Pirates in Period - Was [Ansteorra] Apology from Nasir al-Fayyid

Eadric Anstapa eadric at scabrewer.com
Thu Sep 8 20:57:01 PDT 2005

Stefan li Rous wrote:

> And the English and the  Spanish had rather different opinions of Sir 
> Francis Drake. To one, a  hero. To the other, an evil pirate.

I think the difference, and the reason some people have problems with 
"pirates", and no problem with Sir Francis Drake,  is that Sir Francis 
Drake didn't go around proclaiming himself as a "pirate".  He certainly 
had a rapacious appetite for treasure, particularly  Spanish treasure, 
but he would have described himself as a Navigator, a Sea Captain, a 
hero in the fight against the Armada, and at times as a Privateer of the 
Queen of England. 

Never would you call yourself a pirate in front of law abiding citizenry 
for piracy was a criminal act, but privateering was not only legal, it 
was commissioned by the government.  The actions they carried out may 
have been virtually the same but the consequences faced by a pirate in 
court (courts of law or courts of nobles) were very different than those 
of a privateer. 

Even Gráinne O'Malley who was no doubt one of the greatest pirates 
(individuals) of the late SCA period (male or female) and never had the 
legitimacy of being a privateer was described by Lord Deputy Sir Henry 
Sidney, when she appeared before him in 1576 in Galway,  as a 'most 
famous feminine sea captain' and 'a notorious woman in all the coasts of 
Ireland'.  A rose by any other name does not smell half as sweet. 

Having confessed pirates around would be considered unseemly, but having 
notorious sea captains and privateers around might be considered 
somewhat daring.

// <mailto:eadric at scabrewer.com>

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