Ports, Piracy and Maritime War

Piracy in the English Channel and the Atlantic, c. 1280-c. 1330

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In Ports, Piracy, and Maritime War Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm presents a study of maritime predation in English and French waters around the year 1300. Following Cicero, pirates have traditionally been cast as especially depraved robbers and the enemy of all, but Heebøll-Holm shows that piracy was often part of private wars between English, French, and Gascon ports and mariners, occupying a liminal space between crime and warfare. Furthermore he shows how piracy was an integral part of maritime commerce and how the adjudication of piracy followed the legal procedure of the march. Heebøll-Holm convincingly demonstrates how piracy influenced the policies of the English and the French kings and he contributes to our understanding of Anglo-French relations on the eve of the Hundred Years’ War.
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Biographical Note

Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm, Ph.D. (2011), University of Copenhagen, is post.doc. fellow and director of the project ”Danish Historical Writing before 1125” at the Saxo-Institute, University of Copenhagen. He has worked on knighthood, warfare, and piracy in Scandinavia and Europe in the Middle Ages. He has recently contributed to and edited the anthology Saxo og hans samtid (Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 2012) and has written the article “Between Pagan Pirates and Glorious Sea-Warriors” ( Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 8, 2013).

Table of contents

Preface ... ix
Abbreviations ... xiii
A Note on Currency ... xv

1 Introduction ... 1
Cicero and Saint Augustine ... 2
Preliminary Defijinitions ... 9
Pirate Terminology ... 13
Outline of the Argument ... 23
Method and Sources ... 25

2 The Anatomy of Medieval Piracy ... 33
The Vessels of Trade and War ... 33
The Pirate Assault ... 38
The Fate of Plundered Goods and the Victims of Piracy ... 48

3 Ports and Wine ... 55
Bayonne ... 55
The Cinque Ports ... 62
Normandy ... 69
Wine Trade ... 77

4 Guerra Maritima ... 83
The Cinque Ports’ Account of the Norman Piracies ... 84
Philippe le Bel’s Citation of Edward I to Appear in Court in 1293 ... 88
The Chroniclers’ Portrayal of Maritime War and Its Causes 90
The Breton Context ... 97
Dogs, Baucens and a Raid Up the Charente ... 98
The Hanging of Mariners with Dogs ... 98
The Baucens ... 106
A Raid Up the Charente ... 113
Guerra ... 118

5 The Laws of the Sea and the Principles of Reprisal ... 127
The Law Merchant ... 127
The Rôles d’Oléron ... 130
The Principles of Reprisal ... 134
Arrest and Seizure ... 140
Debt ... 142
Henry de Oreford of Ipswich and the Procedure of Restitution ... 146
Reprisals and Letters of Marque ... 149
The Bayonnais Letters of Marque ... 155

6 The Sea, The March and Sovereignty ... 161
Terrestrial Marches ... 163
A Maritime March ... 172
The Process of Montreuil, 1306 ... 174
Sovereignty: The Duke of Gascony, the King of England and the King of France ... 183

7 Peace and Piracy Containment ... 191
Peace and Order in the Middle Ages ... 192
Bayonne, the Cinque Ports and Great Yarmouth ... 195
Incidents of Piracy and the Non-application of the Treaty ... 198
Flanders and Portugal ... 200
Castile—The Change of a Procedure ... 204
1306–1311 ... 206
Aftermath ... 213
Bayonne—Normandy ... 215
1282 ... 215
1316–1318 ... 217
Piracy and the War of Saint-Sardos ... 221
Lex Talionis and the English Reform of Punishment ... 224

8 Crime and Lack of Punishment? ... 229
Violence and Killing ... 229
Robbery and Theft ... 234
Imprisonment as Punishment ... 237
Punishment and Piracy ... 238

9 Conclusion ... 245

Appendix 1: Chronology ... 249
Appendix 2: Maps ... 251
Normandy ... 251
Bayonne and the Castilian Ports ... 252
The Cinque Ports’ Primary Members and Calais ... 253
The West Coast of Brittany ... 254
The English East Coast ... 255
The English Southwest Coast ... 256
The Cinque Ports, Calais and the Flemish Ports ... 257
Bordeaux and the Charente Area ... 258
Appendix 3: The Seneschal Rostand de Soler’s Report to Edward I on the Norman Depredations in Saintonge in 1293 ... 259
Appendix 4: Answer of the Men of the Cinque Ports and Bayonne to Charges of Piracy during the Maritime War of 1292–93 ... 269

Bibliography ... 277
Index ... 287

Readership

The book is primarily of interest to academic libraries, specialists, and post-graduate students. However, anyone with interest in the history of piracy may potentially find the book interesting.