Menas – kronika prebjega / Menas – the chronicle of defector
Keywords:Menas, second triumvirate, Sextus Pompey, Octavian, libertus, Menas’s treason of Sextu
Menas was a slave of Pompey the Great, but we cannot precisely determine the date when he became enslaved. During proscriptions in 43 BC, he escaped from Rome to Sicily and joined the navy of Pompey’s younger son, Sextus. History remembers him only as a pirate, robber, and traitor of Sextus. However, this judgement is not completely fair and it carries a significant amount of contempt due to the impression of ancient writers. The modern historiography did not provide us any books or articles regarding Menas, meaning that we actually do not have an objective view of him. That is what this paper is all about – so we could, sine ira et studio, gain a proper opinion based on facts and particularities of the given period (c. 48-36 BC).
In this paper, the author offers different views of Menas’s actions and reasons. The emphasis is on a few key issues: discussion about the end of his slavery and becoming a commander in Sextus’s navy, the role of Menas in strengthening the navy, and betrayal of Sextus Pompey for joining Octavian’s cause. The latter is an assertion that it was not betrayal per se, but carefully planned operation, which even deceived contemporaries.