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Pirate Code of Conduct

Howard Pyle - Marooned Pirate...for cheatin' at a game o' Crossbones none the less!
 
In order to prevent disputes and to employ a democratic process for ensuring equality and cooperation among the crew, most pirate ships had rigid rules in regard to the division of their spoils and operating procedures. These eventually became known as Articles of Agreement, or Pirate Code…which each crew member was asked to sign or make his mark upon and swear an oath of allegiance. When a rule was breached, the crew was often without pity or remorse in punishing a guilty crew member.

Bartholomew Roberts ( Black Bart ) was one of the most notorious and successful pirates in the Golden Age of piracy, his Shipboard Articles of 1721 prescribed the code of conduct that he and his crew agreed upon as shown below...

Pirate Code of Conduct

Bartholomew Roberts Shipboard Articles 1721


I. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment.
II. Every man to be called fairly in turn, by list, on board of prizes because, they were on these occasions allowed a shift of clothes: but if they defrauded the company to the value of a dollar in plate, jewels, or money, marooning was their punishment. If the robbery was only betwixt one another, they contented themselves with slitting the ears and nose of him that was guilty, and set him on shore, not in an uninhabited place, but somewhere, where he was sure to encounter hardships.
III. No person to game at cards or dice for money (especially the game o' Crossbones matey!).
IV. The lights and candles to be put out at eight o'clock at night: if any of the crew, after that hour still remained inclined for drinking, they were to do it on the open deck.
V. To keep their peace, pistols, and cutlass clean and fit for service.
VI. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man were to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to sea, disguised, he was to suffer death.
VII. To desert their ship or quarters in battle, was punished with death or marooning.
VIII. No striking one another on board, but every man's quarrels to be ended on shore, at sword and pistol.
IX. No man to talk of breaking up their way of living, till each had shared £1,000. If in order to this, any man should lose a limb, or become a cripple in their service, he was to have 800 dollars, out of the public stock, and for lesser hurts, proportionately.
X. The captain and quartermaster to receive two shares of prize: the master, boatswain, and gunner, one share and a half, and other officers one and a quarter.
XI. The musicians to have rest on the Sabbath Day, only by night, but the other six days and nights, not without special favour.

Pirates of the Caribbean - Pirata Codex
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