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Ship Ahoy! It be Pirates me hearty!

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posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:15 AM
Since man first sat on a piece of bark and floated on the water Piracy has been a way of life, in fact could probably vie with another as the oldest proffesion.

Down through the ages piracy has been at once a scourge to some, a way of life to others, an adventure, a last resort and an epedemic that still threatens sea borne trade in todays modern world. Piracy costs billions of dollars each year worldwide, it never has been just a problem that surfaced during some romantacized era in the Carribean or the Spanish main.
I'll outline some of the history of piracy first starting in ancient times then i'll touch on some of my favorite pirate era's.

Wikipedia, for a good broad summary, though not completely accurate.

The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean in the 13th century BC.

I would expect that piracy would reach further back in time than this, anywhere that water borne trade was being carried out surely would have been open to piracy.
If a man see's room for profit with little risk he will take it, or if he is forced by desperation because of social or economic impacts, he will do what he needs to do to survive.
Sumer and Mesopotamia were carrying out trade on the water as far back as 3000bc, both on the river systems of the Tigris and the Euphrates as well as sea and ocean going trade in the Persian gulf and possibly colonization.
Back then that area was marshes and channels feeding off the river systems, perfect ambush and hideouts for anyone interested in piracy.


By 4500 BCE a people called Ubaidians by archaeologists were living in towns in southern Mesopotamia, near where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers emptied into the Persian Gulf. The Ubaidians drained marshes. They grew wheat and barley and irrigated their crops by digging ditches to river waters. They kept farm animals. Some of them manufactured pottery. They did weaving, leather or metal work, and some were involved in trade with other societies.

By 3800 BCE the Sumerians had supplanted the Ubaidians and Semites in southern Mesopotamia. They built better canals for irrigating crops and for transporting crops by boat to village centers.

Ok, so i suggest that piracy would have had its beginnings around 4000bc at least, a good 2000yrs before the wikipedia article states.
The first Pirates i believe would have been around where the scholars suggest that the cradle of civilization began, that would make sense.

Then we have the Sea Peoples.

The Sea Peoples is the term used for a confederacy of seafaring raiders who sailed into the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty, and especially during Year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty.[

The origins of the Sea peoples is still debated but there is little doubt that they were the scourge of shipping and trade at that period in time.

And my favorite Pirate's, the Illyrians, a group who harrassed and harangued the mighty Roman Empire.

The Illyrians formed several kingdoms in the central Balkans, and the first known Illyrian king was Bardyllis. Illyrian kingdoms were often at war with ancient Macedonia, and the Illyrian pirates were also a significant danger to neighbouring peoples.

Under Queen Teuta, Illyrians attacked Roman merchant vessels plying the Adriatic Sea and gave Rome an excuse to invade the Balkans.
In the Illyrian Wars of 229 BC and 219 BC, Rome overran the Illyrian settlements in the Neretva river valley and suppressed the piracy that had made the Adriatic unsafe.

Cilician Pirates, kidnapped Julius Caesar and held him for ransom.
they never taught me that in History classes.

The Cilician pirates dominated the Mediterranean Sea from the 2nd century BC up until their speedy suppression by Pompey (67-66 BC). Although there were notorious pirate strongholds in Cilicia, Cilician had long been a term for pirates, who came from all parts of the ancient world - driven by the lure of adventure or by desperation.

Pirates seized control of the vessel in 75 BC, kidnapped Caesar, and held him for ransom. Caesar was insulted at the ransom demand, which was insultingly low, and promised to crucify the pirates after he was free. At his insistence, the pirates raised the ransom demand to a level in accordance with his station: his friends quickly raised the sum. After his freedom was purchased, he assembled a small army, which captured the pirates and crucified them.

Polynesian pirates, an extremely skillful and competant sea going race who may have even been the first pirates of the sea to reach the America's?

Between 300 and 1200 AD Polynesians in canoes spread throughout the Polynesian Triangle going at least as far as Easter Island, New Zealand and Hawaii; and perhaps on to the Americas. The kumara (sweet potato), a plant native to the Americas, was widespread in Polynesia when Europeans first reached the Pacific. Kumara has been radiocarbon-dated in the Cook Islands to 1000 AD, and current thinking is that it was brought to central Polynesia circa 700 AD and spread across Polynesia from there, possibly by Polynesians who had traveled to South America and back

Pirates have sailed our rivers, sea's, lakes and oceans since it became profitable to do so.
There have been pirates from all races and geographical locality's and ive only scratched the surface so far, weve not even reached the classical period.
I'll continue to add to this if there is enough interest. My main reason for this thread was the idea that a lot of people seem to have, thanks to the movies, of this romantic notion that pirates and piracy belong to one specific time in our history when nothing could be further from the truth.

