Were all pirates as bad as they have been portrayed in the Pirates of the Caribbean?

You mean the Disney ride right? Not all pirates as bad as they have been portrayed in the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Some of them were worse, and they didn’t sing so well, either.

Pirates gained a naughty reputation because, in essence, they were pretty naughty. Money was the overwhelming motivator in this line of work; one did what one had to do to obtain it.

Having said that, not all pirates were complete lawless rogues. Many ships were governed by a strict code of conduct, which all aboard were obligated to follow, oftentimes formulated by the crew themselves.

For example, here’s “The Articles on Board the Revenge,” a ship under Captain John Phillips in the 18th century, drafted by the crew:

Every Man shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have one full Share and a half in all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner shall have one Share and quarter.

If any Man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be marroon’d, with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm, and Shot.

If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marroon’d or shot.

If at any Time we should meet another Marroner that Man that shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.

That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses’s Law (that is, 40 Stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.

That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoak Tobacco in the Hold, without a Cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.

That Man that shall not kep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.

If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement, shall have 400 Pieces of Eight; if a Limb, 800.

If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

Leave a Comment