Pompey is a central character in Rome. His conflict with Caesar forms the first major story arc.
Staunch and somewhat shortsighted Pompey Magnus feels that it is up to him to save the Republic. From a low-born common family, Pompey raised his status in Roman society with victories overseas, greatly expanding the dominion of the Republic. Although at first enjoying wide support and the favor of the people, Caesar's rise in popularity presents a political threat. With the death of his wife Julia, the proud Pompey is motivated to stand with the exiled Roman Senate in the ensuing civil war. His inability to co-operate with the senators and his hesitance to face Caesar directly force him to retreat to Greece. There, he is defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus despite holding a significant tactical and numerical advantage over Caesar. The defeat leaves him broken and demoralized.
- While an accurate picture of the Pompey of the 40s BC, the show does not depict Pompey's early career, during which he showed himself a capable commander and a brilliant administrator. The show's timeframe may thus lead to a false view of Pompey as a total failure, when in fact he succeeded (where at least two others had failed) in largely ridding the Mediterranean of pirates, and doubled Rome's revenue by adding much of Anatolia and the Middle East to the Empire's territory.
- Contrary to his portrayal in the series, Pompey at the time was not a doddering old man. At 58, he was only six years older than Caesar. On an interesting side note, it was Caesar who had actually gone bald by the time of the events in the series.