A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Piracy - what has it ever meant?

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5638
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 10:02

Mention of pirates in another thread in the context of the Roman Mediterranean has awoken the revisionist in me. The term "pirate" presents difficulties in interpretation - it is one of those phrases which on the surface appears self-evident but upon even minimal investigation proves difficult to pin down semantically.

Without even deviating into its non-marine application, which these days is often used to denote theft of anything from music copyright to radio bandwidth, one can readily see that history has presented us with a long and continuous account of piracy on the high seas. Simplistically therefore we can say with some superficial justification that kidnapping and ransom demands conducted by Somalians in the 21st century fit into a tradition traceable back to when Julius Caesar was a young man and a victim of just such a scam in Greek waters two thousand years ago.

In the meantime the term "pirate" has been in constant use, most notably in the 18th century when they went "high tech" by the standards of the day and began creaming dividends from the nascent British trade empire, an era which has more or less defined the image of a "pirate" which first springs to mind upon hearing the term for many. Yet it is precisely this era and the two centuries preceding it which give rise to the complications inherent in the term. Britain established itself as master of international maritime trade over contemporary and equally determined attempts from other navies, notably the Spanish and the Dutch at the time. It did so in the beginning by what might be called state-sponsored privateering, a practise which established the reputations of several characters still famous today - such as Walter Raleigh or Francis Drake - and in which the distinction between privateering and service to the nation was kept intentionally vague by the authorities, so vague in fact that even the aforementioned "statesmen" fell foul of accusations of illegality over their activities in their own lifetimes. Raleigh even paid for this ambiguity with his life, executed by the same people who he had helped make rich.

Which raises the questions: at what point does privateering - in any era - become piracy? Who decides? If the bottom-line definition of piracy is theft, then theft of what and from whom? While it may seem obvious to label a modern Somalian with a ship and firearms whose motivation is purely personal monetary gain as a "pirate", is this sufficient a definition to apply therefore retrospectively to all who have been labelled thus? And if it is, are there therefore not many others who have escaped the label in the past due to their activities receiving official sanction but who in reality behaved as typical pirates, if not even more so?

Where is the semantic line drawn here? If the line is redrawn to suit the various circumstances over millennia then how come we have ended up with a common term which superficially applies to all maritime activity involving forceful acquisition but which pointedly omits some notorious examples of the practise?
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 14:06

Oh dear, I'm not sure what your post means either. I shall read it again.
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 16:27

In theory, a privateer needed not only a "letter of marque" from a government - not necessarily their own - but to send in his prizes unplundered for adjudication by a court. If duly condemned as prizes, he got a share of the money raised by selling them. The letter of marque specified which country or countries trade the pirate was entitled to operate against (or in rare cases, such as Captain Kidd, it might specify someone else. Kidd was licenced as a privateer to prey upon pirates. Instead, he "went native").
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 20:45

I think you answered your own question, Nordmann, when you mentioned state-sponsored - piracy is one of those activities that apply to others but not to you when you are a government.

Piracy does not seem to apply to anything done on land. Generally it's thought of as a sea activitiy but even in those extended examples you gave they are not land-based. In Britain and NZ (I don't know about other countries) when pirate radio stations were first set up they were in boats off-shore. And internet copyright issues are in cyberspace; it's less often called piracy when it is just written copied material referred to. People carrying out similar activities in the past on land were referred to as highwaymen, not pirates.

What I don't understand is why piracy is the subject of so many children's books, and with an admirable slant to it, never a moralistic idea of violence and nastiness. There's endless picture books, fiction, fact, cut-outs, and dress-ups for parties, aimed mainly at little boys, I suppose, while the little girls become princesses. (And my teeth are starting to grit, so will get off this subject.)

I see from my Shorter OED that the word pirate dates to ME which I take to be 1350 - 1450 roughly. No pirates before that? a different word? no roaming the seas with treasure to steal?

My apologies if you read this twice. I seemed to manage to wipe it looking for something irrelevant and have had to remember it and write it again. Never learn! Though I really don't see why it should have disappeared.

