Maritime pirates’ everyday life from an historical perspective Essay

The Week 6 lecture and readings from Cordingly (1996) examine maritime pirates’ everyday life from an historical perspective. This includes aspects such as violence and threats of violence, gambling, sexuality, personal finances, and drinking alcohol. And in previous weeks we have learned other things about who pirates are, where they come from, how they approach piracy, their shifting relationships with governments, their pillaging of merchant ships, and more.

For this post, think creatively and propose THREE or FOUR ADDITIONAL aspects of pirates’ lives that would be valuable to dig into. These should be aspects of pirates’ everyday life that we have NOT studied in class. Do not be concerned about whether primary or secondary sources exist that would enable study of these aspects. This is a hypothetical question in which you should envision yourself as a time-travelling anthropologist—able to be, in person, on a pirate ship doing research. The point here is to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and get yourself and your classmates thinking critically, beyond our readings, about what we haven’tyet learned about historical maritime piracy.

I will offer two examples. 1) What did pirates read and how much access did they have to reading materials? 2) Did pirates exercise to stay in shape? (In addition, of course, to their physical labor trimming sails, working ropes, and pulling anchor.) If so, what kind, how often, and how did exercise impact their health? I’ll refrain from giving you more these than two examples, so as not to reduce any further the number of possible topics!

For each of the three or four aspects that you mention, you also need to write a few sentences about the implications of the information. Why is it important? What might it tell us? How might it be relevant to the study of piracy? Take reading, for example. If pirates had copies of other crews’ articles of governance, or ship’s laws, and were able to read them, then they would be able to adapt and incorporate some of those laws into their own laws and not have to rely solely on word of mouth or develop their own from scratch. This would be very important information to know about how laws emerged on pirate ships. Or perhaps knowing about pirates’ reading would tell us something else about them. Maybe reading was a leisure activity. Perhaps it was something that pirates did to learn more about places that they might navigate to or that they did to learn about navigation itself.

As usual, this post should be between 300 to 400 words. But instead of being one, unitary response to a question (as other posts have been), you will give three or four aspects of everyday pirate life that would be interesting and useful to learn about AND write a few sentences explaining why. PLEASE NUMBER YOUR RESPONSES (1, 2, 3, etc.) so that it is easy to see how many you have included.

You will be graded on three things: 1) writing clear, complete sentences; 2) following directions, and 3) coming up with ideas that have some intellectual value and that have not been covered in the readings (or were mentioned only briefly).

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