Lucius Afranius (consul)

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Lucius Afranius (died 46 BC) was an ancient Roman legatus and client of Pompey the Great. He served with Pompey during his Iberian campaigns against Sertorius in the late 70's, and remained in his service right through to the Civil War. He died after the Battle of Thapsus in 46 BC.


Early career

Lucius Afranius was born into a humble family in Picenum. As a Picentine, he was favoured during his career by Pompey, who was a scion of Picenum's most distinguished family.

Sertorian War

Afranius was present during Pompey's campaigns against Marian supporter Quintus Sertorius. He played a pivotal role at the Battle of the Sucro in 75 BC. Sertorius attacked Pompey's left wing, which was under Afranius' command. Afranius held until Sertorius' attention was drawn away by Pompey's attack into Sertorius' own left. When Sertorius moved his forces to counter this, Afranius led an attack against the Sertorian right. This attack routed the enemy and Afranius pursued them into their camp. Afranius' soldiers caused a great many casualties and began looting the enemy camp and supply train. Meanwhile, Pompey had fled after being bested by Sertorius, and the scattered forces of Afranius were attacked by the victorious Sertorians. It was only the timely arrival of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius which turned the tide in Pompey's favour.


Despite the unprecedented size of Pompey's corps of legates--he received the right to appoint 24 of these senior adjutants--for his scourge of the pirates from the Mediterranean, Afranius did not number amongst them, as his patron chose to cultivate his links with the Roman aristocracy by appointing only men of distinguished family. After the success of this campaign, however, Pompey was given command in the east and appointed Afranius as his legate for this new campaign. After the initial successes against Mithradates VI of Pontus and Tigranes the Great of the Kingdom of Armenia, Pompey began to pursue the defeated enemy northwards.

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