Ancient Piracy

Greek and Roman pirates

The oldest evidence of the pirates' existence is an inscription on a clay tablet from the time of Pharo Echnaton (1350 BC). This document describes a pirates' ship attacking in North Africa. There is also an epigraphic evidence from the 340's, from Athens.

The piracy was a common thing during the Ancient Greek and the Ancient Roman age. The ships from those times used to sail near the coast, which made them the easy targets to the pirates.

The Greek's pirate base was in the Lipari Islands for over 2500 years and Rome’s was Istria. Greek pirates, Illyrian, had their attack on Roman's ships in the Adriatic Sea. Therefore, Rome attacked Illyrians twice after that. Since 10th century BC, Dorian Greek pirates had been based in Crete. This lasted for over 800 years.

Picture Of Mosaic Of A Roman Trireme Ancient Piracy

In the 2nd century BC, the eastern Mediterranean was under the supervision of the Rhodeans. There were several attempts to stop piracy. Soon, Crete was not a comfortable place for the pirates anymore.

Some Lycians were pirates, too. Lycia was in the Antalya Providence, which is today's Turkey. Lycian pirates plundered many ships. Unfortunately, for them, Ramses The Third destroyed their havens in 1194, but after some time the pirates recovered and became active again. The ending of these pirates' activities came with a few Romans' attacks. They finally destroyed the pirates in 67 BC.

After the fall of Romans, the pirates became active once again, with even bigger ambitions. Lycian pirates had not been stopped, till the patrols of the British warships suppressed piracy in the 18th a 19th century.

Cilician pirates were famous, too. Cilicia was also on the territory of today's Turkey, on the southern shore of Asia Minor. The great geographic position, near Egyptian and Palestinian sea lines, made Cilicia an ideal place for the pirates' haven. It became the home of numerous pirates. Cilicia was the biggest pirate haven of the ancient times. On the top of their strength, these pirates almost destroyed Rome Empire. After that, Pompey the Great almost ruined them in 67 BC. Cilician pirates are best known for capturing Julius Caesar in 78 BC and keeping him on Pharmacua till the ransom was paid. However, Caesar had his revenge. His people killed all pirates responsible for his kidnapping.

Picture Of Mosaic Of A Roman Trireme Ancient Piracy
Picture Of Mosaic Of A Roman Trireme Ancient Piracy