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Soon after this civil discord was composed, he preferred a charge of extortion against Cornelius Dolabella, a man of consular dignity, who had obtained the honour of a triumph. On the acquittal of the accused, he resolved to retire to Rhodes, 1 with the view not only of avoiding the public odium which he had incurred, but of prosecuting his studies with leisure and tranquillity, under Apollonius, the son of Molon, at that time the most celebrated master of rhetoric. While on his voyage thither, in the winter season, he was taken by pirates near the island of Pharmacusa, 2 and detained by them, burning with indignation, for nearly forty days; his only attendants being a physician and two chamberlains. For he had instantly dispatched his other servants and the friends who accompanied him, to raise money for his ransom. 3 Fifty talents having been paid down, he was landed on the coast, when, having collected some ships, 4 he lost no time in putting to sea in pursuit of the pirates, and having captured them, inflicted upon them the punishment with which he had often threatened them in jest. At that time Mithridates was ravaging the neighbouring districts, and on Caesar's arrival at Rhodes, that he might not appear to lie idle while danger threatened the allies of Rome, he passed over into Asia, and having collected some auxiliary forces, and driven the king's governor out of the province, retained in their allegiance the cities which were wavering and ready to revolt.
1 A city and an island, near the coast of Caria, famous for the huge statue of the Sun, called the Colossus. The Rhodians were celebrated not only for skill in naval affairs, but for learning, philosophy, and eloquence. During the latter periods of the Roman republic, and under some of the emperors, numbers resorted there to prosecute their studies; and it also became a place of retreat to discontented Romans.
3 The ransom, too large for Caesar's private means, was raised by the voluntary contributions of the cities in the Asiatic province, who were equally liberal from their public funds in the case of other Romans who fell into the hands of pirates at that period.
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