Perpetual civil wars, notwithstanding the Roman efforts to bring
about peace, converted one flourishing township after another
on the old "island of the hundred cities" into heaps of ruins.
Its inhabitants roamed as robbers at home and abroad, by land and
by sea; the island became the recruiting ground for the surrounding
kingdoms, after that evil was no longer tolerated in the Peloponnesus,
and above all the true seat of piracy; about this period, for instance,
the island of Siphnus was thoroughly pillaged by a fleet of Cretan
Rhodes--which, besides, was unable to recover from the loss
of its possessions on the mainland and from the blows inflicted on its
commerce(42)--expended its last energies in the wars which it found
itself compelled to wage against the Cretans for the suppression of
piracy (about 600), and in which the Romans sought to mediate, but
without earnestness and apparently without success.