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Pompey, a key figure in ancient Roman history, was a politician and a military commander who was active during the late Roman Republic. He belonged to an affluent family without any political leverage, but he grew up to become a very influential man. His father, Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, was an infamous man. Pompey worked for two years under his father’s command and took over the reins when his father died while safeguarding Rome from the Marians. Pompey proved himself to be better than his father in using tactical skills to win battles. Equipped with an army, he brought Syria, Armenia, and Palestine under the Roman Empire. He also tamed the pirates in the Mediterranean Sea and was appointed as the administrator of the lands conquered by him. His former rival, Julius Caesar, joined hands with him in 60 BC. Along with Marcus Licinius Crassus, the trio is known in history as the “First Triumvirate.” While Pompey became jealous of Caesar’s success, Caesar, too, could not tolerate the extraordinary rise of Pompey. Soon, Caesar started plotting against him. While the general support was with Pompey, the Egyptian king, Ptolemy, feared Caesar. In order to earn Caesar’s goodwill, Ptolemy plotted and killed Pompey as soon as he landed in Egypt in 48 BC.

Childhood & Early Life

Pompy was Born in Picenum, Italy, on September 29, 106 BC, during the late Roman Republic. He came from a wealthy family. His father was the first member of his family to attain Roman nobility. In 141 B.C., Pompey’s father was appointed consul for the very first time.

Being born into a wealthy and esteemed Roman family had its benefits. Pompey received an excellent education in Greek mythology. He was a capable young man due to his keen intellect when he was a teenager. His father, Pompeius Strabo, was a capable military general who fought alongside Sulla, a dictatorship supporter.

During Pompei’s youth, the Roman Empire was beset by frequent civil conflicts. The bloodiest of these was the conflict between Sulla and Marius, a proponent of democracy. His father passed away during the Marian siege of Rome. However, his actual cause of death is still a matter of debate.

Pompey fought under his father’s command and gained a large deal of knowledge from him. After his passing, he assumed command of his father’s army. However, his father perished as a notorious individual. Several charges of treachery and avarice were brought against him, and after his demise, Pompey was required to stand trial for his father’s actions.

Ascend to Power

Facing accusations for his father’s exploits, Pompey fought the accuser verbally in court, demonstrating extraordinary skill. The adjudicator had compassion for Pompey. Aware of his potential as a future leader, he wed his daughter Antistia to Pompey. Pompey was soon cleared of all charges.

During his final invasion of Rome in 83 B.C., Pompey joined forces with Sulla to complete what his father had begun. This time, the Marians were annihilated, and Sulla was appointed dictator. Sulla was aware of Pompey’s abilities and appointed him as a court administrator. Sulla requested that Pompey divorce his first wife and marry Aemilia Scaura, Sulla’s stepdaughter, in order to preserve their relationship. Pompey readily consented.

By that time, the remaining Marians had relocated to Sicily, where they reassembled their forces to challenge Sulla’s regime. Pompey demonstrated his military prowess and quickly conquered Sicily. Although he was known as a kind man, he was cruel to his adversaries and earned the nickname “adolescent butcher.”

The adversaries refused to relax. In the meantime, Gnaeus Domitius was amassing a sizable army in Africa in order to confront Sulla’s forces in Rome. Pompey was still youthful, and Sulla grew even fonder of him as a result of his exceptional leadership of the army. Pompey was dispatched to Africa, where he was able to subdue Domitius. Pompey was given the title “Magnus,” which means “the great,” upon his return to Rome, and it was determined that “Magnus” would be his official surname.

Upon his return to Rome in 81 B.C., Pompey demanded a “triumph,” or a ritual procession. Sulla denied the request, as Pompey was still too immature to have his extraordinary demands met. In 79 B.C., against Sulla’s inclinations, Pompey campaigned for Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and appointed him consul. This led to a minor disagreement between Sulla and Pompey, but both men respected one another. Although mutiny was virtually inevitable, it did not occur. However, Sulla excluded Pompey from his will prior to his death.

Marcus Aemilius succeeded Sulla following his demise in 78 B.C. Pompey demanded that Sulla’s burial be conducted with honor and dignity, despite the fact that the new ruler was not particularly enamored of him. Multiple conflicts occurred between them, and the Roman Empire narrowly avoided a revolution.

His Military Service

By the time he was in his early thirties, Pompey’s influence and reputation had transcended national boundaries. He fought for many years in Spain to preserve the Roman presence there. After his outstanding campaigns in Spain, he was elected consul in 70 BC. He was 36 at the time. He refused to remain in the consul’s office as he was by nature a military commander. Instead, he engaged in multiple campaigns to expand the Roman Empire.

After gaining command of a minor portion of the navy, he embarked on one of his most successful journeys to the Mediterranean Sea. There, he engaged the pirates in combat and effectively drove them away. Pirates posed a significant obstacle for Roman merchants. Once the ocean was cleared, commercial relations between Rome and other kingdoms accelerated. Thus, Pompey demonstrated his political abilities by forming political alliances with a number of maritime kingdoms.

He continued his campaigns and quickly brought Jerusalem and Syria under Roman control. By 60 B.C., Julius Caesar had arrived from Spain and was governing the vast Roman Empire territories. When Pompey returned to Rome, he was greeted with open arms.

Caesar proposed an alliance with Pompey. The famous “First Triumvirate” was founded when Marcus Licinius Crassus became the third man to join the alliance. Caesar’s military prowess was well-known, and together with Pompey’s intelligence, the trio controlled the Roman Empire for the next seven years.

However, relations between the three were strained. Each member of the alliance was in a constant struggle to be more popular and potent than the others. Caesar’s successes made Pompey envious. This resulted in the collapse of the “First Triumvirate” in 53 BC, prompting Caesar to surrender his army. Pompey ruled Italy at the time, and Caesar proclaimed war against him in 49 BC.

Pompey was unprepared and was compelled to pull his forces back from Italy and Spain. In Greece, however, Caesar’s forces failed. They were soon compelled to retreat. Caesar defeated Pompey and forced him to escape to Egypt in 48 B.C. Egypt was ruled by King Ptolemy at the time. Since Ptolemy was his erstwhile ally, Pompey sought refuge with him. Ptolemy, however, had other intentions. Pompey was unaware of Ptolemy’s aversion to offending Caesar.

Legacy & Death

On September 28, 48 BC, King Ptolemy greeted Pompey and requested that he land at Pelusium. Pompey was struck from behind by one of Ptolemy’s generals as soon as he disembarked. He perished instantly.
According to historians, Pompey was one of the foremost Roman generals of the late Roman Republic. Numerous books, novels, paintings, animations, and poems feature Pompey.

Pompey’s Personal Life

Pompey married five times throughout his existence. Virtually all of his marriages were the consequence of political alliances. He married Antistia, Aemilia Scaura, Mucia Tertia, Julia, and Cornelia Metella. Pompey’s three offspring were all born to his third wife, Murcia.

Estimated Net Worth

The net worth of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus is $2 million.