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Old January 4th, 2013, 01:20 AM   #1
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Pompey or Lucullus


I personally feel that Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus is a highly overrated military general. Lucullus is seldom given the credit for adroitly subjugating the east. It was the tireless campaign of Lucullus that ensured that the ancient Armenian kingdom was brought under Rome. While Pompey needs to be given his due, all he did was to patch things up tidily.
Not only was Lucullus a very crafty general, he also established the tax systems of the Roman provinces very diligently. Maybe he was unlucky to have lived in the same era as Sulla, Pompey, Caeasar, etc.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 01:28 AM   #2

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Originally Posted by Catilina_Sergius View Post
I personally feel that Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus is a highly overrated military general. Lucullus is seldom given the credit for adroitly subjugating the east. It was the tireless campaign of Lucullus that ensured that the ancient Armenian kingdom was brought under Rome. While Pompey needs to be given his due, all he did was to patch things up tidily.
Not only was Lucullus a very crafty general, he also established the tax systems of the Roman provinces very diligently. Maybe he was unlucky to have lived in the same era as Sulla, Pompey, Caeasar, etc.
Same thing with the Servile War. Pompey stole Crassus' credit for putting down the rebellion. I think we tend to overrate Pompey because he's sort of a rock star type of personality. He styled his hair after Alexander the Great. He asked for the title Magnus. He's an adoration junkie if there ever was one.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 01:38 AM   #3
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I believe he started calling himself "Magnus" even before he had won any battle. Highly insecure and full of himself-Epitomisation of Pompey in my opinion.

Last edited by Catilina_Sergius; January 4th, 2013 at 02:17 AM.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 01:40 AM   #4

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Simple answer, he was Caesar's most famous adversary, and therefore way more literature and interest on his character.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 02:01 AM   #5
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Simple answer, he was Caesar's most famous adversary, and therefore way more literature and interest on his character.
You Know Caesar too knew that it was Lucullus that had actually dealt the death blow to Mithridates. But, he never acknowledged that publicy. Since Pompey became Caesar's enemy only upon Julia's (Caesar's daughter and Pompey's wife) death. I guess Caesar did not want Pompey as his enemy then. Pompey receives a great deal of attention from Plutarch as well. But, one would also say that by over indulging himself in exotic substances, Lucullus tarnished what was an almost immaculate reputation.

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Old January 4th, 2013, 05:46 AM   #6

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Pompey was a great planner and organiser, had a great flair for publicity, was a good leader of men and earned his mens' affection by being careful of their lives and happy to reward. He ensured wherever possible he had overwhelming superiority before commiting to battle. On the battlefield however, he does not appear to have been an exceptional leader or tactician. Where faced by a great tactician, Pompey did not fare well.

Lucullus was in many ways his opposite. A full blue-blood, he appears to have been cold and aloof from his men and his peers. Although an excellent tactician, usually fighting successfully against odds (including the cataphracts so often credited destroying Crassus, wrongly I think, it was the horse archers that did for him and the cataphracts that delivered the coup de grace), he limited his success to suit Sulla and his soldiers disliked him intensely. Lucullus was not generous toward his victorious soldiers but gained enormously personally from his victories. That Lucullus fell into hedonism on his retirement (especially exotic food) also told against him, indeed as it would do even now. (What would we have thought of Eisenhower had he fallen into this?)

Lucullus was far the better general, but his PR was as deplorable (due to his disdainful pride) as Pompey's was good (due to his narcissistic pride).
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Old January 4th, 2013, 05:47 AM   #7

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Lucullus was replaced by Rome after a huge publicity campaign by Pompey and his camp to get him removed. Lucullus hardly suffered though, he returned to Rome with his spoils and lived out his life the richest man in Rome at the centre of attention in Roman life. His reputation faded after his death not during his lifetime and in Rome where socialising was so important he threw the best parties.

Pompey may not have been that great a general but he was a wonderful civil servant, his the legacy of his conquest of the east was way he organised it into a series of stable organised provinces that became the richest in Rome.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 05:54 AM   #8

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Simple answer, he was Caesar's most famous adversary, and therefore way more literature and interest on his character.
Pretty much this, which is kind of sad Lucullus is an interesting character and one of the most brilliant generals of Rome, better than Pompey definitely


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I believe he started calling himself "Magnus" even before he had won any battle. Highly insecure and full of himself-Epitomisation of Pompey in my opinion.
Actually If I recall correctly the title "Magnus" was given mockingly to him early in his carrier by people who were tired of his "delusions" of grandeur, I do even believe that was Sulla himself who said that.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 07:22 AM   #9

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Pompey may not have been that great a general but he was a wonderful civil servant, his the legacy of his conquest of the east was way he organised it into a series of stable organised provinces that became the richest in Rome.
Agreed. Pompey's genius lay in administration, organization, and logistics. I'd say that Lucullus was the superior tactician but he had one major flaw: he was not charismatic and his soldiers loathed him.
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