, or P0MPEIUS (CNEius), surnamed Magnus, or the Great, was of a noble Roman family, the son of
, or P0MPEIUS (CNEius), surnamed Magnus, or the Great, was of a noble Roman family, the son of Pompeius Strabo, and Lucilia. He was born the same year with Cicero, but nine months later, namely, in the consulship of Csepio and Serranus, 105 years before the Christian sera. His father was a general of great abilities, and under him he learned the art of war. When he was only twenty-three he raised three legions, which he led to Sylla. Three years after, he drove the opponents of Sylla from Africa and Sicily. Young as he was, he had already won the soldiers sufficiently, by his mildness and military talents, to excite the jealousy of Sylla, who therefore recalled him to Rome. His soldiers would have detained him in spite of the dictator’s orders, but he obeyed, and was rewarded on his arrival by the name of Magnus, given him by Sylla, and soon after confirmed unanimously by his countrymen. He obtained also the honours of a triumph, which the dictator permitted rather unwillingly, and was the first instance of a Roman knight, who had not risen to any magistracy, being advanced to that elevation. This was in 81 B. C. In a short time, he had obtained as much power by the voluntary favour of the people, as Sylla had before by arms and after the death of that extraordinary man, obliged Lepidus to quit Rome, and then undertook the war against Sertorius in Spain, which he brought to a fortunate conclusion. For this victory he triumphed a second time, B. C. 73, being still only in the rank of a knight. Not long afterwards he was chosen consul. In that office he re-established the power of the tribunes; and, in the course of a few years, exterminated the pirates who infested the Mediterranean, gained great advantages against Tigranes and Mithriclates, and carried his victorious arms into Media, Albania, Iberia, and the most important parts of Asia; and so extended the boundaries of the Roman empire, that Asia Minor, which before formed the extremity of its provinces, now became, in a manner, the centre of them. When he returned to receive a triumph for these victories, he courted popularity by dismissing his troops and entering the city as a private citizen. He triumphed with great splendour but not feeling his influence such as he had hoped, he united with Caesar and Crassus to form the first triumvirate. He strengthened his union with Ccesar by marrying his daughter Julia; he was destined nevertheless to find in Caesar not a friend, but too successful a rival. While Caesar was gaining in his long Gallic wars a fame and a power that were soon to be invincible, Pompey was endeavouring to cultivate his popularity and influence in Rome. Ere long they took directly contrary parties. Pompey became the hope and the support of the patricians and the senate, while Caesar was the idol of the people. On the return of the latter from Gaul, in the year 51 A. C. the civil war broke out, which terminated, as is well known, by the defeat of Pompey in the battle of Pharsalia, A. C. 49, and the base assassination of him by the officers of Ptolemy in Egypt. It appears that Pompey had not less ambition than Caesar, but was either more scrupulous, or less sagacious and fortunate in his choice of means to gratify that passion. He was unwilling to throw off the mask of virtue and moderation, and hoped to gain every thing by intrigue and the appearance of transcendant merit. In this he might have been successful, had he not been opposed to a man whose prompt and decisive measures disconcerted his secret plans, drove things a once to extremities, and forced him to have recourse to the decision of arms, in which victory declared against him. The moderate men, and those who were sincerely attached to the republic of Rome, dreaded, almost equally, the success of Pompey and of Caesar. Cato, who took the mourning habit on the breaking out of the civil war, had resolved upon death if Caesar should be victorious, and exile if sue* cess should declare for Pompey.