For in early times the Hellenes and the
barbarians of the coast and islands, as communication by sea became more
common, were tempted to turn pirates, under the conduct of their most
powerful men; the motives being to serve their own cupidity and to support the needy.They would fall upon a town unprotected by walls, and consisting of a mere
collection of villages, and would plunder it;indeed, this came to be the main source of their livelihood, no disgrace
being yet attached to such an achievement, but even some glory.
An illustration of this is furnished by the honor with which some of the
inhabitants of the continent still regard a successful marauder, and by the
question we find the old poets everywhere representing the people as asking
of voyagers—‘Are they pirates?’—as
if those who are asked the question would have no idea of disclaiming the
imputation, or their interrogators of reproaching them for it.
The same rapine prevailed also by land.And
even at the present day many parts of Hellas still follow the old fashion,
the Ozolian Locrians, for instance, the Aetolians, the Acarnanians, and that
region of the continent;and the custom of carrying arms is still kept up among these continentals,
from the old piratical habits.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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