Piracy in the Ancient World : from Minos to Mohammed
This thesis is an historical analysis of the phenomenon of piracy in the ancient world from the Bronze Age to the Arab conquests. It is based on detailed examination and discussion of the ancient sources. There is a short introduction (Part One) which establishes the scope of the enquiry, defines the subject and surveys modern scholarly literature. Part Two (The Image of Ancient Piracy) consists of a study of the Greek and Latin vocabulary for piracy, and six separate studies of Classical literature, from Homer to the fourth century A.D. These studies analyze the development of the literary image of pirates and piracy, from the ambivalent attitude of the Homeric poems, to the wholly negative presentation of pirates and piracy found in the works of later writers. Part Three (War and Piracy) analyzes the early similarity between warfare and piracy, the gradual emergence of distinctions between the two, warfare as a promoter of piracy, and the involvement of pirates in warfare. Part Four (Trade and Piracy) is an analysis of the relationship between piracy and various forms of trade. The importance of piracy as both a contributor and a threat to long-distance maritime trade is analyzed, as well as the involvement of pirates in the slave trade. The link between trade and the suppression of piracy is also discussed. Part Five (The Suppression of Piracy) examines in detail attempts to suppress piracy from the Classical period to the end of the Roman Empire. Emphasis is laid upon the practical and political implications of suppression, and the relative ineffectiveness of most measures until the Late Republic and Early Principate, when piracy was suppressed with considerable success. There follows a brief statement of the general conclusions (Part Six) and suggestions for further research. One map and a bibliography are included.