Pompey The Great

Pompey the Great (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus) was Rome's greatest badass -- until he ran in to Julius Caesar, one of the original inductees into the badass Hall of Fame.

Just The Facts

  1. As a young man, he raised an army to fight on behalf of the ruthless dictator Sulla. His ruthlessness caused the Romans to call him "The Teenage Butcher." This was a compliment.
  2. His command at such a young age was completely illegal, but Pompey didn't give a shit. He demanded, and got, a triumph (a sort of ticker-tape parade, but with vanquished foes and spoils of war), which was as illegal as his command. Having fought in Africa, he brought back some elephants. The elephan
  3. Roman law required that a man be 42 and have served in other offices before becoming consul (chief executive, more or less). Pompey was made consul at age 35. Why? Because all of the other prominent Romans were too busy shitting themselves in fear to stop him.
  4. "Magnus" -- "Great One" was originally meant as an ironic nickname. Pompey didn't believe in irony; he believed in killing everyone who got in his and Rome's way. He made the world call him Great and like it.

Pompey and Caesar

Pompey, a super-rich aristocrat named Crassus, and someone you may have heard of named Gaius Julius Caesar got together in order to more efficiently fuck over everyone who stood in their way. The formal name is the First Triumvirate, which means "Rule of Three" (duh). To seal the deal, Pompey married Caesar's delectable young daughter Julia. Despite the fact that Pompey was old enough to be her grandfather, it was by all accounts a happy marriage, because Pompey (like the author of this topic) knew how to please the ladies. Maybe "The Great One" was a nickname for his anatomy (wink wink nudge nudge).

Caesar left Rome to kill, rape, mutilate and enslave all of Gaul (modern France) and Pompey was left to make sure that the rest of Rome remained sufficiently overawed by the triumvirs to do exactly what they wanted.

The Roman elites respected Pompey, but they didn't like him. He wasn't from the old aristocracy. His father had been a "homo novus;" a "new man" whose family had never served in the highest ranks of Roman government before.