Pompey and crassus relationship advice

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pompey and crassus relationship advice

B.C. - Caesar, Crassus and Pompey and The First Triumvirate another pair allied themselves only tenuously through marriage. B.C.. In 59 B. C. Pompeius, Crassus and Caesar co-operated in the passage of This concept of the relationships among the members of the coalition is in Cicero's letters of recommendation fit 48 B.C. better (that is, after Pompeius. For Pompey being younger than Crassus, and born of a wicked father in Rome, . to give his assistance and advice, and him Spartacus missed but very little of story of Crassus and Publius, though David's relationship with Absalom was.

For Domitius had assembled there a much larger force than that with which Marius, no long time ago, 13 had crossed from Africa into Italy and confounded the Roman state, making himself tyrant instead of exile. No sooner had he landed with part of his ships at Utica, 14 and with part at Carthage, than seven thousand of the enemy deserted and came over to him; and his own army contained six complete legions. Some soldiers, it would seem, stumbled upon a treasure and got considerable amounts of money.

When the matter became public, the rest of the army all fancied that the place was full of money which the Carthaginians had hidden away in some time of calamity. At last they grew weary of the search and bade Pompey lead them where he pleased, assuring him that they had been sufficiently punished for their folly.

But Pompey, taking advantage of this opportunity, advanced swiftly to the attack, and crossed the ravine. However, the Romans also were troubled by the storm, since they could not see one another clearly, and Pompey himself narrowly escaped death by not being recognized, when a soldier demanded the countersign from him and he gave it rather slowly. And when he said he would not accept the honour as long as the camp of the enemy was intact, but that if they thought him worthy of the appellation, they must first destroy that, his soldiers immediately made an assault upon the ramparts; and Pompey fought without his helmet, for fear of a peril like the one he had just escaped.

Then some of the cities submitted at once to Pompey, and others were taken by storm. Taking advantage of the good fortune and momentum of his army, Pompey now invaded Numidia. It took him only forty days all told, they say, to bring his enemies to naught, get Africa into his power, and adjust the relations of its kings, though he was but twenty-four years of age. Pompey himself gave no sign of the deep distress which these orders caused him, but his soldiers made their indignation manifest.

When Pompey asked them to go home before him, they began to revile Sulla, declared they would not forsake their general, and insisted that he should not trust the tyrant. Then his soldiers seized him and set him again upon his tribunal, and a great part of the day was consumed in this way, they urging him to remain and keep his command, and he begging them to obey and not to raise a sedition.

This he said because Marius also, who was quite a young man, had given him very great trouble and involved him in the most extreme perils. So he went out and met him, and after giving him the warmest welcome, saluted him in a loud voice as "Magnus," or The Great, and ordered those who were by to give him this surname. Pompey himself, however, was last of all to use it, and it was only after a long time, when he was sent as pro-consul to Spain against Sertorius, that he began to subscribe himself in his letters and ordinances "Pompeius Magnus"; for the name had become familiar and was no longer invidious.

The law, he said, permitted only a consul or a praetor to celebrate a triumph, but no one else. Therefore the first Scipio, after conquering the Carthaginians in Spain in far greater conflicts, did not ask for a triumph; for he was not consul, nor even praetor.

This was what Sulla said to Pompey, declaring that he would not allow his request, but would oppose him and thwart his ambition if he refused to listen to him.

Sulla did not hear the words distinctly, but seeing, from their looks and gestures, that those who did hear them were amazed, he asked what it was that had been said. When he learned what it was, he was astounded at the boldness of Pompey, and cried out twice in succession: But the gate of the city was too narrow, and he therefore gave up the attempt and changed over to his horses.

Then Servilius, a man of distinction, and one who had been most opposed to Pompey's triumph, said he now saw that Pompey was really great, and worthy of the honour. And indeed it would have been nothing wonderful for Pompey to be a senator before he was of age for it; but it was a dazzling honour for him to celebrate a triumph before he was a senator. And this contributed not a little to win him the favour of the multitude; for the people were delighted to have him still classed among the knights after a triumph.

