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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
VIII. THE GREAT AGE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC, 264-31 B.C.
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POMPEY AND CAESAR
RISE OF POMPEY
The struggle between Marius and Sulla, decided as it was by the sword, marks a stage in the decline of the Roman Republic. The careers of these two men showed how easily the state could be ruled by a successful commander who had his soldiers behind him. After Sulla's death his friend Pompey became the leading figure in Roman politics. Pompey's first service was in Spain, where the adherents of Marius sought to humble the Senate and the aristocratic party by encouraging the Spaniards to rise against Roman rule. Having crushed this rebellion, Pompey returned to Italy in time to take part in putting down a formidable insurrection of slaves, outlaws, and ruined peasants. He was next intrusted with the war against the pirates, who swarmed in the Mediterranean, preyed on commerce, and plundered wealthy cities near the coast. Brilliant success in clearing the seas of these marauders led to his being sent to the East to end the war with Mithradates, who was once more in arms against Rome. Pompey drove the Pontic monarch from his kingdom and then annexed Syria to the Roman dominions. When Pompey returned to Rome in 62 B.C., he brought with him a reputation as the most successful general of his time.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy