Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (husband of Claudia Antonia)

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Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (d. AD 47) was a noble Roman that lived during the 1st century; he is not to be confused with his namesake Pompey the Great. Pompeius was one among the sons of the consul of the year 27, Marcus Licinius Crassus Frugi and Scribonia.


According to Suetonius, Pompeius was a nobleman of the highest ancient birth. Pompeius’ birth name is unknown, however by birth and adoption through his father, Pompeius was of the gens Licinia, hence the nomen Licinius. During the Roman Empire, it was common for Roman nobles to drop their paternal names and assume the names of their maternal ancestors. Roman nobles did this to either honor the memory of their ancestors or for adoption purposes.

Pompeius’ maternal grandparents were both direct descendants of Pompeia, the daughter of triumvir Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus) from his third marriage to Mucia Tertia. His maternal grandfather Lucius Scribonius Libo (the consul in 16) descended from his paternal grandmother Cornelia Sulla, a daughter of Pompeia with her first husband Faustus Cornelius Sulla. Therefore, his maternal grandmother Cornelia Pompeia herself was a daughter of Pompeia through her second marriage with Lucius Cornelius Cinna, the suffect consul in 32 BC.

His paternal grandfather was consul and governor Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives. Crassus was the adoptive son of consul and general Marcus Licinius Crassus, who was the grandson of triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus. He was the last known direct descendant of the triumvir and was the last known direct descendant of the triumvir who bore his name.

Life and career[edit]

Little is known on the life of Pompeius. During the reign of unstable Roman Emperor Caligula (reigned 37–41), the emperor had removed his cognomen Magnus or The Great from him and wouldn’t allow Pompeius to use his cognomen. When Caligula was assassinated in 41, his paternal uncle Claudius became the new emperor. Claudius had restored Pompeius' cognomen to him.

Pompeius’ father had gained favor with the emperor and it was probably through this favor, that Claudius had arranged for Pompeius to marry Claudia Antonia, Claudius’ daughter and only child from his second marriage to Aelia Paetina. Antonia and Pompeius had married in 43.[1]

Claudius had successfully conquered Britain and had added Britain as a province to the Roman Empire. Claudius had sent Pompeius to the Roman Senate to proclaim to the senators, that his father-in-law had conquered Britain. According to Suetonius he died in 47, because he was stabbed to death while in bed with a favorite boyfriend. Cassius Dio states that Roman Empress Valeria Messalina (who was Claudius' third wife and out of her fear, of Pompeius being a rival to Messalina and Claudius’ son Britannicus) ordered his death. After Pompeius died, Antonia married Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix, Messalina’s half-brother, in order to strengthen the bloodline of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Pompeius had no children with Antonia.

After Pompeius died he was placed in the tomb of Licinii Calpurnii that is located on the Via Salaria. The engraved on the urn of Pompeius says:

"[Here lies] Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, son of Crassus, pontiff, quaestor of the Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, his father-in-law".


  1. ^ Cornelia was the daughter of Faustus Cornelius Sulla (son of L. Cornelius Sulla) and Pompeia (daughter of Cn. Pompeius Magnus).

In fiction[edit]

Pompeius is a character in the novel series, written by Robert Graves, I, Claudius and Claudius the God. This account claims that Claudius had Pompeius killed as the latter engaged in unnatural sexual practices with the former's daughter. He was omitted from the 1976 television adaptation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David L. Vagi History - 2000- Page 156 "Of Claudia Antonia, the daughter of Claudius by his second wife, Aelia Paetina, not much is known except that she enjoyed a good reputation and endured a tragic life. Even though her ... the highest birth. The first, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, ..."