There are legends and myth's, of daring deeds and huge risks, sacrifice and betrayal, adventure and loss reaching back to the dawn of time that surpass anything that Hollywood could possibly imagine.

And i'll bring you some of those legends, myth's and true story's.


[edit on 20/11/07 by mojo4sale]

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:53 AM
Arrrrr matey! Shiver me timbers...

I didn't know about Julius Caesar being held by pirates. That's pretty funny. Too bad they got caught.

Pirating is indeed one of the oldest professions. Since there have been ships, there have been pirates. When we have space ships, there will be space pirates. Yarrrr!

Even in this day and age where technology is so prevalent, pirates still exist. They aren't what they used to be though. They now use wimpy little boats instead of big intimidating ships. There's also a serious lack of beards, peg legs, and parrots. Arrrrrgh!

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 11:15 AM
Excellent post Mojo. A star for you, and a flag! (I give you a jolly roger, as it were.

Native Americans also had a form of river pirates, notably along the Mississippi River. It is good that people should see this as a way of redistributing wealth that is old and widespread.

I too have no doubt that in coming years there will be unlucky asteroid miners "waylayed" returning to near Earth orbit to sell their ore. It has always been the way of humans to take what belongs to others by force.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 11:19 AM
Well thank you Mojo, for an enlightening look into the age old occupation of seagoing banditry! As an Irishman, I have to throw Grace O"Malley out there.

Wiki- Grace O"Malley
Ya gotta admire Irish women!

Thanks Mojo!

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 11:38 AM

I've always been a big fan of pirates but think you may be wrong footing yourself when suggesting it began in the Persian gulf area

theres plenty of written reports going back to 3000bce and none of them mention piracy
theres also lists of laws and punishments for transgressing them but again no mention of piracy
and really if you think about it, then it wouldn't make much sense for them to exist at that time.
Any vessel carrying a valuable cargo has to have somewhere to offload it
it was impossible to sell stolen goods in mesopotamia because of the trade network
secondly banditry existed from a very early period but why would Bandits need a boat
the vast majority of goods didn't miraculously appear at the port and then get loaded onto a ship
it was taken there from its source by land based caravan

much easier to steal things if you know the route they take from a to b overland than sitting in a ship just off the coast with your fingers crossed for good luck

still I love Piracy stories and I applaud your post
blackbeard (Edward Teach) was always my favourite, some of the reasons are because he didn't bother with the normal politics which were involved in the change from Privateer to Pirate and didn't have respect for anyone but those who he was in league with.

but the main reason is this

Teach was reportedly shot five times and stabbed more than twenty times before he died and was decapitated
how cool is that

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 03:32 PM

Originally posted by kerkinana walsky
..why would Bandits need a boat the vast majority of goods didn't miraculously appear at the port and then get loaded onto a ship it was taken there from its source by land based caravan

Why do you think they called camels "ships of the desert"?

It's not because of all the Arab seamen.

[edit on 11/20/2007 by mythatsabigprobe]

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 04:08 PM

Originally posted by mythatsabigprobe

Originally posted by kerkinana walsky
..why would Bandits need a boat the vast majority of goods didn't miraculously appear at the port and then get loaded onto a ship it was taken there from its source by land based caravan

Why do you think they called camels "ships of the desert"?

It's not because of all the Arab seamen.

[edit on 11/20/2007 by mythatsabigprobe]

I hate 1 line posts, but I'll do one anyway. That's the funniest friggin pic I've seen all day! Thanks for the chuckle, MyThats!

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 04:18 PM
reply to post by mojo4sale

Excellent post and research!

Piracy has always been around. It's interesting to note that Polynesian pirates were known in the local tongue as orang laut which basically translates to 'Sea People'.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 04:33 PM
Thanks Cuhail, it seems another Irish legend had his own difficulty with pirates, who it should also be remembered were heavily involved in the Slave trade. It wasn't just about raiding merchants for their cargoes.

