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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER IV - The Rule of the Restoration


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Page 17

The Provinces - Occupation of Cilicia

The provinces suffered still more in comparison. We shall have an idea of the condition of Sicily and Asia, if we endeavour to realize what would be the aspect of matters in the East Indies provided the English aristocracy were similar to the Roman aristocracy of that day. The legislation, which entrusted the mercantile class with control over the magistrates, compelled the latter to make common cause to a certain extent with the former, and to purchase for themselves unlimited liberty of plundering and protection from impeachment by unconditional indulgence towards the capitalists in the provinces. In addition to these official and semi-official robbers, freebooters and pirates pillaged all the countries of the Mediterranean.

In the Asiatic waters more especially the buccaneers carried their outrages so far that even the Roman government found itself under the necessity in 652 of despatching to Cilicia a fleet, mainly composed of the vessels of the dependent mercantile cities, under the praetor Marcus Antonius, who was invested with proconsular powers. This fleet captured a number of corsair-vessels and destroyed some rock-strongholds and not only so, but the Romans even settled themselves permanently there, and in order to the suppression of piracy in its chief seat, the Rugged or western Cilicia occupied strong military positions--the first step towards the establishment of the province of Cilicia, which thenceforth appears among the Roman magistracies.(7)

7. It is assumed in many quarters that the establishment of the province of Cilicia only took place after the Cilician expedition of Publius Servilius in 676 et seq., but erroneously; for as early as 662 we find Sulla (Appian, Mithr. 57; B. C. i. 77; Victor, 75), and in 674, 675, Gnaeus Dolabella (Cic. Verr. i. 1, 16, 44) as governors of Cilicia--which leaves no alternative but to place the establishment of the province in 652.

This view is further supported by the fact that at this time the expeditions of the Romans against the corsairs--e. g. the Balearic, Ligurian, and Dalmatian expeditions--appear to have been regularly directed to the occupation of the points of the coast whence piracy issued; and this was natural, for, as the Romans had no standing fleet, the only means of effectually checking piracy was the occupation of the coasts. It is to be remembered, moreover, that the idea of a -provincia- did not absolutely involve possession of the country, but in itself implied no more than an independent military command; it is very possible, that the Romans in the first instance occupied nothing in this rugged country save stations for their vessels and troops.

The plain of eastern Cilicia remained down to the war against Tigranes attached to the Syrian empire (Appian, Syr. 48); the districts to the north of the Taurus formerly reckoned as belonging to Cilicia-- Cappadocian Cilicia, as it was called, and Cataonia--belonged to Cappadocia, the former from the time of the breaking up of the kingdom of Attalus (Justin, xxxvii. 1; see above, IV. I. War against Aristonicus), the latter probably even from the time of the peace with Antiochus.

The design was commendable, and the scheme in itself was suitable for its purpose; only, the continuance and the increase of the evil of piracy in the Asiatic waters, and especiallyin Cilicia, unhappily showed with how inadequate means the pirates were combated from the newly-acquired position.

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