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Tigranes, and Aristobulus King of the Jews, and a wife and five
children of Mithridates, and Scythian women, and also hostages of the
Albani and Iberians and of the King of Commagene, and numerous
trophies, equal in number to all the battles, which Pompeius had won
himself or by his legati. But it was the chief thing towards his
glory, and what had never happened before to any Roman, that he
celebrated his third triumph over the third continent. For though
others before him had triumphed three times, Pompeius by having gained
his first triumph over Libya, his second over Europe, and this the
last over Asia, seemed in a manner to have brought the whole world
into his three triumphs.

XLVI. At this time Pompeius was under four-and-thirty[307] years of
age, as those affirm who in all respects compare him with Alexander
and force a parallel, but in fact he was near forty. How happy would
it have been if he had died at the time up to which he had the fortune
of Alexander; but the period that followed brought to him good fortune
accompanied with odium, and ill fortune that was past all cure. For
the power which he got in the city by fair means, he employed on the
behalf of others illegally; and as much strength as he gave to them,
so much he took from his own reputation, and so he was overthrown by
the strength and magnitude of his own power before he was aware of it.
And as the strongest parts and places in cities, when the enemies have
got possession of them, give to them their own strength, so Cæsar
being raised up through the power of Pompeius against the State,
overthrew and cast down the man by whose help he became strong against
others. And it was brought about thus. Immediately upon Lucullus
returning from Asia, where he had been treated with great contumely by
Pompeius, the Senate gave him a splendid reception, and when Pompeius
had arrived they urged Lucullus still more to take a part in public
affairs, for the purpose of limiting the credit of Pompeius. Though
Lucullus was in other matters now dull and chilled for all active
life, having given himself up to the pleasures of ease and the
enjoyment of wealth, yet he forthwith sprang up against Pompeius, and
by a vigorous attack got a victory over him with respect to the
arrangements of Lucullus that he had annulled, and had the advantage
in the Senate with the co-operation of Cato. Pompeius, defeated and
pressed on all sides, was compelled to fly to tribunes and to attach
himself to young men, of whom the most scandalous and the most daring,
Clodius, took up his cause, but threw him completely under the feet of
the people; and by making him inconsistently with his station
constantly frequent the Forum and carrying him about, he used him for
the purpose of confirming everything that was said or proposed to
please and flatter the people. Further, he asked of Pompeius for his
reward, just as if he were not degrading him but were doing him a
service, and he afterwards got what he asked, the betrayal of
Cicero,[308] who was a friend of Pompeius and had served him in public
matters more than any one else. For when Cicero was in danger and
prayed for his aid, Pompeius would not even see him, but shut the
front door upon those who came on Cicero's part and went out by
another door. Cicero fearing the trial retired from Rome.

XLVII. At this time Cæsar[309] returned from his government and
undertook a political measure, which brought him the greatest
popularity for the present and power for the future, but did the
greatest damage to Pompeius and the State. For he became a candidate
for his first consulship; but seeing that while Crassus was at
variance with Pompeius, if he attached himself to one of them he would
have the other for his enemy, he applied himself to effect a
reconciliation between them, a thing which in other respects was fair
and useful to the State, but was managed by him for a bad reason and
with a dexterity full of treacherous design. For the strength which
kept the State, just as in the case of a vessel, in a condition of
equilibrium and prevented it falling over to this side or that, when
brought together and united caused it to incline to one side with an
irresistible force that overpowered and beat down everything.
Accordingly Cato said that they were mistaken who affirmed that the
State was overturned by the quarrel which afterwards broke out between
Cæsar and Pompeius, for they laid the blame on the last events; for it
was not their disunion nor yet their enmity, but their union and
concord which was the first and greatest misfortune that befel the
State. Cæsar was elected consul, and forthwith he courted the needy
and poor by proposing measures for the establishment of cities, and
the division of lands, wherein he stepped beyond the proprieties of
his office and in a manner made his consulship into a tribunate. When
his colleague Bibulus opposed him and Cato was prepared to support
Bibulus most vigorously, Cæsar brought forward Pompeius on the
Rostra, and put the question to him, "If he approved of the proposed
laws;" upon Pompeius saying that he did, "Will you not then," said
Cæsar, "if any one makes resistance to the laws, come forward before
the people to maintain them?" "Certainly," said Pompeius, "I will come
against those who threaten swords, with sword and shield." It was the
general opinion that Pompeius up to that day had never said or done
anything more arrogant, so that even his friends in his defence said
that the words had escaped him at the moment. But yet it was clear
from what followed that he had completely given himself up to Cæsar to
do what he pleased with him: for contrary to all expectation Pompeius
married Cæsar's daughter Julia, who had been betrothed to Cæpio and
was going to be married to him within a few days; and to pacify Cæpio,
Pompeius gave him his own daughter who was already promised to Faustus
the son of Sulla. Cæsar himself married Calpurnia the daughter of

