The Pirates of Cilicia: A GIS Approach to Creating a Predictive Model of 1st Century B.C. Pirate Maritime Networks in the Eastern Aegean Sea
Jakeman, William Carter
The Cilician Pirates dominated the Mediterranean during the late second and early first centuries B.C. Their homeland, Cilicia, was a rugged and tough mountainous region, and as such they expanded into the unguarded and unpoliced eastern Mediterranean waters, plaguing shipping lanes, coastal settlements, and raiding island communities for trade goods such as food, luxuries, and people for slaves. Eventually, Rome launched a campaign led and strategized by Gnaeus Pompey Magnus, (later one of the informal Triumvirate and rivals to Julius Caesar) to eradicate the Cilician pirates from the Mediterranean. Incredibly successful and thorough, Pompey eradicated the pirates, and piracy in general, from the Mediterranean. However, after his last siege against the pirate stronghold in Taurus Mountain of Cilicia, the terms of surrender mentioned the presence of multiple island forts and strongholds undiscovered or not yet besieged by Pompey during his campaign of purging of the pirates. This treaty and its descriptions in Plutarch’s Life of Pompey raise multiple questions. Where were these other fortifications and safe havens? What did this pirate network look like, and how far did it truly extend? How did this network of pirate safe havens affect the development of island and coastal communities? Such questions will only be answered through hands-on archaeological excavations and surveys. The purposes of creating a predictive model, the goal of this project, is to provide a hypothesis for future testing through the marriage of document analysis and interpolation with the application of GIS technology. The result is a predictive model of how part of the Cilician pirate network might have operated and how it might have looked when placed on a map. Such GIS applications will inject previously gathered data from experimental archaeology projects such as the Kyrenia II sailing tests, which resulted in determining the speed and travel efficiency of ancient sailing vessels. Such sailing data, interlaced with geo-processual GIS modeling, will create a visualized representation of distance costs in terms of days for a sailing vessel to travel through the Dodecanese Island chain. Layering this with feature barriers, i.e. the major islands of the southern Dodecanese (this project’s focus) along with modern sea lanes, create a predictive model which hypothesizes that Alimia, Chalki, Agios Theodoros Nisidia, Makry, Simi, and Saria are geographically advantageous islands that ancient mariners likely used. Their practice of island-hopping thus created a maritime network of havens and beacons of rest to be exploited by the Cilician pirates. The inclusion of satellite imagery uncovers unidentified remains on these islands, highlighted and affirmed by my predictive model, sit near sheltered beaches, with elevated plateaus and natural lookout points.
Jakeman, William Carter. (May 2021). The Pirates of Cilicia: A GIS Approach to Creating a Predictive Model of 1st Century B.C. Pirate Maritime Networks in the Eastern Aegean Sea (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9059.)
Jakeman, William Carter. The Pirates of Cilicia: A GIS Approach to Creating a Predictive Model of 1st Century B.C. Pirate Maritime Networks in the Eastern Aegean Sea. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, May 2021. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9059. June 17, 2021.
Jakeman, William Carter, “The Pirates of Cilicia: A GIS Approach to Creating a Predictive Model of 1st Century B.C. Pirate Maritime Networks in the Eastern Aegean Sea” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, May 2021).
Jakeman, William Carter. The Pirates of Cilicia: A GIS Approach to Creating a Predictive Model of 1st Century B.C. Pirate Maritime Networks in the Eastern Aegean Sea [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; May 2021.
East Carolina University