Roman Republic, Faustus Cornelius Sulla - The Success of Pompey

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The three wreaths and the three trophies on the following lot are symbolic of the three triumphs of Pompey Magnus.
Pompey’s string of victories against the Marian party in Sicily and Africa, where he defeated Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and the Numidian King Hiarbas led to him being reluctantly awarded his first, and illegal, triumph by Sulla, and being hailed by the Dictator as Magnus (‘The Great’), no doubt in recognition of his many victories, but also with some degree of sarcasm.
Following his defeat of Quintus Sertorius, the Marian general who had been holding out in Hispania, Pompey returned to Italy, encountering on his way the remnants of Spartacus’ army that had been crushed by Crassus. Pompey slew the fugitives, and claimed the credit for ending the war, thus earning the enmity of Crassus. On returning to Rome Pompey was awarded a second triumph for his victories in Hispania, and like the first it was awarded extra-legally.
Pompey’s third triumph, awarded for his victories in the East against Mithridates VI of Pontus and at Jerusalem, exceeded all others in magnificence – an unprecedented two days were scheduled for its procession and games. Spoils, prisoners, soldiers and banners depicting battle scenes made their way along the triumphal route between the Campus Martius and the Capitoline temple of Jupiter. To conclude, he gave an immense triumphal banquet and money to the people of Rome, and promised them a new theatre. Plutarch claimed that this triumph represented Pompey’s - and therefore Rome’s - domination of the entire world, an achievement to outshine even Alexander’s.

Faustus Cornelius Sulla AR Denarius. Rome, 56 BC. Bust of Hercules right, in lion skin; S•C behind / Globe between jewelled wreath and three triumphal wreaths. Crawford 426/4b; Cornelia 62. 4.12g, 19mm, 5h.


Rare. Extremely Fine.