Sørøveriets indbildte friheder. Taler og tunger på sørøverskibets dæk ca. 1680.


  • Johan Heinsen Adjunkt Institut for Kultur og Globale Studier Aalborg Universitet


sørøveri, pirateri, rejseberetninger, maritim historie, mikrohistorie


Pretended Liberties: Speeches and speakers on the decks of the pirate ship, c. 1680 In 1680-81 a group of English pirates cruised along the South American East Coast. This article uses the extensive voyage narratives produced by various crew members to examine the speech community of the pirate ship. What did the pirates talk about? Part of the answer is something we might label “politics.” By way of a narrative account the article demonstrates the dynamics of the disagreements of the deck. Early modern ships were worlds of difference, but on pirate ships no such difference was ever stable. The reason for this is that the common hands, usually rendered silent in accounts of voyages, took part in the process of constructing the meaning of the pirate community; they talked of the world around them; they talked of legends and pursued them; and if the leaders they appointed in the pursuit displeased them, they talked about them. Hence, where on regular ships political language was expected to be reserved for specific actors (captains, officers), on pirate ships the hands proved to have tongues for themselves; they claimed equalities and liberties and through such claiming made such constructs real. The many narratives of the voyage revolve around this paradoxical speech of those who were considered unable to speak as it was not their station to do so.They go to great length to explain such anarchic openings away, to bracket the ideas uttered on the deck, and to trace the speech of the people back to its root in blind desires. In this way the sources clearly speak to a reader to whom such a popular speaking subject was scandalous. However, combined they leave a lasting impression of the dynamics of pirate communities: pirate communities had no clear foundations outside of what its speakers could imagine; on the deck any man talked.





Heinsen, J. (2014). Sørøveriets indbildte friheder. Taler og tunger på sørøverskibets dæk ca. 1680. Temp - Tidsskrift for Historie, 5(9), 43–67. Hentet fra https://tidsskrift.dk/temp/article/view/22202