Caro.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5638
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 21:12

The etymology of the word "pirate" is not only much more ancient than you suggest, Caro - it is a word which has retained both its meaning and even its pronunciation with little deviation from ancient Greek times ("peirates").
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 21:31

When was it first used in English? I haven't got an full OED. I saw wikipedia talking about Vikings and I had been thinking of them as pirates too, but perhaps they didn't do looting on the high seas. (And they probably came with state approval.) But I can't find a first usage in English.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5638
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 21:45

It's entry into modern English in its present form was from Norman French. But as "pirata" it would have been widely understood in Roman Britain, especially I imagine during the rule of Carausius. In between the Saxon word "liedmann" probably sufficed.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 02 Feb 2012, 22:16

Thanks. Latin would still have been the written language generally in Saxon England, wouldn't it? What word is used for pirate in Beowulf - can't remember exactly the setting for Beowulf, but could have been a necessary word?
Back to top Go down
normanhurst
Triumviratus Rei Publicae Constituendae
avatar

Posts : 423
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Fri 03 Feb 2012, 00:00

I guess a lot of this boils down to whatever colour hat you’re wearing… we all know the baddies wear the black hats and the goodies wear the white…

We wouldn’t send a fleet of pirates to intercept and protect our offshore fishing fleet… they’d be fishery protection or coastguard vessels… and we’d be wearing the white hats, but to the other side our vessels would be deemed pirates for harassing their fleet in what they believe to be a legitimate activity and they’d say we were wearing the black hats.

And by the same token if you were a Chinese patriot living on the shores of the Yangzi in 1949 who would you be rooting for. would we not be a pirate force.

I note we no longer have guerrillas fighting in the Columbian outback, or bandit snipers along the Khyber Pass… now days they’ve enjoyed a slick makeover and are upgraded to insurgents… but that’s what we wearing the white hats are calling the natives, we the ones that have invaded their country and the people that live there, and we say they have no right to defend themselves and their way of life. A wee bit hypocritical I think.

Imagine if some foreign power invaded the Isle of Wight… would we fight to the death to repel the aggressors… too damned right we would… but then we would be the insurgents in the eyes of the invading power… on the other hand should the Isle of Wight declare independence due to the massive oil reserves under it… and fought us for that independence… they would be wearing the white hats and style themselves freedom fighters. Any vessels they could muster to further their cause by harassing our navy or disturb the free passage of shipping would be classed as pirates and our Royal Navy what’s left of it could blast them out the water…
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Wed 07 Nov 2012, 13:55

Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
In theory, a privateer needed not only a "letter of marque" from a government - not necessarily their own - but to send in his prizes unplundered for adjudication by a court. If duly condemned as prizes, he got a share of the money raised by selling them. The letter of marque specified which country or countries trade the pirate was entitled to operate against (or in rare cases, such as Captain Kidd, it might specify someone else. Kidd was licenced as a privateer to prey upon pirates. Instead, he "went native").

There were also "letters of retaliation", whereby an individual could receive a licence to engage in operations against a country which had done him a grievance. In effect they were a licence to conduct a private war.
Furthermore, in Scots Law, a letter of retaliation was heritable property and could be passed from one generation to the next,and one such letter of retaliation was still in use in the 1560s, ninety years after it had first been issued during the reign of James III. The name of the family involved .......Blacadder.

Letters of Reprisal, not retaliation. Theoretically they could only be issued in peace time if the plaintiff had failed to obtain redress through the courts. Sir Patrick Blackader was using a letter of reprisal originally issued in 1476, to take Portuguese prizes in 1561.


Last edited by Triceratops on Thu 08 Nov 2012, 10:54; edited 2 times in total
Back to top Go down
Anglo-Norman
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 257
Join date : 2012-04-24

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Wed 07 Nov 2012, 21:28

If memory serves, in Britain at least there is or was a legal definition as to how far offshore you have to be for a crime to be defined as piracy. But it's definitely something which can't happen on land (so when you're watching that fine documentary Pirates of the Caribbean, when the crew of the Black Pearl raid the town technically they're not committing an act of piracy).

