Evaluate The Role Of Pompey As A Significant Military Leader During This Period (78 31 Bc)

1791 words - 8 pages

It is debatable amongs historians as to the significance of Pompey as a military leader. While Dr B. Marshall describes Pompey as "an image cultivated to parallel Alexander the Great" having conquered half the known world, there are those who challenge this with the view that Pompey simply had the adequacy to complete the tasks that others had already begun. Plutarch and even Cicero particularly demonstrate this view. However, despite these personal views on Pompey it is undeniable that his various military and extraordinary commands had a significant impact on Rome's military in the period 78-31BC.Pomepy first rose to a position of significance in the Roman military world in 87BC when ...view middle of the document...

According to Plutarch Pompey "attatched himself to the cause of the nobility" and was thus once again granted pro-praetorian imperium to help Lutatius Catalus. While it was Catalus who defeated Lepidus it was Pompey who pursued Brutus to Mutina, where he surrendered under siege, but was killed. In response, M. Perpena led many of Lepidus' supporters to Spain to join the Roman rebel Sertorius. Pompey was an extremely ambtious man. In Caesar's account of the civil war he wrote that the "trouble with Pompeius [was that] he didn't want anyone to be his equal in dignity". It is therefore hardly surprising that Pompey, seeing an opportunity to increase his gloria, refused to obey Catalus' orders to disband his army, in the hope of persuading the Senate to send him to Spain to help Metellus against Sertorius. A reluctance from the two governing consuls leads the Senate to grant Pompey pro-consular imperium in order to deal with the situation. This is considered another extra-ordinary command for Pompey.Another great triumph for Pompey was his victory over Sertorius and his forces from 77-72BC, however it is doubtful that had certain factors not come into play that Pomepy's victory would not have been as certain. In 76BC Pompey arrived in Spain to help Metellus in the fight against Sertorius, however his first two major battles agaisnt his opponent, occuring near Lauro in 76BC and the Sucro River in 75BC, were lost. This was not a positive beginning and despite the strong combination of Pompey and Metellus' forces, their situation did not improve. Short of supplies, Pomepy warned the senate that the war could spread as far as Rome if the necessary reinforcements were not sent. As a result of this threat Pomepy recieves two extra legions to command against Sertorius. However, dissent within Sertorius' ranks leads to his murder in 72BC, and Perpena, who in fact organised the assassination, took over as leader and was soon defeated and executed by Pompey in 71BC. Pompey was given credit for his victory, although it is doubtful that Pompey would have experienced the same success had not there been violence within Sertorius' army, resulting in his murder.Following his victory against Sertorius, Pompey returned to Italy in 71BC and seized yet another opportunity to increase his dignitus. In the final stages of Crassus' campaign against Spartacus, Pompey prevented five thousand fugitives from escaping to the north. According to Plutarch's account of Pompey, he hereby wrote to the Senate "that while Crassus had certainly defeated the gladiators in a pitched battle, he himself had finished the war off utterly and entirely". Pompey was consequently awarded a second triumph for a command that had been carried out almost in full by Crassus. This event was the cause of the following enmity that existed between Pomepy and Crassus.While it may be disputed that many of Pompey's previous military triumphs were the result of the hard work of others, the lex Gabinia, m...


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