Ancient Pirates & Slavers

Pirates have always plagued shipping since trading vessels sailed the seas. During the second century BC, however, pirates in the Mediterranean presented a real danger to shipping. The pirates preferred to attack the slow-moving grain vessels which offered little resistance. The pirates attacked the slow trading vessels and captured the crew. The captives were brought to the island of Delos in the Aegean sea, the center of the international slave trade. On one occasion, more than 10,000 people were sold on a single day.
Rome occasionally sent the Roman navy against them with little success. How could Rome fail? Rome needed the pirates as a source of slaves to work the large plantations. As a matter of fact, the Romans turned a blind eye to the pirates’ activities for economic reasons.  They were then transported to Italy and forced to work at the plantations of the rich Roman senators and knights. Who said that crime doesn’t pay? More on the Cilicians another day. Rita Bay

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