This is a chapter of Julius Caesar’s Adventure with the Pirates Who Kidnapped Him, by Henry Gilbert.
A few days later, in the early morning, a galley was sighted coming from Miletus. The first man who jumped into the surf when the ship was pulled up the shore was Caesar’s chief freedman, Gallus, who, running up to his master, bowed to him and said:
“Domine, the tale of fifty talents is complete. It is in the hands of the lord Valerius Torquatus, the legate at Miletus. Shall I prepare my lord for his immediate departure from here?”
“Tell the pirate Spartakos that my ransom waits for him,” replied Caesar in an undisturbed manner, “and then come to me.”
Within an hour the three galleys were underway to Miletus, crammed with men. The first contained Caesar and his friend Cinna, together with the freedman Gallus and the two slaves Cotta and Milo. All except Caesar himself showed great joy in at length finding themselves on their way to liberty again. They had been thirty-eight days with the pirates, so hard a task had it been for Gallus and the other slaves of Caesar to collect the sum of fifty talents. The property both of Caesar and his wife Cornelia had been confiscated by Sulla, who was then tyrant at Rome, but Caesar had many rich kinsmen and friends.
Throughout the preparations for departure, Caesar had sat silent on the poop of the galley, gazing upon the line of shore, from which they were now receding, as if trying to fix the appearance of the creeks and the cliffs upon his memory.
Spartakos and his two lieutenants came upon the poop. They were in high glee at the prospect of receiving so large a sum for their captive, but, though Spartakos did not anticipate any trick, it had ever been his habit in these cases to make every assurance. He had known of pirates who had been lured to a place at which a ransom was to be paid, only to be fallen upon and overwhelmed by forces in hiding. For this reason he had brought with him all his men, well-armed; and the money was to be handed to him on the governor’s galley, at a point on the open sea outside the harbor of Miletus.
“You cannot say I have not treated you well, Caesar,” said Spartakos, with a rough laugh. “Fifty talents in a lump do not often come the way of a poor corsair, but I think I and my fellows have treated you like a king.”
“I will see that your kind treatment of me does not benefit you if ever you come before the judge at Pergamum,” was the smiling reply. “No word from me shall keep you from the cross.”
“You will have your jest,” said Spartakos, with a laugh. “Look you, if you ever happen to fall into my hands again I promise you I’ll raise your ransom — ’twill be seventy-five talents next time, for the sharp tongue you give us!”
Syrus and Mikios laughed heartily: this was paying the Roman lord back in his own coin.
“There’s the legate’s galley!” said Spartakos, and cast keen eyes about the sea and away to the white bar of the harbor, against which the sea tossed up its jeweled waters, flashing in the sunlight. But there were only a few fishing vessels here and there, and no armed galley threw back the sun’s rays from its gleaming beak of bronze.
The formality was soon over: Spartakos, with a bodyguard, went aboard the galley of the legate, or governor, and the gold coins were counted out and taken in bags to the little boat bobbing at the side. The governor, a stout old Roman with a rubicund face, stood waiting impatiently while the money was being counted, and, when this was finished, Spartakos yelled through his hands to Mikios on the first pirate galley to put Caesar and his people in a boat and row them across. This was done with alacrity, and in a little while Caesar stepped on board the governor’s vessel.
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Exiled from Rome in this outlandish province as he had been for some years, Valerius, the governor, knew little of affairs in the great city. He had never heard of Caesar, but had supposed he was one of the old rich senators who had more wealth than wide renown. His surprise was great, therefore, when a young man of about twenty-three came toward him, dressed in a foppish fashion. Valerius welcomed him heartily, however, for his respect was according to the enormous amount of ransom which had been paid. As Caesar stepped aboard, Spartakos leaped into his own boat and, without further delay, the beak of the governor’s galley was turned shoreward, and the vessel was soon racing toward the meal for which the old governor had been impatiently waiting.