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    T. K. Heebøll-Holm, Ports, Piracy and Maritime War (James C. Bradford)

    Francia-Recensio 2014/3 Mittelalter – Moyen Âge (500–1500)

    Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm, Ports, Piracy and Maritime War. Piracy in the English Channel and the Atlantic, c. 1280–c. 1330, Leiden, Boston (Brill) 2013, XV–295 p. (Medieval Law and Its Practice, 15), ISBN 978-90-04-23570-0, EUR 123,00.


    rezensiert von/compte rendu rédigé par

    James C. Bradford, College Station, TX

    While » piracy [did not exit as] a legal term « until the sixteenth century (p. 13), piracy was in fact common since man first began using the sea for transportation and trade, and the laws which came to govern both piracy and privateering began to develop during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century. This formative era has received scant attention from historians, and those few studies of the era that do exist focus on the military and legal aspects of the practice from the perspective of its opponents, not that of those who engaged in both activities and thus this study makes a major contribution to filling a historiographical void.

    Approximately the first third of the book analyzes late medieval piracy using the 1290s war between the Normans and Anglo-Saxons as a case study. The author focuses on the rivalry between England’s Cinque Ports ( Hastings , New Romney , Hythe , Dover , Sandwich ), Bayonne on the Bay of Biscay, and ports in Normandy – for which records survive – to explore the lives of merchants, mariners, their communities, and their practice of piracy. The remainder of the book examines the » political-legal framework « of piracy and what constituted the origins of privateering.

    Laws regulating piracy and their enforcement were virtually nonexistent prior to 1300. The monarchs of England and France were usually at peace between 1280 and 1330, but merchants frequently turned to piracy to counter competition or sought redress for perceived grievances through private retaliation rather than in a court of law. These individuals often acted with the support of their communities whose members shared in the fruits of their piratical activities. Monarchs were too weak to stop the killing and robbery by imposing laws on their maritime subjects – capital punishment for piracy was virtually unheard of in the records of era. Recognizing their lack of power and knowing that the » pirates « had widespread community support, monarchs tolerated these private acts of retaliation. Kings treated the maritime communities much like they did terrestrial » marches « , i. e., borderlands in which their lieutenants exercised extensive powers, and conferred special privileges upon the port cities. In return those ports provided the royal navies with ships and other support during wartime. In 1295, for example, Norman ports supplied 150 of the 223 galleys and galiots that constituted the navy of Philip IV. Monarchs did play a role in mediating disputes and the negotiation of treaties among the port cities, but they could not impose the provisions of settlement.

    Based on his thorough examination of all extant sources, Heebøll-Holm concludes that during the decades either side of 1300, piracy constituted an integral part of the maritime commerce of Bayonne, the Cinque Ports, and Rouen and Caen and their Norman satellites. These ports dominated the trade in wine, salt, and wheat between the Bay of Biscay and the cities of London, Paris, and Bruges, and engaged in reprisals and counter reprisals to recover property and collect debts that quickly took on the character of private maritime wars with their rivals. The piracy linked to the wars involved killing and robbery and murder but such crimes were adjudicated using civil rather than criminal law. » Thus, piracy was, in the end, just as much an act of self-defence and revenge as it was a profit-seeking act[,] a way of handling disputes in societies with a low level of government-supplied protection « (p. 248).

    This nuanced work requires careful attention but repays the specialist with its important insights.

    Lizenzhinweis: Dieser Beitrag unterliegt der Creative-Commons-Lizenz Namensnennung-Keine kommerzielle Nutzung-Keine Bearbeitung (CC-BY-NC-ND), darf also unter diesen Bedingungen elektronisch benutzt, übermittelt, ausgedruckt und zum Download bereitgestellt werden. Den Text der Lizenz erreichen Sie hier: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/de

    PSJ Metadata
    James Bradford
    T. K. Heebøll-Holm, Ports, Piracy and Maritime War (James C. Bradford)
    urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-per-0000005332
    CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0
    Hohes Mittelalter (1050-1350)
    Europa
    Rechtsgeschichte
    13. Jh., 14. Jh.
    4111442-5 4068438-6 4128013-1
    1280-1330
    Atlantischer Ozean Nord (4111442-5), Ärmelkanal (4068438-6), Seeräuberei (4128013-1)
    PDF document heeboll-holm_bradford.doc.pdf — PDF document, 94 KB
    T. K. Heebøll-Holm, Ports, Piracy and Maritime War (James C. Bradford)
    In: Francia-Recensio 2014/3 | Mittelalter - Moyen Âge (500-1500) | ISSN: 2425-3510
    URL: https://prae.perspectivia.net/publikationen/francia/francia-recensio/2014-3/MA/heeboll-holm_bradford
    Veröffentlicht am: 25.09.2014 13:30
    Zugriff vom: 27.01.2020 02:11
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