"It was all the work of pirates"

Cilicia on a map
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCilicia on a map - Credit: ThomasPusch/Wikimedia Commons
With Rome’s defeat of large naval empires such as Carthage, the policing of the waters was no longer as thorough as it had been. Small communities around the Mediterranean left to fend for themselves were forced to make deals with pirates, becoming havens for them. These ‘pirates’ probably included the ships of various peoples and city states found around the Mediterranean that were not under the control of Rome, such as Crete and Cilicia. The Cilician pirates in particular were strong, organised and very frightening to Rome. By attacking coastal cities in Greece, Asia and Italy, they seriously threatened the city’s grain supply, a situation guaranteed to cause panic in Rome.