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UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

the deep. They seized the coast towns, made their way inland, plundered and

burned villas, and finally made a foray along the Appian Way, seizing and

carrying away two Roman praetors

The chief seat of the buccaneers-if seat that might be called which was

only a lair-was in Cilicia, in Asia Minor. Here the malcontents of the East

congregated, and sought by the hazardous profession of piracy to be avenged

for the wrongs which the Roman governors had inflicted on their respective

countries. (1) They became the enemies of the human race, and regarded all

the fruits of civilization as contraband of war. The life led by them was

wild, free, contemptuous of danger. More and more they gained the

ascendancy, and more and more Rome felt the distress occasioned by the

destruction of her commerce. At last the tribune Gabinius proposed a heroic

remedy. He brought forward a bill in the Senate and assembly, providing

that a general of consular rank should be chosen with full power to have

command of the whole Mediterranean for three years. The surrounding coasts

also, to the distance of fifty miles inland, were to be under his

jurisdiction. He was to have twenty-four subordinate commanders, and a

fleet of five hundred ships. His military chest was to be supplied with six

thousand talents; and the number of soldiers to be placed at his disposal

was to be limited only by his own desires.

The name of Pompeius was not mentioned in the bill, but there could be no

mistake as to whom Gabinius and the people had in mind. The measure was

violently opposed in the Senate, but was enthusiastically adopted by the

assembly. Among those through whose influence the law was finally passed

was Caius Julius Caesar, already a recognized leader of the democratic

party, and just now returned from his quaestorship in Spain.

As soon as the bill was adopted, Pompeius was chosen to the responsible

position of commander. For two years after the expiration of his consulship

he had lived in retiracy, and now in B. C. 67 he was called to the

performance of one of the most onerous duties ever imposed on a Roman

general. Early in the following year he entered upon his work with an

energy fully equal to the high expectations of the people. The

Mediterranean was divided into thirteen parts, and a certain contingent of

ships, under command of a legate, was stationed in each to cruise against

the pirates, while Pompeius himself, with the greater part of the fleet,

beginning at the pillars of Hercules and making his way eastward, swept the

sea dean of the buccaneers. In the space of forty days not a piratical

vessel was left in the Mediterranean west of Italy. Commerce was resumed,

and corn began to pour into the empty markets of Rome.

Pompeius then sailed to the east with a fleet of sixty ships, and attacked

the pirates in the seat of their empire in Cilicia. He drove their craft

before him, and finally compelled them to give battle at Carascesium. They

were utterly defeated, and fled each ship to its own hiding place. But

Pompeius hunted them down in every bay, inlet, and creek, until the whole

nest was broken up and destroyed. Twenty thousand of the sea robbers were

captured and were compelled to settle in the Cilician towns among the

colonists of Achaia. The whole enterprise of clearing the ocean from end to

end had occupied but eighty-nine days. In this brief space of time the

_______________________________ 1 Many amusing things are told of the

conduct of the pirates in their war upon mankind. They were magnanimous

rascals, full of jocularity. Of course their great enemy was Rome, but

their booty was mostly derived from the commerce of other states. It was

the custom of the times, when a Roman chanced to fall into the hands of an

enemy, for him at once to declare his citizenship as a subject of the

Imperial Republic. This was generally sufficient to secure for him

immediate exemption from punishment or persecution. It appears, however,

that the Cilician free booters were not properly inspired with a sense of

the overpowering majesty of Rome. Whenever they took one of the great race

prisoner he would after the manner, cry out, "I am a Roman citizen."

Thereupon the pirates would gather around him in feigned admiration, get

down on their knees, salute him as a superior being, ask his pardon for

their rude violence to his sacred person. They would adjust his garments,

being careful to arrange his toga a la mode. Then, when the farce had been

carried out to their satisfaction, they would let down a ladder into the

sea, and tell him to depart in peace. If he refused to descend, they would

push him headlong into the brine!