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Piracy in the Ancient Mediterranean ...

Piracy in the Ancient Mediterranean dates back to ... The Bronze Age ... The roots of world piracy come from the Ancient Greek word ... Brigand ... This means ... Taking Something Illegally for Personal Gain ... From there came ... The Latin Word Pirata ... And Finally ... The English Word Pirate Became the Norm ... The Mediterranean has been Plagued by Piracy Since the Dawn of history when the Bronze Age marked the earliest documented wave of piracy ... However ... It is difficult to differentiate piracy from the trade that occurred during earlier periods of history ... Piracy's Origins ... A number of geographic and economic characteristics of the classical world produced an environment that encouraged piracy. This is because the coasts of the Mediterranean are particularly favorable to the development of piracy. This is because the barren, rocky shorelines were not suitable for large-scale agriculture and could not support a large population. As a result most villages were small and people of the area had little means. So, heir primary means of nutrican came from fishing ... As a result ... most men had boats, seafaring skills, and navigational knowledge ... However ... when Fishing Could no longer Reliably Sustain Their Families, The People Turned to Highway Robbery and Raids into Nearby Territories to Support Themselves ... Unfortunately, land based trade routes were few and far between ... Therefore ... people had to use river boats as their primary means of transportation ... In the Early Days of Maritime Navigation ... Most trade vessels traveled along the coasts. Traffic was Restricted to Fixed Lanes in the Open Ocean. Ship owners would move slowly along established sea routes, with their boat's weighed down by heavy cargo ... Fishermen Would Encounter Treasure-Laden Trade Ships Passing the Shores Day After Day ... If Motivated ... Many Crews Would Take on the Risks of Banditry for a Chance at Treasure ... The Pirates Were the Robbers of the Sea Highways. The sea highways in the Mediterranean were well-defined and well-traveled. The rocky coast that had been unsuitable for agriculture was well suited to piracy ... Pirate Enclaves Grew up Along Rocky Shores. These Provided Shelter and Kept Their Ships Hidden From View Until it Was Too Late for Their Victims to Escape ... Because the early maritime raiders' roots were in land raiding, they were also known for Attacking ships near the shore, and in coastal towns. They also venture further inland. This caused the earliest large cities to relocate up to 10 miles away from the shore. This relocation gave safety to major cities because it protected them from the sea's dangers. However, the sea was still the primary area of commerce. This caused twin cities to be built. One inland city paired with a coastal port, such as Rome and Athens. To protect their safety, they built long walls that inclosed their cities. Despite these efforts, they could not completely remove themselves from contact between the pirates and the ports. Men often joined the pirate ships that attacked their own towns. Even the Sailors on Merchant Ships Attacked by Pirates Turned to Piracy When They Were Out of Work. Piracy offered them a lucrative career, a chance for those who were interested in changing their lives and improving their livelihood a hundredfold in a short time... For Example ... The area around ... Crete ... with its slave markets, was known as ... The Golden Sea ... because of the profitability of the slave trade ... Crete was also Notable for its Pirates ... If a City had a Successful Slave Market it was Most Likely a Pirate Port ... Egypt and Piracy ... The History of the early Mediterranean include many references to piracy and measures taken to deal with it. Egypt is the primary source for many of these early records. Other tablets mention two groups of pirates ... Turkey, and the Sherden ... Reports of piracy did not resurge in the Mediterranean Until After Alexander the Great's Death in 323 BCE. Before he died He engaged in an intentional effort to curb piracy during his conquests throughout the Mediterranean States ... The City of Rhodes ... Rhodes was the Central Trading area of the Mediterranean Sea at this time. It had five harbors that could be accessed from all wind directions, and it was located at an equal distance from most major Hellenistic ports. And, it was imperative for the local economies to have waters around them that were seen by traders as being ... Safe From Pirates ... In 167 BCE, Rome forcibly made ... Delos ... A Duty Free Port. This decision undercut the power and wealth of ... Rhodes ... Soon after, the Rhodesian harbor-tax income dropped from 1 Million Drachmas to 150,000 Drachmas in One Year ... In part, This was Because Policing Efforts Were not Widespread ... Soon, Piracy Grew Rampant in the Mediterranean ... Defense from Pirates is often given as one of the reasons why cities had set up strong policies that punished individuals who engaged in Piracy. These policies were benevolent towards the people. But they stood firm and brought news of the ongoing descent of Piracy ... However ... There is evidence that coastal tribes had created their own type of Vessels in which they carried out their plundering ... It Was a Small, Fast Ship Built to Serve the Purpose of Quickly Attacking then Retreating Into Hidden Inlets in Order to Prepare the Ship to Attack Larger Vessels ... Ancient Greek Illyrian Pirates were among the first who engaged in ... Privateering ... because it was endorsed by the leaders of the government ... In PolybiusHistories ... which covers the period of 220–146 BCE ... His Description of ... Teuta, Queen of the Illyrians States, Reads ... Her first Measure Was to Grant Letters of Marque to Privateers ... This measure authorised tose who became Privateers to plunder all whom they fell in with ... Rome's Attention ... Rome focused on land-based conquests, and they did not initially seek to become the naval police that Rhodes and previously Athens had been for the Greek islands ... However... When Illyrian forces attacked a convoy of ships with grain Intended for the Roman military, the Roman Senate decided to send Two Envoys to Queen Teuta, who Promptly Had one killed ... Outraged ... Consul Gnaeus Fulvius sailed for Illyria with two hundred ships, while ... Consul Aulus Postumius and 20,000 soldiers marched overland ... By 228 BCE ...Teuta had Surrendered ... and the Romans had ... Decimated the Forces of One of the Most Notorious Pirate Havens in the Mediterranean. ...


Credit ... Mark, J. J. (2019, August 23). Pirates of the Mediterranean. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/article/47/pirates-of-the-mediterranean/


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