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Belay 1
Admas Belay
Ms. Bergen, Mrs. Downer, Mrs. Ibrahim
English 10-7, Latin II-2, History T/Th
10 November 2010
Pompeius Magnus
Pompey was a man who was born to lead the city of Rome to greatness. He was not only
full of great pride, but he also loved the city of Rome and would probably protect it with his life.
Pompey showed these kinds of characteristics with his leadership and determination for this
great city. In Roman politics, he was part of the First Triumvirate for Rome. His leadership
within Rome made it a dominating city in the Mediterranean area. Even the Civil War against
Caesar brought out the greatness in Pompey even though the outcome was not too satisfying for
Pompey. However, Pompey did not get his trust with Rome easy.
Pompey’s father, Strabo, was not well liked by the citizens of Rome. Strabo was once a
Roman general for the Romans. The people of Rome didn’t really like his characteristics as a
general though. He was described to be a very war-like person; his talents as a soldier for the
Roman army really scared the Romans as well (Plutarch 1). However, with all of these
characteristics on his father, Pompey was well loved by the citizens of Rome. The Romans did
not assume Pompey to be just like his father. This shows that Pompey really cared for the city of
Rome no matter how his father thought of it. The citizens of Rome found Pompey to be a modest
and temperate person whose persuasive speeches and trustworthy character showed the Romans
that he would once become an important figure in Rome (Plutarch 1). Pompey would not
disappoint the Romans because of his involvement of Roman politics.
Belay 2
The First Triumvirate was made up, arguably, of the three most important Romans in
Roman history. They were Julius Caesar, Licinius Crassus, and Pompey. The power of these men
really was a dominating force in Roman politics. However, to keep from having a king of some
sort, these Romans divided the power among themselves. They used this power for many
different things. For instance, in Collins journal article it is said that Pompey used his share of
the power to give the Romans their first stone theatre (104). Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus tried
to keep their relationships within the triumvirate very close together. One of the things Pompey
did was that he married Julia, who was Julius Caesar’s daughter and who was said to be a very
devoted wife of Pompey (Collins 103).
Pompey was a very active person in politics. He was not the type of person who just sat
around all day and didn’t care as much about the Roman government. Pompey cared a lot about
how Roman politics was run. Basically, his mindset was to actually run Rome himself or find
someone he could trust to actually run it. This type of involvement by Pompey really “shaped”
how Roman politics was played out. It dominated throughout his role in power. Pompey showed
to be a great Roman general as well, which led to other achievements.
Not only did Pompey lead Roman politics, but he also was a leader in other things that
were important to Rome. At the age of twenty-eight, Rome trusted him with the command of the
Roman army. This made him one of the youngest army leaders in history. As a commander for
the army, he invaded Pontus in 66 B.C.E. This invasion led to the death of the Pontus leader,
Mithridates. Pompey was then named pro-consul of Spain; he shared this consulship with
Sertorius because of his achievements that he did as commander of the army (Plutarch 13). Rome
also gave him a new name as well. “He began to subscribe himself in his letters and ordinances
‘Pompeius Magnus” (Plutarch 13). In Latin, Pompeius Magnus is means “Pompey the Great.”
Belay 3
For the Romans, Pompey literally did a lot of good things and therefore the name was greatly
deserved. “For the name had become familiar and no longer invidious” (Plutarch 13).
Rome really trusted Pompey as a statesman. They had so much trust that they would let
Pompey run the whole city by himself. Not many countries would let a twenty-eight-year-old
man run a city like Rome and an entire army by himself. That person would be seen as
inexperienced and immature for anything that involved planning war; but that was not the case
for Pompey. At his young age, the way he invaded and conquered Pontus amazed almost
everyone, maybe even himself. This really gave him experience in the army leadership. But he
was not left alone after that. Rome was so amazed by him that they made him a pro-consul for
Spain along side with Sertorius. The amount of trust given to a man as young as Pompey was
almost unheard of. Not only did Rome give a lot of trust to Pompey, but Pompey gave trust to
himself to make sure that his city of Rome would become one of the most powerful cities that
ever existed. Rome’s dominance was attributed to its military. Not only were they politically
structured well, but their military was also structured well. Those achievements were attributed
to only one person, and that person was Pompey. No wonder Rome renamed him as Pompeius
Magnus. All disaster would break loose later on between Pompey and Caesar.
