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Pompey and the Pirates

Terrorism is not something new; nor is the failure to do something about it when there are only small, manageable enclaves. By the time Pompey was asked to handle the pirates, they were out of hand -- almost destroying commerce, preventing trade between cities and capturing important officials. In order to put an end to their power, laws had to be passed and special powers had to be granted. In 67, the tribune Aulus Gabinius forced a bill through the popular assembly awarding Pompey command of the campaign against the pirates in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Read about how the pirate problem grew and Pompey put an end to it.

Plutarch Passage on Pompey and the Pirates

Pirates! Fact- General History
Pompey set up thirteen districts designed to isolate the various segments of the pirate population. The pirates became terrified, ceased their pillaging and fled to their garrisons. Pompey eliminated the pirate threat within three months.

Pompey's Eastern Settlement
On top of his pirate campaign Pompey captured and made slaves of 846 pirate ships and their crew. [http://www.herodotuswebsite.co.uk/roman/essays/Settlement.htm - 8/31/06]

Philip de Souza, Piracy in the Graeco-Roman World, reviewed by Kathryn Simonsen
De Souza shows how "pirate" became a useful term of abuse and how it was used to "up the emotional ante" since everyone feared the pirates.

Ancient History Sourcebook: Mithridates & The Roman Conquests in the East, 90-61 BCE
Passage on the Cilician pirates from Appian's Mithridatic Wars. Pirates between the Pillars of Hercules and Cilicia stopped all commerce between cities and caused severe famine.

Next page > Plutarch on how Pompey defeated the pirates

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