Pirates have long captured the imagination of people around the world. These swashbuckling adventurers, who roamed the high seas in search of treasure and adventure, have been romanticized in countless books, movies, and TV shows. And at the heart of every pirate tale is the iconic pirate flag.
The pirate flag, also known as the Jolly Roger, is a symbol of piracy that strikes fear in the hearts of sailors and merchants alike. The flag was designed to intimidate and signal to other ships that the pirates meant business. But not all pirate flags were created equal.
Our Flag Means Death
In the upcoming HBO Max series “Our Flag Means Death,” executive producer and director Taika Waititi tells the story of Stede Bonnet, a wealthy landowner who becomes a pirate. The show promises to be a rollicking adventure, complete with all the swashbuckling action and humor that Waititi is known for. But what about the pirate flags?
According to Waititi, the show will be accurate in its portrayal of pirate flags. He says that all pirate flags are valid, and some are accurate. But what does he mean by that?
Historically, pirates did fly various flags to signal their intentions to other ships. The most famous of these flags is the Jolly Roger, which features a skull and crossbones on a black background. But there were many other flags that pirates used as well.
Some pirate flags were designed to intimidate, while others were meant to be more subtle. For example, the “bloody red” flag was used by the infamous pirate Blackbeard. This flag featured a skeleton holding a spear and a heart, and it was meant to be a warning to other ships that the pirates were not to be trifled with.
Another famous pirate flag was the “no quarter” flag. This flag was flown to signal that the pirates would show no mercy to their enemies. It featured a skull on a black background with an hourglass underneath, which symbolized that time was running out for their victims.
But not all pirate flags were so sinister. Some pirates flew flags with images of animals, like the “Jolly Roger” featuring a happy-looking skull and crossbones. Other pirate flags featured more intricate designs, like the flag of the pirate Calico Jack, which featured a skull with crossed swords and a pair of hearts.
So, what did Waititi mean when he said that some pirate flags are accurate? He was likely referring to the fact that pirate flags varied widely in their designs and meanings. In other words, there was no one “correct” pirate flag that all pirates used.
This is a point worth remembering, especially for fans of pirate stories. While the Jolly Roger is undoubtedly the most famous pirate flag, it was just one of many flags used by pirates throughout history. And while some pirate flags were certainly intimidating, others were designed to be more whimsical or lighthearted.
In the end, all pirate flags are valid because they represent the spirit of piracy. And that spirit is one of adventure, danger, and freedom. So whether you’re a fan of the Jolly Roger or prefer the more whimsical flags of the pirates of yore, remember that all pirate flags are valid, and some are accurate.