Only, when in spite of him and against his wishes Pompey made Lepidus consul, 17 by canvassing for him and making the people zealously support him through their goodwill towards himself, seeing Pompey going off through the forum with a throng, Sulla said: Now, however, it is time for you to be wide awake and watchful of your interests; you have made your adversary stronger than yourself. And yet Pompey bore this with great composure, and loyally, insomuch that when Lepidus and sundry others tried to prevent the body of Sulla from being buried in the Campus Martiusor even from receiving public burial honours, he came to the rescue, and gave to the interment alike honour and security.

He took no circuitous route and used no pretence, but appeared at once in arms, stirring up anew and gathering about himself the remnants of faction, long enfeebled, which had escaped the hand of Sulla.

The situation itself, therefore, demanded Pompey, who was not long in deciding what course to take. He took the side of the nobility, and was appointed commander of an army against Lepidus, who had already stirred up a large part of Italy and was employing Brutus to hold Cisalpine Gaul with an army. Meanwhile, Lepidus had made a hasty rush upon Rome, and sitting down before it, was demanding a second consulship, and terrifying the citizens with a vast throng of followers.

For Brutus, whether he himself betrayed his army, or whether his army changed sides and betrayed him, put himself in the hands of Pompey, and receiving an escort of horsemen, retired to a little town upon the Po. Here, after a single day had passed, he was slain by Geminius, who was sent by Pompey to do the deed.

For as soon as the army of Brutus changed sides, he wrote to the senate that Brutus had surrendered to him of his own accord; then he sent another letter denouncing the man after he had been put to death. The Brutus who, with Cassius, killed Caesar, was a son of this Brutus, a man who was like his father neither in his wars nor in his death, as is written in his Life.

There he fell sick and died of despondency, which was due, as we are told, not to the loss of his cause, but to his coming accidentally upon a writing from which he discovered that his wife was an adulteress.

As if for a final disease of the state, the civil wars had poured all their venom into this man. For Sertorius attacked him recklessly and in robber fashion, and by his ambuscades and flanking movements confounded a man who was practised in regular contests only, and commanded immobile and heavy-armed troops. Thereupon Sertorius disseminated haughty speeches against Pompey, and scoffingly said he should have needed but a cane and whip for this boy, were he not in fear of that old woman, meaning Metellus.

For Metellus, contrary to all expectation, had become luxurious in his way of living and had given himself up completely to his pleasures; in fact, there had been all at once a great change in him towards pomp and extravagance, 23 so that this circumstance also brought Pompey an astonishing goodwill, and enhanced his reputation, since he always maintained that simplicity in his habits which cost him no great effort; for he was naturally temperate and orderly in his desires.

For when he supposed that his enemy was surrounded, and had made some boasts about it, all of a sudden it turned out that he was himself completely enveloped. He was therefore afraid to stir, and had to look on while the city was burned before his eyes. By the river Sucro, though it was now late in the day, they joined battle, both fearing the arrival of Metellus; the one wished to fight alone, the other wished to have only one antagonist.

But Pompey, who was on horseback, was attacked by a tall man who fought on foot; when they came to close quarters and were at grips, the strokes fell upon each other's hands, but not with like result, for Pompey was merely wounded, whereas he lopped off the hand of his opponent. They fought with one another over the division of these spoils, and so were left behind in the pursuit.

But Metellus would not allow this, and in all other ways was considerate of him, not assuming any superiority as a man of consular rank and the elder, except that when they shared the same camp the watchword was given out to all from the tent of Metellus; but for the most part they encamped apart. And finally, by cutting off their supplies, plundering the country, and getting control of the sea, he drove both of them out of that part of Spain which was under him, and forced them to take refuge in other provinces for lack of provisions.