Ultimately the difference between being a pirate or a privateer boils down to whether or not you have one of those all-important Letters of Marque and Reprisal - and whether or not your enemies recognise the legality of the issuing authority. For example, during the British Civil Wars, Sir George Carteret operated a successful privateering scheme on behalf of the King. After Charles I's shaving accident, Charles II began issuing his own letters of marque to Carteret's captains, but unfortunately for him - and even more unfortunately for them - Parliament didn't recognise his authority and the 'privateers' were classed as pirates.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 08 Nov 2012, 10:23

There were what were termed "lines of amity"*, to the south the Tropic of Cancer and to the west the Meridian as it ran through Ferro in the Canaries. The Spanish and Portuguese regarded everything beyond these lines as their private preserve, and any foreign ship venturing into them had to be prepared to defend itself. Being treated as pirates in these waters anyway, no matter how peaceable the intentions had been to start with, made it a very short step to out-right piracy. There was a saying at the time "no peace beyond the line".


* and often very little amity east and north of the lines.

the lines were verbally agreed between the French and Spanish negotiators at the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis in 1559.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Sun 18 Nov 2012, 18:18

Piratical and privateering activites could also result in embarrassment for the National government who had little or no control over them.The following proclamtion of 1525 directed at the Port of Leith, illustrates the problem;

"Our Sovereign Lord and Lords of Council are sickerly informed that an certain number of his lieges; masters,owners and mariners of ships dwelling in Leith is to depart in warfare,and by their robberies and spoils made upon friends,they have caused our Sovereign Lord and his lieges to have many enemies whilks were friends before,and presuppones that they shall do siclike in time to come"
Back to top Go down
Anglo-Norman
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 257
Join date : 2012-04-24

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Sun 18 Nov 2012, 18:42

Elizabeth I had problems of her own with pirates, who patrolled the English Channel from a base in Sark in the Channel Islands. Eventually she authorised the Governor of Jersey to drive the pirates out and establish a colony on Sark to ensure they didn't come back. Many of the current population are descended from those colonists, though the Island has long since become part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, rather than Jersey.

Interestingly, it has been theorised that the Romans established a small naval station in the Channel Islands mainly to deal with pirates.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 806
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Sun 18 Nov 2012, 23:03

nordmann wrote:
Simplistically therefore we can say with some superficial justification that kidnapping and ransom demands conducted by Somalians in the 21st century fit into a tradition traceable back to when Julius Caesar was a young man and a victim of just such a scam in Greek waters two thousand years ago.

Ironically the location of the activities of the contemporary Somali pirates (i.e. the north-west Indian Ocean) is the same location of operation which brought such great notoriety to British pirates such as Henry Avery and William Kidd etc in the 1690s.

Englishman Avery (sometimes spelled Every) is particularly interesting in that he was originally promised a letter of marque by the King of Spain for operations against the French. This failed to materialise and so he and his crew went pirate attacking French and Indian ships. The latter belonged to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and were on annual pilgrimage to Mecca and so understandably the emperor was not best pleased.

Scotsman Kidd did indeed received a English letter of marque from the Governor of New York and was tasked by it with tracking down English pirates (such as Avery) and also for use against the French as the Nine Years War was ongoing. Like Avery, however, Kidd preferred to raid ships of whatever flag in the Indian Ocean as a pirate.
Back to top Go down
normanhurst
Triumviratus Rei Publicae Constituendae
avatar

Posts : 423
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 19 Nov 2012, 01:27

35 years ago I sailed as a ‘mate/engineer’ and was sent from my cosy 740 ton coaster to join the company’s new flagship... a 2000 ton pile of rust in Dublin as chief engineer, a position I at first refused. However... jobs are jobs and I needed to feed mummy and babies. I had arrived before her and was greeted by the sight of this rusting hulk limping and belching smoke to her berth... my heart sank.

