The Second Ottoman Empire

By Mike Haran
Sept. 14, 2012

There is something about our post 9/11 conflict that in analogous to the anti pirate wars of antiquity. For hundreds of years the Mediterrean was plagued with pirates. Some came from Africa, (present day Tunisia), some from Corsica, some from Sardinia, some from the regions of Sicily. Some came from Cyprus, others from Crete. By far the greater majority were from Cilicia, the land elbow connecting present day Turkey with Lebanon and Syria. It seems to me that we are closer to these times today than ever before.

The War Galleys of the Greeks, Persians, and the Carthaginians were limited in range as they had to be touch with friendly shores in order to feed their crews. These galley's found it difficult to challenge the pirates whose Hemiolia craft, sporting a combination of oar, sail, and a seaworthy hull able to carry a week or so of supplies, were able to keep out of range of the patrolling Roman galleys. Their main target during the late Republican period was the grain ships plying between Carthage and the Capital. So bold did they become that they even operated in the Straits of Messina separating Sicily and Italy.

In order to rectify the situation the Trihemiolia was developed; a Hemiolia enlarged so as to accommodate troops and artillery. Gradually piracy was curbed but never completely eradicated as seemed always able to find new bases, and succor during lean times. It was discovered through the provincial intelligence agencies that the main buyer of the pirate’s wares was the country of Pontus situated on the southern of shore of the Euxine Sea (Black Sea). This piracy now evolved into full scale warfare known to history as the Mithraditic wars, the ruler of Pontus at the time being a King Mithradites IV. The pirate problem was eventually solved by Pompey given a decree to rid the Mediterranean of their ships, his authority extending scores, in some cases hundreds, of miles inland. Pirates were allowed to settle in these areas and given aid to do so on condition that they refrain from piracy in any form. Pompey now became very powerful and so eventually challenged Caesar for the leadership thus plunging the Republic in civil war and its destruction bringing in the the reign of Octavian (Augustus) and the establishment of the Empire.

Will we see a commander given similar unlimited control of the armed forces of the US who rids us of the threat of terrorism? Not likely as the west has been free from attack for years. The problem seems confined to the Middle East. Turkey, not the US, seems perfectly positioned to produce another Pompey. It is a secular country having a mainly Moslem population so would not be perceived as a threat to the west while at the same time not ruffling too many feathers in the Middle East. After dealing with the Kurdish groups in Iran, Iraq and Syria she would extend power over the entire Middle East so as to prevent any counter attacks. In times past the entire Middle East colonized one another other to some degree and so would not be too concerned if this was again the case, the inhabitants of the area more concerned with their religious freedom rather than their national independence. No great armies or technological advances will be needed. What is needed is a way to counter the secretive culture by using new methods against them in much the same way as did the Trihemiolia counters the Hemiolia.


About the author Mike Haran: Here is the link to my new web site devoid of any connection with the above which I use as a device to publish my war games,link.



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