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Pirates of the Mediterranean

Since Indian Navy is hunting pirates near Somalia, this would be a good time to listen to a pirate story.

Sometime in 75 B.C.E, Cilician pirates in the Mediterranean sea captured a young Roman orator. The pirates asked for a ransom of twenty talents to which the Roman laughed. He said he was worth a lot more and promised fifty. While his followers went to collect money, the Roman spent thirty eight days as a hostage.

During that time he acted as if he was the master. When he wanted to sleep, he ordered the pirates to be quiet. He played any sport he liked, wrote poetry and made speeches, while the pirates silently suffered. When the pirates showed no appreciation of his talent, he called them illiterate savages. He also jokingly said that he would hang all of them at the opportune moment.

The ransom soon arrived, much to the delight of the pirates, and the hostage was set free. The Roman followed the pirates, captured them, and put them in prison. When he asked the governor of the land to punish the pirates, the governor seemed not to be interested. The Roman then took matters into his hands, went to the prison, and hung all the pirates on a cross as he had promised.

This is why in Tortuga, when a pirate baby cries, the mother says,  beta, so jaa, nahi toh Julius Caesar aa jaayega. (via)

(image via Wikipedia)

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4 Responses to Pirates of the Mediterranean

  1. Arby K November 25, 2008 at 2:27 am #

    I guess even when he was a 25, Caesar knew he was in for greater things. Didn’t know Julius Caesar had it in for the pirates as well, like his fellow triumviir Pompey who would later destroy all of them.

  2. Fëanor November 25, 2008 at 3:21 am #

    You know, I was reading Robert Harris’s Imperium the other day, and it struck me that under Cicero, Rome did exactly what the US did in Iraq – claimed a threat to the nation, exaggerated or falsified the evidence to raise popular support, and went after the ‘enemy’ with bloodthirsty vengeance. The Romans did manage to purge the Mediterranean of the most arrant piracy, but the effort was prodigious and – in the long run – probably useless. History never fails to repeat itself, eh?

  3. S. Krishnamoorthy November 25, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    While surfing Google search contents, I came across an interesting but unheard of news that the present Dravidians might have immigrated from the present Somalia of Africa. Is it true?
    Can you enlighten us?

  4. jk November 26, 2008 at 8:26 am #

    Krishnamoorthy, What time frame are you talking about for this migration? Click on “Play” at http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/ and you will see the journey of man from Africa.

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