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Julius CaesarThe People's Dictator$
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Luciano Canfora

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619368

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619368.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 March 2020

Prisoner of the Pirates (75–74 bc)

Prisoner of the Pirates (75–74 bc)

Chapter:
(p.9) Chapter 2 Prisoner of the Pirates (75–74 BC)
Source:
Julius Caesar
Author(s):
Luciano Canfora, Julian Stringer
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619368.003.0002

Caesar's ship was seized by the ferocious pirates of Cilicia off the island of Pharmacussa — one of the Sporades to the south of Miletos. The most colourful account of this episode is by Plutarch. It is difficult to imagine that anybody but Caesar himself could be the source of the story. The sardonic self-confidence with which the whole episode is related must come from him. ‘The pirates demanded twenty talents for his ransom’, says Plutarch, ‘and he laughed at them for not knowing who their captive was, and of his own accord agreed to give them fifty’. He dispatched messengers from his entourage to collect the money, keeping only his personal doctor and two slaves at his side. Although a hostage for thirty-eight days while waiting for the messengers to return with the money, he quickly assumed a leading position. No sooner had he been freed than Caesar set about punishing his captors. At Miletos he fitted out some ships and moved to entrap the pirates while they still lay at anchor off Pharmacussa.

Keywords:   Julius Caesar, prisoner, Plutarch, Cilicia, Miletos, Pharmacussa, pirates

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