XLVIII. After this Pompeius filled the city with soldiers and managed
everything by force. For the soldiers suddenly fell on the consul
Bibulus as he was going down to the Forum with Lucullus and Cato, and
broke the fasces; and some one bedaubed Bibulus by throwing a basket
of ordure over his head, and two of the tribunes who were conducting
him were wounded. By these means they cleared the Forum of their
opponents and then carried the law about the distribution of lands.
The people being taken with this bait were now become tame and ready
to support any project of theirs, giving no trouble at all, but
silently voting for what was proposed to them. Accordingly the
regulations of Pompeius as to which he was at variance with Lucullus
were confirmed, and Cæsar received Gaul within and without the Alps
and the province of Illyricum for five years with four complete
legions; and it was settled that the consuls for the next year should
be Piso[310] the father-in-law of Cæsar, and Gabinius, who was the
most extravagant of the flatterers of Pompeius. While this was going
on, Bibulus shut himself up in his house and never went out for eight
months, the remainder of the period of his consulship, but he sent out
counter-edicts full of abuse and charges against both: Cato as if
inspired and under divine influence foretold in the Senate what would
happen to the city and to Pompeius; and Lucullus[311] renouncing
public life kept quiet, on the ground that his age disqualified him
for political concerns, on which Pompeius observed that for an old man
luxury was more unsuitable to his age than to mingle in affairs of
state. However Pompeius himself also was soon rendered inactive
through passion for his young wife, with whom he passed the chief part
of his time, and lived in the country and his gardens, and he paid no
attention to what was going on in the Forum, so that even Clodius, who
was then tribune, despised Pompeius and engaged in the most daring
measures. For after Clodius had ejected Cicero and sent off Cato to
Cyprus[312] under colour of giving him a command, and Cæsar was gone
to Gaul, and Clodius saw that the people were devoted to him as he was
doing everything and framing all his measures to please them, he
immediately attempted to repeal some of the regulations of Pompeius,
and seizing the person of the captive Tigranes he kept him in his own
house, and he instituted prosecutions against the friends of Pompeius,
and so made trial of the power of Pompeius by attacking his friends.
At last when Pompeius came forward upon the occasion of a certain
trial, Clodius having with him a body of men filled with insolence and
arrogance took his station in a conspicuous place and put to them the
following questions: "Who is Imperator unlimited? what man seeks
another man? who scratches his head[313] with one finger?" The people
like a Chorus trained to chant corresponding parts, while Clodius was
shaking his toga,[314] at every question with loud shouts replied,