I stepped on board, and before I’d got my coat off was dragged down to the bowels of the ship they called the engine room, a filthy dark and dingy hole where the air was so dense with atomised diesel it could have been injected directly into the engine. The new owner, a Dutchman explained how pleased he was to see me and that we had to start work straight away pulling a cracked cylinder liner and changing a piston... so that explained what the things I took as oversize oil drums were as I stepped into the engine room... not oil drums but pistons... it took a week to complete the job and I was grateful the owner, a certificated engineer stayed on to help me out. In the time we were berthed alongside the crew, from the Cape Verde islands, give them credit... hammered and scraped and brushed the rust away, and after a coat of paint she didn’t look too bad... but I felt nothing for her. She was old and worn out... designed and built for three engineers... a chief, a 2nd and a 3rd... I was alone. She had three air receivers each giving three starts to the engine... (it started on compressed air) we had a port and starboard generator that compressed the air into the bottles taking anything from 20-30 minutes each bottle. So coming into a port, and coming alongside... the captain had to manage it in nine engine starts. Going from ahead to astern was one start... stop engines required another shot of air to start it again... the captain up top on the bridge and swaying to and fro from the effects of downing his daily litre bottle of Bacardi thought he was on some jolly dinging the bell on a London Transport bus... no way could I give him what he wanted... his idea of stopping was to hit the quay wall. We hit it so hard one day the shock wave split the exhaust manifold sending flames out and nearly choked me in the process and the cooling water flooded the engine room. No I felt nothing for her.

After a few months of coastal trade we were sent about 100 miles up the Congo River... this was at a time of the Angolan war... Portugal was having troubles with its colonies... Mozambique and the Cape Verde islands. Some of our crew were deserters from the army in Mozambique so not happy bunnies to be going anywhere near a Portugese war zone. We near had a mutiny.

So... pirates... I have the deepest sympathy with those guys sailing off Somalia... I’ve never been there and know nothing. But sailing up the Congo River we were told of the acts of piracy every night on big ships... mainly brutal beatings and theft... on the way down river we were told that the ship that left the night before us, a bulk carrier, was boarded, the mates wife was raped, the mate was thrown overboard with a rope around his neck and the captain was shot. And yet these river canoes... nothing more than a ‘dug out’ could come alongside undetected and shimmy up ropes attached to grappling hooks.
By comparison, my ship could have fitted on those bigger ships as deck cargo... our main deck was at water level having loaded in fresh water... just a matter of cocking ones leg over the side to gain access... in retrospect, maybe that’s what made us safe... being too small to bother with and everything in sight from the bridge... I don’t know but the thought of piracy fills me with dread... as did the threat of a mutiny when we were there.


sorry to ramble... but if P can, I can.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 19 Nov 2012, 01:52

You hardly need to apologize for a fascinating little story like that, Norman.
Back to top Go down
Gran
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 193
Join date : 2012-03-27
Location : Auckland New Zealand

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 19 Nov 2012, 04:00

Great story Norman, I bet you could write a book, and what a great career for someone who has trouble getting about.
Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2545
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 19 Nov 2012, 10:03

Norm, you need to get all these stories recorded, either written or digitally. Even if they didn't end up in a book or something and a they would make a wonderful one, or a radio series, your lovely boy and the kids he will have one day need to be able to keep them.
I know how much I wish I could speak to family members long gone or had written down their tales: my kids keep asking me for more details of things they told me that I now just vaguely remember and most of their stories were much less interesting your yours. If nothing else, get a microphone and record them all onto discs or cards, it would be the perfect legacy.
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1705
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 20 Nov 2012, 22:17

Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
In theory, a privateer needed not only a "letter of marque" from a government - not necessarily their own - but to send in his prizes unplundered for adjudication by a court. If duly condemned as prizes, he got a share of the money raised by selling them. The letter of marque specified which country or countries trade the pirate was entitled to operate against (or in rare cases, such as Captain Kidd, it might specify someone else. Kidd was licenced as a privateer to prey upon pirates. Instead, he "went native").

Gilgamesh,

yes with a "letter of marque" it was still a twilight zone between privateer and pirate...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_marque

Take for instance a Jan Janszoon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Janszoon

Or a Claes Compaen:

http://www.thepirateking.com/bios/compaen_claes.htm

Not sure of the "historicity" (historical correctness) of this link but wikipedia isn't always correct too...

