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Pompey Chapter 2: Pompey and women.
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In his youth, his countenance pleaded for him, seeming to anticipate his eloquence, and win upon the affections of the people before he spoke. His beauty even in his bloom of youth had something in it at once of gentleness and dignity; and when his prime of manhood came, the majesty kingliness of his character at once became visible in it. His hair sat somewhat hollow or rising a little; and this, with the languishing motion of his eyes, seemed to form a resemblance in his face, though perhaps more talked of than really apparent, to the statues of king Alexander. And because many applied that name to him in his youth, Pompey himself did not decline it, insomuch that some called him so in derision. And Lucius Philippus, a man of consular dignity, when he was pleading in favor of him, thought it not unfit to say, that people could not be surprised if Philip was a lover of Alexander. It is related of Flora, the courtesan, that when she was now pretty old; she took great delight in speaking of her early familiarity with Pompey, and was wont to say, that she could never part after being with him without a bite. She would further tell, that Geminius, a companion of Pompey's, fell in love with her, and made his court with great importunity; and on her refusing, and telling him, however her inclinations were, yet she could not gratify his desires for Pompey's sake, he therefore made his request to Pompey, and Pompey frankly gave his consent, but never afterwards would have any converse with her, notwithstanding, that he seemed to have a great passion for her; and Flora, on this occasion, showed none of the levity that might have been expected of her, but languished for some time after under a sickness brought on by grief and desire. This Flora, we are told, was such a celebrated beauty, that Caecilius Metellus,[Note 1] when he adorned the temple of Castor and Pollux with paintings and statues, among the rest dedicated hers for her singular beauty. In his conduct also to the wife of Demetrius, his freed servant, (who had great influence with him in his lifetime, and left an estate of four thousand talents,) Pompey acted contrary to his usual habits, not quite fairly or generously, fearing lest he should fall under the common censure of being enamored and charmed with her beauty, which was irresistible, and became famous everywhere. Nevertheless, though he seemed to be so extremely circumspect and cautious, yet even in matters of this nature, he could not avoid the calumnies of his enemies, but upon the score of marriedwomen, they accused him, as if he had connived at many things, and embezzled the public revenue to gratify their luxury. Of his easiness of temper and plainness, in what related to eating and drinking, the story is told, that once in a sickness, when his stomach nauseated common meats, his physician prescribed him a thrush to eat; but upon search, there was none to be bought, for they were not then in season, and one telling him they were to be had at Lucullus's, who kept them all the year round, "So then," said he, "if it were not for Lucullus's luxury, Pompey should not live;" and thereupon not minding the prescription of the physician, he contented himself with such meat as could easily be procured. But this was at a later time.|
Note 1: Probably this Caecilius Metellus