Piracy in the Graeco-Roman World

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This book is an historical study of piracy in the ancient Greek and Roman world. It examines the origins and growth of piracy, the impact of piracy on trade, and the relationship between warfare and piracy, and evaluates attempts to suppress piracy by the states and rulers of the ancient world. A major innovation is the author's discussion of the way that pirates and piracy are portrayed in major works of classical literature, including Homer, Cicero and the ancient novels.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a substantial contribution to the history of maritime marauding in the Mediterranean during the classical age." The American Neptune

"Philip de Souza, who is a senior lecturer in classical studies at St. Mary's University College in England, has done a splendid job of research and has succeeded in deciphering many of the mysteries about piracy in the ancient Mediterranean. It is a book written for classical scholars and the true pirate enthusiasts..." Bowling Green, KY News

"This meticulous work of scholarship will not be superseded for many decades." Choice

"Piracy is an excellent, even 'sexy' topic. De Souza's work, particularly the chapters on Hellenistic and Roman piracy, touches on many of these subjects in an interesting and enlightening manner." BMR, Kathryn Simonsen, University of Alberta

"...no one until now has undertaken a careful analysis of the portrayal of piracy by contemporary writers...it is essential for anyone dealing with these periods of history." The Northern Mariner

"Philip de Souza's excellent new book on ancient piracy is mostly concerned with the impact of outlaw violence at the level of the private world." The International History Review

Times Literary Supplement
It is a truism of academic work on outlawry that cultures get the criminals they deserve, that Prohibition produced the Chicago gangsters, that the war on drugs sustains the drug-barons of Colombia and Burma, that witches are the product of witch-hunts, that the strange criminal hybrid of the philosopher-pornographer is a construct of Bourbon censorship in the eighteenth century and that a distinctive kind of British hypocrisy threw up the distinctive Cynthia Payne. On another level, highwaymen need highways and cat-burglars need security systems and buildings of several floors, and it is, of course, thanks to the discovery of America and the grant of a papal monopoly for the exploitation of its riches that pirates bury their treasure on Caribbean islands, tie handkerchiefs around their heads to protect their fair skins from sunburn and talk in English accents but Spanish coinage of "doubloons" and "pieces of eight".
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521481373
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip de Souza was Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at St Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill. He is also the author of Seafaring and Civilisation (2001; 1861973624) and the forthcoming Ancient Naval Warfare.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The origins of piracy from the Bronze Age to Alexander; 3. Hellenistic piracy; 4. Cilician piracy; 5. Pompey and the pirates; 6. Pax Romana; 7. Piracy in Late Antiquity; 8. Conclusions.

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