Walking the Plank – Fact or Fiction?
Walking the plank is described in J.M Barrie’s children’s classic “Peter Pan” and also featured in the “Pirates of the
lace w:st="on">Caribbeanlace>” movies, but did it happen in reality? Did pirates force their hostages to ‘walk the plank’; after all, wouldn’t it have been easier just to toss unwanted visitors overboard?
So what evidence is there to back up the myth?
As David Cordingly, curator of the
lace w:st="on"> National Maritime Museumlace> and author of “Under the Black Flag” points out:
“There are no written accounts in the 17th and 18th century of walking the plank, and so historians largely dismissed the practise as the fanciful product of fiction writers.”
However, Plutarch, the first century Greek historian, writing in his work “Life of Julius Caesar” tells a fascinating story of a young Julius Caesar being captured by Cicilian pirates. In his account the 18 year old Caesar was:
“…was taken near the island Pharmacus by…pirates, who, at that time, with large fleets of ships and innumerable smaller vessels infected the seas everywhere.”
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