[Sidenote: Pompey’s conquests in Asia Minor.] [Sidenote: His magnificent triumph.]
Instead of returning to Rome after these exploits, Pompey obtained new powers from the government of the city, and pushed his way into Asia Minor, where he remained several years, pursuing a similar career of conquest to that of Caesar in Gaul. At length he returned to Rome, his entrance into the city being signalized by a most magnificent triumph. The procession for displaying the trophies, the captives, and the other emblems of victory, and for conveying the vast accumulation of treasures and spoils, was two days in passing into the city; and enough was left after all for another triumph. Pompey was, in a word, on the very summit of human grandeur and renown.
[Sidenote: The first triumvirate.] [Sidenote: Pompey’s wife Julia.] [Sidenote: Pompey and Caesar open enemies.] [Sidenote: Their ambition.]
He found, however, an old enemy and rival at Rome. This was Crassus, who had been Pompey’s opponent in earlier times, and who now renewed his hostility. In the contest that ensued, Pompey relied on his renown, Crassus on his wealth. Pompey attempted to please the people by combats of lions and of elephants which he had brought home from his foreign campaigns; Crassus courted their favor by distributing corn among them, and inviting them to public feasts on great occasions. He spread for them, at one time, it was said, ten thousand tables. All Rome was filled with the feuds of these great political foes. It was at this time that Caesar returned from Spain, and had the adroitness, as has already been explained, to extinguish these feuds, and reconcile these apparently implacable foes. He united them together, and joined them with himself in a triple league, which is celebrated in Roman history as the first triumvirate. The rivalry, however, of these great aspirants for power was only suppressed and concealed, without being at all weakened or changed. The death of Crassus soon removed him from the stage. Caesar and Pompey continued afterward, for some time, an ostensible alliance. Caesar attempted to strengthen this bond by giving Pompey his daughter Julia for his wife. Julia, though so young—even her father was six years younger than Pompey—was devotedly attached to her husband, and he was equally fond of her. She formed, in fact, a strong bond of union between the two great conquerors as long as she lived. One day, however, there was a riot at an election, and men were killed so near to Pompey that his robe was covered with blood. He changed it; the servants carried home the bloody garment which he had taken off, and Julia was so terrified at the sight, thinking that her husband had been killed, that she fainted, and her constitution suffered very severely by the shock. She lived some time afterward, but finally died under circumstances which indicate that this occurrence was the cause. Pompey and Caesar now soon became open enemies. The ambitious aspirations which each of them cherished were so vast, that the world was not wide enough for them both to be satisfied. They had assisted each other up the ascent which they had been so many years in climbing, but now they had reached very near to the summit, and the question was to be decided which of the two should have his station there.