Piracy is steeped in romantic and adventure myths. Thanks to books and films, an interesting image of a person trying to be happy has formed in the minds of many people. However, many stereotypes about pirates regarding lifestyle and appearance are completely fictional.
Piracy is a dangerous criminal profession
Piracy is fanned by numerous legends, myths and stereotypes. Most often, at the mention of a sea robber, thoughts jump to images created by directors and writers. Funny Captain Jack Sparrow, Silver with a wooden leg, bearded Edward Teach and other heroes amuse someone, scare someone, disgust someone. However, few people remain indifferent to them.
But the fictional screen / literary pirate life is made up of numerous stereotypes. One of the most common: pirates are romantic natures and unrecognized geniuses. This myth is dispelled by numerous historical documents proving two things.
First: either very poor people or very greedy people agreed to piracy. The main motive was personal enrichment and the opportunity to earn good money. The second feature: pirates became rich very rarely. As a rule, they did not go in search of treasures, but engaged in prosaic robbery, attacking merchant ships. If a pirate was caught in the act, he was threatened with the gallows. When arrested on the shore - guaranteed hard labor or the same rope.
The second stereotype concerns courts. The screens most often show huge pirate ships with many sails and a frightening black flag with a skull and bones. Real pirates have never used a large transport for "work", because it is characterized by poor maneuverability. The robbers' ships were small, nimble, and had excellent sailing performance.
The third stereotype relates to the field of activity of pirates. It is believed that people who have embarked on this path are distinguished by courage and crazy courage, therefore they decisively attack every oncoming ship indiscriminately. However, the robbers were looking exclusively for profit, so merchant ships were their main target. The pirates have always tried to avoid warships.
Stereotypes about pirate appearance
Many cinematic pirates sport layered outfits with all sorts of accessories. In reality, this was practically not the case. The pirate had to constantly do some kind of work on the ship, so comfortable and comfortable suits that did not hinder movement were the priority.
The next stereotype concerns physical attractiveness: a wooden prosthesis for a leg and a hook for an arm. The first image is more of a myth. As a rule, if an urgent amputation of a leg was required, the cook (cook) performed it on the ship. This operation most often ended in death (from infection or profuse bleeding), rather than ordering a prosthesis. But the stereotype about the hook is a reality. Moreover, only pirates of the highest rank could afford such a functional and convenient thing for combat.
One of the main companions of pirates, thanks to the "Treasure Island", is the talking parrot. However, this stereotype is just a literary invention. Pirates were practical people, so they did not keep any animals and birds on the ships. First, the living creatures need to be fed and watered with something. Secondly, they can interfere with work in every possible way. Thirdly, they need to be looked after and cleaned up.
So what is the truth?
Some established stereotypes are true. For example, the fact that pirates wore a blindfold over one of the eyes. But this accessory was not at all used to close a wound or an empty eye socket. Thanks to the darkness to which one eye became accustomed, the pirate could easily engage in unexpected combat both in daylight and in a dark hold.
Pirates often grew long beards. This was due not so much to the style as to the inability to put oneself in order. The stereotype about the uncleanliness of the robbers is also true. Swimming in the sea / ocean was often unsafe and there were practically no bathrooms on pirate ships.
Drinking stereotypes are also true in their own way. Pirates drank for several reasons: to keep warm before going to bed, get rid of physical pain after a battle, forget about seasickness, while celebrating victory. Some had to drink to maintain morale, as opponents rarely surrendered without a fight.