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the Optimates and the Marians. He was more than suspected of having been privy to the murder of his rival, Pompeius Rufus, in a military sedition. When he finally espoused the side of the Senate, it was mainly because he was forced to do so, since he could no longer play fast and loose with both parties. He died in the middle of the war [B.C. 87] while commanding for the Senate against Marius and Cinna. We are told that his own soldiers (who wished to join the Democrats) conspired against him, and that his life was only saved by his son's courage and vigilance. But a few days after he is said to have been struck dead by lightning in his tent. Knowing that his men were plotting against him, and that they actually tore his body from the bier and dishonoured it, we shall perhaps not be wrong in substituting “was murdered” for “ was killed by lightning." There are other cases in Roman history of unpopular generals who are said to have met their death from a thunderbolt, and all are equally suspicious.
Strabo's son, Gnaeus the younger, was marked out for slaughter by the Marians as his father's heir, though he had only reached the age of nineteen. For some months he concealed himself, but after Marius's death, when the massacre was dying down, he was discovered and indicted by the minions of Cinna, on a charge which might have proved fatal, if the praetor Antistius, a powerful man at the moment, had not protected him, and saved him, on the condition that he should marry his daughter Antistia. Thus preserved, the young man was able to remain safe but obscure till the year B.C. 83, when Sulla landed in Italy to attack the Democrats. It was then that the future triumvir first showed the stuff that was in him. Hastening to his father's native district of Picenum, he raised a considerable body of followers, before any one else in Italy had taken arms for the Optimate
POMPEY IN AFRICA
He displayed extraordinary vigour and ability for one so young and so new to command. With very inferior forces he kept in check a large Marian corps, while Sulla was contending in Campania with the main body of the enemy. He defeated the praetors Brutus and Carrinas,
. and finally cut his way south, and joined Sulla at the head of an army which had swelled to no less than three legions. All the other Optimate refugees had come to Sulla empty-handed. Pompey brought 12,000 men already tried in war, and enthusiastically devoted to their commander. Italy had never before seen such a force raised by a private person, a young man who had but just reached the age of twenty-four. It was only natural that the Optimate chief honoured Pompey more than any other man of his party, saluted him as Imperator, and gave him precedence over all his other officers, though he was technically no more than a simple knight, and was barely qualified by his age to stand for the quaestorship. In the later years of the civil war Pompey won a reputation which was approached only by those of Crassus and of Ofella, and he was trusted far more than either of his rivals by Sulla. As a shrewd judge of character, the dictator could see that the young man, whatever his faults, was at least honest. Hence it came that when the flames had died down in Italy, he, rather than any other officer, was entrusted with the important task of rooting out the Democrats from Sicily and Africa. Though given but a small army, he accomplished his work with extraordinary vigour and skill, and a not less notable humanity. Sulla's legions did not always shine in the
. matter of consideration for provincials; they had been trained by their chief to regard anything as permissible. It is all the more creditable to Pompey that he kept them in such order that no town in Sicily was sacked nor any of the inhabitants harmed. He is said by Plutarch to have actually caused his soldiers' swords to be sealed down in their sheaths, after the fighting was over, that they might not use them against the Sicilians. But this odd statement looks like a translation into prosaic fact of some rhetorical flourish, which the simple old Bæotian had read in a panegyric of Pompey.
Crossing from Sicily to Africa, the young general easily routed Domitius and the large Democratic army which held that province. It a few weeks it was completely subdued. Only one man's life taken in cold blood marred the lustre of these triumphs. The single person whom Pompey executed was the leader of the whole Democratic party, Carbo, who fell into his hands in the isle of Pandataria, half-way between Sicily and Africa. On Carbo's head lay the responsibility for the whole of the late massacres in Rome, and Pompey owed him the personal grudge that in that slaughter had fallen his father-in-law, Antistius, the friendly praetor who had saved him in B.C. 87. Moreover the ex-consul was an outlaw by the decree of the people, and the chief of all Sulla's enemies. It was probably kinder in the end to slay him on the spot, than to send him to Rome to face Sulla's wrath and to suffer some elaborate punishment for his misdoings ; but we may share with Pompey's friends of that day the regret that he took a part in the execution of even such an unpardonable enemy of the Optimate cause as Carbo.
On returning to Rome victorious in B.C. 81, Pompey was granted a triumph by Sulla though he was still technically a “private person,” for he was an eques, not a senator, and held no office but that of legatus to the dictator. This is said to have been the only case in Roman history in which a triumph was granted to one who had never held any magistracy whatever. Sulla had not failed to note that his young lieutenant would be POMPEY AND SULLA
too much elated by his splendid position to bow readily to the new régime. It was a great thing to ask of one who had a victorious army at his back that he should step down from his triumphal car to take a modest place among the younger Optimates. But though Pompey was not destitute of ambition, he had from his earliest youth a singular dislike for violence and illegality. He duly disbanded his army and settled down in Rome as a private person without making much ado. This so much pleased the dictator that he saluted him by the name of " the great”—Magnus—the only cognomen which he ever bore, since he never took his father's unflattering name of Strabo—" the cross-eyed.” Having once convinced himself that the young general could be trusted, Sulla allowed him liberties which he granted to no one else; not only did he concede him his abnormal triumph, but he even allowed him to support for the consulship of B.C. 78 the vain and heady M. Æmilius Lepidus, a man whom (rightly enough) he distrusted. He did not interfere with the canvass, but merely warned Pompey that he had acted with grave unwisdom. “ You are proud of your victory," he said, as the train of the new consul swept through the Forum, " but be on your guard. You have used your influence and popularity to put a worthless man in power. Thereby you have raised up an adversary and made him stronger than yourself." Lepidus's subsequent conduct entirely justified the dictator's forecast. But it must be confessed that Pompey's political judgments all through life were invariably illadvised : this support of Lepidus was but the first of a long series of mistakes.
After Sulla’s death in 78 the new consul freed from the wholesome restraint of fear which lay upon every ambitious man who remembered the fate of Ofellabroke out in open revolt against the constitution. He
came forward with a programme of public bankruptcy (novo tabulce) combined with the restoration of the Democratic constitution : to back his reckless schemes he secretly raised an army of outlaws and swash-bucklers in Etruria. Pompey had to take arms against the man whom he had so unwisely placed in power.
He was given an army to clear the east coast of Italy and Cisalpine Gaul of the insurgents, while Catulus dealt with the main body and the rebellious consul himself. How the latter was routed in the Campus Martius when he made his reckless assault on the capital we need not again relate. Pompey was at the moment in the north, dealing with Lepidus's lieutenant, M. Brutus (the father of the tyrannicide of B.C. 44); after beating him in the open field he shut him up in Mutina, and pressed him so hard that he surrendered, in order to prevent his own army from delivering him over to the besiegers. In spite of this voluntary submission of the Democratic chief, Pompey, after a day's hesitation, put him to death, and with him Æmilianus, the son of Lepidus. This was of all Pompey's doings, the one that was most criticised during his lifetime. He had accepted the surrender of Brutus, spared his life, and sent him away in custody. Then, on mature reflection, and after composing a despatch to the Senate in which he announced the capture of Mutina, he put to death his prisoners in cold blood. No one could dispute that Lepidus and all his crew were public enemies, so that there was no formal illegality in the act. But it was felt that if Pompey had intended to slay the Democratic leaders, he ought not to have received them to surrender : it would have been better for his reputation if he had sent them to Rome and allowed the Senate to do its own killing. It was true that the prisoners were factious traitors, who had stirred up a wholly unnecessary civil war, but, if Pompey felt