Lucullus was consul at this time, and was not on good terms with Pompey, but since he was soliciting the conduct of the Mithridatic war for himself, made great efforts to have the money sent, 27 for fear of furthering Pompey's desire to let Sertorius go, and march against Mithridates, an antagonist whose subjection, as it was thought, would bring great glory and involve little difficulty.

He had indeed the same forces and equipment, but lacked equal judgement in the use of them. Accordingly, Pompey took the field against him at once, and perceiving that he had no fixed plan of campaign, sent out ten cohorts as a decoy for him, giving them orders to scatter at random over the plain.

In this he did not show ingratitude, nor that he was unmindful of what had happened in Sicily, 29 as some allege against him, but exercised great forethought and salutary judgement for the commonwealth. Pompey, therefore, fearing that this might stir up greater wars than those now ended, put Perpenna to death and burned the letters without even reading them. For this reason, too, Crassus, who had the command in that war, precipitated the battle at great hazard, and was successful, killing twelve thousand three hundred of the enemy.

Wherefore those who ran out and greeted him on his way, out of their goodwill, were no more numerous than those who did it out of fear. Then there remained but one accusation for envious tongues to make, namely, that he devoted himself more to the people than to the senate, and had determined to restore the authority of the tribunate, which Sulla had overthrown, and to court the favour of the many; which was true. Pompey therefore regarded it as a great good fortune that he had the opportunity for this political measure, since he could have found no other favour with which to repay the goodwill of his fellow-citizens, if another had anticipated him in this.

For he gave them back their tribunate, and suffered the courts of justice to be transferred again to the knights by law. Honours and penalties are also awarded, according to the career of each. When he was near and could be plainly seen, he ordered his lictors to make way for him, and led his horse up to the tribunal.

Then the senior censor put the question: In fact, it was no longer easy to meet him or even to see him without a throng around him, but he took the greatest pleasure in making his appearance attended by large crowds, encompassing his presence thus with majesty and pomp, and thinking that he must keep his dignity free from contact and familiar association with the multitude.

Such men claim that precedence in the city also which they have in the field, while those who achieve less distinction in the field feel it to be intolerable if in the city at any rate they have no advantage.

Therefore when the people find a man active in the forum who has shone in camps and triumphs, they depress and humiliate him, but when he renounces and withdraws from such activity, they leave his military reputation and power untouched by their envy. How true, this is, events themselves soon showed. And presently men whose wealth gave them power, and those whose lineage was illustrious, and those who laid claim to superior intelligence, began to embark on piratical craft and share their enterprises, feeling that the occupation brought them a certain reputation and distinction.

They also offered strange sacrifices of their own at Olympus, 36 and celebrated there certain secret rites, among which those of Mithras continue to the present time, having been first instituted by them. Once, too, they seized two praetors, Sextilius and Bellinus, in their purple-edged robes, and carried them away, together with their attendants and lictors. They also captured a daughter of Antonius, a man who had celebrated a triumph, as she was going into the country, and exacted a large ransom for her.

But their crowning insolence was this. Then some would put Roman boots on his feet, and others would throw a toga round him, in order, forsooth, that there might be no mistake about him again.

AmblesideOnline: Plutarch's Life of Crassus (ca. 115 B.C. - 53 B.C.)

This was what most of all inclined the Romans, who were hard put to it to get provisions and expected a great scarcity, to send out Pompey with a commission to take the sea away from the pirates. These limits included almost all places in the Roman world, and the greatest nations and most powerful kings were comprised within them.

When these provisions of the law were read in the assembly, 37 the people received them with excessive pleasure, but the chief and most influential men of the senate thought that such unlimited and absolute power, while it was beyond the reach of envy, was yet a thing to be feared.

The rest vehemently attacked Pompey. And when one of the consuls told him that if he emulated Romulus he would not escape the fate of Romulus, 38 he was near being torn in pieces by the multitude. He therefore made signs with his fingers that they should not choose Pompey alone to this command, but give him a colleague. At this, we are told, the people were incensed and gave forth such a shout that a raven flying over the forum was stunned by it and fell down into the throng.

