Pirettes: the Female Mark in the World of Pirates - Part 1

By Curious

The world of the seven seas for years provoke the imagination of many, as a territory reserved for gruesome men with wooden legs and black beards, which conquered and plundered mercilessly. It turns out that among the long list of names, were we read those of Calico Jack, Blackbeard and Barbarossa, rank and those of 9 no less impressive ladies, which ruled over the sea and spread dread among seafarers.

Queen Teuta Of Illyria

The first evidence of women pirates takes us back in history, at the time of the Roman Empire. In 231 BC, Queen Teuta of Illyria boarded the throne after the death of her husband, as a regent of her infant stepson. For about four years the ingenious lady managed to spread terror in today's Western Balkans. She managed to turn piracy into a major source of power and wealth for her and her people.

Queen Teuta Of IllyriaThe vessels voyaging under her flag, ruled the territories from the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea, thus controlling the trade routes between the Apennines and Greece. Therefore, the Roman Empire became one of her greatest enemies. In an attempt to appease Teuta, the emperor sent a diplomatic mission to advocate for an end to the pirate raids she patronized.

The negative response of the Queen of Illyria was irrevocable. Not only had she denied ending the piracy raids, but she affirmed her point, that piracy was a legitimate form of trade. To show her steady position on this topic, the queen ordered one of the ambassadors be executed and other diplomats cast into prison.

The ruthless behavior of Teuta launched her own downfall. In 229 BC began war that lasted for two years. In 227 BC the Queen, lost her throne and was forced to submit to the Roman Empire, and to pay an annual tax.

From that moment on her fate is wrapped in a shroud of mystery, but her name lives on.

The Lioness Of Brittany

The next lady in line, from the list of women pirates is Jeanne de Clisson. Her story was performed against the background of the historical events between France and England in the first half of the 14th century. The tranquil and peaceful life of a French lady had ended suddenly for Jeanne when her husband was accused of treason and sentenced to death by the French King Philip VI.

The Lioness Of BrittanyThe tragedy raised thirst for vengeance in Lady Jeanne, who vowed to avenge the pain she was caused. Selling the lands she had inherited, Jeanne acquired a fleet of 3 black warships with scarlet sails, symbolizing the bloodshed.

She hired and a crew of ruthless mercenaries, who helped her to conquer the English Channel and to strike terror there for over 13 years, ruthlessly plundering the ships of the French king and personally decapitating each French nobleman who was misfortunate enough to be caught by her.

But even the most unruly and vicious pirates have their soft side. Jeanne found love again in the face of English lieutenant Sir Walter Bentley and married again, which made her voluntarily abandon the pirate’s life.

Though she found peace in love again, her restless spirit may be felt to wander between the walls of de Clisson Castle in French Brittany, even today.

The story continues: 

Pirettes: the Female Mark in the World of Pirates - Part 2

Pirettes: the Female Mark in the World of Pirates - Part 3

Pirettes: the Female Mark in the World of Pirates - Part 4