F Heritage History | Story of Rome by Mary Macgregor
Contents 
Front Matter The Lady Roma The She-Wolf The Twin Boys Numitor's Grandson The Sacred Birds The Founding of Rome The Sabine Maidens The Tarpeian Rock The Mysterious Gate The King Disappears The Peace-Loving King Horatius Slays His Sister Pride of Tullus Hostilius King Who Fought and Prayed The Faithless Friend A Slave Becomes a King Cruel Deed of Tullia Fate of the Town of Gabii Books of the Sibyl Industry of Lucretia Death of Lucretia Sons of Brutus Horatius Cocles Mucius Burns Right Hand The Divine Twins The Tribunes Coriolanus and His Mother The Roman Army in a Trap The Hated Decemvirs The Death of Verginia The Friend of the People Camillus Captures Veii The Statue of the Goddess Schoolmaster Traitor Battle of Allia The Sacred Geese The City Is Rebuilt Volscians on Fire Battle on the Anio The Curtian Lake Dream of the Two Consuls The Caudine Forks Caudine Forks Avenged Fabius among the Hills Battle of Sentinum Son of Fabius Loses Battle Pyrrhus King of the Epirots Elephants at Heraclea Pyrrthus and Fabricius Pyrrhus is Defeated Romans Build a Fleet Battle of Ecnomus Roman Legions in Africa Regulus Taken Prisoner Romans Conquer the Gauls The Boy Hannibal Hannibal Invades Italy Hannibal Crosses the Alps Battle of Trebia Battle of Lake Trasimenus Hannibal Outwits Fabius Fabius Wins Two Victories Battle of Cannae Despair of Rome Defeat of Hasdrubal Claudius Enjoy a Triumph Capture of New Carthage Scipio Sails to Africa Romans Set Fire to Camp Hannibal Leaves Italy The Battle of Zama Scipio Receives a Triumph Flamininus in Garlands Death of Hannibal Hatred of Cato for Carthage The Stern Decree Carthaginians Defend City Destruction of Carthage Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi Tiberius and Octavius Death of Tiberius Gracchus Death of Gaius Gracchus The Gold of Jugurtha Marius Wins Notice of Scipio Marius Becomes Commander Capture of Treasure Towns Capture of Jugurtha Jugurtha Brought to Rome Marius Conquers Teutones Marius Mocks the Ambassadors Metellus Driven from Rome Sulla Enters Rome The Flight of Marius Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius Marius Returns to Rome The Orator Aristion Sulla Besieges Athens Sulla Fights the Samnites The Proscriptions of Sulla The Gladiators' Revolt The Pirates Pompey Defeats Mithridates Cicero Discovers Conspiracy Death of the Conspirators Caesar Captured by Pirates Caesar Gives up Triumph Caesar Praises Tenth Legion Caesar Wins a Great Victory Caesar Invades Britain Caesar Crosses Rubicon Caesar and the Pilot The Flight of Pompey Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr Caesar is Loaded with Honours Nobles Plot against Caesar The Assassination of Caesar Brutus Speaks to Citizens Antony Speaks to Citizens The Second Triumvirate Battle of Philippi Death of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra Battle of Actium Antony and Cleopatra Die Emperor Augustus

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




The Pirates

Pompey the Great returned to Rome in 71 B.C., to celebrate his second triumph, and to be elected Consul for the following year.

The people were eager to see the great general return, yet they were afraid as well.

Suppose Pompey should do as Sulla had done, and bring his army to Rome! Suppose he should make himself Dictator, and destroy his enemies!

But these fears proved groundless, for no sooner had Pompey reached Italy than he disbanded his army, bidding his soldiers to go home until he recalled them to grace his triumph.

He was at once elected Consul, while his colleague was the wealthy Crassus. The two Consuls did not agree well, for Pompey's sympathies were, in these days, with the people, while Crassus was anxious to please the Optimates.

The general who had just returned victorious endeared himself to the populace in many ways, but in none, perhaps, more than by his respect for their ancient customs.

