You’ll find all sorts of stories about the political and military successes and downfalls of Roman general Julius Caesar in the history books. But there is one intriguing story from his early life that doesn’t get mentioned nearly as enough. It is about the time he was captured by pirates and made them regret it.
It was 75 BCE, and a 25-year-old Julius Caesar was on his way to the island of Rhodes to take part in oratory studies. However, he never made it to his destination as a group of Cilician pirates intercepted his ship and took him captive. Considering Julius Caesar was a nobleman, the pirates planned to ask for a ransom.
The pirates quickly learned that having a young Julius Caesar as a captive isn’t the most convenient situation.
When he learned that the pirates asked for 20 talents in exchange for letting him go, Julius Caesar almost took it as an insult. He told them the figure was too low and that they should demand at least 50 talents. And that was only the beginning.
During his time in captivity, Julius Caesar was making the lives of pirates miserable. He would constantly boss them around, silence them when they would get too loud, and make them sit through his lengthy monologs and poem recitations. On top of that, he constantly threatened them that he would have them crucified once he managed to get free.
You can imagine that the pirates were relieved when the ransom for Julius Caesar finally arrived, and he left their camp. But it turned out that the young man wasn’t planning on just forgetting about everything and getting on with his life.
As soon as he got back to Rome, Julius Caesar gathered a naval army and embarked on a pursuit. He found the pirates resting in their camp, captured them all, and took them back to Rome to make good on his promise.