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The Gabiniani were a force of 2,000[1] Roman soldiers left by the general Aulus Gabinius in Egypt to reinforce the rule of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the pharaoh whom they had restored in 55 BCE.[2]

After the death of Ptolemy XII in 51 BCE, they supported his young son Ptolemy XIII in the power struggle against his sister Cleopatra. Their commander, Lucius Septimius, was a member of the Order of the Ancients and collaborated with others in the secret organization like the regent Pothinus to use the boy as their puppet for their brutal regime. The Gabiniani thus became an elite military arm of the Order, whose leader was the proconsul of Cyrenaica, Flavius Metellus.[2]

In 48 BCE, with their hold over the country consolidated, they plotted an attempt on Cleopatra's life while she was based in Herakleion. Lucius sent his subordinate Venator to conduct the assassination, but word of it leaked to Cleopatra, and her guards were well prepared for their attack on her palace. Most of the assassins were felled by the Medjay Bayek, including Venator himself.[1]

This failure was followed by their successful murder of the Roman proconsul Pompey on the shores of Egypt; Septimius himself dealt the killing blow while the Gabinani fell upon the Romans on the beach.[2] The Roman Republic had been engulfed in a civil war of its own between Pompey and Julius Caesar, and the former had come to Egypt to secure an alliance with Cleopatra. In turn, Ptolemy XIII had been negotiating an alliance with Caesar and mistakenly believed that the death of Pompey would be able to convince him.[3]

Instead, they suffered critical defeats the following year at the Siege of Alexandria and the Battle of the Nile because Caesar had decided to ally with Cleopatra. Both Pothinus and Ptolemy XIII met their demise, but the survival of Septimius was secured thanks to Flavius' recruitment of Caesar into the Order just prior to the battles.[4] Seeing the value of the Gabiniani's allegiance, Caesar and Cleopatra offered them clemency, and this surprise reversal allowed them to retain their powerful position as the Pharaoh's guardsmen.[1][3][4]

By 44 BCE, the Gabiniani had returned to Rome with Caesar, but their fortunes would not last.[5] Their services had come at the expense of the loyalty of Bayek and his wife, Aya, to Cleopatra's regime.[6] Relieved of their duties, the two viewed this as a betrayal,[6] for the Order of Ancients were their sworn enemies who had been responsible for the death their son and atrocities across Egypt.[7] On 15 March, many of the Gabiniani, including Septimius himself, were slain by Aya at the Theatre of Pompey where they were acting as Caesar's escort in a meeting with the Senate. With their deaths, Caesar was left vulnerable to assassination at the hands of Aya and the many Roman senators who had joined the organization founded to counteract the Order, the Hidden Ones.[5]

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