Pompey’s cruise control (I): ‘I have a fleet – and need for speed’

This and the next paragraph elaborate on Pompey’s campaign against the pirates, putting the emphasis on the speed with which he completed the task of sweeping the Mediterranean clean, thus securing the corn-supply for the capital (heavily dependent on overseas imports) and expanding Rome’s imperial control in the process. The repetition of the phrase tam brevi tempore (‘in such a short period of time’) underscores the continuity to what has come before; and Cicero again puts the emphasis on Pompey’s ability to get things done: celeritas in conficiendo (§ 29) continues to be his major theme in this paragraph as well (cf. celeritate, celeriter, conficere). Seemingly inconspicuous words (tam, tot, tanti, umquam, nondum) serve to enhance the sense of wonder at Pompey’s achievement.