And I read somewhere that only a "sovereign" of a specific land could give "letters of marque". I read it for instance in the case of William the Silent during the Dutch Revolt. I was so lucky to find it obviously confirmed in this book:



And yes due to these letters of marque history was altered...

page 13:

William made no claim of authority to issue these licences to prey upon an enemy on the basis of his former position as stadholder but only as sovereign Prince of Orange...but because they provided Queen Elisabeth of England with some ground for permitting the wild rovers to use her ports as bases...Finally the exasperated Elisabeth ordered them out of her harbours at 1572...in desparation

page 14:

they put in at the little port of Den Briel...The course of the rebellion was utterly altered...

As about the principality of Orange:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Orange

http://uk.otorange.fr/home/discover/monuments-museums-sites/princes-nassau-tour.aspx

Some years ago I was in Orange staying in Avignon and from there by train. Interesting place with a beautiful Roman theatre and, that I rmemember specifically, a nice small museum.

Hmm...and how I now from pirates arrive at a small museum in Orange is beyond me...yes, by the letters of marque from that William the Silent from the principality of Orange, could those Dutch privateers, the Sea Beggers, start with a land hold at Den Briel and so alter the history of a country the later Dutch Republic of the united seven provinces...

Kind regards, Gil, and with esteem,

Paul.
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1705
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 20 Nov 2012, 22:22

Re: message 19 November 2h27

Norman,

I join the others. Thank you very much for this good and narrative story.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.

PS: If you have on occasion such another story, please write it down for us...
Back to top Go down
shivfan
Aediles
avatar

Posts : 84
Join date : 2012-03-03
Location : Hertfordshire

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 28 Jan 2013, 15:40

I think the lines were very closely blurred between a privateer and a pirate....

The career of Henry Morgan is a case in point. I'm currently reading "Buccaneers of America" by Exquemelin, who claimed to have been a member of Morgan's crew on his assault on Panama in 1670, or thereabouts. Morgan started off as a buccaneer, attacking Spanish ships, encouraged by the governors of Jamaica, simply because the governors needed the buccaneers to protect the island.

Jamaica had been conquered from the Spanish in 1655 in Cromwell's "Grand Design", but the Lord Protector never gave much thought into how to protect the island from re-conquest. So, the early governors had to rely on the buccaneers to protect them from the Spanish, and then the French, in the latter half of the century, and they made Port Royal their base, and it became "the wickedest city in the world", with drunken buccaneers roving the streets shooting folks at will. One self-righteous governor drove them out, and they took refuge in Tortuga, but the business people in Port Royal complained, and when war was declared with Spain, governor Sir Thomas Modyford invited them back. Modyford worked well with Morgan, and together they conspired to invade Panama. He secured "letters of marque" for Morgan, which made him a privateer, but he and his men were no less brutal than when they were buccaneers or pirates. Modyford actually heard that peace had been signed, but he kept that from Morgan, so that Morgan could invade Panama, and they could both benefit from the riches reaped from the assault. They were both sent back to England in chains when the Spanish king protested, but after the furore died down, Modyford was rewarded, while Morgan was knighted and sent back to Jamaica as lieutenant-governor, serving as acting governor three times between governors.

But Morgan was an astute guy, and sensed the changing of the winds. After 1670, Britain was strong enough to provide a naval presence in Jamaica, and the buccaneers were no longer needed. They became "pirates", and were outlawed. Morgan played a key role in giving his former colleagues a choice - give up piracy, or become outlaws. He then played a major role in hunting down those who did not give up piracy.

After a lifetime of alcohol abuse, he died in 1688, had a huge funeral in Jamaica, and Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake four years later....
Back to top Go down
http://www.cricket-match-special.com/
Arwe Rheged
Praetor
avatar

Posts : 94
Join date : 2012-07-23

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 29 Jan 2013, 13:16

I suspect that it all comes down to context. A pirate is a seaborne fighting man (or woman), not directly connected with a national navy and doing things you don't approve of. When the same person is doing things you do approve of, they become a privateer. Or perhaps a buccanneer. Or perhaps an irregular.

