Synopses & Reviews
Despite what countless buccaneering books and movies may suggest, never has there been a universal Pirate Code to bind the merry (and mean) marauders of seafaring history. In fact there have been many codes,” and drawing out their common elements into a single concept is no easy task. The Pirate Code is the first book to bring together thousands of years of pirating traditions in a clear and authoritative manner.
Chronicling the rules and realities of pirates shipboard life through the ages, Brenda Ralph Lewis explores what honor among thieves” has really meantwhether for the pirates of the ancient Aegean, the seventeenth-century Brethren of the Coast who inspired the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or modern-day pirates on the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Lavishly illustrated and engagingly written, this book is a must for all serious devotees of pirate lore.
If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be maroond or shot.”
Captain John Philips Articles, 1724
With features on particular pirates such as Blackbeard and William Kidd, the three different pirate codes used in the Caribbean during the 17th and 18th centuries, and how the pirate code evolved into todays merchant shipping contracts, The Pirate Code illuminates the broader historical and geographical scope of piracy and provides a fascinating introduction to the reality of life on board a buccaneer ship. The book explores the reality of honor among thieves in the context of piracy throughout history, from the pirates of the ancient world, right up to the pirates of todays cargo ships or luxury yachts in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, where organized crime gangs enforce a similar form of sworn loyalty and omerta. The Pirate Code also examines the actions and pirate ethics of less famous pirates and their eras, such as the Japanese Wokou pirates of the 13th-16th centuries and Zheng Yi and his wifes pirate alliance in 19th century China.
About the Author
Brenda Ralph Lewis has written more than 100 books and hundreds of magazine articles, as well as radio and television documentaries, on subjects including history (both ancient and modern), myth and legend, animal and insect life, archaeology and genealogy. She lives in Buckinghamshire, England.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Pirates in Ancient Greece and Rome
From the earliest documented evidence of pirates in the Aegean in the 13th century BC to Thracian pirates in Ancient Greece. In 75BC Julius Caesar was captured by pirates in the Aegean: when they demanded a ransom of 20 pieces of gold, he insisted that they ask for 50. He later had them crucified. Pompey was made responsible for suppressing piracy, and eventually brought many to justice.
Chapter Two: Vikings, Arabs: Pirates in the Dark Ages
From the Viking raids on the British Isles and France to Irish attacks on Britain to Arab raids on the eastern Mediterranean. How the pirates were organized and how they were eventually defeated.
Chapter Three: Piracy in the Far East
Wokou, Japanese pirates, raided Korean and Chinese merchant ships. Peaking in the early 1500s, by the end of the century a combination of factors, including official trade policies and better policing, led to the decline of Wokou.
Chapter Four: Honour Among Thieves
Introduction to the golden age of piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries. What life was like for a pirate crew, and why a code was needed. Few pirate articles have survived, because pirates on the verge of capture or surrender usually burned their articles or threw them overboard, to prevent the papers being used against them at trial.
Chapter Five: Bartholomew Roberts and Captain John Philips Articles
The two most famous pirate codes are examined in detail. How did they come about and were they more a set of guidelines? How these codes eventually evolved into the modern merchant shipping contract.
Chapter Six: Tales from the Caribbean
Some of the most famous pirates and their campaigns looking at how the Code was intepreted and often broken in the violent and dangerous world of the pirate ship.
Chapter Seven: The Brethren of the Coast
Brethren of the Coast were a loose coalition of pirates and privateers active in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. They were a syndicate of captains with a written code of conduct. Among famous Brethren members was Henry Morgan. The Code in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is most closely related to the code of the Brethren.
Chapter Eight: Pirates Today
Its estimated that up to $18 billion are lost each year due to piracy. Current pirate hotspots are in the Horn of Africa, South America, the South China Sea and between Malaysia and Sumatra. More than 200 pirate attacks were reported in 2006. This chapter looks at the links between piracy and organized crime (Mafia, Yakuza etc) and the complex system of loyalties, oaths and bloody reprisals that govern this shady world. Index