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One of the oldest documents (inscription on a clay tablet) describing pirates dates back to Pharo Echnaton (1350 BC). The report mentions notorious free lance Mediterranean shipping attacks in North Africa.
Greek merchants who were trading with ports in Phoenicia and Anatolia occasionally allude casually to piracy, a classic by-product of such trading activity. There is epigraphic evidence for piracy as well: in the 340s Athens honored Cleomis, tyrant of Methymna on Lesbos, for ransoming a number of Athenians captured by pirates.
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