The Civil War was another thing that showed Pompey’s leadership and determination.
There were a couple of things that caused the Civil War to take place. One main thing was that
Pompey was given special power by the Senate because of the things that he did for the military.
However, Julius Caesar believed that he should have been given that special power instead of
Pompey. He believed that he had done more for Rome than any other person, including Pompey.
Another thing that enraged the war was the death of Licinius Crassus. With his death, the First
Triumvirate was ultimately broken. Caesar and Pompey were not the best of friends anyway.
Belay 4
Crassus was really the one holding the two back from each other’s throats. Once Crassus died, it
became a war for power between Pompey and Caesar. In Plutarch’s book Pompey he describes
how Pompey behaved during the Civil War, saying that it really showed a little bit of the bad
side of him (17). This bad side was the war-like figure that almost symbolized his father. In the
end, Caesar’s army defeated Pompey’s army. This led to Pompey fleeing to Egypt, where he died
because his head was cut off by the Egyptians who supported Caesar in 48 B.C. On a side note,
Caesar was actually enraged by what the Egyptians did because he wanted to kill Pompey
This Civil War between Pompey and Caesar really brought out the mysterious side of
Pompey. It was uncharacteristic of him to go to war for power. But it also makes sense, since he
did not believe that Caesar was well enough to rule Rome by himself. “The man who had
recently lacked more land to conquer found none to give him burial” (Greenhalgh 256). During
the funeral of Pompey, “they lit a great funeral pyre in his honour as they would have done if
they had had a body cremate” (Greenhalgh 269). This showed that the Romans really cared for
Pompey. As mentioned many times, he was a trustful person that everyone in Rome could
always count on. The Civil War also showed that Pompey was not afraid to die for his city. He
wanted Rome to be ruled in his way rather than in Caesar’s way. Caesar did have a more
organized army than Pompey did back then; Pompey did show a lot of bravery though, so no
matter what the consequences were, Pompey wanted to make sure that Rome was ruled in his
The city of Rome would have been hard to live in if it was not for Pompey’s
achievements that he did during his time of governing. All the things like his consulship in Spain
and his invasion of Pontus really made Rome a dominating city in the Mediterranean area. Think
Belay 5
of the things that would happen if Pompey was not consul. What would Sertorius do by himself
for Rome? Or what if Pompey never became an army commander and invaded Pontuss. Would
Pontuss become a big threat to Rome under Mithridates? These kinds of questions cannot be
answered because of Pompey’s great deeds to the city of Rome.
Pompey’s leadership and determination really “shaped” the city of Rome in a way that
made it a dominating force. Being a part of the First Triumvirate with Caesar and Crassus
influenced the type of politics Rome was dealing with. His consulship and leadership of the
Roman army began to show the kind of threat Rome was to other cities that could be easily
conquered. And his bravery and determination during the Civil War against Caesar showed that
Pompey was not afraid to die for his city. He was committed that Rome was being well
governed. “Once again his status as one of the proscribed is cited to justify Pompey” (Seager 10).
In my opinion, Pompey’s statesmanship and military leaderships arguably made him one of the
greatest Romans that ever lived.
Belay 6
Works Cited
Collins, H. P. "Decline and Fall of Pompey the Great." 29 Sept. 1953. 08 Oct. 2010. Print.
Greenhalgh, Peter. Pompey the Republican Prince. Great Britain: Weidenfeld and Nicolson,
1981. Print.
Plutarch. "Plutarch, Pompey," Perseus Digital Library. 08 Oct. 2010. Print.
Seager, Robin. Pompey: a Political Biography. Oxford Eng.: B. Blackwell, 1979. Print.