Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable goods. Those who conduct acts of piracy are called pirates, while the dedicated ships that pirates use are called pirate ships. While the term can include acts committed in the air, on land (especially across national borders or in connection with taking over and robbing a car or train), or in other major bodies of water or on a shore, in cyberspace, as well as the fictional possibility of space piracy, it generally refers to maritime piracy.
- PIRACY, n. Commerce without its folly-swaddles, just as God made it.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.
- Steve Jobs, at a retreat in September 1982, as quoted in John Sculley and John A. Byrne, Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple – A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future (1987), p. 157
- Variant: Why join the Navy . . . if you can be a pirate?
- As quoted or paraphrased in Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneur's Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own (2009) by Robert Tuchman, p. 18
- Our prize is won, our chase is o’er,
Turn the vessel to the shore.
Place yon rock, so that the wind,
Like a prisoner, howl behind ;
Which is darkest—wave, or cloud ?
One a grave, and one a shroud.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1832 (1831), 'The Pirate’s Song off the Tiger Island'
- When a pirate grows rich enough, they make him a prince.
- George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings, Davos (I)
- Merchant and pirate were for a long period one and the same person. Even today mercantile morality is really nothing but a refinement of piratical morality.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, as quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), p. 997
- Inge: Rediker says history has conveniently left out that there were many black pirates. His research of 15 pirate ships shows almost one-third of the pirates were, quote, "negroes or mulattoes." Some black pirates were runaway slaves. Some were sailors whose merchant ships were captured. And many blacks ended up on pirate ships when pirates grabbed slave ships as they traveled from West Africa through the middle passage. Rediker says pirates loved slave ships, and not necessarily for the human cargo.
- Prof. Rediker: What they wanted were the ships themselves, which were fast, which had a very great carrying capacity, which had space for a large pirate crew, which had a capacity to feed a large number of people as slave ships always did.
- Marcus Rediker in "Historians Link Pirate Ships and Slave Vessels", by Leoneda Inge, NPR, (March 15, 2007).
- Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
- Mark Twain, in "Old Times on the Mississippi" in The Atlantic Monthly (January 1875)
- Under these everyday, knowledge-thwarting or limiting circumstances of humanity, the comprehensively - informed master venturers of history who went to sea soon realized that the only real competition they had was that of other powerful outlaws who might also know or hope to learn through experience “what it is all about.” I call these sea mastering people the great outlaws or Great Pirates... simply because the arbitrary laws enacted or edicted by men on the land could not be extended effectively to control humans beyond their shores and out upon the seas. So the... men who lived on the seas were inherently outlaws, and the only laws that could and did rule them were the natural laws — the physical laws of universe which when tempestuous were often cruelly devastating... And it followed that these Great Pirates came into mortal battle with one another to see who was going to control the vast sea routes and eventually the world. Their battles took place out of sight of landed humanity. Most of the losers went to the bottom utterly unbeknownst to historians. Those who stayed on the top of the waters and prospered did so because of their comprehensive capability. That is they were the antithesis of specialists. p. 22
- These hard, powerful, brilliantly resourceful sea masters had to sleep occasionally, and therefore found it necessary to surround themselves with super-loyal, muscular but dull-brained illiterates who could not see nor savvy their masters’ stratagems. There was great safety in the mental dullness of these henchmen. The Great Pirates realized that the only people who could possibly contrive to displace them were the truly bright people. For this reason their number-one strategy was secrecy. If the other powerful pirates did not know where you were going, nor when you had gone, nor when you were coming back, they would not know how to waylay you. If anyone knew when you were coming home, “small-tini-ers” could come out in small boats and waylay you in the dark and take you over-just before you got home tiredly after a two-year treasure ¬ harvesting voyage. Thus hijacking and second-rate piracy became a popular activity around the world’s shores and harbors. Thus secrecy became the essence of the lives of the successful pirates; ergo, how little is known today of that which I am relating.