XLIX. Now this also annoyed Pompeius, who was unaccustomed to be
abused and had no practice in this kind of warfare; but he was still
more vexed when he perceived that the Senate were pleased at the
insults offered to him and at his paying the penalty for his treachery
to Cicero. But when it happened that they came to blows in the Forum
and even proceeded so far as to wound one another, and a slave of
Clodius was detected in the crowd stealing through the bystanders up
to Pomipeius with a dagger in his hand, Pompeius alleging these
proceedings as his excuse, and besides that, being afraid of the
insolence and abuse of Clodius, came no more into the Forum so long as
Clodius was in office, but kept to his house and was planning with his
friends how he could pacify the resentment of the Senate and the
nobles towards him. However he would not listen to Culleo,[315] who
advised him to put away Julia and giving up the friendship of Cæsar to
pass over to the Senate, but he followed the advice of those who
recommended that Cicero[316] should be restored, who was the greatest
enemy of Clodius and most beloved by the Senate. Pompeius with a
strong party accompanied Cicero's brother who was going to make his
entreaty to the people, and after some wounds had been inflicted in
the Forum and some persons were killed, they got the advantage over
Clodius. Cicero returning to the city in pursuance of a law
immediately reconciled Pompeius to the Senate, and, by speaking in
favour of the law relating to grain,[317] in a manner again made
Pompeius master of all the land and sea that the Romans possessed.
For under his control were placed harbours, places of trade, the
disposal of produce, in a word, all the affairs of those who navigated
the sea and cultivated the land. But Clodius complained that the law
had not been made on account of the scarcity of grain, but that the
scarcity of grain was caused in order that the law might be passed,
and that Pompeius might again fan into a flame and recover his power,
which was as it were wasting away through his want of spirit. Others
explained this to have been a device of the consul Spinther, whose
object was to engage Pompeius in a higher official employment, that
himself might be sent out to support king Ptolemæus.[318] However
Canidius the tribune proposed a measure to the effect that Pompeius
without an army and with two lictors should go to bring about a
reconciliation between the Alexandrians and the king. And indeed it
was supposed that Pompeius was not displeased at the measure, but the
Senate rejected it on the specious pretext that they feared for the
safety of Pompeius. There were writings to be found scattered about
the Forum and near the Senate-house, to the effect that Ptolemæus
wished Pompeius to be given to him as general instead of Spinther. And
Timagenes[319] says that Ptolemæus without any reason and without
necessity had quitted Egypt and left it at the advice of Theophanes
who was planning profitable occupation for Pompeius and a subject for
a fresh command. But the villainy of Theophanes does not make this so
probable, as the character of Pompeius makes it improbable, for he had
no ambition of so mean and illiberal a kind.

L. Pompeius being appointed to look after the management and the
supply of corn, sent his deputies and friends to many places, and he
himself sailed to Sicily and Sardinia and Libya and collected grain.
When he was about to set sail, there was a violent wind on the sea,
and the masters of the ships were unwilling to put out, but Pompeius
embarking first and bidding them raise the anchor, cried, "It is
necessary to sail; there is no necessity to live." By such boldness
and zeal, and the help of good fortune, Pompeius filled the markets
with grain and the sea with ships, so that the superfluity of what he
got together sufficed even for those who were without, and there was
as from a spring an abundant overflowing for all.

LI. During this time the Celtic wars[320] raised Cæsar to great
distinction; and though he was considered to be a very long way from
Rome, and to be occupied with Belgæ and Suevi and Britanni, he
contrived, by his skilful management, without being perceived, in the
midst of the popular assemblies, and in the most important matters, to
frustrate the political measures of Pompeius. For Cæsar's military
force was like a body that invested him, and he was training it to
toil, and making it invincible and formidable, not to oppose the
barbarians, but he was disciplining his men in these contests just as
if it were merely hunting wild beasts and pursuing them with dogs; and
in the meantime he was sending to Rome gold and silver, and the rest
of the spoil and wealth which he got in abundance from so many
enemies, and by tempting people there with gifts, and assisting ædiles
in their expenses, and generals and consuls and their wives, he was
gaining over many of them; so that when he had crossed the Alps and
was wintering in Luca, there was a great crowd of men and women who
vied with one another in their eagerness to visit him, besides two
hundred of the Senatorian class, among whom were Pompeius and Crassus;
and one hundred and twenty fasces of proconsuls and prætors were seen
at Cæsar's doors. Now, after filling all the rest with hopes and
money, he sent them off; but a compact was made between him and
Crassus and Pompeius, that they should be candidates for the
consulship, and that Cæsar should help them by sending many of his
soldiers to vote, and that as soon as they were elected, they should
secure for themselves the command of provinces and armies, and should
confirm Cæsar's provinces to him for another five years. Upon this
being publicly known, the first men in the State were displeased, and
Marcellinus coming forward before the popular assembly, asked both
Crassus and Pompeius to their faces, if they would be candidates for
the consulship. The assembly bade them give him an answer, on which
Pompeius spoke first, and said, that perhaps he should and perhaps he
should not. Crassus replied in a manner more befitting a citizen,[321]
for he said that he would act either way, as he should think it best
for the common weal. But when Marcellinus stuck close to Pompeius, and
was considered to be speaking in violent terms, Pompeius said that
Marcellinus, of all men, showed the least regard to fair dealing,
because he was not grateful to him in that he was the means of
Marcellinus becoming eloquent, though he was formerly mute, and of now
being so full as to vomit, though formerly he was starving of hunger.

