The Cn. Pompey’s War against the Pirates Cover Image
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Wojna Gn. Pompejusza z piratami
The Cn. Pompey’s War against the Pirates

Author(s): Ireneusz Łuć
Subject(s): History
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Summary/Abstract: The victory over pirates in the year 67 BC was nothing more than “closing” a long-lasting and arduous war between the Romans and sea pirates. Pompey’s success ended an earlier, inglorious — from the point of view of Romulus’ descendants — series of inefficient, anti-pirate operations, during which the Romans were unable to effectively defend not only their allies but also themselves.The secret of Pompey’s success in this “great war” — which he managed to end after 89 days,i.e. in less than three months instead of the originally planned three years — was the unusualspeed of military action. Among the factors that contributed to the brilliant victory were not only the tactics, tempo of conducted attacks or troops’ mobility, but also Pompey’s forbearance (clementia) towards the pirates and their families when they decided to lay down their weapons. Such a humane attitude put him in a far more favourable light than even Quintus Metellus (Q. Caecilius Metellus Creticus) who, at the same time, fought with the pirates on the island of Crete.Although the whole operation against pirates would last, as already mentioned, only less thanthree months, it was not a bloodless campaign. 10 000 pirates were killed in both land and seabattles, and 20 000 were taken into Roman captivity. Pompey’s troops were to take 120 cities and fortified outposts (pirate “nests”). It was there where prisoners held for ransom were found. The Romans assumed control of pirate armories, warehouses full of looted treasures and goods, as well as supplies of wood for shipbuilding. 400 pirate ships were captured and 1300 vessels were burned by the Romans. Pirate shipyards were also destroyed. By Pompey’s order, captured sea robbers were mostly settled in Cilicia.Pompey and his legates became patrons of cities in the East, and the content of the preservedinscriptions directly expresses residents’ gratitude for destroying the pirate threat.After spending the winter in Asia, in 66 BC, Pompey launched a new military campaign during which he also showed forbearance (clementia), which proved to be effective in pacifying the pirates. The right to hold a third triumph, which was awarded to Pompey by the Senate, was the pinnacle of all his victories he had achieved within the last five years.

  • Page Range: 13-33
  • Page Count: 21
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: Polish