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Piracy in the Graeco-Roman World

Piracy in the Graeco-Roman World

Hardback

By (author) Philip de Souza

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 236mm x 22mm | 602g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2000
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521481376
  • ISBN 13: 9780521481373
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: 4 b/w illus. 5 maps

Product description

This book is an innovative historical study of piracy in the Graeco-Roman world from the Archaic period to Late Antiquity. It explores the conditions which allowed piracy to flourish in the ancient Mediterranean, especially the close relationship between warfare and piracy, and examines the impact which pirates had upon ancient society. Particular attention is paid to the numerous states and rulers who claimed to be actively suppressing piracy for the good of all. In many cases these claims turn out to be highly exaggerated ones, intended to enhance the prestige of those on whose behalf they were made. Surprisingly, in view of the prominence of pirates in many works of classical literature, this book is the first to offer detailed analysis of the portrayal of piracy by ancient writers, including Homer, Cicero and the ancient novels, taking account of the political, social and literary contexts which shaped their accounts.

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Author information

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.

Review quote

'Any reader interested in the development of the Mediterranean political or economic landscape, the literature of entertainment which often featured pirate attacks, and a history of piracy based on texts of the ancient world will benefit greatly by reading this volume.' Cheryl Ward, Nautical Archaeology '... it is pithy and to-the-point and should easily take its place as the standard work of reference in English and the launching pad for all further investigations.' James Davidson, The Times Literary Supplement

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.