Monday, September 28

Sixth Grade History You Probably Forgot

Pompey Magnus
By Art Cashin

On this day (+2) in 48 B.C., one of ancient Rome's most brilliant generals, a certain Pompey the Great landed on the shores of Egypt.

(Mr. Cashin! Yes Sister? Please try to remember the general's name is pronounced Pom-pea; Pom-pay was the name of the city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. If you don't pay more attention, you'll never remember enough history to get out of the 6th grade, let alone enough to ever help you in business! Do you understand?? Yes Sister!!)

Anyway, flashbacks aside, Pompey landed in Egypt - kind of "on the run." As you may recall from earlier episodes (or from the 6th grade), Rome was going through a parliamentary crisis. A popular reformer named Julius Caesar was busy dividing Gaul into three parts and sending reform suggestions to Rome. The Roman Parliament (pronounced "Senate") sent a nasty note (on parchment) to said Caesar - saying he had a lot of Gaul and ordering him to come home for a spanking and to please leave his army behind. Said Caesar headed home and took the army with him (across the Rubicon don't-cha know!).

Since that was considered bad form (pronounced formus stunkus), the Roman Senate called upon a former war hero for protection. The guy picked was Pompey the Great (page 6 in your program) - victor over Spanish Rebels (76 B.C.), over a certain "Spartacus" (72 B.C.) and over that early Hitler, King Mithridates (63 B.C.).

Despite this veteran's record, said Caesar made salad out of Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus (beating him badly with an army half the size of Pompey's). This led Pompey to flee to his last known ally, Ptolemy XIII (pronounced Friday the 13th), King of Egypt and the Nile Delta. Ptolemy XIII (age XV) was at war with his pudgy sister. So, with Ptolemy XIII needing no new enemies (i.e. said Caesar), Ptolemy had his old ally assassinated (i.e. Pompey, who was stabbed as he got off the boat).

Said Caesar sensed that such habits did not make Ptolemy XIII (age XV) a great candidate for new best friend. So, said Caesar threw in with the pudgy sister named Cleopatra.

What happened next...I forget! (Sorry Sister!!)


Many thanks to Mr. Cashin and UBS Financial Services who graciously allow his historical musings to be republished on this site. To enjoy more of Art's posts simply click on "Cashin's Comments" in the label section on the sidebar.

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