Back in 75 BCE, a group of Cilician pirates kidnapped then 25-year-old Julius Caesar while he was sailing the Aegean Sea. While a little kidnap for ransom scheme may have seemed like a good idea to the pirates at the time, they quickly discovered they’d taken on far more than they’d bargained for.
Ransoming: You’re doing it wrong
Julius was not one to leave his ego onshore and proceeded to live out the situation on his own terms. When the pirates revealed that they planned to demand 20 talents of silver for his safe return, they were met with a big “Oh, hell no,” from their captive.
As Julius would explain, he not only laughed in the face of 20 silver talents, he demanded the ransom be raised to befit a captive of his stature. The pirates complied and upped the sum to 50.
Making the most of it
As his cohorts set about raising the ransom money, Julius continued to make himself at home. Not only did his spend his time berating the pirates for their lack of education, he would sit around writing and reciting poems and speeches.
Though he would participate in the pirates’ exercises and games, he generally took to treating them like his subordinates, even shushing them when he was trying to sleep. While the pirates didn’t take his threats of eventual revenge seriously, they had to admit that the guy had some major cajones and came to respect him.
Karma on steroids
When Ceasar’s fellows showed up to spring him with the ransom money, he bid his captors farewell and then promptly went home to raise a fleet to capture them. Unfortunately for the pirates, they were still on the island Ceasar had left them on and were easily captured.
Not only did Ceaser take back his ransom money, he then proceeded to jail and crucify the pirates for interrupting his busy schedule with their kidnapping antics. But as it turned out, he wasn’t completely without heart, as he kindly offered to slit their throats before they were strung up.