On hearing, however, that the law had been passed, he entered the city by night, feeling that he was sure to awaken envy if the people thronged to meet him. But when day came, he appeared in public and offered sacrifice, and at an assembly held for him he managed to get many other things besides those already voted, and almost doubled his armament.

He admired Pompey's qualities and thought that he was useful for the administration of his affairs. Plutarch commented that the marriage was "characteristic of a tyranny, and benefitted the needs of Sulla rather than the nature and habits of Pompey, Aemilia being given to him in marriage when she was with child by another man.

Pompey accepted, but "Aemilia had scarcely entered Pompey's house before she succumbed to the pains of childbirth. We have no record of when this took place.

The sources only mentioned Pompey divorcing her. Plutarch wrote that Pompey dismissed with contempt a report that she had had an affair while he was fighting in the Third Mithridatic War between and 66 BC and 63 BC. However, on his journey back to Rome he examined the evidence more carefully and filed for divorce.

He was condemned to death, but later released for the sake of his mother Mucia.

First Triumvirate

Papirius Carbo had a fleet there, and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus had forced an entry into the Roman province of Africa. Sulla sent Pompey to Sicily with a large force. According to Plutarch, Perpenna fled and left Sicily to Pompey. The Sicilian cities had been treated harshly by Perpenna and Pompey treated them with kindness.

Pompey "treated Carbo in his misfortunes with an unnatural insolence", taking Carbo in fetters to a tribunal he presided over, examining him closely "to the distress and vexation of the audience", and finally, sentencing him to death. Pompey also treated Quintus Valerius "with unnatural cruelty". When he got there, 7, of the enemy forces went over to him. Domitius was subsequently defeated at the battle of Utica and died when Pompey attacked his camp.

Some cities surrendered and some were taken by storm.

pompey and crassus relationship advice

King Hiarbas of Numidiawho was an ally of Domitius, was captured and executed. Pompey restored Hiempsal IIinvaded Numidia and subdued it in forty days. When he returned to Africa, Sulla ordered him to send back the rest of his troops and remain there with one legion to wait for his successor. This turned the soldiers who remained against Sulla. Pompey said that he would rather kill himself than go against Sulla. When Pompey returned to Rome everyone welcomed him. To outdo them, Sulla saluted him as Magnus the Great and ordered the others to give him this surname.

Plutarch commented that Pompey "had scarcely grown a beard as yet. Pompey replied that more people worshiped the rising than the setting sun, implying that his power was on the increase, while Sulla's was on the wane.

His soldiers, who had not received as much of a share of the war booty as they expected threatened a mutiny, but Pompey said that he did not care and that he would rather give up his triumph. Pompey went ahead with his extra-legal triumph. However, in 79 BC, when Pompey canvassed for Lepidus and succeeded in making him a consul against Sulla's wishes, Sulla warned Pompey to watch out because he had made an adversary stronger than him.

He omitted Pompey from his will. In 78 BC, he tried to prevent Sulla receiving a state funeral or his body being buried in the Campus Martius. However, Pompey opposed this and ensured Sulla's burial with honours.

Lepidus went back to Rome with another force and demanded a second consulship. However, a letter from Pompey announced that he had brought the war to an end without a battle. Brutus surrendered, and Plutarch wrote that it was not known whether Brutus had betrayed his army or whether his army had gone over to Pompey. Brutus was given an escort and retired to a town by the River Po, but the next day he was apparently assassinated on Pompey's orders. Pompey was blamed for this, because he had written that Brutus had surrendered of his own accord.

Lepidus withdrew to Sardiniawhere he fell ill and died, allegedly because he found out that his wife had had an affair. The guerrilla tactics of Sertorius had been wearing down Quintus Caecilius Metellus Piusone of Sulla's commanders, for three years.