So for my money, "pirate" is simply a perjorative term implying marine criminality.

Generations brought up on Treasure Island and derivatives such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Voyages of the Jolly Deus Ex Machina will also recognise a second meaning of the term - the sanitised, 'ha-harrr, me laddie' rough and tumble of wooden legs, grog, parrots, dubloons and casual buggery in the fo'c'sle. This is unashamedly a product of fiction for small people (and kidults) and, as such, belongs to the tradition of the Brave and Noble Individualist Who Is Good At Killing Baddies. In this context, pirates stand alongside cowboys, swashbuckling outlaws in the Greenwood, maverick coppers and most roles played by Harrison Ford.

Regar-arr-arrds,

AR
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2813
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 29 Jan 2013, 14:35

Arwe Rheged wrote:
- the sanitised, 'ha-harrr, me laddie' rough and tumble of wooden legs, grog, parrots, dubloons and casual buggery in the fo'c'sle.

..... that made me laugh out loud, nearly choke on my biscuit, spill my cup of tea over the keyboard, wake the dog and scare the cats!

That's a great line AR

EDIT (long after the post above) : Yes you do have some great turns of phrase, AR. I liked your succinct precis of the Fisher King legend too (from the "Royal Bodies" thread):
Arwe Rheged wrote:
"He is generally old and generally wounded - usually in the plumbing department. The fertility of the land is linked to the potency of the king and so it is often necessary to do away with the gammy old bugger in order to ensure that the land recovers under the governance of some firm buttocked young buck."


Last edited by Meles meles on Fri 22 Feb 2013, 11:41; edited 2 times in total
Back to top Go down
shivfan
Aediles
avatar

Posts : 84
Join date : 2012-03-03
Location : Hertfordshire

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Fri 22 Feb 2013, 10:52

Yeah, pirates were hardly Long John Silver, the likeable rogue, were they? If anyone wants to get a real feel for how the early buccaneers behaved, I recommend the above book I quoted by Exquemlin. THough half the book was about Morgan, a significant portion was about Francois L'Ollonais, a French buccaneer who operated out of Tortuga, and was so vicious and brutal in his tortures that I cannot bring myself to quote the worst excesses on a public messageboard.

Suffice it to say, I will mention just one of the less queasy incidents. L'Ollonais and his men were torturing a Spanish colonist, to find out where he had hidden his household belongings, but the Spaniard was proving particularly obstructive, even though he was being slowly roasted over an open pit. L'Ollonais himself lost patience, cut open the man's chest, pulled out his heart, and started gnawing on it in anger. It goes without saying that this action so petrified the other captured Spaniards that they were falling over themselves to confess where their belongings were!
Back to top Go down
http://www.cricket-match-special.com/
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 26 Feb 2013, 23:24

Anti-whaling activities are apparently piracy too, though without treasure of any kind at the end of it. Our stuff.co.nz news site begins its article with the following:

Quote :
Their supporters call them heroes. The Japanese government calls them terrorists.



Now the United States' largest federal court has declared them pirates.

In doing so, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals castigated Paul Watson and members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society he founded for the tactics used in their relentless campaign to disrupt the annual whale hunt off the dangerous waters of Antarctica.

"You don't need a peg leg or an eye patch," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel.

"When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be."

An earlier judge has said their actions weren't violent because they targetted property, not people. I have doubts about this definition of violence. On the other hands if the whalers are in Australian waters and have been forbidden to be there, it's hard to see the Japanese whalers' justification.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 08 Apr 2013, 13:16

This site provides information on privateers in the War of 1812;

http://www.1812privateers.org/
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 09:12

Re Baltimore on the "On this day thread".

I took a look at Rodger* over the weekend, to see if there was mention of any further landing raids by Barbary Corsairs in the British Isles. There was no mention of them, so perhaps I mistaken.

Corsair raids in the 17th century were reported as far west as the Newfoundland fishing grounds. The primary victims of the Corsair attacks of this time were the ships and sailors of the West Country ( somewhat ironic given this areas' record against the Spanish)

One thing Rogers did mention, was that earlier in the century, Baltimore and Crookhaven had themselves been pirate bases. In 1649, Kinsale would become a base for Royalist ships and privateers.


