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Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (died 87 BC), whose cognomen means "cross eyed", is often referred to in English as Pompey Strabo to distinguish him from Strabo, the geographer. Strabo lived in the Roman Republic. Strabo was born and raised into a noble family in Picenum (modern Marche & Abruzzo) a rural district in Northern Italymarker, off the Adriaticmarker coast. Strabo's mother was called Lucilia. Lucilia’s family originated from Suessa Aurunca (modern Sessa Auruncamarker) and she was a sister of satire poet Gaius Lucilius. Lucilius was a friend of Roman general Scipio Aemilianus Africanus. Strabo’s paternal grandfather was Gnaeus Pompeius, while his father was Sextus Pompeius. His elder brother was Sextus Pompeius and his sister was Pompeia. His brother was the father of another Sextus Pompeius and Quintus Pompeius, the first of whom was the father of another Sextus Pompeius, Consul in 35 BC, in turn the father of still another Sextus Pompeius.

Strabo became the first of his branch of the gens Pompeia to achieve senatorial status in Romemarker, despite the anti-rural prejudice of the Roman Senate. After proving his military talent, Strabo climbed the cursus honorum and became promagistrate in Sicily 93 BC and consul in the year 89 BC, in the midst of the Social War.

Strabo commanded Roman forces against the Italian Allies in the northern part of Italymarker. His three Roman legions were instrumental in Rome's victory. After his consulship and the war, Strabo retired to Picenum with all of his veteran soldiers. He remained there until 87 BC, when he responded to dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla's request for help against general Gaius Marius. Strabo had the habit of playing both ends against the middle in the intense politics of the period. Sulla arranged to remove Strabo from command and replace him with a handpicked confederate. Strabo left camp on "personal business" while his soldiers killed the replacement. Later, when Strabo died of plague, a mob dragged his body through the streets until a tribune interceded. His son took the legions back to Picenum once again.

Strabo married a Roman woman whose name is unknown. He had at least two children: a son, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey the Great or Pompey the triumvir, who took as his fourth wife Julia (the daughter of dictator Gaius Julius Caesar), and a daughter called Pompeia.


  • Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia 2002

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