The Kings Of Nothing

The war between Julius Caesar and Pompey engulfed the Roman world between 49 and 48 B.C.  Historians, seeking concision and brevity at the expense of accuracy, call it a “civil war”; and in one sense it is.  But to those who lived through it, or fell under the long shadow of its aftershocks, it was more than a civil war.  It was with good reason that the poet Lucan, in the first line of his Pharsalia, described the conflict as something “worse than civil”:

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How Pompey Cleared The Mediterranean Of Pirates

The Mediterranean became infested with pirates as a direct consequence of Rome’s Mithridatic Wars.  Around 88 B.C. Mithridates VI of Pontus went to war against the Romans and moved into the province of Asia Minor.  He took what plunder he could, and apparently decided that an effective way to wage irregular warfare against the Romans would be to encourage pirates to attack Roman shipping lanes.

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