Pompey asked to be sent to reinforce Metellus. He had not disbanded his soldiers as he was supposed to. When the consul Quintus Lutatius Catulus ordered him to disband them he remained under arms near the city with various excuses until he was ordered to do so by the senate on a motion of Lucius Philippus.

A senator asked Philippus if he "thought it necessary to send Pompey out as proconsul. Pompey, however, was not a consul and had never held public office. His career seems to have been driven by desire for military glory and disregard for traditional political constraints.

Pompey's arrival gave the men of Caecilius Metellus new hope and led to some local tribes, which were not tightly associated with Sertorius, changing sides. According to Appian, as soon as Pompey arrived, he marched to lift the siege of Lauron, here he suffered a substantial defeat at the hands of Sertorius himself, after the battle of Lauron Pompey was bottled up in his camp and could only sit and watch the enemy capture and burn the city.

Lauron had been a blow to Pompey's prestige. In a battle near Valentia Pompey defeated Perpenna and Herennius. Metellus then promptly defeated Hirtuleius see: Pompey wanted the glory of finishing of Sertorius for himself and Sertorius did not relish fighting two armies at once.

Sertorius defeated Afrianius, Pompey's lieutenant, on the left wing. Pompey was having the better of his opponent on the right. Sertorius had to intervene there himself, he rallied his men, stopped their retreat and counterattacked.

Pompey was seriously wounded in the thigh, lost his horse and had to flee on foot.

pompey and crassus relationship advice

Sertorius had to swing his troops round and come and save his camp, therefore he could not capitalize on his victory. The next day the two sides prepared for the continuation of the battle. However, Metellus approached and Sertorius had to withdraw.

Soon after this Sertorius defeated Pompey near Seguntia. Pompey lost nearly 6, men and Sertorius half of that. Metellus defeated Perpenna, who lost 5, men. According to Appian the next day Sertorius attacked his camp unexpectedly, but he had to withdraw because Pompey was approaching. His men rallied and pushed the enemy back. Sertorius withdrew to Clunia, a mountain stronghold, and repaired its walls to lure the Romans into a siege and sent officers to collect troops from other towns.

He then made a sortie, passed through the enemy lines and joined his new force. He resumed his guerrilla tactics and cut off the enemy's supplies with widespread raids. Pirate tactics at sea disrupted maritime supplies. This forced the two Roman commanders to separate.

Metellus went to Gaul. Pompey wintered among the Vaccaei and suffered shortages of supplies. When Pompey spent most of his private resources on the war he asked the senate for money, threatening to go back to Italy with his army if this was refused.

The consul Lucius Licinius Lucullus was canvassing for the command of the Third Mithridatic Warbelieving that it would bring glory with little difficulty, fearing that Pompey would leave the Sertorian War to take on the Mithridatic one, Lucullus ensured that the money was sent to keep Pompey. He and Pompey then descended from the Pyrenees to the River Ebro. Sertorius and Perpenna advanced from Lusitania again. According to Plutarch many of the senators and other high ranking men who had joined Sertorius were jealous of their leader.

This was encouraged by Perpenna who aspired to the chief command. They secretly sabotaged him and meted out severe punishments on the Hispanic allies, pretending that this was ordered by Sertorius. Revolts in the towns were further stirred up by these men. Sertorius killed some allies and sold others into slavery. Sertorius reacted with severe punishments and started using a bodyguard of Celtiberians instead of Romans.

pompey and crassus relationship advice

Moreover, he reproached his Roman soldiers for treachery. This aggrieved the soldiers because they felt that they were blamed for the desertion of other soldiers and because this was happening while they were serving under an enemy of the regime in Rome and therefore in a sense they were betraying their country through him. Moreover, the Celtiberians treated them with contempt as men under suspicion.

These facts made Sertorius unpopular; only his skill at command kept his troops from deserting en masse. Metellus took advantage of his enemy's poor morale, bringing many towns allied to Sertorius under subjection.

