Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hoist the colors! What colors?

Right off the top, a special thanks to Edward Lifegem , over at "Around the Spiral with..", for a surprise endorsement of tSC, and yours truly. Help me thank him by visiting his blog, (and be sure to leave (nice) comments, bloggers love (nice) comments)

Now, before I begin, you ought watch this inspirational (remixed) bit from World's End. (Gets me every time, it does).Yes, it is related to the subject matter, at hand.

The Flags used in the movie are historically accurate. PotC did their homework.

What exactly does "Hoist the colors" mean? Well, in *general*, "colors" refer to a flag, of any sort, be it a unit, a nation, what-have-you. Since, however, we're talking Pirate 101, We'll be exploring a bit about pirate flags.

The "Molly Roger"
The "iconic" flag is, of course, the Jolly Roger, the skull and bones. Historically, however, we can see there wasn't a "one size fits all" for pirate flags. Many a famous pirate had their own, personalized, flag that no other Captain flew. Think of it as "the officially unofficial corporate logo" of a pirate Captain.  There are actually many, many variations of the Jolly Roger, some older, some newer, but they all say the same thing: "Yarr! Be Wary! We're up for a fight!"

Let's then, take a look at the fear-inspiring flags of famous pirates past. Keep in mind, *these* are what an unlucky merchant ship were likely to see, no the "iconic" skull and bones we come to expect today:

A not-nearly-exhaustive look at "NOT Jolly Rogers"
Okay, to be honest, not *every* pirate had their own flag, and many are historically contested as to "whose was whose", but we're not doing a college-level critique, here. ;) There are many more examples to be found, if you go about looking for them.
Oh, and since we're talking "maybe" about historical flags, there is contention as to whether of not flags were more often red (the sign of "No Quarter"), or primarily black (The sign of Quarantine, ie sickness/plague/death). One way, or another, these flags were designed purely as psychological warfare, to scare a target into submission. Many a ship was taken, with no loss of life, simply upon seeing a dread pirate's "colors". Those who put up a fight, and lost, did considerably less well as those who simply surrendered.

So, while we wait on Pirate 101, what are *your* colors? As a future Dread Pirate of Our Spir@l, what colors do you think you will hoist? (Hint: this is a chance to make your own pirate flag, something that represents you). If you submit your own user-created "Pirate Flag" here to tSC, I'll be happy to post it, and share it with everyone!

Be Thee Well!

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