*N A M Rodger:"The Safeguard of the Sea"


Last edited by Triceratops on Mon 23 Jun 2014, 09:30; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5638
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 09:25

The English were very "cavalier" (pardon the pun) regarding who they considered as pirates and who were "adventurers". Murad Reis was a case in point. His takeover of Lundy for five years just wasn't possible without some complicit cooperation from some people in authority on the English mainland and at sea. Whether this was due to incompetence, bribery or criminal cahoots however is a matter of conjecture and the answer is probably a mixture of all three. The trick seems to have been to harry the same targets as the English themselves were harrying, at least some of the time. That Murad didn't take people within easy striking distance into slavery as he was doing elsewhere at the time suggests some deal had been struck, however unofficially.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5638
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 15:07

trike wrote:
One thing Rogers did mention, was that earlier in the century, Baltimore and Crookhaven had themselves been pirate bases.

Coppinger's predecessor as leaseholder of the village of Baltimore, a guy (fittingly) called Crooke, was indeed a renowned pirate even if he never took to sea in that capacity. However his harbour was a sort of clearing house for other pirates' booty and it was from his time that the expression, still to be heard in the area, relating to the nearest inland village was coined "The Law Stops at Leap". Crooke must have had many just like him around Devon, Cornwall, Gloucester and South Wales too - which would explain the five year tenure of Lundy by a "Sallee Rover".
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
LadyinRetirement
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
avatar

Posts : 711
Join date : 2013-09-16

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 17:50

Nowadays it seems to also mean downloading TV shows etc from sites other than the parent sites.  I don't have any of the books anymore but among her authors for light reading my Mum numbered the "who-dunnits" of Ngaio Marsh and there used to be some preamble in the books about Ms Marsh having been descended from the Lundy pirates if memory serves me correctly.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5638
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 24 Jun 2014, 12:51

Yes, she claimed descendancy from the de Marisco (aka Marsh) family who owned Lundy and ran it as a rather lawless enterprise for several generations. The pub on the island is called after them.

Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Wed 13 Aug 2014, 15:35

Cutaway of Blackbeard's ship Queen Anne's Revenge:


Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 14 Aug 2014, 11:45

No known image of Captain Kidd's Adventure Galley exists. However this picture of the contemporary Charles Galley should give an idea of what she looked like;



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventure_Galley
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Thu 14 Aug 2014, 12:56

Although generally associated with the high seas, pirates could also be found inland, such as those who haunted the banks of the Ohio River in the late 18th, early 19th centuries, and were based in the imaginatively named Cave-in Rock;




http://www.lib.niu.edu/1996/ihy960454.html
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2813
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Fri 19 Sep 2014, 08:52

"Ahoy there!" I see that today, 19 September, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day and so a holiday for members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
 "Arrrh, that it is!".

Wiki: International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5638
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 07 Oct 2014, 09:58

An underwater archaeologist, Connie Kelleher, has recently published an article throwing light on a hitherto largely unexamined "Pirate Alliance" that arose in the early years of the reign of King James I of England (VI of Scotland). The Alliance was based in southern Ireland, particularly in the appropiately named Crookhaven*, a village situated near the extreme south-west tip of the island.

When James came to power he set about several policies that had an immediate effect on what had been a burgeoning "privateer" industry in southern England with which the administration had always had an uneasy relationship. While it suited the crown to have these vessels harass enemy trade it had always been concious too of the danger of accommodating such a maverick and indiscriminate aggressive force, "fighting" in its name but not paying the crown its cut. Peace treaties with Spain and other traditional naval rivals allowed him to scale down his navy, upon which he then set the task of eradicating the privateer - now "pirate" - bases around the English coasts.

