Caesar vs Pompey: Clash of the Deadly Rivals

At the height of its power, Rome not only accomplished great things and achievements but also faced many problems and threats such as slave rebellion in Sicily in 73 BC and Pirate attacks on strongholds in the eastern Mediterranean. Challenging times require army generals like Pompey and Julius Caesar to deal with challenges. At first, these two great historical figures were on friendly terms, but they then became deadly rivals.


View Article in List View

Pompey Removed The Pirates Out Of The Mediterranian

The Sicilian Pirates were a great threat to Rome. Pompey decided to put an end to the pirates' dominion in the Mediterranian. Credits: Pinterest

The Sicilian pirates were a great threat to Rome. Pompey decided to put an end to the pirates’ dominion in the Mediterranian. Credits: Pinterest

Pirates, especially the Cilician pirates, controlled the Mediterranean sea starting from the 2nd century BC until their suppression by Pompey in 67-66 BC. After the appointment of Pompey, the prices of wheat and other goods stabilized, which went in favor of ending the foreign threat.

That foreign threat was the pirate activity that impeded the rule of Rome, particularly in the Mediterranian. In 67 BC, accompanied by a large contingent of ships, Pompey was eager and ready to wipe out the pirates.

The tactics included driving the pirates inland where they would be in no position to offer resistance. After having utilized his tactics successfully, Pompey wanted to integrate those former pirates into the Roman society by offering them life as farmers. For these reasons, Pompey delivered on his promises to secure Roman waters from piracy threats.

Caesar Led His Army To Conquer The Whole Of Gaul

The Gallic Wars resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul. Credits: DualShockers

The Gallic Wars resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul. Credits: DualShockers

Perhaps one of the best-known episodes in the Roman history is Gallic Wars and the Roman commander that waged them, Julius Caesar. At the time, Julius Caesar was a rising star of the Roman political world when appointed governor of northern Italy and southern France in 59 BC.

Ambitious by nature, Julius Caesar was not content to stay within the boundaries of his provinces, so he embarked on a campaign of conquest. His first target was the Gallic peoples. In order to gain their trust, he offered a helping hand in their endeavor to fight back foreign aggressors. In the second year of his command, he decided to conquer the Gallic lands.

The Gauls offered great resistance, almost inflicting serious defeats on the Roman legions. Nonetheless, it took 6 years for the Romans to yield results and conquer the whole of Gaul. But the greatest test was yet to come for the Gauls rose up in revolt the following  year. Once again, the Gauls were defeated, and Caesar was ready to turn his attention to the seizure of supreme power in Rome itself.

Pompey Conquered Jerusalem

The Roman army ransacked the sacred temple of Jerusalem. Credits: Wikipedia

The Roman army ransacked the sacred temple of Jerusalem. Credits: Wikipedia

During his campaigns in the Middle East, Pompey encountered the Jewish people living under the rule of the Hasmonean Dynasty. During the siege of Jerusalem, Pompey destroyed the city and badly damaged a temple.

Realizing they had been defeated, the Jewish people had to accept the terms of Rome, which resulted in Jerusalem becoming a province of the Roman Empire in 64 BC. When Pompey conquered Jerusalem, he allegedly had entered into the temple to inspect and evaluate the religious items.

The interesting thing is that Pompey could not understand how a people can be monotheistic, i.e. worship just one God. Though puzzled, he ordered the city and the temple to be restored.

Caesar Sent An Expedition Over To Britain

The Caesar's invasion of Britain has been the cornerstone of the ancient European history. Credits: Wikipedia

The Caesar’s invasion of Britain has been the cornerstone of the ancient European history. Credits: Wikipedia

After conquering the Gauls, Caesar did not settle with not setting the foot on Britain. He reckoned his army was absolutely ready for a new, successful raid. Therefore, the history has learnt about the two Caesar’s invasions of Britain.

These two offensives took place in 55 BC and 54 BC when the Roman commander Julius Caesar seized the British lands and subjugated the Britons. Despite the military success, Caesar could not control both the lands and the people completely due to the poor logistics and the rebellious province of Gaul, which was supposed to connect the British province and the rest of the continental part of Rome. Nevertheless, it was a great step forward towards establishing a lasting bond between the British Isles and the continental part of ancient Europe.

Pompey And Caesar Became Deadly Rivals

The Battle of Pharsalus was incited by the dispute between Pompey and Caesar. Credits: Ravenseniors

The Battle of Pharsalus was incited by the dispute between Pompey and Caesar. Credits: Ravenseniors

The two commanders, once on friendly terms and then deadly rivals, aspired to seize power of the entire ancient Rome. None of them was willing to back up so they waged war on each other. Subsequently, both Caesar and Pompey formed the armies, but with a difference in support. Namely, Pompey had the backing of a majority of the senators, and his army outnumbered the veteran Caesarian legions.

The two armies confronted in the battle of Pharsalus, Caesar being in a much weaker position than Pompey. Caesar found himself isolated with only 22,000 men while on the other side of the river stood Pompey with an army about twice as large in number. Pompey knew that he should delay the battle for Caesar would surrender from exhaustion and hunger. Despite his pleas, the senators were running out of patience, which turned out to be a cardinal error. The Pompey’s army suffered an overwhelming defeat, causing him to flee the camp disguised as an ordinary citizen.

Related Quizzes

Related Posts

Roman Legion vs Vikings: who would win? Our last article about who would win in a battle between a Roman Legion and a Greek Phalanx has been such a success that we’ve decided to continue the series. This piece is about who would h...
Roman Legion vs Greek Phalanx: who would win? The Greek and Roman warriors are remembered for their power, their strength and their ability to strategise. The epic battles between the two of them, as well as other parties and them, have...

What do you think?


Pin It on Pinterest