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Pompey the Great, Proconsul, murdered in 48 B.C.



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POMPEIVS Magnus (commonly called Pompey the Great) was born in the year of Rome 648, one hundred and odd years before the Christian era. His father, Pompeius Strabo, was of a distinguished Roman family, through whose care he received the highest advantages of education. Of a lofty genius, vaunting ambition, and heroic courage, he early on embraced a military life, and at nineteen years of age gained a famous victory over the Marsi, in Gaul. At twenty-three, he received the title of IMPerator from Sylla, The Dictator. Was honored with a triumph for his conquests in Sicily and Africa. Three times he served the office of Consul, and the last time (in the year of Rome 702) had the unique distinction conferred on him of being named Sole Cousul. The senate having, with the title of PROcounsul, given him unlimited power as a naval commander, he destroyed with his fleets the piratical marauders who had long ravaged the coasts of Italy. Supremely skilled in the art of war, his valour and success in a series of numerous brilliant actions, established him in the opinion of his contemporaries as one of the first captains that ever commanded an army. Besides terminating the revolt of Sertorius in Spain, he vanquished Tigranes, King of Armenia, routed the great Mithridates, sovereign of the Medes and Parthians, took the temple of Jerusalem, and reduced a part of Judea; and for all these victories enjoyed triumphal honours of the most magnificent kind at Rome. Hence on some coins Pompey is seen in a triumphal quadriga, crowned by a figure of Victory. It was for these splendid exploits that the title of Magnus, or Great, was awarded to him. But blinded by false ambition, and aiming at the mastership of the Republic, he formed with Julius Caesar and Crassus the first Triumvirate.

Soon after quarrelling with his more artful rival, a civil war ensued, and Pompey was defeated at Pharsalia. At this adverse turn of his affairs he showed himself as deficient in fortitude as his friends in fidelity. Seeking the protection of Ptolemy in Egype, he was basely assassinated within sight of Alexandria by Achillas, the praefect of that perfidious king, in the year of Rome 706; before the birth of Christ 48 years. --His style on coins (which in each metal are of great, and some excessive, rarity) is MAGNVS--MAGN. (or MAGNVS) PRO. COS.--CN MAGN. IMPERATOR.

Some pieces represent him with his sons, Cnaeius Pompeius and Sextus Pompeius.--There is a fine portrait of this celebrated mn on a silver coin, inscribed MAGnus PIVS IMPerator ITERum. The bare head of Pompey is between the lituus and the praefericulum, as denoting his augural dignity. On the reverse the legend is PRAEF. ORAE MARIT. ET CLAS., allusive to his supreme naval command against the corsairs of the Mediterranean. The ccompanying type exhibits Neptune standing between Anapius and Amphinomus.--See PRAEF., &c.--Also see Anapius, &c.

MAGN. The two-faced and bearless head of Janus.--Rev. PIVS IMP. A ship's prow.

Sextus Pompey was in the habit of placing the head of his father Magnus on the coins which he caused to be struck whilst carrying on (as Lucan intimates) "the trade of pirate on the coasts of Sicily, and thus inconsistently tarnishing the laurels which his great sire had won in those very seas."--Havercamp, in giving an engraving of this coin, remarks that the two faces of Janus are thereon represented under the lineaments of the Great Pompey, andin this opinion he is decisively supported by Eckhel.


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