By Ludwig Heinrich Dyck Gnaeus Pompey was one of the pivotal Roman leaders during the last decades of the Republic. He was born into an old and wealthy provincial family from Picenum on September 29, 106 BC. Good looking and well-spoken, Pompey grew up to be a gifted diplomat with ample military skills. He would need them, for his was an age of anarchy and civil wars. As a teenager Pompey served on the staff his father, Pompeius Strabo, during the Social War (91-88 BC). Rome achieved victory over her rebellious Italian allies, but social inequalities and corruption continued to undermine the Roman Republic. In 88 BC, civil war erupted between leading generals Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Strabo sided with Sulla, who drove Marius out of Rome. The following year Sulla left for Greece to stop Mithridates VI of Pontus from taking over that region. Marius returned to Rome and slaughtered Sulla’s supporters. Although Pompey’s vigilance saved his father from assassination, Strabo succumbed to dysentery. Pompey avoided persecution by the Marians by staying at his country estates. In 86 BC Pompey disproved charges of embezzlement against himself and his late father. The judge was so impressed by Pompey that he offered his daughter Antistia in marriage. The same year Marius passed away at the age of


$2 / Month

Subscribe now for only $3.99 $2 a month!

Unlimited Website Access, Thousands of Searchable Articles, Warfare Newsletter, and more.

Back to the issue this appears in