10 reasons why pirates are infinitely cooler than ninjas
One of my co-workers was convinced that ninjas are far superior to pirates. He is wrong.
- Pirate ships were surprisingly diplomatic. Pirate laws and Codes of Conduct varied from ship to ship and each pirate was fully informed of what was expected of him when he joined the crew. Codes of Conduct outlined what was expected of each crew member and clearly defined the consequences of code violations. These codes and rules were quite reasonable and were designed to protect the ship and to preserve order.
- It was up to the crew which ships were attacked and many decisions were the result of a popular vote. It was up to the captain to keep his crew happy with a steady source of income. Crews which felt their captain did not have their best interest in mind could vote to mutiny.
- Pirates had a form of social security and injury compensation. For example, if a man lost an eye while serving his ship he would receive compensation for that injury. Often pirates injured in the line of duty were allowed to continue serving on the ship, but were reassigned to duties they could perform.
- Pirate loot acquired from ships was divided equally among the crew members on a sliding scale. Pieces of Eight were cut to make change, and objects acquired that were in any way feasible to be chopped up and divided were, equally among the crew. Each pirate knew his portion going in and was compensated fairly for his efforts. Life as a pirate was often far more fair and egalitarian, than life for a mere sailor at sea for his country.
- Pirates have way better accessories than ninjas. Jack Rackham also known as Calico Jack, was renowned for his highly developed sense of style. He was always well-dressed and dapper. He also allowed two women to serve on his ship. Anne Bonny and Mary Read who had reputations for being particularly bold and brazen and quite unladylike. While in battle, they wore men's clothing and swore like the best of sailors.
- Ninja stars and smoke bombs are kind of cool, but pirate weaponry was insanely innovative and often was ingeniously improvised. Often guns were acquired from captured ships, and it was virtually impossible to have the necessary artillery and ammunition specific to each gun on board at all times. So, pirates developed ingenious kinds of shot to load in cannons as a means of disabling a targeted ship. The goal was not to sink a ship attacked, but rather to cripple it. Breaking masts, shredding sails, and destroying rigging were the primary objectives. Bar shot and chain shot were particularly effective and quite cleverly designed.
- Pirates basically invented psychological warfare and raised their ship specific flags to intimidate, terrify, and to encourage speedy surrenders. Common themes on pirate flags were skulls, hourglasses (you've run out of time), skeletons, and cutlasses which served to inspire feelings of terror and panic on the targeted ship. These intimidation tactics often were remarkably effective and kept pirate crews from having to go into hand to hand combat every time a ship was attacked.
- Pirates were familiar using a variety of hand to hand combat weapons including cutlasses, broadswords, knives, daggers, scabbards, muskets, muzzleloaders, and often tools used on the ship for untangling rigging could become a nasty improvised weapon in the right hands. It may not have been pretty, but they sure were handy with many of kinds of weaponry.
- Piracy has existed pretty much as long as people have been sailing the seas. In ancient Greece, pirates were known to cruise around the Mediterranean Sea looking for vessels to attack and opportunistically raid. There are reports of piracy in ancient China and in many areas of the Pacific. It would seem that man's ability to sail the sea, to ship goods, and to trade with other nations often goes hand in hand with opportunistic piracy.
- Pirates are bold and brazen. They do not rely on sneakiness and clandestine activities to attack. They show up, intimidate, and battle with whatever weaponry is at hand. They faced certain death if captured and were romanced by a life at sea and the promise of wealth. Pirates were greedy, but often treated captives fairly and operated under a code of conduct which mandated common courtesies.
Of course this is quite a silly discussion, and while I'm neither a pirate nor ninja expert I do find pirate folklore and history particularly fascinating. I am continually amazed at the degree of social organization found on pirate ships and the diplomatic structure of those societies. The Golden Age of Piracy is a remarkable period of history. It began as an effort to curtail Spanish acquistion of wealth from South America, and captains and crews served as mercenaries for nations, particularly Britain, with the objective to capture and seize material goods for their flag. Then a funny thing happened, and these mercenaries decided rather than to work hard and risk life for little pay, they would logically rather just work hard and risk their lives for big paydays in an organized and egalitarian society. Even if you're a die hard ninja aficionado, I hope that the slight amount of information I've offered helps raise pirates in relative coolness at least just a little bit.