The history of piracy starts in 500 BC, the time of ancient
Greece and Rome, when pirates sailed the Mediterranean Sea and attacked the cargo ships (= navi merci). Also Julius Caesar, at the age of 25, was captured by Cilician pirates and was a prisoner on an Dodecanese islet. Back in , he sent a fleet (= flotta) to catch and kill the pirates. Rome
Most of the pirates in the
Mediterranean Sea were called corsairs. They were Muslims (= Mussulmani) and they mainly predate Christian ships. Usually they were not after treasures or ships, but after people. They took rich people for ransom (= riscatto), sold them as slaves or also forced them to work on their galleys (= galee). In 846 Muslim raiders (=predatori) sacked (= saccheggiarono) Rome and damaged the . Vatican
Piracy was practised also in
Northern Europe. In particular during the Middle Ages the Vikings travelled across the North Sea and invaded . Their ships were fast and long , with a flat-bottom (= fondo piatto) to travel up river and attack inland (= nell’entroterra) villages. Also Saint Patrick was captured and enslaved (= reso schaivo)) by Irish pirates. Britain
In the first half of the 7th century, in
Italy, Venice was often raided (= razziata) by a Slavic tribe from Pagania, a land between Dalmatia and Zachlumia. They were known as the Narentines, and raided Venetian traders coming back from the southern coasts, sometimes together with the Arabs. The fight continued during the 10th-11th centuries.
After the discovery of
America, pirates began to travel in the Caribbean Sea, the Spanish Domain. These pirates attacked merchant ships, the galleons, which were quite large, slow and heavy and carried enormous treasures.
The first headquarter of the pirates was the small, rocky
because it had a protected harbour. There the pirates built a big armed fort with 24 cannons. island of Tortuga
Afterwards, the pirates repaired in
Port Royal, a British possession with a lively night. The British usually did not interfere in the lives of the pirates. Unfortunately for the pirates, in 1692, an earthquake (= terremoto)and a giant wave (= onda gigantesca) destroyed Port Royal.
Soon the situation changed: the Europeans, fed up (= stufi) with raids and destructions, built bigger, faster and stronger steam ships. The pirates could not take them. It was the end of that form of piracy
When the British captured the pirates, they sent them to prison in
or pardoned them. Usually the younger ones got pardon if they accepted certain terms. Instead the condemned pirates were hanged in the first American port and their bodies were shown in cages (= gabbie). England
However, piracy still continues today. Modern day pirates use high-tech equipment like speed boats, automatic rifles, and machine guns. They use computers and contact each other with radios. In the middle of the night they climb ropes to get on to the deck and take all of the treasure. Then they go back into their boats and disappear into the darkness.