Pompey besieged Palantia until Sertorius showed up to relieve the city. Pompey set fire to the city walls and retreated to Metellus. Sertorius rebuilt the wall and then attacked his enemies who were encamped around the castle of Calagurris.

They lost men. In 72 BC, there were only skirmishes. However, Metellus and Pompey advanced on several towns. Some of them defected and some were attacked. He was defeated continually. He became hot-tempered, suspicious and cruel in punishment.

Perpenna began to fear for his safety and conspired to murder Sertorius. He had gone to Hispania with the remnants of the army of Lepidus in Sardinia and had wanted to fight this war independently to gain glory. He had joined Sertorius reluctantly because his troops wanted to do so when they heard that Pompey was coming to Hispania.

He wanted to take over the supreme command. The native troops, especially the Lusitanians, who had given Sertorius the greatest support, were angry, too. Perpenna responded with the carrot and the stick: He secured the obedience of his troops, but not their true loyalty.

Metellus left the fight against Perpenna to Pompey. The two skirmished for nine days. Then, as Perpenna did not think that his men would remain loyal for long, he marched into battle but Pompey ambushed and defeated him. Frontinus wrote about the battle in his stratagems: Pompey put troops here and there, in places where they could attack from ambush. Then, pretending fear, he pulled back drawing the enemy after him.

Then, when he had the enemy exposed to the ambuscade, he wheeled his army about. He attacked, slaughtering the enemy to his front and on both flanks [36] Pompey won against a poor commander and a disaffected army. Perpenna hid in a thicket, fearing his troops more than the enemy, and was eventually captured. Perpenna offered to produce letters to Sertorius from leading men in Rome who had invited Sertorius to Italy for seditious purposes.

Pompey, fearing that this might lead to an even greater war, had Perpenna executed and burned the letters without even reading them.

He showed a talent for efficient organisation and fair administration in the conquered province. This extended his patronage throughout Hispania and into southern Gaul. Crassus was given eight legions and led the final phase of the war. He asked the senate to summon Lucullus and Pompey back from the Third Mithridatic War and Hispania respectively to provide reinforcements, "but he was sorry now that he had done so, and was eager to bring the war to an end before those generals came.

He knew that the success would be ascribed to the one who came up with assistance, and not to himself. On hearing this, Crassus hurried to engage in the decisive battle, and routed the rebels. On his arrival, Pompey cut to pieces 6, fugitives from the battle. Pompey wrote to the senate that Crassus had conquered the rebels in a pitched battle, but that he himself had extirpated the war entirely. He was asked to stand for the consulship, even though he was only 35 and thus below the age of eligibility to the consulship, and had not held any public office, much less climbed the cursus honorum the progression from lower to higher offices.

Livy noted that Pompey was made consul after a special senatorial decree, because he had not occupied the quaestorship and was an equestrian and did not have senatorial rank. In the Life of Pompey Plutarch wrote that Pompey "had long wanted an opportunity of doing him some service and kindness About half of the people feared that he would not disband his army and that he would seize absolute power by arms and hand power to the Sullans.

Pompey, instead, declared that he would disband his army after his triumph and then "there remained but one accusation for envious tongues to make, namely, that he devoted himself more to the people than to the senate In the Life of Crassus, Plutarch wrote that the two men differed on almost every measure, and by their contentiousness rendered their consulship "barren politically and without achievement, except that Crassus made a great sacrifice in honour of Hercules and gave the people a great feast and an allowance of grain for three months".

Pompey did not react, but Crassus "clasped him by the hand" and said that it was not humiliating for him to take the first step of goodwill. Plutarch wrote that "Crassus, for all his self-approval, did not venture to ask for the major triumph, and it was thought ignoble and mean in him to celebrate even the minor triumph on foot, called the ovation a minor victory celebrationfor a servile war. In Appian's account there was no disbanding of armies. The two commanders refused to disband their armies and kept them stationed near the city, as neither wanted to be the first to do so.