Saint Patrick

When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family.

KW, sure there's no evidence of piracy that ive been able to find from Sumer in that period, but the fact that water borne trade in goods was taking place and the fact that at that time they were mostly city states suggests to me that there was the potential for piracy to have occured. Some of those city states were not always on the best of terms were they?
Lets also not forget that there was a slave trade then as well, what easier way to transport your slaves than on the water rather than crossing land.
Just my hypothesis though and ive been known to be wrong before. (just the once i think)
Thanks for the post on Edward Teach probably one of the best known of the romantic era pirates.

Mythatsabigprobe, your right, i was discussing maritime piracy but it wasnt just confined to the sea and rivers. Pirates on land tended to be regarded more as raiders and mercenary's but operated with much the same strategy as there sea going cousins.

History of Slavery

Slavery in the ancient cultures was known to occur civilizations as old as Sumer, and found in every such civilization, including Ancient Egypt, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient Greece, Rome and parts of its empire, and the Islamic Caliphate.

Another of my favorite Pirate era's.

The Barbary Pirates , perhaps some of the most successful pirates in history.

The Barbary pirates, also sometimes called Ottoman corsairs, were pirates and privateers that operated from north Africa (the "Barbary coast"). They operated out of Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, Salé and ports in Morocco, preying on Christian and non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea from the time of the Crusades until the early 19th century. Their stronghold was along the stretch of northern Africa known as the Barbary Coast (a medieval term for the Maghreb after its Berber inhabitants), although their predation was said to extend throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa's Atlantic seaboard, and into the North Atlantic, purportedly as far north as Iceland. As well as preying on shipping, raids called Razzias were often made on European coastal towns for capturing white Christian slaves. The pirates were responsible for capturing large numbers of slaves from Europe, who were sold in slave markets in places such as Algeria and Morocco.

The most famous of these being "Barbarossa", the Redbeard brothers.

Oruc Reis (Redbeard)

Aruj or Oruc Reis (Turkish: Oruç Reis) (c. 1474 – 1518) was a Turkish privateer and Ottoman Bey (Governor) of Algiers and Beylerbey (Chief Governor) of the West Mediterranean. He was born on the island of Midilli (Lesbos) in today's Greece and was killed in a battle with the Spaniards in Algeria. He became known as Baba Aruj or Baba Oruç (Father Aruj) when he transported large numbers of Mudejar refugees from Spain to North Africa; in the Christian countries of the Mediterranean he was known as Barbarossa, which meant Redbeard in Italian.

And his brother.

Hayreddin Barbarossa.

was a Turkish privateer and Ottoman admiral who dominated the Mediterranean for decades. He was born on the island of Midilli (Lesbos in today's Greece) and died in Istanbul.
His original name was Yakupoğlu Hızır (Hızır son of Yakup). Hayreddin or Khair ad-Din, which literally means "Goodness of the Faith", was an honorary name given to him by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. He became known as Barbarossa (Redbeard) in Europe, a name he inherited from his older brother Baba Oruç (Father Aruj) after Oruç was killed in a battle with the Spanish in Algeria. Coincidentally, this name sounded like "Barbarossa" (Redbeard) to the Europeans, and he did have a red beard.

Thats interesting about the Native Americans and piracy on the Missisippi John, i'll see if i cant find some more info on that, thanks.

I tend to agree with everyone else as well, once weve spread out amongst the stars it will just open up more opportunity's for piracy.
Instead of hiding in the maze of Indonesian isles or the Carribean islands those space pirates will have hideouts on asteroids and moonlets, just waiting to ambush the next vessel. History does have a tendency to repeat itself doesnt it.


posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 04:54 PM

Originally posted by mojo4sale
once weve spread out amongst the stars it will just open up more opportunity's for piracy.
Instead of hiding in the maze of Indonesian isles or the Carribean islands those space pirates will have hideouts on asteroids and moonlets, just waiting to ambush the next vessel. History does have a tendency to repeat itself doesnt it.


okay what movies have you been watching lately ?

Did you ever play "Elite"

[edit on 20-11-2007 by kerkinana walsky]

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 05:08 PM
reply to post by kerkinana walsky

None, really!!

I may have read a couple of space opera sci fi novels though.

