The Last Cilician Pirate

Caesar

Circa 47 BC, Julius Caesar (102 – 44BC) the Roman general and statesman lands his craft during his invasion on Britain. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“And the fools thought they could hold me to ransom without my retaliation.”

Twenty-five year old Julius Caesar was arrogant beyond belief. He and his party had been taken captive by Cilician pirates who had demanded twenty talents for his release. Insulted, Caesar demanded they ask for fifty and sent all but two servants and a friend out to raise the funds.

While in the pirates’ company, he continually behaved like their superior, and wanting the fifty talents delivered to them, they tolerated his demands.

Upon his release, though a private citizen, Caesar marshaled a fleet and found the pirates still anchored off the coast of Cilicia. He captured almost all of them and had them imprisoned. Almost all of them.

Natan was among the crowds watching as his former shipmates were led to the crosses for public execution. He could hear the power mad whelp Caesar screaming for them all to be crucified. The former pirate drew his cloak tighter around his body.

Then Caesar showed the pirates his unique brand of “mercy”.

Natan turned away as each pirate had his throat slit prior to being put on the cross.

“What a fool I am,” he murmured to himself. “Like Yonah, I ran away from my life. I have to go back. Hashem forgive me.”

Taking what little money he had managed to escape with, Natan booked passage on the next ship for home. Even life in the corrupt Hasmonean Kingdom was better than this. He longed to see Jerusalem again and to make an offering to Hashem in His Holy Temple.

I mentioned in this blog post that my grandson and I have been learning a little about pirates from this children’s book.

We found out that a young Julius Caesar was really kidnapped by pirates and held to ransom. The children’s book leaves out most of the gruesome details, but you can find them at Livius.org and Mental Floss. My son Michael was also quite familiar with the story when I mentioned it to him.

The tale itself is compelling but I may have failed at making it more interesting by having one of the few pirates who escaped be a Jew who had run from the corrupt rule in his homeland to become a pirate. Now, like the prophet Jonah, he returns to the life he was intended by God to live, though he’ll get home just in time to see Hyrcanus II become the High Priest and briefly the King.

The Lion and the Dolphins

Bacchus

Found at Wikipedia.com

“See, I told you he’d come back to this shore, Markos. He’s obviously a wealthy young man, perhaps enjoying some solitude away from the family business.”

“True enough you were right, Tycho. Easy prey. We grab him, then his family pays whatever ransom we ask for his safe return.”

“Not that he’ll be in precisely the same condition as we found him. He is a pretty one, a very pretty one.”

Markos, Tycho, and half a dozen other pirates were watching from behind some rocks near the cove where they had landed their boat. The young noble idly wandered along the shore as if day dreaming. A dangerous pursuit in waters known to be sailed by pirates.

“Here he comes,” whispered Tycho. “Get ready to have at him.”

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Blood in the Depths

evil mermaids

From the 2011 film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

In later years, it was largely believed that Fair Isle, a tiny spit of an island between Sumburgh Head and Mainland, Shetland, which would eventually be claimed by Scotland, was originally settled by Bronze Age traders.

The real story was first withheld and then lost to history. Truth be told, Nordic raiders used Fair Isle as a hiding place for their plunder. By the ninth century, the Isle would become a legitimate Norse settlement, but hundreds of years earlier, it was the site of treasure, home of marauders, and a monument to a fearsome curse.

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Hijacked!

Ginger

Image: Christina Hendricks, Flare Magazine

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

They say it’s impossible to hijack a jump freighter, but there’s always an exception to a rule. I mean, jump ships are monitored by ground control when they lift off, then satellite monitoring until the ship reaches the jump point and enters hyperspace.

Forget about intercepting a ship in hyperspace. That’s really impossible.

Same on the other side of the jump. The ship exits hyperspace at the system’s jump point and is monitored all the way to the ground or orbital rendezvous or whatever. Any vessel attempting to intercept a jump ship in normal space would be spotted thousands of kilometers away.

Normally, I’m a pretty lucky guy, but this time my luck was going to run out.

By the way, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner and pilot of the most unusual jump freighter in known-space, the Ginger’s Regret. What makes the Regret so unusual? She’s alive.

Well, not exactly. It’s more like she’s haunted…kind of.

Let me explain.

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