Pompey°

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

POMPEY°

POMPEY ° (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ; 106–48 b.c.e.), Roman general and one-time triumvir with *Julius Caesar and *Crassus. In 64–63 b.c.e. Pompey effectively established Roman rule throughout Syria and Palestine. He ostensibly attempted to arbitrate between the Hasmonean factions, represented by the brothers *Hyrcanus ii and *Aristobulus ii, contending for supremacy in Judea. A third party, according to Diodorus (4:2; cf. Jos., Ant., 14:41), expressed preference for Roman domination which would allow for Jewish religious autonomy. Pompey, though receiving costly gifts from both the brothers, was only biding his time, and when the moment was opportune made his way to Jerusalem. The pro-Hyrcanus party opened the city gates to him. Aristobulus' faction (though he himself was now a prisoner of Pompey) resisted a siege of several months' duration. Both Jewish (Jos., ibid., 64ff.) and pagan sources (Dio Cassius, 37:16) confirm that Pompey took advantage of the Sabbath day, on which Jewsrefrained from taking the offensive, to accelerate siege operations. The Temple appears to have been stormed in midsummer 63 b.c.e. According to Josephus Pompey entered the Holy of Holies on a "fast-day" but left it intact. There is evidence by Dio Cassius, however, that the Temple treasury was robbed by Pompey. Wholesale slaughter of the defenders took place and the country became tributary to Rome. With this, Jewish independence came to an end, save for the few fitful years of the Jewish War (66–70) and the Bar Kokhba War (132–135). A telling blow was the severance from Judean control of the vital coastal towns of Gaza, Jaffa, Straton's Tower (later Caesarea), among others, as well as Samaria (Ḥag. 25a) and large areas of Transjordan. This act was the prelude to *Gabinius' later subdivision of the country. Aristobulus was carried off to Rome in chains together with the members of his family, including his two sons, Alexander and Antigonus, the former escaping en route. Hyrcanus was rewarded by being granted the high priesthood and leadership of the nation.

The noncanonical Psalms of Solomon are generally attributed to the period of Pompey's capture of the city where this event is described. Pompey is regarded as the "alien to our race" and rod of God's wrath against Hasmonean usurpation of the Davidic throne (Ps. of Sol. 7–9). According to some scholars his era may also be the background of the first century c.e.Pesher Habakkuk of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

bibliography:

Jos., Loeb (ed.), vol. 9, p. 762; Schuerer, Hist, index s.v.; T. Mommsen, Roemische Geschichte, 3 (192213), 143ff.; A. Schalit, Ha-Mishtar ha-Roma'i be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1937), index; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 5 (19512), 315; A. Schalit, Koenig Herodes (1969), 7ff., 678f., 757f.

[David Solomon]