Nothing by sitchin or hancock though.


posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:05 PM
I've always wanted to see a pirate ship (like the galleons of old) filled with NINJAS instead of pirates. I think they could do all kinds of insane backflips from the masts/rigging and totally just get all acrobatic and kick some serious ass.

As a kid we either had a choice in "make believe play" .... pirates or ninjas... One day my buddy said to me (like 15 years ago LOL), "hey lets play ninjas on a pirate ship!!"

I want to see that Anime. I want to make that anime. Pirate ninjas, ninja pirates. MMMM

[edit on 20-11-2007 by MystikMushroom]

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:19 PM
Ninja Pirates! lmao

and what about todays pirates? Right now there are tons of pirates on the net trying to grab your personal info and charge stuff under your name. Either that or they are downloading copyrighted material and trying to make a quick buck on the side. My point is, pirating has never died its always been around in one way or another.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 11:39 PM
Dude, acrobatic martial artists on board a clipper-ship would be insane to watch. Just imagine it. . . NINJA-PIRATES! on a "revenge" mission!

posted on Nov, 21 2007 @ 06:31 AM
Look i am not going to sit here and respond to anything about pirates though i dig the hell out of pirate games (and using cheats LMAO) but what i am going to say, and NO ONE but NO ONE is going to stop me is that this has to be one of the BEST and well initiated threads (did that sound right??), containing plenty of information, i have seen in a while in the forums i have visited. Some new threads have 3 lines or so...

Anyways, pirates, yes, errrrr...... i like 'em arrrr... hehehe

posted on Nov, 21 2007 @ 12:04 PM
reply to post by MystikMushroom

You asked for Ninja pirates and so.......( well more like samurai pirates but close enough.

Wokou, Japanese Pirates

Wōkòu or Japanese pirates (Chinese character: 倭寇; Chinese pronunciation: wōkòu; Japanese pronunciation: wakō; Korean pronunciation: 왜구 waegu) were pirates who raided the coastlines of China and Korea from the thirteenth century onwards. Originally, the Wokou were mainly soldiers, ronin, merchants and smugglers from Japan, but became predominantly from China two centuries later.

The first raid by Wokou on record occurred in the summer of 1223, on the south coast of Goryeo. The history book Goryeosa states that "Japanese (pirates) attacked Gumju". Two more minor attacks are recorded for 1226, and continued intermittently for the next four decades.

The Wokou resumed their activities in earnest in 1350, driven by chaotic conditions and the lack of a strong authority in Japan. For the next half-century, sailing principally from Iki and Tsushima, they engulfed the southern half of Goryeo. The worst period was the decade between 1376 and 1385, when no fewer than 174 instances of pirate raids were recorded in Korea. Some involved bands of as many as three thousand penetrating deep into the Korean interior. The raiders repeatedly looted the Korean capital Gaeseong, and on occasion reached as far north as the mouth of the Taedong River and the general area of Pyongyang. They looted grain stores and took people away for slavery and ransom. The conditions caused by the Wokou greatly contributed to the downfall of the Goryeo Dynasty in 1392. General Yi Seonggye, founder of the Joseon Dynasty, rose to prominence due to his successes against the Wokou.

The Wokou was made up of Ronin, Samurai who did not have a master.

A ronin (浪人, rōnin?) was a masterless samurai during the feudal period (1185–1868) of Japan. A samurai became masterless from the ruin or fall of his master (as in the case of death in a war), or after the loss of his master's favor or privilege.


posted on Nov, 22 2007 @ 10:40 AM
Black Sam Bellamy, apart from being famous for being a "gentleman pirate" (if thats not an oxymoron i dont know what is!), he is also famous for having in his crew one of the youngest pirates ever known. John King, aged between 8 and 11 years old. Remains identified as boy pirate.

Though his career as a pirate captain lasted less than a year, Bellamy and his crew captured more than 50 ships before his death at age 29. Called "Black Sam" because he eschewed the fashionable powdered wig in favor of tying back his long black hair with a simple band, Bellamy became known for his mercy and generosity toward those he captured on his raids. This reputation gained him the second nickname of the "Prince of Pirates," and his crew called themselves "Robin Hood's Band."

