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Queen Teuta and piracy

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The kingdom of Illyria (yellow) during the reign of Teuta
The kingdom of Illyria (yellow) during the reign of Teuta

Queen Teuta was regent of the kingdom of the Ardiai from 230-228 BCE and ruler of part of the state with the capital in Rhizon in the years 228-217 BCE. On the Dalmatian shores of her country, pirates found comfortable ports and support.

The Queen regarded piracy as an economic factor no less important than any other. In 230 BCE Roman traders were also killed during the pirate attack on Fenike in Epirus. The Roman legates sent to the queen for compensation were very badly received, and one of them even died. In 229 BCE a punitive expedition was sent, led by consuls Lucius Postumius Albinus and Centumalus. It was the first time in Roman history that an army of Romans crossed the Adriatic Sea. Teuta wanted to forestall the Romans by occupying the island of Korkyra and destroying the Etols and Achaeans, but under the Roman impetus, she was forced to withdraw.

In 228 BCE Teuta had to accept the peace conditions imposed by the Romans. She was banned from sailing the Adriatic Sea south of Lisso (now Alessio in Albania) in more than three unarmed ships. Teuta became ruler over only a portion of the Rhizon state.

  • John Wilkes, The Illyrians

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