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*Examines the lives, legends and legacies of the Caribbean's most famous and successful pirates.
*Explains how the myths and legends of pirates like Blackbeard created the instantly recognizable pirate stereotypes today.
*Includes pictures depicting the pirates and important people, places, and events in their lives.
*Includes contemporary accounts of the pirates written by Captain Charles Johnson
*Includes a Table of Contents.
Over the past decade, few movie franchises have been as successful as Pirates of the Caribbean, starring Johnny Depp as the stereotypical pirate Jack Sparrow, a flamboyant, colorful and cunning pirate of questionable morality. The popularity of the movies and the character Jack Sparrow demonstrate how the people who have lived outside the boundaries of normal societies and refused to play by the rules have long fascinated the world. Nowhere is this more evident than the continuing interest in the pirates of centuries past. As the subjects of books, movies, and even theme park rides, people continue to let their imaginations go when it comes to pirates, with buried treasure, parrots, and walking the plank all ingrained in pop culture’s perception of them.
While there is no question that the myths and legends surrounding history's most famous pirates are colorful, in some instances their actual lives made for even better stories. Before the Golden Age of Piracy, men like Sir Francis Drake straddled the line between pirate and privateer, and Drake was knighted for fighting the Spanish.
While Captain Morgan's ruthless piracy has actually been overlooked due to his association with the spiced rum company using his name, he was a remarkably successful pirate, and one of history's best documented pirates.
The Golden Age of Piracy generally refers to the era when history’s most famous pirates roamed the seas of the West Indies from 1670-1720, and it is no coincidence that the beginning of it was marked by the rise of Henry Every. In his day Every was the “King of Pirates”, and in addition to popularizing the famous skull and crossbones logo that would become the most famous pirate flag, Every conducted what is considered the most profitable pirate raid in history, leading to what is considered the first worldwide manhunt in history when the English put a large bounty on his head.
It would be an understatement to say that pop culture's perception of piracy and pirates has been primarily influenced by Captain Edward Teach, known to the world as Blackbeard. Blackbeard is remembered today based more on myths than reality. People continue to let their imaginations go when it comes to Blackbeard, picturing a pirate who captured more booty than any other pirate, hid buried treasure, and lit his hair on fire before battle. People have long claimed that his ghost still haunts the Atlantic Ocean, and his contemporaries were so scared of him that they claimed to have seen his headless body swim around his pirate boat three times.
Fittingly, some of history's most famous pirates sailed together. Black Bart Roberts is considered the most successful pirate in history, managing to capture about 500 ships before meeting his fate, but he learned the tricks of the trade from Howell Davis, whose cunning and courage led to some of the most spectacular acts of piracy in history.
Then there are history's two most famous female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who actually sailed together on Calico Jack's pirate ship. Together the three became history's most famous pirate crew and had one of the most colorful years of the Golden Age of Piracy before being captured.
Real Pirates of the Caribbean looks at all of these notorious pirates, examining their careers and analyzing their legacies. Along with pictures, contemporary accounts, bibliographies, and a Table of Contents, you will learn about these famous pirates like never before.
*Includes pictures of Viking boats, ruins, and historic depictions of Vikings.
*Analyzes the legends and mischaracterizations of the Vikings, separating fact from fiction.
*Discusses the everyday life, settlements, history, religion, and culture of the Vikings.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
Over the centuries, the West has become fascinated by the Vikings, one of the most mysterious and interesting European civilizations. In addition to being perceived as a remarkably unique culture among its European counterparts, what’s known and not known about the Vikings’ accomplishments has added an intriguing aura to the historical narrative. Were they fierce and fearsome warriors? Were they the first Europeans to visit North America? It seems some of the legends are true, and some are just that, legend.
The commonly used term, Viking, for the trading and raiding peoples of Scandinavia, may have originated from Viken (the large bay leading to Oslo), or it may have come from the Old Scandinavian words vikingr (sea warrior) or viking (expedition over the sea). The people from the north were known in western Europe at the time as Northmen or Danes, in England as Danes or pagans and in Ireland as Finngall for those of Norwegian origin and Dubgall for those from Denmark. In the east, in Russia and in the Byzantine Empire, the Scandinavians were called Vaeringar or Varyags (Varangians) or Rus', the latter perhaps derived from the name Roslagen, a province in Uppland in Sweden.
The ubiquitous picture of the Vikings as horn-helmeted, brutish, hairy giants that mercilessly marauded among the settlements of Northern Europe is based on a smattering of fact combined with an abundance of prejudicial historical writing by those who were on the receiving end of Viking depredations. At the same time, much of the popular picture of the Vikings is a result of the romantic imagination of novelists and artists. For example, there is neither historical nor archaeological evidence that the typically red haired, freckled Norsemen entered battle wearing a metal helmet decorated with horns. This headgear was an invention of the Swedish painter and illustrator Johan August Malmström (1829 - 1901) and his work was so widely disseminated in popular books that the image stuck. Today the imaginary Viking helmet is an almost mandatory costume accessory in productions of Wagner's opera Der Ring des Nibelungen, which is not about the Vikings at all. It seems the horned helmet evolved from an imaginary reinterpretation of genuine Viking images of a winged helmet that may have been worn by priests in Viking religious ceremonies.
However, the Vikings’ reputation for ferocious seaborne attacks along the coasts of Northern Europe is no exaggeration. It is true that the Norsemen, who traded extensively throughout Europe, often increased the profits obtained from their nautical ventures through plunder, acquiring precious metals and slaves. Of course, the Vikings were not the only ones participating in this kind of income generation; between the 8th and the 11th centuries, European tribes, clans, kingdoms and monastic communities were quite adept at fighting with each other for the purpose of obtaining booty. The Vikings were simply more consistently successful than their contemporaries and thus became suitable symbols for the iniquity of the times.
The World’s Greatest Civilizations: The History and Culture of the Vikings comprehensively covers the culture and history of the Vikings, discussing everything from their religion to their way of life, in an attempt to separate fact from fiction. Along with pictures of Viking art and ruins, as well as historic art depicting the Vikings, you will learn about the Vikings like you never have before, in no time at all.