Pompey said that he was waiting the return of Metellus for his Spanish triumph; Crassus said that Pompey ought to dismiss his army first. Initially, pleas from the people were of no avail, but eventually Crassus yielded and offered Pompey the handshake. As part of the constitutional reforms Sulla carried out after his second civil warhe revoked the power of the tribunes to veto the senatus consulta the written advice of the senate on bills, which was usually followed to the letterand prohibited ex-tribunes from ever holding any other office.

Ambitious young plebeians had sought election to this tribunate as a stepping stone for election to other offices and to climb up the cursus honorum. Therefore, the plebeian tribunate became a dead end for one's political career. He also limited the ability of the plebeian council the assembly of the plebeians to enact bills by reintroducing the senatus auctoritas, a pronouncement of the senate on bills that, if negative, could invalidate them.

The reforms reflected Sulla's view of the hated plebeian tribunate as a source of subversion that roused the "rabble" the plebeians against the aristocracy. Naturally, these measures were unpopular among the plebeians, the majority of the population.

Plutarch wrote that Pompey "had determined to restore the authority of the tribunate, which Sulla had overthrown, and to court the favour of the many" and commented that, "There was nothing on which the Roman people had more frantically set their affections, or for which they had a greater yearning, than to behold that office again. In 'The Life of Crassus', Plutarch did not mention this repeal and, as mentioned above, he only wrote that Pompey and Crassus disagreed on everything and that as a result their consulship did not achieve anything.

Yet, the restoration of tribunician powers was a highly significant measure and a turning point in the politics of the late Republic.

Pompey - Wikipedia

This measure must have been opposed by the aristocracy and it would have been unlikely that it would have been passed if the two consuls had opposed each other. Crassus does not feature much in the writings of the ancient sources. Unfortunately, the books of Livy, otherwise the most detailed of the sources, which cover this period have been lost. However, the Periochae, a short summary of Livy's work, records that "Marcus Crassus and Gnaeus Pompey were made consuls Campaign against the pirates[ edit ] A denarius of Pompey minted BC Piracy in the Mediterranean became a large-scale problem.

A large network of pirates coordinated operations over wide areas with large fleets. According to Cassius Dio, many years of war contributed to this. Many war fugitives joined them. Pirates were more difficult to catch or break up than bandits. The pirates pillaged coastal fields and towns. Rome was affected through shortages of imports and in the supply of corn, but the Romans did not pay proper attention to the problem.

Cassius Dio wrote that these operations caused greater distress for Rome's allies. It was thought that a war against the pirates would be big and expensive and that it was impossible to attack all the pirates at once or to drive them back everywhere. As not much was done against them, some towns were turned into pirate winter quarters and raids further inland were carried out. Many pirates settled on land in various places and relied on an informal network of mutual assistance.

Towns in Italy were also attacked, including Ostiathe port of Rome: The pirates seized important Romans and demanded large ransoms. This suggested that Mithridates fostered piracy as a means to weaken the Romans.

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Plutarch also thought that with the civil wars in Rome the Romans left the sea unguarded, which gave the pirates the confidence to lay waste islands and coastal cities in addition to attacking ships at sea. Piracy spread from its original base in Cilicia on the southern coast of modern Turkey. The pirates also seized and ransomed some towns.

Men of distinction also got involved in piracy. Plutarch claimed that pirates had more than 1, ships, that they captured towns and plundered temples in Greece and sacred and inviolable sanctuaries, listing fourteen of them.

He cited the praetors Sextilius and Bellinus and the daughter of Antonius among the important Romans who were seized for a ransom. The pirates also mocked their captives if they were Romans.

Piracy spread over the whole of the Mediterranean, making it unnavigable and closed to trade. This caused scarcity of provisions. The destitute people who lost their livelihood became pirates.