National Geographic : 1969 Dec
newly irrigated truck farms and orchards. "But our real future is tourism," claimed one young travel agent who had just learned English. "We have eight hotels here, and we call this the Turkish Riviera-or do you like better the Turquoise Coast?" Neither name does justice to the place. Its charm lies in its natural beauty-the simple, unspoiled scenery, ruins, and space, far from the disturbing modern world. "It's like our Pacific voyages on the old brigantine Yankee,"Irving remarked. So what would we name this coast? Irving turned to history: "I guess Pirate Coast would discour- age modern tourists-but what about the Sailing Coast?" He documented his sugges tion with a book he had been reading on deck, Lionel Casson's The Ancient Mariners. "We know the ancient Egyptians traded here. Their cattle came from Asia Minor," Irving said. Tomb paintings show us the frail long lines of those early Egyptian ships. But sailors from Crete used a more seaworthy design, as did the Phoenicians. All was not honest commerce: "In ancient times both Greeks and non-Greeks... once they found out how to make their way across 812 the seas, turned to piracy," wrote the great Greek historian Thucydides. "This was... even considered an honorable profession." Lycian and Cilician pirates flourished here for centuries, preying on the growing trade. But a great help in controlling piracy was the development of triremes, low-lying fighting ships with linen sails and some 170 oars mounted in three decks. The best of these triremes could sprint at seven knots. "But they rarely used slaves in the galleys," Irving told us. "Slaves weren't trustworthy and they had to be fed year-round." When Greek power weakened after the Peloponnesian War, law and order vanished for a time. Pirates and slave merchants ruled this coast-trading human livestock for olive oil and wine-and even raided seaports as far away as Italy itself. Rome wearied of the menace, and in 67 B.C. gave Pompey the problem and the power to fight it. He divided the Mediterranean into 13 sectors, each with its own fleet. All the fleets attacked at once, while Pompey swept east ward from Gibraltar with a force of 60 vessels. On the coast of Cilicia the pirates made their last stand, at the port of Coracesium.