Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus was a military commander and political leader who served Rome up until the time he was assassinated in 48 B.C. He is known in history as Pompey, and he was the son of Pompeius Strabo, who was a wealthy political leader from the area of Picenum.
Pompey was being educated for a military and political career, and when he was seventeen years old, he was called upon to fight against the Italians in a conflict known as the Social War. Pompey proved to be a victorious commander. Shortly before his father had died in 89 B.C., he served under him in various military conflicts and politics. Some sources claim that Pompey greatly admired Alexander the Great and tried to emulate his appearance and lifestyle.
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Pompey soon rose through the ranks to become a general of three legions. He was sent by the Roman leader Sulla on various missions to expand the empire and to keep control of the lands that were already taken. He fought in campaigns in Sicily, Africa, Hispania, and he even suppressed the slave revolt that was started by Spartacus.
Pompey defeated pirates, battled in Asia and took on the Seleucids in Syria. While he was carrying out his duties in the Middle East, he encountered the Jewish people who were living under the rule of the Hasmonean Dynasty.
The Hasmonean rulers were fighting each other for the control of Judah. Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II were not only opposing rulers of Judah they also represented two opposing religious factions the Pharisees and the Sadducees. When Pompey had defeated the Seleucids in Syria, both Jewish parties thought that they could use his forces to defeat each other in battle. So they both sent bribes to Pompey to see if he would join their side.
Pompey eventually chose to align with Hyrcanus II because he was an older man who would prove to be a more reliable ally to Rome than the younger Aristobulus II. Once Aristobolus II realized that he hid out in a fortress. But he eventually allowed Pompey to take Jerusalem. The problem is that many of the people who had entered into the fortress refused to allow Pompey to enter into the area, and Pompey decided to take the city by force.
During the siege, Pompey destroyed the city of Jerusalem and he badly damaged the Temple. Pompey then sent Aristobolus II back to Rome as a prisoner and allowed Hyrcanus II to govern the land. The Jewish people had to accept the terms of Rome, and they became a province of the Roman Empire in 64 BC, which is where this appears on the Bible Timeline Chart. When Pompey conquered Jerusalem, he supposedly had entered into the temple to evaluate the Jews unusual religious worship. Most people in the ancient world believed in many different gods but when Pompey entered into the sacred parts of the temple he didn’t see any statues or pictures of their deity. All he saw was a scroll with writing, and he was supposedly puzzled by this scene. Like most people in ancient times, Pompey just couldn’t understand how these people could worship one God that they couldn’t even see. He then ordered the city and the Temple to be restored. Pompey’s actions in Jerusalem set the scene for the coming birth of Jesus Christ. The prophecies of Daniel were also being fulfilled. In the book of Daniel, he stated that a fourth empire made of iron would emerge on the scene. Pompey had unknowingly played a critical part in bringing about the emergence of this fourth world empire that was spoken about in Daniel’s prophecies when he conquered Judah and the other kingdoms of the ancient world.
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