He soon left Cape Cod to support Hallett by salvaging treasure from ships sunk off the coast of Florida, accompanied by his friend and financier Paul Williams. The treasure hunters apparently met with little success, as they soon turned to piracy in the crew of pirate captain Benjamin Hornigold, who commanded the Mary Anne (or Marianne) with his fellow pirate captain Edward "Blackbeard" Teach.

However, Bellamy's greatest capture was to come in the spring of 1717, when he and his crew chased down and boarded the Whydah Gally. The Whydah, a 300-ton slave ship, had just finished the second leg of the Atlantic slave trade and was loaded with a fortune in gold and precious trade goods. True to his reputation for generosity, Bellamy gave the Sultana to the captain of the captured Whydah, and, outfitting his new flagship as a 28-gun raiding vessel, set sail northwards along the eastern coast of New England.

The Whydah Gally

The Whydah Gally (variously written as "Whidah" or "Whidaw"[1]) was the flagship of the pirate "Black Sam" Bellamy. The ship sank in a storm off Cape Cod on April 26, 1717, taking Bellamy and the majority of his crew with it.

posted on Nov, 22 2007 @ 12:21 PM

The first historical records about piracy were found on clay tablets written by the Babylonians and Egyptians. The first written law against piracy was in 1948 BC

One of the oldest descriptions of piracy comes from 1350 BC, the time of Pharaoh Akhenaten. During this era, there was as yet no name for those who committed such acts. Plutarch, the Greek historian, gave the first definition of piracy - an illegal attack on a ship or coastal city. The actual term 'pirate' (or peirato) was first used by a Roman historian named Polybius around 140 BC. The definition that most closely resembles the modern one was finally decided in the 18th Century.

Piracy has been around since the first person decided to send goods by ship. Some of the earliest pirates were Phoenicians who sailed the Mediterranean from about 2000 BC onward. A clay tablet dated to approximately 1350 BC mentioned piracy. In approximately 340 AD a man named Cleomis was honoured by Athens for ransoming some people who were captured by pirates. Archaeologists have even excavated a city in Greece called Aerial, which they think was a haven for pirates.

The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean in the 13th century BC. In Classical Antiquity, the Tyrrhenians Greek influence and remained a haven for Thracian pirates. By the 1st century BC, there were pirate states along the Anatolian coast, threatening the commerce of the Roman Empire.
now this is an informative post or my name isn't Frownin' Doris Morgan

posted on Nov, 22 2007 @ 03:14 PM
This thread is a diamond in a sea of total #! Nothing to debunk here, keeps all the retards and flamers out, and to top it of its an interesting topic which you seem to keep updating. By far one of the best threads I've read on here ever. Keep it up, and Kudo!


posted on Nov, 22 2007 @ 08:01 PM
Thanks KW (do you mind if i call you Doris), i kid you not but my pirate name is Pants-Down Davy, you dont know how apt that is.
Cool site.
Thanks also for the post, the Phoenicians with their maritime expertise would have owned just about anyone in that period. I'd be willing to concede that they may have been the first to engage in piracy.

@ jmcivor, thanks for the props.

Here are our first famous German pirate's, Magister Wigbold, an extremely mysterious character. Perfect for a conspiracy site.
And Klaus Stortebeker

Magister Wigbold (1365-1402), also called “Master of the Seven Arts”, was a German pirate who belonged to the famous Likedeeler pirates of Klaus Störtebeker. Wighold was one of the most noted Likedeeler, along with Gödeke Michels and Störtebeker. The nickname Wigbold comes from wig (strife) and bold (courageous, bold). His real name is unknown.

The most famous legend of Störtebeker is about the execution itself. It is said that Störtebeker asked the mayor of Hamburg to release as many of his companions as he could walk past after being beheaded. The rather riskless request was granted. After he was beheaded, Störtebeker's body allegedly got up and walked past twelve of Störtebeker's companions before the body was tripped by the executioner. The twelve men, however, were executed along with all of the others.

Now thats surely a myth.


The successors of the Victual Brothers gave themselves the name Likedeelers, which means to share in equal parts, which they even did with the poor population along the coast. They expanded their field of activities into the North Sea and along the Atlantic coastline, raiding Brabant, France and as striking as far south as Spain.
Their most famous leader was Captain Störtebeker. He got his name allegedly because he could swallow four litres of beer without taking the beaker from his mouth.

Klaus Stoertebecker, a man after my own heart.


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