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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


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

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 II - Rule of the Sullan Restoration


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Page 6

But severely as the closing of the sea was felt, it was more tolerable than the raids made on the islands and coasts of Greece and Asia Minor. Just as afterwards in the time of the Normans, piratical squadrons ran up to the maritime towns, and either compelled them to buy themselves off with large sums, or besieged and took them by storm. When Samothrace, Clazomenae, Samos, Iassus were pillaged by the pirates (670) under the eyes of Sulla after peace was concluded with Mithradates, we may conceive how matters went where neither a Roman army nor a Roman fleet was at hand.

All the old rich temples along the coasts of Greece and Asia Minor were plundered one after another; from Samothrace alone a treasure of 1000 talents (240,000 pounds) is said to have been carried off. Apollo, according to a Roman poet of this period, was so impoverished by the pirates that, when the swallow paid him a visit, he could no longer produce to it out of all his treasures even a drachm of gold.

More than four hundred townships were enumerated as having been taken or laid under contribution by the pirates, including cities like Cnidus, Samos, Colophon; from not a few places on islands or the coast, which were previously flourishing, the whole population migrated, that they might not be carried off by the pirates. Even inland districts were no longer safe from their attacks; there were instances of their assailing townships distant one or two days' march from the coast. The fearful debt, under which subsequently all the communities of the Greek east succumbed, proceeded in great part from these fatal times.

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