LII. However, though everybody else declined to become candidates for
the consulship, Cato persuaded Lucius Domitius,[322] and encouraged
him not to give up, for he said the contest with the tyrants was not
for power, but for liberty. But Pompeius and his partisans fearing the
vigour of Cato, and lest, as he had all the Senate on his side, he
should draw away and change the minds of the sounder part of the
people, would not allow Domitius to come down into the Forum, but they
sent armed men and killed the linkbearer, who was advancing in front,
and put the rest to flight. Cato was the last to retreat, after being
wounded in the right arm while he was fighting in front of Domitius.
By such means they attained the consulship, nor did they conduct
themselves in it with more decency. First of all, while the people
were electing Cato prætor and giving their votes, Pompeius broke up
the assembly, alleging that the omens were not favourable; and they
had Vatinius[323] proclaimed in place of Cato by bribing the tribes.
In the next place they introduced measures by means of Trebonius,[324]
which gave to Cæsar, pursuant to the agreement, a second five years,
to Crassus[325] Syria and the Parthian expedition, but to Pompeius all
Libya, and both the provinces of Iberia and four legions, of which he
lent two to Cæsar at his request for the war in Gaul. Now Crassus went
out to his province, after giving up his consular functions; and
Pompeius opened his theatre,[326] and gave gymnastic and musical
contests at the dedication of it, and fights of wild beasts, in which
five hundred lions were killed; and at the end he exhibited an
elephant-fight, a most astonishing spectacle.

LIII. For all this Pompeius got admiration and love; but on the other
hand he brought on himself no less odium by giving up the forces and
the provinces to legati who were his friends, while himself in the
places of amusement in Italy going about from one to another spent his
time with his wife, either because he loved her, or because he could
not bear to leave his wife who was attached to him; for this also is
said. And the love of the young woman for her husband was much talked
about, for her affection towards Pompeius was not what might have been
expected considering his age; but the reason appears to have been the
chaste conduct of her husband who knew only his married wife, and the
dignity of his manners which were not austere but agreeable and
particularly attractive to women, if we must not disbelieve the
testimony even of Flora the courtezan. It happened that at the
election of ædiles some men came to blows and no small number were
killed near Pompeius, and as his garments were drenched with blood, he
changed them. There was great confusion and hurrying to the house of
the slaves who were carrying the vests; and it happened that
Julia,[327] who was with child, saw the bloody toga, upon which she
fainted and with difficulty recovered, and in consequence of that
alarm and the excitement, she miscarried. Even those who found most
fault with the alliance of Cæsar and Pompeius, could not blame the
woman for her affection. She became pregnant a second time and brought
forth a female child, but she died of the pains of labour and the
child did not survive her many days. Pompeius made preparations to
bury her in his Alban villa, but the people by force took the body and
carried it down into the Field of Mars, more from pity for the young
woman than to please Pompeius and Cæsar. But of the two, it was
considered that the people gave a larger portion of the honour to
Cæsar who was absent than to Pompeius who was present. But in the city
the waves forthwith began to move and everything was tossed to and
fro, and was the subject of conversation tending to a complete split,
now that the marriage connection was ended which hitherto rather
veiled than checked the ambition of the two men. After no long time
news also arrived that Crassus had lost his life among the Parthians;
and that which had been a great hindrance to the civil war breaking
out was now removed, for both Cæsar and Pompeius feared Crassus, and
accordingly to some extent confined themselves within limits in their
behaviour towards one another. But when fortune had cut off the man
who was keeping a watch over the struggle, forthwith the words of the
comic poet became applicable:

"Now each against the other smears his limbs,
And strews his hands with dust."

