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In classical antiquity, the Phoenicians, Illyrians and Tyrrhenians were known as pirates.The ancient Greeks condoned piracy as a viable profession; it apparently was widespread and "regarded as an entirely honourable way of making a living".
The international community is facing many challenges in bringing modern pirates to justice, as these attacks often occur in international waters.The Senate finally invested the general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus with powers to deal with piracy in 67 BC (the Lex Gabinia), and Pompey, after three months of naval warfare, managed to suppress the threat.As early as 258 AD, the Gothic-Herulic fleet ravaged towns on the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara.In the 3rd century BC, pirate attacks on Olympos (city in Anatolia) brought impoverishment.Among some of the most famous ancient pirateering peoples were the Illyrians, a people populating the western Balkan peninsula.References are made to its perfectly normal occurrence many texts including in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and abduction of women and children to be sold into slavery was common.
By the era of Classical Greece, piracy was looked upon as a "disgrace" to have as a profession.
Some nations have used their naval forces to protect private ships from pirate attacks and to pursue pirates, and some private vessels use armed security guards, high-pressure hoses or sound cannons to repel boarders, and use radar to avoid potential threats.
The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the ships sailing in the Aegean and Mediterranean waters in the 14th century BC.
In 846 Moor raiders sacked the extra muros Basilicas of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Rome.
In 911, the bishop of Narbonne was unable to return to France from Rome because the Moors from Fraxinet controlled all the passes in the Alps.
While the term can include acts committed in the air, on land (especially across national borders or in connection with taking over and robbing a car or train), or in other major bodies of water or on a shore, this article focuses on maritime piracy.