικά: Πομπήιος
español: Pompeyo
Esperanto: Pompeo
euskara: Ponpeio
فارسی: پومپه
français: Pompée
Frysk: Pompejus
hrvatski: Pompej Veliki
Bahasa Indonesia: Pompeius
interlingua: Pompeio Magne
íslenska: Pompeius
қазақша: Помпей Гней
latviešu: Gnejs Pompejs
Malagasy: Pompée
മലയാളം: പോംപി
Bahasa Melayu: Pompey
монгол: Помпей
Nederlands: Pompeius
norsk: Pompeius
norsk nynorsk: Pompeius
occitan: Pompèu
Plattdüütsch: Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
polski: Pompejusz
português: Pompeu
Scots: Pompey
shqip: Pompei
Simple English: Pompey
slovenščina: Pompej Veliki
српски / srpski: Гнеј Помпеј Велики
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Pompej
suomi: Pompeius
svenska: Pompejus
Tagalog: Pompey
اردو: پومپی
Tiếng Việt: Pompey
Winaray: Pompeyo
粵語: 龐培