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Old November 12th, 2012, 08:12 AM   #11

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I think he was certainly aware of Parthians' troop types and tactics. Crassus was a close friend.
one can only wonder what would have followed had he been able to go ahead with this campaign.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 12:11 AM   #12
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Caesar was obviously a very skilled leader of men, as is well attested by the support he had from his own troops when he crossed the rubicon but he openly admits in his own commentaries about mistakes he has made.

That for me marks him out as a great general. He admits to retreating from his own troops in Gaul after mistaking them for the enemy.

He tried the same tactic he used at Alesia (double circumvallation) against Pompey in the civil war and suffered a bloody nose, again he learned from his mistakes which shows the quality of the man.

Simply put, you could quite comfortably say he was the best of his generation, but not of all time. There are generals who throughout history who have been highlighted as great, but only in their own time.

Look at Sulla and Marius, Pompey in his prime, Agrippa, Tiberious, Trajan, they were all great but they all achieved different things.

After Teutorburg Wald look at what Germanicus and Serverus did.....does that not mean they were the greatest of their age?

At the time people would have had opinions about who was the best but you can only judge that on who came before.

TOday we have the luxury of them all, but the burden of making the choice with all of the material available.

I say they were all great leaders in their own right.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #13

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Pompey in his prime? What did Pompey do in his prime? The greatest achievement I could think of was eliminating the pirates, which, given Roman might, was more of an organizational effort than strategic and tactical brilliance.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 07:08 PM   #14

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Pompey in his prime? What did Pompey do in his prime?
Secured Sicilly for Sulla, Defeated Ahenobarbus in Africa, pacified Hispania, mopped up Spartacus' mob and defeated Mithridates.
Not exactly a slacker IMO.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:10 AM   #15
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We have already been here more than once
(Just some timely information for reviewers, of course )

Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus could hardly have had any more objectively impressive military career even for the Roman standards of the time.
He simply conquered more money and population than any other Roman commander ever (CJ Caesar included); period.
He was the best commander of LC Sulla, hence the Magnus surname (and of course not any "joke", "favor" nor any other absurd unhistorical speculation).
Sertorious, the pirates and Mithridates were hardly any easy tasks by any measure.
Pretending that his unparalleled success on such tasks where so many distinguished Roman commanders had so soundly failed could even remotely have been "just luck" simply holds no water and couldn't be any more absurd to the Nth degree.
Not to mention that he was the only Roman commander CJ Caesar ever admitted to have defeated him (Dyrrhachium)
Nuff' said.

CJ Caesar was of course objectively an even better commander, but that obvious fact could hardly allow anyone to ignore such an objectively impressive career, not even any fan of Caesar, who BTW would be paradoxically exponentially diminishing the military merit of their own divine idol (remember Pharsalus? )

Last edited by sylla1; November 15th, 2012 at 01:17 AM.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:53 AM   #16

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I agree that Pompey achieved a lot, and overall im impressed with his career, though I think his main strength as a leader, lay in organisation, rather than tactics.

I think an ovrlooked commander, during this period, is Lucius Licinius Lucullus. He was very talented indeed, and faced a diverse range of situations against Mithridates, before he was recalled for Pompey to take over. His victory over King Tigranes, at Tigranocerta, was certainly an eye catcher.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:03 AM   #17
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LL Lucullus was certainly appreciated in Classical times; hence his biography by LM PLutarchus.

However, as usual we must take the frankly fantastic figures reported by the available pro-Roman sources on Tigranocerta (analogous to most battles of the time, for that matter) with more than a grain of salt.

In any case, LLL was clearly objectively surpassed by Cn. Pompeius Magnus both as a lieutenant of LC Sulla Felix (in spite of being the former a far closer personal friend) and as a contender of Mithridates & Tigranes.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:09 AM   #18

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LL Lucullus was certainly appreciated in Classical times; hence his biography by LM PLutarchus.
Not so much nowadays though.

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However, as usual we must take the frankly fantastic figures reported by the available pro-Roman sources on Tigranocerta (analogous to most battles of the time, for that matter) with more than a grain of salt.
Indeed. Its not the figures of his enemies though I appreciate. Its his tactics in trapping the experienced Cataphracts.

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In any case, LLL was clearly objectively surpassed by Cn. Pompeius Magnus both as a lieutenant of LC Sulla Felix (in spite of being the former a far closer personal friend) and as a contender of Mithridates & Tigranes.
In terms of achievements, I would also agree that that Pompey' influence was alot bigger, especially given the fact he raised his own troops from his own pocket, in order to help Sulla.

Was Pompey a better military tactician though? I would think that is open to debate when one reads into the abilities of both commanders.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:20 AM   #19
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Not so much nowadays though.



Indeed. Its not the figures of his enemies though I appreciate. Its his tactics in trapping the experienced Cataphracts.



In terms of achievements, I would also agree that that Pompey' influence was alot bigger, especially given the fact he raised his own troops from his own pocket, in order to help Sulla.

Was Pompey a better military tactician though? I would think that is open to debate when one reads into the abilities of both commanders.
The abilities must be judged on their objective military performance, and regarding Pompeius Magnus it couldn't have been any more eloquent.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #20

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The abilities must be judged on their objective military performance, and regarding Pompeius Magnus it couldn't have been any more eloquent.
If we choose to look at events from this perspective, then Pompey almost certainly had a grander stage to work on, reaching its peak with his duel tragic death against his friend Julius Caesar.
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