- Leonardo da Vinci is the outstanding example of the comprehensively anticipatory design scientist. Operating under the patronage of the Duke of Milan he designed the fortified defences and weaponry as well as the tools of peaceful production. Many other great military powers had their comprehensive design scientist-artist inventors; Michelangelo was one of them. Many persons wonder why we do not have such men today. It is a mistake to think we cannot. What happened at the time of Leonardo and Galileo was that mathematics was so unproved by the advent of the zero that not only was much more scientific shipbuilding made possible but also much more reliable navigation. Immediately thereafter truly large-scale venturing on the world’s oceans commenced, and the strong sword-leader patrons as designing their new and more powerful world-girdling ships. Next they took their Leonardos to sea with them as their seagoing Merlins to invent ever more powerful tools and strategies on a world-around basis to implement their great campaigns to best all the other great pirates, thereby enabling them to become masters of the world and of all its people and wealth.
- The topmost Great Pirates’ Leonardos discovered —both in their careful, long-distance planning and in their anticipatory inventing that the grand strategies of sea power made it experimentally clear that a plurality of ships could usually outmaneuver one ship. So the Great Pirates’ Leonardos invented navies. Then, of course, they had to control various resource-supplying mines, forests, and lands with which and upon which to build the ships and establish the industries essential to building, supplying, and maintaining their navy’s ships.
- The required and scientifically designed secrecy of the sea operations thus pulled a curtain that hid the Leonardos from public view, popular ken, and recorded history. p. 25
- Then came the grand strategy which said, “divide and conquer.” You divide up the other man’s ships in battle or you best him when several of his ships are hauled out on the land for repairs. They also had a grand strategy of anticipatory divide and conquer. Anticipatory divide and conquer was much more effective than tardy divide and conquer, since it enabled those who employed it to surprise the other pirate under conditions unfavorable to the latter.
- The great top pirates of the world, realizing that dull people were innocuous and that the only people who could contrive to displace the supreme pirates were the bright ones, set about to apply their grand strategy of anticipatory divide and conquer to solve that situation comprehensively. The Great Pirate came into each of the various lands where he either acquired or sold goods profitably and picked the strongest man there to be his local head man. The Pirate’s picked man became the Pirate’s general manager of the local realm. If the Great Pirate's local strong man in a given land had not already done so, the Great Pirate told him to proclaim himself king. Despite the local head man’s secret subservience to him, the Great Pirate allowed and counted upon his king-stooge to convince his countrymen that he, the local king, was indeed the head man of all men -the god—ordained ruler. To guarantee that sovereign claim the Pirates gave their stooge-kings secret lines of supplies which provided everything required to enforce the sovereign claim. The more massively bejewelled the king’s gold crown, and the more visible his court and castle, the less visible was his pirate master. p. 29 Ch. II, Origins of specialization
- The Great Pirates said to all their lieutenants around the world, “Any time bright young people show up, I’d like to know about it, be cause we need bright men.” So each time the Pirate came into port the local king-ruler would mention that he had some bright, young men whose capabilities and thinking shone out in the community. The Great Pirate would say to the king, "All right, you summon them and deal with them as follows: As each young man is brought forward you say to him, young man, you are very bright. I’m going to assign you to a great history tutor and in due course if you study well and learn enough I’m going to make you my Royal Historian, but you’ve got to pass many examinations by both your teacher and myself/ ” And when the next bright boy was brought before him the King was to say, “I’m going to make you my Royal Treasurer,” and so forth. Then the Pirate said to the king, “You will finally say to all of them: ‘But each of you must mind your own business or off go your heads. I’m the only one who minds everybody’s business ”This is the way schools began—as the royal tutorial schools. You realize, I hope, that I am not being facetious. That is it. This is the beginning of schools and colleges and the beginning of intellectual specialization. Of course, it took great wealth to start schools, to have great teachers, and to house, clothe, feed, and cultivate both teachers and students.