It was usual for each Roman knight, after having served his appointed time in the wars, to lead his horse to the Forum, and there, in the presence of two Censors, tell under what generals he had served and in what battles he had taken part. According to his achievements he was then discharged, either with praise or blame.

Pompey, as Consul, might easily have ignored this custom. But to the delight of the people he was one day seen among the other knights, clad in his Consul's robes, indeed, but leading his horse to the Forum.

As he drew near to the Censors, Pompey bade his lictors go aside, while he went to stand before the judges.

The Censors were well pleased to be thus honoured by the Consul, but they behaved as though he were like any other knight.

'Pompeius Magnus, I demand of you,' said one of the Censors, 'whether you have served the full time in the wars that is prescribed by the law?'

'Yes,' answered Pompey, and his voice rang out clear in the Forum, 'Yes, I have served all, and all under myself as general.'

The citizens clapped their hands and shouted with pleasure at the answer of their favourite, while the Censors rose to accompany him to his house.

When his Consulship came to an end, Pompey spent two years quietly in his own home, and during this time he was seldom seen in the Forum. Those who admired him went often to his house, where he entertained his guests hospitably.

But at the end of two years Pompey was again called upon to serve his country.

The pirates, who for long years had ravaged the Mediterranean, were troublesome foes. Of late these sea-robbers had seemed more numerous than ever, and there was no doubt of their increasing boldness.

No vessel, unless its crew was armed, need hope to escape these desperate men. The coasts of Asia, Greece, Epirus, and Italy had all suffered from the attack of the pirates; no temple, no property was safe from their raids.

Two Roman prætors had been carried off by these same bold robbers, and even Roman ladies of high rank had been captured, and kept until a heavy ransom had been paid for their release. In recent days they had even been seen at the mouth of the Tiber, and in the harbour at Ostia Roman ships had been set on fire.

King Mithridates had sometimes employed these men, and encouraged them by gifts to plunder his enemies.

The pirates' ships were adorned with the spoils which they had stolen. Their sails were of costly silk, the colour of which was a rare purple which in time to come was used only for royal robes. Their oars as they dipped in the water shone as silver, their masts were gilded with gold. At their banquets the rough sailors sat down before dishes of silver.

To thus flaunt their booty before the eyes of those they had plundered was foolish, for it roused the Italian cities, at last, to demand revenge.

Besides, there was cause for alarm lest the supply of grain from Africa and Sicily should be captured, unless the pirates were banished, and if the grain supply were stopped, famine would stare Rome in the face.

One day a tribune proposed to the Senate that some one should be sent to the Mediterranean with absolute power to deal as he thought fit with the pirates. That the pirates might be finally banished, the appointment was to be made for three years, and be not only over the sea, but fifty miles inland as well.

The Romans would give such great powers to no one but to Pompey, who had already shown that he knew how to use them without crushing the people.

So, amid the cheers of the citizens, Pompey was appointed to this great trust. Julius Cæsar, of whom you are soon to hear, voted for the favourite, perhaps to gain the goodwill of the people.

With a large fleet Pompey set out to perform the task entrusted to him, and his success was speedy.

He divided the sea coast into separate districts, and sent his officers to sweep the pirates from these regions, while he himself went in pursuit of them to the shores of Sicily and Africa. Within the short space of forty days the pirates were scattered, and west of Greece their dreaded sails were no longer to be seen.

But in the Archipelago there were many useful inlets in which the pirates could seek shelter, and thither Pompey hastened and thoroughly searched and emptied these natural hiding-places.

Then the pirates assembled all that was left of their fleet at Cilicia, to make one last stand against the enemy. But there they were finally defeated by the great Roman general.

Those who were left alive after the battle surrendered, with their strongholds and islands. These had been so well fortified that Pompey would have found them difficult, if not impossible, to storm.

Many prisoners had been taken, and these the Romans did not kill. Pompey, indeed, spent the winter in Cilicia to look after their welfare. For he founded cities in which the pirates could settle, and, if so they willed, work honestly to earn their livelihood.