Pompey the peaceful, or: imperialism with gloves

In this section, Cicero moves on from describing the faults of other commanders to building up a picture of the excellent conduct of Pompey when he brought his army into Asia. At the time of the speech, Pompey was still in quarters in Asia and visiting cities in the region, to shore up his campaign against the pirates and prepare for the war against Mithridates, which he hoped would be coming his way.40 Cicero stresses how even during the winter, when other commanders would have exploited allies, Pompey took great care not to inflict harm on anyone or abuse the goodwill of the locals. The contrast between Pompey’s actions with those of other generals destroying the allied territory, as mentioned in § 37, throws the discipline of Pompey’s forces (and by implication his self-control and ‘imperial ethics’) into proper relief.