So small a thing is fortune in comparison with men's nature. For
fortune cannot satisfy men's desires, since so great an amount of
command and extent of wide-stretched territory put no check on the
desires of two men, but though they heard and read that "all
things[328] were divided into three portions for the gods and each got
his share of dominion," they thought the Roman empire was not enough
for them who were only two.

LIV. Yet Pompeius once said when he was addressing the people, that
he had obtained every office sooner than he expected, and laid it down
sooner than was expected. And in truth he had the disbandings of his
forces a perpetual testimony of the truth of what he said. But now
being convinced that Cæsar would not give up his power, he sought by
means of the functionaries of the state to strengthen himself against
him, but he attempted no change of any kind and did not wish to be
considered to distrust Cæsar, but to disregard him rather and to
despise him. However when he saw that the officers were not disposed
of according to his judgment, the citizens being bribed, he allowed
anarchy to spring up in the state; and forthwith there was much talk
about a dictator, whom Lucilius the tribune first ventured to mention
by advising the people to choose Pompeius dictator. Cato attacked him
for this, and Lucilius ran the risk of losing his tribunate, and many
of the friends of Pompeius came forward to exculpate him and said that
he did not seek that office or wish for it. Upon this Cato commended
Pompeius and exhorted him to turn his attention to the establishment
of order, and Pompeius then out of shame did turn his attention to it,
and Domitius[329] and Messala were made consuls; but afterwards there
was again anarchy, and a greater number of persons now began to
agitate the question of a dictator more boldly, and Cato and his
partisans fearing that they should be forced to yield, determined to
let Pompeius have a certain legalized authority for the purpose of
diverting him from that pure tyrannical office. Bibulus, who was an
enemy of Pompeius, was the first to propose in the Senate to choose
Pompeius sole consul[330] and he said that the city would thus either
be relieved from the present disorder, or they would be slaves to the
best man among them. This opinion appeared strange from such a person,
when Cato rising for the purpose as it was expected of speaking
against Bibulus, as soon as there was silence, said that for his part
he would not have introduced the proposed measure, but as it was
introduced by another he advised that it should be adopted, for he
preferred any government to no government, and he thought that nobody
would administer affairs better than Pompeius at a time of such
disorder. The Senate accepted the proposal and passed a decree that
Pompeius if elected should be solo consul, and that if he wanted a
colleague, he might choose any person whom he approved of, but not
before two months had elapsed; and Pompeius being made consul on these
terms and declared by Sulpicius the Interrex, addressed Cato in a
friendly manner, admitting his great obligations to him and urging him
to give him his advice as a private man in the discharge of his
office. But Cato would not admit that Pompeius was under any
obligations to him, for he had said nothing that he did say out of
regard to him, but out of regard to the state: he added that he would
give him his advice if he were privately applied to; and if Pompeius
did not invite him, he would publicly tell him his opinion. Such was
Cato in everything.

LV. After entering the city, Pompeius married Cornelia,[331] a
daughter of Metellus Scipio, who was not a virgin, but had lately been
left a widow by Publius, the son of Crassus, who had lost his life
among the Parthians, and whose virgin bride she was. The young woman
possessed many charms besides her youthful beauty, for she was well
instructed in letters, in playing on the lyre, and in geometry, and
she had been accustomed to listen to philosophical discourses with
profit. In addition to this she had a disposition free from all
affectation and pedantic display, faults which such acquirements
generally breed in women: her father also, both in respect to family
and reputation, was above all imputation. Still the marriage did not
please some people on account of the disparity of years; for the youth
of Cornelia made her a fitter match for a son of Pompeius. But those
who were more judicious considered that Pompeius had overlooked the

Online Library46 PlutarchPlutarch's Lives Volume III → online text (page 23 of 55)