The effect was immediate. Many of the families engaged in this "industry" saw an opportunity to relocate to Ireland, its southern coast coincidentally having only recently been the location of the Battle of Kinsale, the defeat of the Irish nobility that had definitively handed the country's administration over to English rule. Along its stretch, and in particular in the remote strongholds of West Cork, they joined up with an already active Irish piracy to establish a lucrative alliance, safely out of reach of his majesty's navy and doubly protected by unreformed local legislation that still made it impossible to try an Englishman for piracy in Ireland. By 1609 this alliance had grown so powerful that they elected their own admiral, Richard Bishop, and to the despair of the Irish Lord-Lieutenant Chichester, styled themselves as a branch of the navy itself.

Undeterred by James' foreign policy initiatives they continued to carefully target England's traditional enemies at sea. Under Bishop's scrupulous guidance they also began purchasing "legitimacy" both in Ireland and England, ensuring enough friends in prominent places, they hoped, to keep the authorities from taking them on. Over the next five years they were engaged in an average of three attacks on foreign shipping a month, each one on average having an estimated yield in today's money of seven million pounds.

By 1614 their power and future as an enterprise appeared impregnable. The alliance now included not only Irish and English pirates but Flemish and "renegade" Dutchmen (as well as one of history's few recorded black pirate commanders, Arthur Drake, lieutenant to a captain Robert Stephenson), and their bases of operation through further "treaties" had begun to extend to North Africa, Brittany and even northern Germany.

It was this development that spelled their doom. The Dutch, alarmed at English inability to counteract the pirates, availed of the temporary warming of relations with James to seek permission to take the fight to the alliance in their heartland. The crown, having decimated its navy, was not in a position to refuse this "request".

The Dutch had been doing their homework since 1612 and knew exactly what they needed to do. Realising the importance of Crookhaven to the alliance - its loss and the elimination of the pirate leaders there would effectively unravel the whole structure - a fleet of Dutch warships descended on the stronghold. The pirates hastily cobbled together a fleet of their own to meet them. The ensuing battle, one of the largest naval encounters ever in Irish waters, was bloody and short. Within a few hours of its aftermath those pirate seamen still alive had been rounded up, within days the captured leaders were being transported by the Dutch to England for certain execution. As anticipated by the Dutch the entire alliance crumbled apart. Some surrendered to English authorities hoping for leniency (many received pardons). Even more absconded to the Barbary Coast in North Africa to form the nucleus of what would become an even more successful piracy enterprise over the next 200 years.

Richard Bishop, pardoned by the crown, lived on to old age in Schull, West Cork. To the end though he was the inveterate "pirate's friend". Even in his 70s he was accused of harbouring a Flemish pirate on the run from crown forces (he got away with that one too).


*Crookhaven - named not after pirate activity but its founder Thomas Crooke (no angel himself though it must be said).
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Tue 08 Dec 2015, 14:55

nordmann wrote:
Yes, she claimed descendancy from the de Marisco (aka Marsh) family who owned Lundy and ran it as a rather lawless enterprise for several generations. The pub on the island is called after them.


The series on BBC 4 examining lawbreakers concluded last night and one of the miscreants it looked at was Thomas Benson, Merchant, Sheriff of Devon & Member of Parliament and wholesale smuggler and, ultimately, insurance fraudster, who leased Lundy Island and used it as his base of operations in the 1740s;

Thomas Benson
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Piracy - what has it ever meant?   Mon 31 Oct 2016, 13:18

The last award for prize money in the US Navy was for an incident on the 6th November 1941, when the light cruiser USS Omaha and the destroyer USS Somers stopped a suspicious vessel which turned out the German merchant ship Odenwald, carrying a cargo of rubber.


Quote :

Odenwald was taken to Puerto Rico. An admiralty court ruled that since the ship was illegally claiming American registration, there was sufficient grounds for confiscation. At that point, some sea lawyers got into the act. Observing that the attempt to scuttle the ship was the equivalent of abandoning her, they claimed that the crews of the two American ships had salvage rights, to the tune of $3 million. This led to a protracted court case, which was not settled until 1947. At that time it was ruled that the members of the boarding party and the prize crew were entitled to $3,000 apiece, while all the other crewmen in Omaha and Somers were entitled to two months’ pay and allowances.
Back to top Go down
 

Piracy - what has it ever meant?

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: Civilisation and Community-