Thus, in a very short time, they increased in number to tens of thousands. They dominated now not only the Eastern waters, but the whole Mediterranean to the Pillars of Hercules. They vanquished some of the Roman prætors in naval engagements, and among others the prætor of Sicily on the Sicilian coast itself. No sea could be navigated in safety, and land remained untilled for want of commercial intercourse. The city of Rome felt this evil most keenly, her subjects being distressed and herself suffering grievously from hunger by reason of her very greatness. It appeared to them to be a great and difficult task to destroy so large a force of seafaring men scattered everywhither on land and sea, and so nimble of flight, sallying out from no particular country or any known places, having no habitation or anything of their own, but only what they might chance to light upon. Thus both the greatness and the unexampled nature of this war, which was subject to no laws and had nothing tangible or visible about it, caused perplexity and fear on all sides. Murena had attacked them, but accomplished nothing worth mention, nor had Servilius Isauricus, who succeeded him. And now the pirates contemptuously assailed the coasts of Italy, around Brundusium and Etruria, and seized and carried off some women of noble families who were travelling, and also two prætors with their very insignia of office.